You are here: Home / Community Assets Search / Journey to Growth October 2015 Meeting at Chatfield

Journey to Growth October 2015 Meeting at Chatfield

PlanScape Impact(s): Governance/Public Policy ; Workforce Development ; Vision/Identity
Last modified: October 13, 2015 Public Report From Journey to Growth Plan


As reported by Bluff County Newspaper Group

Leaders gather in Chatfield to hear Journey to Growth updates
By Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 8:56 AM


More than 100 representatives from area cities and economic development organizations participated in the discussion about how J2G can accomplish its mission of diversifying the workforce and promoting towns surrounding Rochester as the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative, a medical tourism venture, attempts to draw people to visit, work and live in Rochester. J2G is a five-year regional economic growth strategy developed by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce in which the cities of Chatfield and Spring Valley, among others, are partners.

J2G Chairman John Wade welcomed the group to Chatfield, which he said is an example of how communities can spur economic growth, citing the past, such as Root River State Bank, the oldest bank in Minnesota, as well as recent decisions, such as renovating the Chatfield Center for the Arts.

Chatfield City Council member Ken Jacobson, addressing the group, also pointed out that Chatfield was one of the first cities to financially support Journey to Growth.

Ten committees focusing on different topics started meeting earlier this year to address the needs of the area. Representatives from the different J2G committees spoke, sharing updates on what their committee has been considering, reviewing or accomplishing over the past three months to prepare the region for impending changes expected to be a result of DMC.

Duane Sauke, co-chair of the diversity committee, related that there are “two characteristics of diversity in our world” and that those encompass business, or “widening pathways for bioresearch, which is not what this committee is concerned about, but about ethnic backgrounds and creating pathways to show why diversity is important and to create inclusion in the business community.”

He stated that the J2G diversity committee had suggested that electronic portals provided by potential employers might offer opportunities for potential employees to find jobs that suit their individual skills, thereby allowing businesses to “expand their diversity” and welcome people of differing ethnic backgrounds to communities inside and outside of Rochester. “There are different models of how we can build inclusiveness,” he commented, pointing out that Hormel’s administration is “able to share structures and systems for diversity,” thereby giving J2G a starting place.

“We are unique in the world, in that in the Midwest, we have a small-town cultural impact – as a former high school band director, I have seen how a small town high school band is as important as ‘The Music Man’ made it out to be…no other thing helps to center the community like a small town high school band,” said Sauke. “You are sitting in a town that has done that…taken a space like Potter Auditorium and made it a real (town center).”

Economic committee co-chair Elaine Garry observed, “We don’t need to tell (business speculators) about available business sites, but we need to tell how that business thrives in this area, about the people and the activities, how if they live here, they’ll probably love living in this area.” She told how J2G had invited a consultant to tour the region – from Red Wing to Winona to Rochester and south – as a visitor attempting to get an idea what it is like to reside in southeast Minnesota and that the consultant reached the same conclusion, that sharing the story of daily life is the most important way to promote economic diversity.

Talent was the next topic of discussion as J2G representatives explained that while a person might come to work at the Mayo Clinic or other Rochester medical sites, spousal referral is also important because the days of a wife and family dutifully following a patriarchal doctor wherever his career lands them are waning. Essentially, there have to be opportunities for family members of the person who was initially drawn to seek employment in Rochester, or the prospect of relocating loses its shine.

Furthermore, capturing the talents of the relocating medical professional’s spouse gains importance, the representatives cited before Dan Christianson, of F&M Community Bank and part of the J2G committee charged with regional matters, addressed the gathering. He explained that J2G’s regional committee had met with the board of the Southeast Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM) to consider how to make the participation of communities in eight counties more cohesive and to “not reinvent the wheel” if SEMLM had already drafted and created a means by which to foster inter-county and -community collaboration.

Transportation is a matter to be taken seriously, as is communication, according to Brian Carlson, representing that committee’s co-chairs who were unable to attend the meeting.

“DMC’s proposal will change the design of and expand downtown Rochester. The question is how J2G will interface with DMC, as we’re aware of transportation issues – DMC has indicated they’re very interested in talking about this,” said Carlson. “There’s been a lot of regional movement, people moving into and out of our cities. We’ve been doing some information-gathering on zip rail, working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and…on our southeast Minnesota regional trails.”

Other committee leaders talked about the importance of early childhood, working with government and other issues.

Questions offered up as the meeting came to a slightly belated close encompassed how communities could participate in intercultural cities initiatives and whether J2G has a plan to take its story beyond the region in which it was formed, or how to take that message out as a unified one.

J2G committee members assured those in the gallery that efforts are underway to encourage cities to “buy into” the intercultural diversity initiative as they feel necessary and fitting, and that J2G is “building on a foundation” of work that will support itself as the marketing committee develops strategies to tell southeastern Minnesota’s story.





Key Points: 


Trailing spouse employment opportunities

Diversity and inter-cultural iniative

Electronic Portal



PlanScape Impact(s): Governance/Public Policy ; Workforce Development ; Vision/Identity
Last modified: October 13, 2015 Public Report From Journey to Growth Plan

Site Information
  • For the commercial sector, we tend to register startup activities (new companies and new commercial projects) that bring diversification and high-impact opportunities to the area.
  • For the non-profit sector, we wish to shine light on all the organizations and services that otherwise labor under relative obscurity.
  • Our hope is that will encourage cross-sector collaborations and creative solutions.

While there are a number of registries in the community,'s  distinct value is to pilot a database with a data structure and categorizations that answer the questions such as: What organizations or projects/programs in our community that have purported relevance with some of the over-arching focuses put forward by initiatives such as DMC, J2G and Health Improvements?

This database could be used as one of the ways to explore the capacities of the community. If you are someone on an exploratory journey to learn about the greater Rochester community. could be an interesting first step.

The following defines the various project phases:
  1. Available - a product, program or service is in production
  2. Develop - program or application is being developed
  3. Plan - idea is solid, stakeholders are identified, and there is strong commitment to go forward from all parties.
  4. Concept Phase - idea scoped out with enough details to give an early sizing and/or to build a proof of concept
  5. Pre-concept Phase - an early idea or a requirement.
Links to Beam and beam sub-sites: