More than 200 people from 10 southeast Minnesota chambers of commerce made the trek to St. Paul to engage with state legislators.
This was the first time the region has joined together for this event, and Lisa Clarke, DMC EDA executive director, recognized the importance and appreciation of this type of synergy.
“Having us together to represent our region as a whole is a testimony to how we are working together to make an impact for the state of Minnesota,” she says.
Later in the day, DMC, Journey to Growth, and Southeast Minnesota Together hosted panel discussions expanding on the theme of how these organizations can complement each other. “The unique qualities of cities in Southeast Minnesota create ideal patient, visitor, and resident experiences – a shared vision with DMC,” says Clarke.
The DMC panel included Clarke, economic development and placemaking director Patrick Seeb, BrandHoot founder and DMC ambassador Nate Nordstrom, and EDA board member Tom Fisher. There was a lively discussion about the progress that has already taken place through the DMC initiative.
Fisher reiterated how Rochester and other communities can design public places that bolster the economy and bring unique experiences. “Successful communities are designed around people,” Fisher says.
Nordstrom, who also serves on the entrepreneur committee for Journey to Growth, agrees. “We need to recognize the ‘importance of place’ for start-up and entrepreneurial communities,” he says. “If communities can work with [entrepreneurs] through our journey of establishing our business, we can all be successful.”
During the afternoon reception, participants had the opportunity to network and ask more specific questions about the DMC initiative. DMC EDA communications director Mary Welder was encouraged by the discussions, particularly with the high school and college students.
“We are building a future for the region and the state by creating a workable, livable environment,” Welder says. “It’s important for this next generation of talent to see the opportunities here and how they can fit that in their career choices.”