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.

RNDC staff request that visitors call ahead or schedule a meeting to ensure COVID-19 precautions are being met.

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

    Staff Directory

    For directions to Region Nine’s offices click here.

    Administration

    Nicole 2021 Web

    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.

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    Heather Bartelt
    Executive Assistant
    See Biography

    507-389-8864
    heather@rndc.org

    Heather Bartelt

    Heather Bartelt joined Region Nine in November 2019 as an executive assistant. Over the course of her 12-year career and several years’ experience supporting a successful sales team, she has developed a passion for working with individuals from various backgrounds. Heather completed her Bachelor of Science in Sociology at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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    Corree Johnson
    Communications Specialist
    See Biography

    507-389-8885
    corree@rndc.org

    Corree Johnson

    Corree Johnson joined Region Nine in August 2018 as a communications specialist. With her expertise in marketing, social media, and communications, she will work to further increase Region Nine’s brand presence and impact throughout the region.

    Originally from rural Southeast Minnesota, Corree is passionate about educating rural communities and entrepreneurs on marketing and communication strategies. Corree completed her Bachelor of Science in Marketing Communications at Bemidji State University, and holds multiple certifications relating to social marketing.

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

    Nathan George

    Nathan George joined Region Nine in February 2022 as a 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 Region Nine, 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.

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    Frances Long
    Finance Specialist
    See Biography
    507-389-8889
    frances@rndc.org

    Frances Long

    Frances joined RNDC as a Finance Specialist and brings years of experience in payroll and purchasing. Her resume includes non-profit work for the Mankato Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (MRCI) where she assisted with the onboarding process for people with disabilities as they joined the workforce. She spent the last few years working in school district finance for the Minnesota Valley Education District in St. Peter, and Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools prior to joining Region Nine.

    Community & Economic Development

    Kristian 2021 Web

    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.

    Leah Web

    Leah Petricka
    Community Development Director
    See Biography
    507-389-8863
    lpetricka@rndc.org

    Leah Petricka

    Leah Petricka joined Region Nine in February 2021 as a Community Development Director. Her work includes community and economic development planning.

    Leah was raised in Montgomery, Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities, where she earned a degree B.S.in Housing Studies focus on business and finance and a minor in economics. Prior to joining Region Nine, she has worked as a city planner, a community development specialist, and executive director for a housing and redevelopment authority. Leah holds a certificate in economic development from Hamline University, is a certified housing development finance professional and is working on becoming a certified economic developer.

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    Joel Hanif
    Community Development Planner with transportation emphasis
    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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    Alejandra Bejarano
    Economic Recovery Planner
    See Biography
    507-389-8871
    alejandra@rndc.org

    Alejandra Bejarano

    Alejandra Bejarano joined Region Nine in August 2021 as an economic recovery planner. As a previous Region Nine intern and Fellow for the Lead for Minnesota fellowship program, she is enthusiastic about continuing to work with Region Nine in creating vibrant and resilient communities.

    Alejandra just graduated with an MPA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alejandra hails from Colombia and moved to the United States at a young age to play college tennis. Having a deep interest in research, Alejandra did her capstone project on corruption and institutional trust. She has diverse background experience in both the private and public sectors and is passionate about exploring new cultures, as she speaks multiple languages.

    Paola Web

    Paola Ferrario
    Community Development Planner
    See Biography

    paola@rndc.org

    Paola Ferrario

    Paola Ferrario joined Region Nine in June 2022 as a community development planner.  She brings with her experience in business, startups, incubators, ecosystem development and innovation.

    Paola is from Asunción, Paraguay. She studied Communications at the National University of Asunción and specialized in Entrepreneurship and Innovation with the Young America’s Business Trust and Mashav in Haifa, Isreal. She served as Vice President to the Global Entrepreneurship Network Paraguay. She has participated in four programs of the America’s Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    Paola is fluent in Spanish, English, German, Portuguese and Guaraní.

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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.

    Sabri Web

    Sabri Fair
    Associate 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.