Educational Session Descriptions—2019 Annual Conference


Capture New IdeasGet hooked on new ideas during the 2019 Annual Conference educational sessions! You'll be able to dive into a variety of topics, from running effective meetings to bringing solar energy to your city and more! Explore the session descriptions below and start planning your time @ the lake.

Thursday, June 27—9:45-10:45 a.m.

Session Track: Community Engagement
Community Engagement with Dave Meslin
Join keynote speaker Dave Meslin following his presentation for this in-depth look at community engagement. You’ll dive deeper into the specifics about how to dismantle barriers to engagement as you explore best practices and share success stories.

Session Track: Workforce & Employment
Here We Go Again: HR and Benefits Compliance Update and Trends to Watch For
Kenya Spann, Human Resources Consulting Manager, Gallaher; Jessica Nikunen, Senior Consultant, Gallagher
How do legislative changes happening at both national and state levels impact human resources and benefits in your city? Learn about evolving topics related to healthcare, labor laws, harassment prevention, family-friendly workplaces, recreational marijuana, and more during this session presented by Gallagher.

Session Track: Hot Topics
Daycare Access & Models for Cities to Consider
Jessica Beyer, Business Development Manager, First Children’s Finance; Anna Gruber, Manager of City & County Solutions, Sourcewell; Missy Okenson, Early Childhood Lead, Northwest Minnesota Foundation; Maureen Hams, Supervisor, Child Care Aware; Terri Collins, Mayor, City of Benson
Minnesota cities are finding themselves in the middle of a growing childcare crisis, impacting workforce and economic development in our communities. Speakers from Sourcewell will explore topics related to this crisis, including: a regional licensing model, child care business types, community options, and resources for government leaders to support child care decisions. Plus, you’ll hear stories directly from a city that is working to tackle this issue.

Session Track: Planning & Development
Transit in Greater Minnesota
Tom Cruikshank, Senior Transportation Planner, WSB
Transit plays a vital role in building successful public transportation systems. With growing demand for mass transit in Greater Minnesota, and a legislative directive to meet 90% of the transit need by 2025, cities outside of the Twin Cities metro are finding creative and innovative ways to address transit in their communities. Representatives from WSB will help you explore how comprehensive five-year transit plans can spur economic momentum in your community and ways to secure funding for implementation.

Session Track: Hot Topics
Maintaining a Fit Police Force
Brent Johnson, Police Chief, City of Hopkins; Laura Kushner, Human Resources Director, League of Minnesota Cities; Jana Sullivan, Assistant Defense Litigation Supervisor, League of Minnesota Cities; Rob Boe, Public Safety Project Coordinator, League of Minnesota Cities
Does your police department struggle with ensuring officers are physically fit and able to perform the job? Learn more about a new approach to tackling the issue and how your city can participate in a state-wide effort.

Session Track: Hot Topics
Stories of Going Solar in Your City
Dan Ruiz, Public Works Director, City of Brooklyn Park; Bill Waller, City Administrator, City of La Crescent; Jay McCleary, Retired Deputy Public Works Director, City of Red Wing; Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator, City of Duluth
Thinking about going solar in your city? Hear stories and lessons learned from cities taking part in the GreenStep Cities program that have already completed the process. You’ll go through a number of topics to help you with your solar plans, including how your city can assess if your facilities are ready to go solar, tips for cutting long-term energy costs through community solar garden subscriptions, ways your city can meet clean energy goals, and more.

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Thursday, June 27—11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Session Track: Hot Topics
Understanding the Prescription Drug Dilemma
Jim Sarych, Managing Director, NFP; Nelly Rose, Assistant Vice President of Clinical Pharmacy, NFP; Dave Lee, Co-Managing Director, NFP
The price of prescriptions drugs is skyrocketing and continues to be the fastest growing cost driver in employer health insurance plans. What is being done to control these costs? NFP will help you understand the impact of government intervention, plan design options and industry cost control measures, and learn how you may be able to protect your plans.

