Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Brings Together the Business Community for Its Annual Meeting and Volunteer of the Year Recognition

    January 18th, 2024

    Mankato – Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. is excited to invite our members, stakeholders, and the business community to come together to celebrate our organization’s accomplishments of the past year and to hear about the initiatives and programs we have planned for the future.

    The Annual Meeting, presented by Taylor, will be held on Tuesday, March 5, from 11 am to 1:30 pm at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union. To register, please visit the Greater Mankato Growth website at

    Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients

    The Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Annual Meeting is a time for our business units—Greater Mankato Growth, Visit Mankato, City Center Partnership, and GreenSeam—to honor dedicated volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership through service. This year, the outstanding individuals and organizations who have contributed to the betterment of our community and region are as follows:

    Greater Mankato Growth’s Volunteers of the Year: Randy Berkland, retired from Blethen Berens

    Randy Berkland has served on Greater Mankato Growth’s Advocacy Committee for many years. He has been a consistent steady voice on policy issues that are important to Greater Mankato Growth members and the regional marketplace. After a long and distinguished legal career at the Blethen Berens law firm, Randy’s continued service to Greater Mankato Growth and our community has helped ensure that our region’s voice is heard loud and clear among policymakers.

    “For all my life, starting with my parents and continuing with many teachers and mentors, I have been encouraged to leave the world a little better than when I entered. I believe that applies to everything you do, including living life on a daily basis, including volunteering,” said Randy Berkland.

    Visit Mankato’s Volunteers of the Year: Mankato Marathon Bike Medics

    Randy Knutson, Joe DeLory, and Terena Wilkens play a vital role in the safety plan for the Mankato Marathon as the key leaders of the volunteer bike medics. Leading up to the race, they train and recruit all volunteer bike medic riders and, the day of the event, they manage the group via the command center. The Mankato Marathon Bike Medics are all volunteers—led by volunteers—and have been providing support to the Mankato marathon since its beginning. As we enter our 15th anniversary of the Mankato Marathon, Visit Mankato would like to recognize this group for the critical role they play in ensuring the event is successful and, most importantly, safe.

    “We strive to add to the world by volunteering in ways that boost the quality of life of others. We love using our skills to help and encourage the amazing runners to achieve their goals. There is nothing more enjoyable than seeing the faces of marathon runners working so hard and being so motivated during the race. It is inspiring; it’s a great sight,” said the Mankato Marathon Bike Medics volunteers.

    City Center Partnership’s Volunteer of the Year: Mike Lagerquist, The Free Press Media

    Mike Lagerquist has consistently volunteered with CityArts Sculpture Walk during installation and deinstallation, as well as offering in-kind photography services for CityArt in 2023. CityArt plays a key role in the aesthetics of the downtown and volunteers such as Mike are key to the success of this program.

    “I volunteer because it gives me the ability to provide the most immediate, visible support for a cause I support. I don’t always have the financial wherewithal to give, but offering my time and talents is almost always an option. Then I see first-hand impact I can have or additional support that is needed,” said Mike Lagerquist.

    GreenSeam’s Volunteer of the Year: James Gordon, Pioneer Bank

    James Gordon has gone above and beyond since joining the Business Retention & Expansion Committee and serving as its chairperson. In 2023, he led the charge to develop the Committee’s business retention and expansion outreach strategy. James enthusiastically takes every opportunity to drive the committee forward and to wear the green polo, representing GreenSeam’s mission of elevating this region as the world-class food and agribusiness epicenter.

    “I’m honored to be considered for this award and I look forward to continuing this work with GreenSeam in 2024. Volunteering for GreenSeam provides an opportunity to promote and positively change the agricultural community that supports so much of Southern Minnesota,” said James Gordon.


    About Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.

    Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. is comprised of four business units: Greater Mankato Growth, the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization; Visit Mankato, the local destination management organization; City Center Partnership, a downtown development organization; and GreenSeam, which utilizes agriculture to build on the region’s extensive agribusiness assets to develop the ag economy.