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Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission hires Willmar city planner for business development post

Current Willmar City Planner Sarah Swedburg will be taking over as the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission Business Development Manager, as longtime manager Connie Schmoll retires.

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Sarah Swedburg, currently the Willmar City Planner, will soon be taking over as the business development manager at the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. File photo/West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has found its next business development manager and didn't have to look far to find her.

Current Willmar City Planner Sarah Swedburg has accepted the position and plans to start around May 6. She is replacing Connie Schmoll, who is retiring at the end of May.

Schmoll has worked for the EDC for just over seven years. Lately she has been focusing on expanding broadband through the county, business development and retention, agriculture programming, child care expansion and during the past year assisting the business community get through the coronavirus pandemic.

GOVERNMENT WATCH: The Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission, or EDC, is a joint agency tasked with acting as a catalyst for economic growth of the greater Kandiyohi County area.

Its Joint Powers Board, made up of Willmar City Council and Kandiyohi County Board elected representatives, meets quarterly. Its Joint Operations Board consists of seven members appointed by the Joint Powers Board and includes representatives from communities throughout the county, education providers, business and consumer groups. The Joint Operations Board meets monthly.

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Both the EDC Joint Operations Board and the Joint Powers Board on Thursday approved Swedburg's hiring.

Swedburg began working for the city in January 2018. She served as interim Planning and Development Director from February to April 2019 while the city searched for its new permanent director. During her tenure at the city, Swedburg has led the city's revamped Main Street program along with a wide variety of city planning responsibilities.

Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin, who sits on the Joint Powers Board, said he was sad to see Swedburg go, but glad she will continue working for not only the city, but the county in her new role.

"The EDC is going to be very blessed with a very, very, very talented individual," Calvin said. "A tremendous asset to our community, to our city. I know she will do a dynamic job."

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Connie Schmoll, Business Development Manger of the Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission, is retiring at the end of May after seven years with the EDC. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo

Though Schmoll is leaving her full-time position at the end of May, she will continue to assist the EDC with its broadband projects . A seven-month contract with Schmoll was also approved Thursday.

The EDC is in the middle of trying to complete a broadband expansion project in four townships and the work ahead includes trying to get a major state broadband grant.

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"There is a lot of work to do," Schmoll said, and she feels now is not the time to hand it over to a new person. "I am happy to do that work."

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The Tribune publishes Records as part of its obligation to inform readers about the business of public institutions and to serve as a keeper of the local historical record. All items are written by Tribune staff members based on information contained in public documents from the state court system and from law enforcement agencies. It is the Tribune’s policy that this column contain a complete record. Requests for items to be withheld will not be granted.