Session Track: Resources & Funding
Attract Business Investment in Your Community
Jason Aarsvold, Senior Municipal Advisor, Ehlers; Steve Stahmer, City Administrator, City of Rogers; Miles Seppelt, Economic Development Director, City of Hutchinson
How can your city put its best foot forward to attract new employers to your community? Get practical information from diverse perspectives, including presenters from Ehlers and the City of Rogers, as you explore the site search process. Following this session, you'll understand how to craft responses that show your city’s strengths, what you can do to secure new investment in your community while maintaining your unique identity, and more.

Session Track: Resources & Funding
Water, Wastewater, & Stormwater: Strategies for Funding Big Projects
Jeff Freeman, Executive Director, Public Facilities Authority
Hear about the types of water, wastewater, and stormwater projects are funded by the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority. As part of this session, you’ll learn more about the process, timelines for funding, and what types of funding are available.

Session Track: Effective Communication
Have You Heard?
Jennifer Hellman, Chief Operating Officer & Principal, Goff; Pierre Willette, Government Relations Director, Goff
Cities are always abuzz with all types of news—how can you increase the odds that people are saying positive and accurate things about your city? Presenters from Goff will share tips on how to develop and tell your positive stories, build trust with residents, and respond with authority and transparency in times of crisis.

Session Track: Innovation & Collaboration
Human-Centered Problem-Solving
Brian Smith, Director, Minneapolis Innovation Team
Often governments drive the change they want to see, rather than focusing on meeting the actual needs of citizens. The Minneapolis Innovation Team helps city leaders tackle big challenges using the Innovation Delivery approach developed by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Walk through the four step human-centered problem-solving approach and hear examples of the Innovation Team's designing solutions to take back to your city.

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Thursday, June 27—2-3 p.m.

Session Track: Planning & Development
Brain Gain in Greater Minnesota/Engaging the Next Generation
Ben Winchester, University of Minnesota Extension; David Hughes, Jr., President, ReGen
The population of rural America has changed significantly during the past 40 years, increasing by 11% since 1970. While retirement and recreational counties account for the bulk of this population growth, the story of rural population change is interesting and nuanced. Here, you will look to the future and the implications of these changes for small towns and open country places.

Session Track: Resources & Funding
Broadband Investment
Danna McKenzie; Justin Forde, Senior Director of Government Relations, Midco; Joe Buttweiler, Partnership Development Manager, CTC; Sheila Haverkamp, Executive Director, Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation
Every year, the League pushes for more broadband funding at the Capitol. Learn how targeted state resources and strategic partnerships help unserved and underserved Minnesota cities get connected.

Session Track: Planning & Development
Role of Community Identity in Revitalization
James Harbaugh, Principal Landscape Architect, Bolton & Menk; Susan Arntz, City Administrator, City of Waconia; Kersten Elverum, Director of Economic Development & Planning, City of Hopkins
You know your city’s unique identity, but how can you use that to shape your city moving forward? Explore how community branding can help you develop your city’s identity, facilitate community collaboration, and encourage engagement during this session presented by Bolton & Menk. You’ll get tips for getting funding, discover methods for phasing and implementation, learn about integrating art and district identity, and hear success stories from two Minnesota cities.

Session Track: Community Engagement
Meaningful Civic Engagement
Mariah Levison, Senior Program Manager, Minnesota State Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution; Dave Bartholomay, Program Coordinator, Minnesota State Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution
Take part in this skill-building workshop to develop your facilitation and consensus building skills.

Session Track: Hot Topics
Railroad 101
Amy McBeth, Public Affairs Director, BNSF; Lydia Bjorge, Executive Director of Government Affairs, BNSF; Justin Pearson, Regional Manager, Economic Development, BNSF
Railroads crisscross our state and run through hundreds of cities. The railroad today can present economic opportunities, but as we’ve seen in the news, increased railroad traffic can be accompanied by potential hazards. Hear from BNSF on its service in communities across the state, ways they’re making trains run safer, and how BNSF’s growth benefits our local economies. Have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers straight from the source on key concerns, including how to implement quiet zones, ways you can work with the railroad during public projects, and how to bring rail service to local industries.

