For immediate release
June 25, 2010

For more information contact:

Brad Finstad, Executive Director, (507) 934-7700

Early Results of Partnership for Regional Competitiveness Energize Southern Minnesota
Impact of 38-county Southern Minnesota initiative in its first year were highlighted at Minnesota State University-Mankato event on June 21

MANKATO, Minn. — The Partnership for Regional Competitiveness-Southern Minnesota hosted an event at Minnesota State University-Mankato on Monday, June 21 to showcase the results of its work over the past 12 months and discuss plans for the future.

The Partnership for Regional Competitiveness-Southern Minnesota—an alliance of businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies—was formed to create a strategic economic development plan for Southern Minnesota.
In May 2009, the Partnership released the results of a study it commissioned which identified six strategic opportunities key to Southern Minnesota’s future: manufacturing, food & agriculture, health care, renewable energy, bioscience and high technology.
Over the past year, the Partnership has launched several projects to ensure the 38-county Southern Minnesota region is positioned to compete globally in these six industries. At its “One Year Later” event on June 21, several speakers discussed the results of these projects to date.
Brad Finstad, executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, reviewed the Partnership’s strategic organizing efforts. John Monson with AgStar Financial Services discussed the Partnership’s capital investment initiatives. Tim Penny of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and Sherry Ristau of the Southwest Initiative Foundation outlined the Partnership’s road ahead.
Perhaps the highlight of the event was a panel discussion of the Southern Minnesota Manufacturing Alliance, a collaboration of three competing regional manufacturing companies that have joined forces through their participation in the Partnership. These three companies—CAB Construction in Mankato, Metal Services in Blooming Prairie and ProManufacturing in Albert Lea—have pooled their purchases to negotiate lower prices with suppliers, bid as a three-company team on new business projects and tapped each other’s niche strengths to attract new customers.
“The exciting developments shared by these three companies was music to everyone’s ears,” said Brad Finstad of the Center for Rural Policy and Development. “These types of alliances are exactly what we dreamed of when launching the Partnership.”
Individuals interested in getting involved with the Partnership for Regional Competitiveness-Southern Minnesota should contact Yvonne Simon with the Center for Rural Policy and Development by email at or by phone at (507) 934-7705.