Lake City – Minnesota / Port Authority
Lake City lies along Lake Pepin, a wide portion of the Mississippi River.
Lake City is located 65 miles southeast of the Twin Cities at the intersection of U.S. Highways 61 and 63 on the Mississippi River at Lake Pepin..
Cailin joined CEDA in October 2021 as a Community and Economic Development Specialist for the City of Lake City. Cailin is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2019 with a degree in Real Estate & Urban Analysis and Economics. Before joining the CEDA team, Cailin worked in the retail sector as a Merchandise Planner for Abercrombie & Fitch. In addition to her professional business experience, she has a background in nonprofit management focused in fundraising, youth development and housing assistance.
Cailin has a passion for serving local communities and its residents, and is especially interested in housing, marketing, tourism and community engagement. She is excited to leverage her prior nonprofit and professional experience to integrate herself into the communities she serves and help them grow.
Ben Strand has lived in Winona since 2012 when he started his freshman year at Winona State University studying Journalism and English Writing. While in school he worked at the Winona Daily News for three years covering arts and culture and education. He also spent a year working at the Pump House Regional Arts Center in La Crosse, WI. He started getting involved in Winona’s arts and culture community by hosting monthly open-mic poetry events in 2014 and volunteering for various music and arts festivals in the region. During his last year of school he co-founded Treedome Productions, a multi-media entertainment production company presently located in Rochester, MN. Ben is a cohort of the 2018 Blandin Community Leadership Program and 2019 Leadership Winona program.
Prior to starting with CEDA in June 2022, Ben spent three years at the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce as the Main Street Program Manager working with the city’s downtown district and aiding in its economic development and revitalization.
Ben is extremely passionate about rural community development and rural downtowns. He looks forward to contributing to the growth and development of Lake City and Wabasha in the coming years, as a lot of important projects are in progress that will have drastic and positive impacts on the community.
SMIF: Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation
Swift County Housing Study
Spring Grove Real Estate Group LLC
Courtney Bergey Swanson
Courtney grew up on a farm in rural Lanesboro, MN, and returned to Southeast Minnesota after studying Art and Communication Studies at Luther College. Before joining CEDA in 2016, she served as Director of Advancement for Lanesboro Arts. During her tenure, Courtney raised over $1 million in regional and national grant funding to implement several community and economic development projects, including public space improvements, historic renovation, cultural tourism efforts, and strategic planning for community growth. Courtney’s work is fueled by the belief that rural areas have the potential to advance their narrative, embrace innovation, and make creative pathways towards a sustainable future.
Courtney is a fiber and ceramic artist and enjoys sharing her talents through teaching. She serves on the Board of Directors for Listos Spanish-English Dual Immersion Preschool in Rochester and is a member of Next Generation, a collaboration between the Rural Policy Research Institute and Art of the Rural to develop new ideas for helping rural areas attract and retain the next generation of citizens and leaders.
Rebecca joined the CEDA team in May of 2017. Rebecca has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Wales, Swansea, and Bachelor of Science in Political Science from South Dakota State University. She has spent the past 15 years working on/leading political campaigns for both local and national candidates, as well as issue based campaigns.
Rebecca’s interest in rural economic development stems from her experiences working with rural communities during her political career, where she heard about the needs and difficulties facing rural communities across the nation. She has a strong desire to help to make positive changes for rural America.