Mid-Minnesota Development Commission welcomes two economic development professionals


WILLMAR — Two economic development professionals have joined the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission to assist the Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, and Renville County region with recovery from the economic injuries resulting from the current pandemic, according to a news release from the commission.

Rick Bonlender, of Olivia, began Aug. 24 and Michelle Marotzke, of Willmar, joined Sept. 28.

Both are available to assist businesses, nonprofits and local units of government to increase resilience through strategic planning; strengthen local supply chains; and pursue grants that will support infrastructure projects and other initiatives that increase resources for area residents.

They will also be integral to the development of the region’s updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which is designed to guide capacity-building and foster economic prosperity throughout the region and helps the region leverage federal dollars for infrastructure projects that support local jobs.


Rick Bonlender
Rick Bonlender

Bonlender joins the commission after a career in the finance industry.

He has a bachelor's degree from Augsburg College, as well as a master’s in business administration from Metropolitan State University.

In addition to his work with the commission, he is an active Economic Development Authority member for the city of Olivia.

Michelle Marotzke

Marotzke brings customer service, training, and marketing experience to the agency.

She has an associate degree in finance and credit management, a bachelor's degree in business management, and a master of business administration degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.

In addition to her new role, Marotzke has been active on the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, is a Junior Achievement volunteer, and is an alum and continuing supporter of Willmar’s Vision 2040 Leadership Program.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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