Growing prosperity in greater minnesota

GMNP remembers Randy Kehr

We are saddened to report that Randy Kehr, executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and a founding board member of the GMNP, passed away on Nov. 23 after a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.

Randy served as executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce for the past 10 years. He was a strong supporter of the GMNP and had been an active member of our board of directors since the organization was created in 2014. Throughout his years in service, Randy was a strong champion and tireless advocate for the Albert Lea community, numerous organizations in addition to the GMNP, and the entire state of Minnesota.

Our thoughts are with Randy’s family and friends; he will be greatly missed. You can read Randy’s full obituary here. The Albert Lea Tribune also published a story about his life in public service.

Child care, broadband discussed at CGMC Fall Conference

A number of GMNP members took advantage of an invitation from our sister organization, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), to attend the CGMC’s annual Fall Conference last week in Alexandria. The conference touched a number of issues that are relevant to our members, most notably child care and broadband.

Child care was one of the leading topics discussed at the conference. Marnie Werner, acting director of the Center for Rural Policy, was the luncheon speaker and presented updates on their report “A quiet crisis: Minnesota’s child care shortage.” You can watch her presentation here.

Following Werner’s presentation, GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman moderated a child care panel discussion — you can watch it here. Taking part in the panel were:

  • Nancy Jost, early childhood coordinator for West Central Initiative
  • Tim Penny, president and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
  • Jessica Beyer, business development specialist for First Children’s Finance
  • Amanda Benda, director of Little Huskies Daycare Center & Preschool in Jackson, Minn.

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