The Outlet is published quarterly to highlight Great River Energy's economic development activities.
Minnesota agencies work toward recruiting
and retaining the best workforce
It's projected that Minnesota will be short 239,000 workers by 2022, but economic development partners across the state are working proactively to address this challenge. Organizations such as the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, Greater MSP Partnership, Greater Mankato Growth and NORTHSPAN have launched initiatives to make the state more competitive in attracting and retaining talent.
Virtual reality is a powerful economic development tool
Relationships are key to economic development, but this puts rural communities at a disadvantage in business attraction since site selectors often don't have the time and money to visit small, more remote towns. That's where virtual reality technology can help. It has proven to be the next best method for showcasing community assets and capturing the attention of busy site selectors.
Great River Energy is using virtual meeting rooms to guide people through tours in real time. Participants enter the videos and explore the tours together. It’s an engaging and realistic sensory experience, complete with interactivity and 3-D sound.
New future for Mille Lacs County sawmill
Continued growth in the construction sector has increased demand for erosion control products using wood, which has led to the expansion of a sawmill in Milaca, Minnesota, due in part to financing provided by a local electric cooperative.
Co-op hosts weeklong economic development course
A five-day course designed for those new to economic development, as well as those seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills in the field, was recently hosted at Great River Energy’s Maple Grove office. Attendees learned from a diverse and experienced faculty who taught the core building blocks of the industry.

Fresh produce to be grown indoors with electricity
Leafy greens will soon be grown 365 days of the year in Minnesota inside an insulated shipping container complete with a hydroponic growing system as part of a two-year demonstration project between Great River Energy, Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative, Central Lakes College and Lakewood Health System.
Meet your economic development services team
Tom Lambrecht
Tom administers and implements economic development strategies.
You can reach him at
763-445-6105 and tlambrecht@grenergy.com  
Erin Sparks
Erin, based in Maple Grove, focuses on economic development in central and southern Minnesota. You can reach her at 763-445-6113 and esparks@grenergy.com  
Jeff Borling
Jeff, based in Duluth, focuses on economic development in northern Minnesota. You can reach him at 218-355-8088 and jborling@grenergy.com  
Upcoming events
Thursday, Sept. 5, and Friday, Sept. 6: Connecting
Entrepreneurial Communities Conference at the Starfire Event Center

Monday, Sept. 9, through Wednesday, Sept. 11: 11th annual Ag Innovation Showcase at The Guthrie
Our member-owner cooperatives
Great River Energy and our 28 member-owner cooperatives take pride in providing our service territory with competitively priced, reliable energy.
We are also committed to helping customers start and grow their businesses by helping them plan and manage their energy needs.