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"We consider BLAEDC to be a strong and vital partner in our local economic development efforts. They are reliable, experienced, and a critical part of our overall programs."

— Nancy Norr, Manager, Economic Development, Minnesota Power
  ABOUT US > Staff  
 



Sheila Haverkamp
Executive Director
   

Sheila has played a key role in economic development projects in the Brainerd Lakes Area for over 30 years, facilitating and leading the economic development vision for the Brainerd Lakes Area. She is connected to decision makers and is dedicated to seeing projects through to completion. Sheila is a certified Economic Development Specialist and is recognized by local, regional, and state leaders for her knowledge in community and economic development. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance, Management and Marketing from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. She regularly attends conferences and seminars related to her profession. Sheila is a wealth of information and has numerous contacts and networks in the Brainerd Lakes Area and beyond. 


Professional affiliations/memberships
Economic Development Association of Minnesota
Positively Minnesota
Region 5 Economic Development Network
Brainerd Lakes Chamber
Brainerd Rotary and Brainerd Rotary Foundation


John Gunstad
Economic Development Specialist
john@growbrainerdlakes.org
   

John serves as a liaison for businesses that are considering expanding in or relocating to the Brainerd Lakes Area. He engages in the attraction of new companies to the area while supporting existing businesses with growth and expansion. John also coordinates the mentoring and counseling activities within BLAEDC's EXECs program. John is the lead in BLAEDC’s Business Retention and Expansion Program. This effort is to visit local businesses, thank them for their presence in our community, and explore means to provide additional support in the future. John also plays a key role - in partnership with the Small Business Development Center of Brainerd - in offering business counseling to new and existing businesses in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Prior to re-joining BLAEDC in 2016, John was employed as a business consultant for the Small Business Development Center in Brainerd. John has been active in the community as a volunteer in many civic and faith based organizations for over 25 years.

Professional affiliations/memberships
Economic Development Association of Minnesota
Minnesota Marketing Partnership
Region 5 Economic Development Network
Brainerd Lakes Chamber
 
Mike Bjerkness
Workforce Director
mike@growbrainerdlakes.org
   

Mike Bjerkness is a Brainerd native and the lead in BLAEDC’s Key Recruitment Program. Mike has been working in workforce development and recruiting for the Brainerd Lakes Area for the past 7 years. He specializes in several industries including but not limited to Information Technology, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Construction, Engineering, Banking, and the list goes on. His wide range of knowledge in multiple industries along with personal relationship makes him dedicated to hiring the best talent for the businesses of the Crow Wing County area.

Professional Affiliates/Memberships

2014 Graduate of the Lakes Area Leadership Group
Brainerd Rotary Club – Current Membership Chair
Brainerd Lakes Chamber – Past Chair, Ambassador Committee
Lakes Area Networking Group (LANG) – Past President
Central Lakes College Business Education Committee
Lakes Area Manufacturing Alliance
 

Megan Rehbein
Office Administrator
megan@growbrainerdlakes.org
   

Megan Rehbein joined BLAEDC as office administrator in 2014 and is involved in many different facets of BLAEDC’s operation, including administration, information technology support, scheduling meetings, coordinating marketing efforts and events, accounting and, most importantly, supporting Sheila Haverkamp, John Gunstad, and Mike Bjerkness. Megan has also become more involved in BLAEDC’s special projects including the 2016 Brainerd Lakes Area Tech Ready Hackfest and the Brainerd Lakes Area Summit.

Professional Affiliates/Memberships

Lakes Ignite Board