Tag: Five Questions

Five Questions with Virginia Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Rochester YMCA

Virginia Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Rochester YMCA

Every day, The Rochester YMCA works side-by-side with its neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.  As Executive Director of the Rochester YMCA, Virginia Kaczmarek knows that lasting personal and social changes comes about when we all work together.

DMC recently chatted with Kaczmarek, a 20-year employee with the YMCA and 5 months in her role as Executive Director of the Rochester YMCA, about some of her priorities and what path brought her to Rochester.

DMC: What path brought you to your current position with the Rochester YMCA?  

Kaczmarek: As a young single mother, the YMCA played an important support role in my life and since those days, I have always wanted to give to others the support I received when I most needed it. My fiancé grew up in Rochester and after spending the last 11 years in Northfield, MN (where we raised the needed funds to open a brand new Y in 2014) it was time for me to move on to a new adventure and challenge.

DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?

Kaczmarek: Partnerships, Partnerships, Partnerships.  In today’s world, community impact is most powerful when people, groups, organizations and businesses come together to meet the needs of our community.  

DMC: What do you feel sets Rochester apart from other cities?

Kaczmarek:  It is an amazing ”big/small town” with so many amazing people working together to make a positive impact on those around us.  There isn’t much complacency here and I love that.

DMC: Why is the Destination Medical Center initiative so important to the future of Rochester?

Kaczmarek:  The DMC initiative provides amazing opportunities for growth and the YMCA is very proud to work together to make good things happen in our community.  

DMC: What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a life, starting a career, and/or raising a family in America’s City for Health?

Kaczmarek: Reach out and ask questions. Connect with your neighbors.  There is an abundance of important opportunities to connect and share in the movement towards ensuring we all have a healthy opportunity to grow and thrive.

 

Five Questions with Nate O’Reilly, President, Southeastern Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council

The Southeastern Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council is comprised of 16 local skilled trades unions. The Council is dedicated to educating and training workers in the skilled trades that can provide stability of employment and economic security for organized construction workers in the Southeast Minnesota area. Nate O’Reilly, President of the Southeastern Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council, has been involved in the construction industry for more than 20 years in various roles and recently shared more about his career and the Council’s priorities.

DMC: What path brought you to your current position with the Southeastern Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council?

O’ReillyAfter High School and joining and serving in the Army Reserve, I began working in construction, and after a few years, I was exposed to and joined the Ironworkers. I worked several years as an Ironworker in many roles, from starting out as worker and welder in a crew to foreman, general foreman, and other leadership and project management roles. I became active with the Ironworkers Union and was appointed and then elected as Business Representative in 2014. I have served as Ironworker delegate to the Building Trades Council, elected by trade affiliates as V.P. of the Council in 2017, and elected as President in 2018.

DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?

O’Reilly:

  1. Continue working with stakeholders to expand opportunities for workers in the construction industry in Southeast Minnesota.
  2. Provide the education and training for the next generation of skilled craftspeople to meet the high and increasing demand in the construction market.
  3. Advocate for and support conditions and policies that ensure a level playing field for businesses and contractors that result in maximizing economic benefits to Southeast Minnesota and our state, including: prevailing wage, local hire, and female & minority inclusion.

DMC: What do you feel sets Rochester apart from other cities?

O’Reilly: Rochester and Southeast Minnesota have one of the best pools of potential workers possessing the drive and work ethic found anywhere.  The DMC initiative undertaken by the City of Rochester, Olmsted County, State of Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic is the largest public-private partnership in the state’s history and could serve as the model to be used throughout Minnesota and the rest of the nation.

DMC: Why is the Destination Medical Center initiative so important to the future of Rochester?

O’Reilly: Positioning Rochester as the premier place in the world for health and wellness has ripple effects in all sectors of the economy throughout our region and will ensure economic prosperity and stability for generations to come.

DMC: What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a life, starting a career, and/or raising a family in America’s City for Health?

O’Reilly: Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work and spend significant time in 44 different states. I am proud to have been to those places and some have great things to offer, but none, in my humble opinion, offer the entire package of the best place in America to work, live and raise a family as the Rochester, Minnesota area. And don’t let the cold winters scare you. We have fabulous changes of seasons and weather.

Five Questions with Ken Nelson, Publisher Rochester Post Bulletin

Ken Nelson joined the Post Bulletin as publisher in August 2018.  He has a stellar career in the newspaper industry, including more than 20 years at the Orange County Register in California.  Prior to joining the Post Bulletin, Nelson served as chief executive officer and publisher of the Erie Times-News in Pennsylvania.

Nelson has spent his first several months in Rochester getting to know the community, including a meet and greet and walking tour with Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke to learn more about the DMC initiative.

In this blog, Nelson discusses the Post Bulletin’s priorities and what sets Rochester, Minnesota, apart from other cities.

