From landscape designer to an EDA specialist
Stier is excited to help the city of Winnebago grow and prosper
Angie Stier began working as Winnebago’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) specialist on Monday, Jan 4.
However, you might say the St. Peter resident already had a connection to the city located at the junction of U.S. Highway 169 and State Highway 109.
“My husband, Joshua, is employed by Bolton & Menk out of Mankato and designed the water drainage for the Northwest Improvement Project, including the big drainage pond,” Stier says.
Stier came to work for the Winnebago EDA after it was announced Corn Plus had been purchased by Greenfield Global, a Canadian Company.
“Annie (Leibel) is working four days for the county and did not have enough time to devote to the Winnebago position,” Stier comments. “So now I am working two days per week in Winnebago for at least a six month period.”
She says doing everything possible to help make sure Corn Plus is able to reopen is at the top of her list right now, but there are certainly other concerns which are getting her attention.
“Winnebago is a beautiful city with a busy highway running through it,” Stier comments. “We want to be in a position to help entrepreneurs and work on getting some new businesses in town. Redeveloping the former SuperValu site is a major goal.”
As she speaks you can tell she already has a passion for the city.
“Main Street is wide and there is room to park and it has such great potential,” Stier says. “COVID-19 has many people looking to move to smaller towns where there is less congestion. With high-speed Internet and many employees working from home, Winnebago can be an attractive option for those people.”
It is interesting to note, as excited as she is about her job, it was not her first calling in terms of employment.
“I grew up in Young America. After high school I went to college at Hennepin Technical School in Brooklyn Park,” Stier explains. “I got a degree in landscape design and construction and I spent the next 15 years pursuing my career in the Minnetonka, Orono and the Minneapolis area.”
She met her future husband, who was from Belle Plaine, and the couple married in 2017.
“I loved what I was doing but it was not conducive to a great family life,” Stier says. “You have to meet with many of your clients in the evening and the insurance and other benefits were not that great.”
So she says she decided to go back to college at Minnesota State – Mankato and pursue a degree in Urban and Regional Studies.
“I was three months pregnant with our first child at the time,” Stier says. “Now, we have two children and I will graduate this May.”
But things have worked out rather nicely, she notes.
“At first, when I applied with CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates), they said they had many openings, but they were all too far away from St. Peter,” Stier comments. “Then the opportunity in Winnebago came up and it is working out great. It is a 50-minute drive from my home in St. Peter, which is not bad. And working only two days per week allows me the time I need to work on my degree and spend time with my family.”
When she does get some free time, Stier says there are a number of activities she enjoys.
“I almost forgot what free time was once we had two children, but we like to go hiking and camping,” she says. “My husband and I also like to travel.”
When asked what her favorite place to visit has been so far, she does not hesitate when she answers Italy.
“My husband and I had a small wedding so it was relatively cheap,” Stier comments. “We decided the honeymoon would be more of a focus for us so we went to Italy for two weeks. It was the trip of a lifetime but I would love to go back.”
She says Leibel has been tremendous in helping her transition into the Winnebago job.
“Annie communicates so well, is very patient and she knows her stuff,” Stier remarks. “She is helping me through the end of January and after that she is just a phone call away.”
Stier also manages to keep things in perspective as she navigates being a mother of two young children, working a job and going to school.
“It is important to have a sense of humor. You get dressed for work, you are trying to get the kids ready, you are feeding them breakfast and before you know it you have oatmeal on your dress,” she says smiling. “It is just part of where I am at this stage of my life. But, I am happy to be working for the Winnebago EDA and excited about the possibilities the city has.”
It will not happen overnight, she says.
“It will take a collaborative effort with the council, community members, property owners and volunteers,” Stier comments. “But it is a nice town and a very affordable place to live. I think it could be the right place for many people to call home.”