Office Hours

Open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Closed at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays, Memorial Day through Labor Day

The RNDC office is closed most major holidays. Please go to the Calendar for more information.

Our staff follows a hybrid schedule. Please call ahead or contact an RNDC staff member to schedule a meeting.

3 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 310
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone Number: (507) 387-5643
Toll-Free: (800) 450-5643

Let us contact you, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you!

Contact Us

    Employment

    Loan Specialist

    Staff Directory

    For directions to Region Nine’s offices click here.

    Administration

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    Nicole Griensewic
    Executive Director
    See Biography
    507-387-5643
    nicole@rndc.org

    Nicole Griensewic

    Nicole Griensewic’s passion for public service is reflected in the accomplishments of the Region Nine Development Commission. These include national innovation awards for projects in transportation, welcoming communities, climate change, medical device manufacturing, and flood mitigation. As executive director of the economic development district in Southern Minnesota, Griensewic has made it a priority to foster collaboration and engagement by sharing Region Nine’s story both nationally and globally for over ten years.

    Under her leadership, Region Nine has become an active member of the University of Minnesota’s Climate Smart Municipalities program with North Rhine-Westphalia. Region Nine is the first region to join the partnership. Since then, Griensewic has been asked to serve on the State of Minnesota’s Clean Economy Workgroup as well as a national group, Gender Equity in Transportation (GET) Collaborative.

    Griensewic is an active board member for multiple organizations throughout Minnesota. After serving as an executive committee member for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation studies, Griensewic was selected to be the organization’s first female Chair.  Griensewic also serves on the National Association of Development Organizations’ (NADO) board of directors, the Greater Minnesota Partnership board of directors, South Central College’s Center for Agriculture as an advisory board member, and Minnesotans for the American Community Survey as a board member.

    Griensewic is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and was recently honored with the Alumnus Award.  Griensewic is currently completing an executive certificate on economic development from the Harvard Kennedy School. Griensewic’s background also includes extensive private sector and non-profit leadership experience.

    Sarah Web

    Sarah Janovsky
    Executive Assistant
    See Biography
    507-389-8864
    sarahj@rndc.org

    Sarah Janovsky

    Sarah joined RNDC in March 2024 as the Executive Assistant, bringing years of experience to the role. She grew up locally and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, earning degrees in Recreation and Parks and Business Administration.

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    Nathan George
    Communications Specialist
    See Biography
    507-389-8873
    nate@rndc.org

    Nathan George

    Nathan George joined RNDC in February 2022 as the Communications Specialist.  He brings with him experience in design, communications, social media, and project management.

    Nathan is a Mankato native and has lived in the area most of his life.  He completed his bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication at Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2015. Before joining RNDC, his experience was in the print and advertising industries.

    Finance

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    Ky Battern
    Finance Director
    See Biography
    507-389-8878
    ky@rndc.org

    Ky Battern

    Ky Battern joined Region Nine in December 2021 as the organization’s Finance Director.  His work includes maintaining the accounting systems, financial reporting, and budget forecasting for Region Nine.

    Ky earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Accounting from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2010 and soon after earned is Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license in 2011.  His career started in public accounting while working as an auditor for CliftonLarsonAllen within the government and manufacturing industries.  Ky later went on to pursue a career in government/school finance, and most recently served as the Business Manager for the Le Sueur-Henderson School District for four and a half years prior to joining Region Nine.

    Community and Economic Development

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    Kristian Braekkan, Ph.D.
    Economic Development Director
    See Biography
    507-389-8862
    kristian@rndc.org

    Kristian Braekkan

    Kristian Braekkan joined Region Nine in February 2018. His work relates to resource development, economic development, and industrial projects.

    Kristian completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2010. His research on industrial relations spans a wide variety of contexts, such as steel, coal, health care, manufacturing, and service industries. He has presented and published his research domestically and internationally.

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    Alejandra Bejarano
    Economic Recovery Planner
    See Biography
    507-389-8871
    alejandra@rndc.org

    Alejandra Bejarano

    Alejandra Bejarano joined Region Nine in January of 2020. She currently works as an economic recovery planner, and previously as a fellow for the Lead for Minnesota fellowship program. She is excited about continuing to work with Region Nine in creating vibrant and resilient communities.

    Alejandra holds a master’s in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alejandra hails from Colombia and moved to the United States at a young age to play college tennis. She has diverse background experience in both the private and public sectors and is passionate about exploring new cultures, as she speaks multiple languages.

    Alejandra have also served on different boards and organizations, including as former Vice President of the Minnesota chapter of Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and board member for the and Minnesota French American Chamber. In 2022, Alejandra was appointed by Governor Tim Walz to represent Congressional District 1 in the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs. She also serves as Economic Development Representative to the South-Central Workforce Council.
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    Joel Hanif
    Transportation Planner
    See Biography
    507-389-8870
    joel@rndc.org

    Joel Hanif

    Joel Hanif joined Region Nine in September 2019 as a community development planner. His work includes community and economic development planning.

    Joel is a native of Columbus, Georgia and a new transplant to Minnesota.  Prior to joining Region Nine, he worked as a regional planner and community developer for the River Valley Regional Commission in Americus, Georgia.  There, he worked on local and regional comprehensive plans, Community Development Block Grants, and other planning and grant projects.  He became an AICP certified planner in January 2019.  Joel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Master of Environmental Planning and Design from the University of Georgia.

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    Sabri Fair
    Environment and Sustainability Planner
    See Biography

    sabri@rndc.org

    Sabri Fair

    Sabri Fair is a graduate of Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in Environmental Studies and Geology. Sabri joined Region Nine as a Lead for Minnesota Sustainability Fellow in August 2021. In this role, he will be working to foster a more sustainable and equitable economy in South Central Minnesota. He is excited to work with community members on existing projects and to envision new developments that will make the region economically resilient. To do this, Sabri will draw on his life experiences growing up on a farm in Michigan, living in Zanzibar, and his internships with organizations like Land O’Lakes. He is excited to learn from everyone he meets along the way and serve communities as they create economies they are excited about! Sabri is also looking forward to exploring the natural beauty and food that the region has to offer.

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    Samuel Sharp
    Energy and Sustainability Planner
    See Biography
    763-302-9575
    samuel@rndc.org

    Samuel Sharp

    Sam Sharp is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where he majored in Biology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Sam joined Region Nine in November 2022 as the Energy and Sustainability Planner. In this role, Sam will be supporting the integration of clean and renewable energy systems into South Central Minnesota through technical assistance, grant writing, and identifying funding opportunities applicable to these initiatives. Through these efforts, Sam will work alongside interested communities to aid in their development towards equitable, sustainable, and economically resilient futures. Sam has a background in environmental consulting, where he was able to ascertain firsthand experience working on large scale energy projects across multiple sectors. Additionally, his academic background allowed him the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience relating to the natural world and will help identify sustainable initiatives that can be approached through community collaboration. Sam has been inspired by the interest and motivation existing in the communities Region Nine serves, and greatly looks forward to the continued growth and opportunities that lay ahead.

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    Aaron Pacheco
    Research Associate
    See Biography

    aaron@rndc.org

    Aaron Pacheco

    Aaron joined the Region Nine team in 2021 as a Research Associate specializing in human geography and geospatial information systems. Aaron uses his expertise to conduct spatial analyses regarding economic development as well as community and industry resilience.

    Originally from California, Aaron brings to Region Nine over 15 years of experience as a small business owner, contractor, and electrician and is passionate about supporting rural economic development. After losing his business to a wildfire in 2017, he chose to return to university to take action and to help his fellow business owners and community members from a development position.

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    María Mercedes Sempé
    Economic Development Assistant
    See Biography

    mercedes@rndc.org

    María Mercedes Sempé

    María Mercedes Sempé joined Region Nine as an Economic Development Assistant in 2023. Originally from Argentina, she arrived in the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar to further develop her English teaching background. She continued her education at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she obtained her Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Passionate about helping different communities and learning about cultures, her master’s thesis was about interculturality and developing understanding between different groups of people. Mercedes is excited about her role in Region Nine and the impact the team has in the local community.