Session Track: Effective Communication
Smooth Sailing for Elected Officials on Social Media
Danielle Cabot, Communication Coordinator, League of Minnesota Cities; Don Reeder, Public Affairs Manager, League of Minnesota Cities
More and more elected officials are considering whether diving into social media use is a wise decision. While platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be effective ways to connect with residents, they can also land you and your city in choppy waters. Attend this session to learn how to be effective on social media, build your “personal brand,” and avoid making the wrong kind of waves.

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Thursday, June 27—3:15-4:15 p.m.

Session Track: Resources & Funding
State & Local Housing Tools for Cities
James Lehnhoff, Assistant Commissioner, Minnesota Housing; Ryan Baumtrog, Assistant Commissioner for Policy & Community Development, Minnesota Housing; Kevin Staunton, Councilmember, City of Edina; Todd Prafke, City Administrator, City of St. Peter; Jonathan Smith, City Manager, City of Perham
Affordable housing is a key component to growth throughout the state, and one of the key barriers to economic development. During this session, discover what resources and tools are available to cities. Then, you’ll learn about cities that have successfully applied and used funding from Minnesota Housing. Finally, hear an update on any legislative changes that impact housing resources for cities.

Session Track: Effective Communication
Effective Meeting Management: Your Role in Good Governance
Rita Albrecht, Mayor, City of Bemidji; Brad Wiersum, Mayor, City of Minnetonka
As a city official, you’re required to take part in, and often be a leader at, many meetings. What does it take to run an effective meeting, and what is your role in good governance? Hear from Minnesota mayors as they share their experiences running meetings, lessons learned, and tips you can take back to meetings in your city.

Session Track: Community Engagement
Beyond Open Houses: Creative Ideas to Engage Residents
Noah Hobbs, Council President, City of Duluth; Amy Brendmoen, Councilmember, City of St. Paul; Robert Hurst, Police Officer, City of Duluth
A lot can be discussed over a cup of coffee, a walk around a lake, and through social media! How can you develop unique ideas that get you talking with residents in a casual, collaborative, and authentic atmosphere? Hear from fellow city officials as you get tips on ways to have meaningful, small interactions to engage your constituents where they are at. Officer Hurst and his K9, Hondo, takes their 3,000 Twitter followers on virtual ride-alongs, St. Paul Councilmember Amy Brendmoen offers residents the chance to walk-and-talk around the neighborhood, and Duluth Councilmember Noah Hobbs is aiming to have 100 cups of coffee with residents.

Session Track: Community Engagement
Building Welcoming Communities
Rachel Leonard, Communications & Special Projects Coordinator, City of Monticello; Kyle Box, City Clerk, City of Marshall; Mary Gaasch, Mayor, City of Lauderdale
Race equity is an important, and much talked about, topic—but what does it mean for Minnesota cities? City officials from the 2019 race equity cohort will share what led them to make a commitment to race equity work, ways they’re normalizing talking about race, and how they’re building a vision for race equity in their communities.

Session Track: Workforce & Employment
How to Develop a Successful City Internship
Justin Miller, City Administrator, City of Lakeville; Bart Fischer, City Administrator, City of Oakdale; Madison Hagenau, Fellow, League of Minnesota Cities; Sue Hilgert, Mayor, City of Olivia; Rhonda Pownell, Mayor, City of Northfield
Setting up an internship program is a great way to encourage and expose young people to the rewarding work of cities. In this panel Q&A session, hear from past and current interns, as well as cities with effective internship programs, to learn what elements make these programs successful for everyone involved.

Session Track: Workforce & Employment
Empowering Women in Leadership
Geralyn Barone, City Manager, City of Minnetonka; Anita Smythe, City Administrator, City of Cokato
Hear from a panel of women in elected and appointed city leadership roles as they take you through what it means to be successful in local government. You’ll explore a wide range of topics, including methods for supporting each other, effective communication styles, overcoming gender obstacles, leadership success strategies, and more.

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