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Smart Rural Seminars - Agenda

Please note this agenda is subject to change. The agendas are the same for both dates, with speakers and session topics slightly different. Get each session description's here.


Coffee, lunch, light snacks and refreshments will be served throughout the day.

8:00 a.m.

Networking & Coffee

Welcome & Opening Remarks

    Tom Pagel, City of Grand Rapids

Investing in Rural 

    Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation 

8:50 a.m.

Session 1: Driving Equity in Rural Communities 

  • Accessible Transportation in Rural  - Mary Magnuson, Blandin Foundation; Frank Douma, University of Minnesota; Myrna Peterson, Mobility Mania

  • goMARTI - Minnesota’s Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative - Thomas Johnson-Kaiser, MNDOT

  • AV Microtransit Insights and On the Ground Learnings from Deployments - Daisy Wall, May Mobility; Mychael Mulhern, May Mobility

10:40 a.m.

Session 2: Workforce Innovations in Rural​

  • Career and Technical Education in Rural and connecting goMARTI to MN North - Jessalyn Sabin, Minnesota North

  • Customized Training at Minnesota North  - Trent Janezich, Minnesota North

  • AspireNorth - Claire Peterlin, Minnesota North

  • Central Lakes College: Electrifying and Connecting the Next Generation of Power Sports Technicians  - Rebekah Kent, Central Lakes College

11:35 a.m.

Lunch & Networking

12:35 p.m.

Session 3: Future-Proofing Your Rural Community 

  • Opportunity Thinking - Tammy Meehan-Russell, The PLUM Catalyst

1:00 p.m. 

Session 4: Rural Transportation Innovations - Natalie Villwock-Witte, Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University (MSU)

1:20 p.m.

Session 5: Resources for Rural Transportation

  • Catalyzing Development through Transportation: Resources for Your Local Transit Agency Partners  - Erich Lange, Community Transportation Association of America; Andrew Carpenter, National Center for Applied Transit Technology

2:05 p.m.

Session 6: Creating Technology Ecosystems

  • IRRR - The Fourth T - Whitney Ridlon, IRRR

  • The Role of Supportive and Welcoming Communities  - Amber Lewis, Northspan; Julie Hawker, Outsource Training Associates

  • Broadband Partnerships - Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Partnerships, Inc

  • Workforce Partnerships MNTCC Overview - Morgan Fritzinger, Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council

3:00 p.m.

Session 7: Electrifying & Rural Recharge

    Rural Charging Forward: EV Charging and Workforce Development

  • Jon Sullivan, Minnesota Power

  • Robert Blake, Native Sun

  • Justin Johnson, The PLUM Catalyst

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Social Hour & Meet the Speakers

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