“Making sure we are ready to pull that trigger when the right project comes along and how can we position all of our stake holders to really be ready to take on the next project, the next expansion and how we support our work force,” Markman said.
Markman says the county is unique with redevelopment opportunities in the urban southern portion, and plenty of space in the north.
“As you go head north, specifically on the [Highway] 65 corridor or even 35, it gets pretty rural very quickly. What that presents an opportunity for is the large tracts of land and how we can really start to position that for greater development,” Markman said.
County officials say the Minnesota Technology Corridor along Interstate 35-E is positioned to be the next big business development area. It has the infrastructure and access businesses are looking for. COVID slowed it down, but County Board Chair Scott Schulte says they’re on the verge of something big.
“We’re marketing regularly and we are rubbing elbows with some really big dogs in the market to see if we can land one of them here,” said Schulte. “We’re getting close and on deals so I’m confident this is the turnaround point where the tech corridor really takes a step up.”
Markman hopes to have a hand in moving that forward. Schulte says the position is important in helping find the right match.
“We don’t want to just build warehouses or just build manufacturing. We want to be diverse and we want to be in the current market,” said Schulte.
Markman takes over at a time when some traffic bottlenecks are being fixed, others still exist. Her background includes working as a transportation planner for a consulting company. She says as you go further north in the county, there is a lack of east west routes in the transportation network.
The pandemic is another challenge as it impacts the workforce.
“As we come out of this in 2021 we’re starting to see a shortage in workforce just due to how folks have re-structured their personal lives.”
Markman says success is bringing in new employers, but also supporting the ones that are already here.
“More than ever they need to feel supported with any initiative they take on. To me, that’s success,” said Markman. “How do we keep the work force that you have today and continue to help them grow and succeed as well as looking for additional opportunities for those businesses looking to relocate.”
Markman was most recently the Economic Development Director for the City of Faribault.