Holly Masek joined the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) in June of 2019 as the organization’s executive director. The mission of the Rochester Downtown Alliance is to be “a unique, vibrant, urban experience—a central gathering place—for the community that is attractive, inviting, fun, and livable.”
Through a series of special events, activities, and initiatives, the RDA creates energy, excitement, and a unique character to Downtown Rochester, Minnesota, with the belief that a strong core positively impacts the greater city of Rochester.
Joe Ward joined Experience Rochester in August 2019 as the organization’s executive director. Experience Rochester oversees the operations of the Mayo Civic Center and is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Rochester. It’s currently working to synergize the Experience Rochester destination marketing team with the operations team of the Mayo Civic Center to create one cohesive and high performing team.
DMC: What path brought you to your current position with Experience Rochester?
Ward: I’ve been involved in the hospitality, special event and marketing industries for my entire career. Most recently, I served as the Director of the Greater Saint Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau in Saint Charles, Missouri, where I also oversaw the third-party operations of the Saint Charles Convention Center. The recent expansion and renovations of the Mayo Civic Center were very attractive as I was looking for a new career challenge.
DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?
From a successful bike sharing program to this summer’s pilot launch of Lime Scooters, Rochester is embracing the idea of ridesharing in the community with cars now being added to the mix. A new car-sharing option is set to launch in Rochester on December 9, 2019. This comes after the Rochester City Council approved a new agreement last month with the Saint Paul-based nonprofit car-sharing service HOURCAR.
The service will allow drivers to rent one of five cars on a short-term basis. Those cars will be parked at different locations around downtown Rochester. Drivers, once approved for an HOURCAR membership, will be able to reserve a car online. The driver can borrow a car for anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours and is asked to return the car to the same place where it was originally parked. As demand increases, HOURCAR plans to another five cars to the Rochester fleet over the next three years.
[NOTE: POSTPONED] The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. The Challenge is also intended to strengthen their ability to live more independently and help reduce the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in the region and across the United States.
Participants in the Assistive Tech Challenge should develop a product or service related to:
- Independent living
- Access to employment
- Support for care providers
- Social skill development
- Improved public infrastructure
Open (community-based teams and students)
Professional (companies formed with annual revenues not exceeding $200,000)
Teams will address the following questions during a five-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges, followed by three minutes of Q&A:
- What problem are you solving?
- How are you solving the problem?
- Why is your team the one to solve it?
- What do you need to further develop your idea?
First Place in each category will receive $5,000. Second Place in each category will receive $2,500.
All first and second place teams will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Minneapolis in May 2020.
Assistive Tech Challenge Event Details:
Saturday, April 4, 2020 (POSTPONED)
Rochester Civic Theatre
Time to be announced.
Learn more by reading our frequently asked questions.
Additional questions can be sent to [email protected] Please include “AT Challenge” in the subject line.
Special Thanks to: