Throughout my time with the Barnesville Economic Development Authority (EDA), I worked to improve economic activity in a variety of ways. With the progress of the Del Acres 2nd Addition and the commercial park, many marketing tactics were developed in an effort to move forward with business retention, expansion, and recruitment. I did this by communicating with realtors, business owners, marketing specialists, and many other industry leaders that are familiar with mission of Barnesville.
My goals at the beginning of the internship were to learn how to better communicate in a business setting, observe how effective meetings were ran, and discover how to market a housing or commercial development site to potential customers and developers. These goals were far exceeded throughout the help of many individuals who took the time to help me along this process.
Many day to day tasks and skills that I learned throughout the summer consisted of; daily Facebook posts and engagement, Microsoft Mail Merge, Publisher, Canva, press releases, and MailChimp messages to FM realtors to spread the word of the Del Acres development. It was a responsibility of mine to update the MN DEED, CoStar, and LoopNet websites with our commercial property listings and be in touch with our contact points at these given databases. I was expected to regularly attend meetings for a variety of city boards and committees which proved to be a great learning experience.
There were a few other tasks that were completed throughout the summer, the first of these were new resident mailings that went out to individuals and families who had just moved to Barnesville. We use these to both welcome people to Barnesville and to also gain knowledge as to how and why they chose Barnesville to make their home. Another project that I worked on for several weeks was updating the building permits report for local North Dakota and Minnesota communities. Most recently, I completed the business survey for our annual labor report that is presented to the board so that they may know the trends of local Barnesville businesses and the labor force is doing. More specifically, these two tasks taught perseverance and how to accurately collect masses of information and how to organize them in an effective manner so that the data is clear and concise. Another project that I worked on alongside City Administrator Mike Rietz and a Barnesville Public Works employee, was bringing updated walking route signs throughout the city. This was a project that was available through a grant the city received and entailed mapping out the routes, ordering new signs and posts, and installing them in the appropriate locations. All of these tasks taught me organizational and communication skills that are hard to learn in a classroom setting.
During August 14 and 15 I was in Minneapolis at Hamline University for the Minnesota Economic Development Foundation Academy. Throughout these two days spent at the conference I was able to hear from several wide-ranging positions that all relate to the economic development of Minnesota. It was a great opportunity to gain knowledge from several industries that I will come in contact with in the future in my desired field of commercial real estate.
During my internship, I was surprised at the immense amount of knowledge I collected from sitting in on meetings that involved every stage of owning and developing both commercial and residential developments. There are several steps in this process and learning how to effectively progress through them and overcome challenges is a great skill to learn. This was the part that I believe will best benefit me moving forward in my career. Working with someone with as much experience as Karen Lauer proved to be very beneficial. Karen has great knowledge in the world of economic development and an extremely long list of completed projects and contacts. I learned things this summer that will be beneficial to me throughout any career I may choose. An internship such as this provides knowledge and taught me lessons that are hard to obtain in a classroom setting. I would like to thank all of the individuals who live and work in Barnesville and helped to make this a great experience.