DMC: What path brought you to your current position with the Post Bulletin?

Nelson: A longtime friend of mine mentioned that the Post Bulletin was seeking a publisher.  She shared that the owners and employees are great people, Rochester is a wonderful community and that the organization was looking for someone to help the company meet the needs of a growing and changing community.

DMC: What are some of the top priorities for the organization in the coming year?

Nelson: Our top priorities are informing and engaging readers in the platform they prefer, whether in print or online, and helping local businesses thrive by connecting them to their target markets.  

DMC: What do you feel sets Rochester apart from other cities?

Nelson: Rochester is similar to many of the wonderful communities you will find across the Midwest.  It is filled with many friendly, helpful, hard-working families. The main difference is that those other communities don’t enjoy the benefits that come with having the economic foundation provided by having Mayo Clinic as a neighbor.

DMC: Why is the Destination Medical Center initiative so important to the future of Rochester?

Nelson: Mayo Clinic is a major driver of our economy.  We need to nurture and grow that economic engine.  Without DMC we don’t have the structure, the strategy or plans that will enable us to capitalize on the growth inherent in being home to the premier medical facility in the world.

DMC: What advice would you give to someone thinking about building a life, starting a career, and/or raising a family in America’s City for Health?

Nelson: Move now.  This is a great community, and the opportunities are endless.

Editor’s Note: For the second consecutive year, the Post Bulletin has been recognized by the Minnesota Newspaper Association as the Daily Newspaper of the Year.

 

Five questions with Jerome Ferson, president and CEO of the United Way of Olmsted County

Jerome Ferson

The United Way is a community change organization that unites people in need with the resources they need to reach their full potential.

Jerome Ferson has been leading that change at the United Way for just more than four years. DMC sat down with Ferson to learn more about his goal of achieving education, health, and financial stability for every person, especially those most in need.

Five Questions with Kathleen Harrington, Executive Director of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce

Kathleen Harrington
Kathleen Harrington

The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is widely recognized for its networking, public advocacy, and the educational opportunities it provides to members across the region. Hear from Executive Director Kathleen Harrington about what’s to come for the organization in 2019 and why Rochester’s size is such an asset to the community.

Five Questions with Ryan Nolander, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI)  

Ryan Nolander, RAEDI President

Ryan Nolander was hired as president of the Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) four months ago after long-time president Gary Smith retired. With significant experience in the economic development field, Nolander is committed to helping local and regional businesses and developers tackle issues such as site selection, financial packaging, business planning, and business advocacy.

Destination Medical Center (DMC) chatted with Nolander recently to learn more about his top priorities in the coming year and why Rochester is such an attractive city.

Five Questions with Brian Austin, Executive Director of the Rochester Art Center

Brian Austin

The Rochester Art Center (RAC) is an essential community asset and the local hub for culture, innovation, and creativity driven through contemporary art.

We sat down with Executive Director Brian Austin, who has been in his role since January 2018, to learn more about his priorities for the organization and why he thinks the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative will encourage more collaborations for the community.

Five Questions with Sunny Prabhakar, The Commission

Sunny Prabhakar
Sunny Prabhakar

The Commission is a young professionals organization that aims to make a positive impact on the Rochester community by connecting and engaging young professionals and encouraging them to explore opportunities for collaboration and increase their community involvement.

As cities around the nation vie for workers to replace retiring baby boomers, groups like The Commission can enhance a sense of community and make Rochester the ideal place for millennials – and professionals of all ages – to live, work, and engage.

Founder and President Sankesh “Sunny” Prabhakar has been the driving force behind The Commission since its inception five years ago. We sat down with Sunny to get his take on how young professionals will help shape Rochester’s future.

Five Questions with Dee Sabol, Executive Director of the Diversity Council

Dee Sabol

Diversity is a key component in building a strong, cohesive community. In fact, the more unique perspectives we invite to be part of our community conversations, the more creative and innovative ideas will result.

Dee Sabol stepped into the role of executive director for the Diversity Council in 2015. She is committed to community engagement, equity, and education as she works toward the Diversity Council’s vision of creating “an inclusive and welcome community in which every individual is respected.”

DMC connected with Sabol to gain more insight into the importance of diversity in building America’s City for Health and why the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative was an important factor in her return to the Midwest.

Five Questions with Kevin Miller, Executive Director of The Rochester Civic Theatre

Kevin Miller

A vibrant arts community is vital to the mission of Destination Medical Center. After just five months in his role as the Rochester Civic Theatre Company’s new Executive Director, Kevin Miller has already brought newfound attention to the local arts culture as evidenced by the success of the sold-out “Ring of Fire” musical performances.

Read on to learn more about what brought Miller to The Civic and what he feels sets Rochester, Minnesota apart from other cities.