GreenSeam is excited to bring together business and community leaders from across the region to learn about the challenges and opportunities when incorporating and accommodating a global workforce.

Come hear about the impact, lessons learned, and case studies from those directly involved in our communities and businesses.

Our goal is to share stories and insights from the food and agriculture industry and expand the conversation into healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and more.

Event Details

When: Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Where: Pioneer Bank

Address: 1450 Adams St, Mankato, MN 56001

Food/Drinks: Light appetizers and drinks will be provided

GreenSeam Retention & Expansion Committee

Jim Heilman (Chair) – Partner | CliftonLarsonAllen

Wes Beck (Board Liaison) – Owner | Beck Farms

Brent Meshke – Ag Loan Officer | MinnStar

James Gordon – Vice President, Ag/Business Banker | Pioneer Bank

Annie Lerner – Nutrition & Research | Schwartz Farms

Tyler Petzel – Manager | Abdo, Eick & Meyers

Ryan Vesey – Economic Development Specialist | Greater Mankato Growth

Jerry Kopel – Sr. Vice President, Ag Business | Profinium

Ryan Strobel, DVM – Veterinarian | Swine Vet Center

Agenda + Speakers

1:45 – 2:00 PM – Registration

2:00 PM – Welcome from Jim Heilman (Partner, CliftonLarsonAllen), Chair of GreenSeam’s Business Retention & Expansion Committee

2:05 PM – Opening Keynote presented by Patrice Bailey, Assistant Commissioner of the MN Dept. of Agriculture

Patrice pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education from Prairie View A&M University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) located in Texas.  While at Prairie View, Patrice further grew his knowledge base participating in 2 internships with the US Forest Service in Idaho.  Post-graduation, he traveled to the Virgin Islands to learn about Agriculture in the West Indies.  His passion for feeding and clothing the world at large continued to grow with each new life experience, creating a hunger within himself to further his education, yet again.  He decided to obtain a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education at Iowa State University and was inspired by a world renowned African American scientist, George Washington Carver, also an Iowa State Alum.  Learning about another influential man who looked like himself, propelled Patrice to complete his Master of Science Degree in Agriculture Education.

Since graduation, Patrice has served the Twin Cities in various capacities, teaching on college level in service learning.  Many of those positions focused on bridging underrepresented communities of color to various available resources and advocating for them legislatively at the Capitol with the Council for Minnesotans of African heritage.  He is tremendously excited to combine both his passion for advocating for Agriculture and for building bridges to underrepresented communities together in one amazing career opportunity with the MN Department of Agriculture!

2:35 PM – Company Case Study | Supporting a global workforce and your organization by utilizing different Visa programs. Presented by Dianne Bettin, Human Resources Manager & Controller at LB Pork in Northrop, MN

Dianne is the Human Resources Manager and Controller for LB Pork in Northrop Minnesota – recently celebrating 9 years in March. She wears many hats for LB Pork.  In addition to her HR duties and managing the companies different VISA workers, she oversees financial accounting and supervises the 2 office employees.

Dianne has been involved in the pork industry for many years, she was President of the Minnesota Pork Producers Assn in 2002, served on the National Pork Board from 2003 to 2009 and chaired the Domestic Marketing Committee 2010 to 2012.  Dianne also served a 2-year term on the NPB Nominating committee and is currently on the NPPC Labor Security Task Force.  She remains active in her local and state pork organizations.

Dianne also owns a nursery barn leased by LB Pork.  Her children are also involved in the industry: Tyler works for NPPC as a Director of Producer Services and Marisa is a Swine Key Account Manager for Kemin Industries.

3:05 PM – Legal Perspective | Pathways to a Green Card (and Citizenship): Learning how to navigate the complex system of immigration law. Presented by Erin Schutte Wadzinski, Attorney/Owner of Kivu Immigration Law PLLC in Worthington, MN

Erin Schutte Wadzinski is an immigration attorney and owns Kivu Immigration Law in her hometown of Worthington, Minnesota. Erin earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Yale and her law degree from UConn School of Law. After working for six years in Yale’s Office of International Affairs, Erin returned home to Minnesota in 2018 to start her legal career in immigration law. Erin received the Initiators Fellowship to launch Kivu Immigration Law, a social enterprise law firm that provides full representation on immigration-related legal matters for immigrants, their families, and their employers. Kivu Immigration Law is located in downtown Worthington and also serves clients virtually across several states.

3:50 PM – Banking for a Global Workforce | How community banks can support employers and their global workforce. Presented by Pioneer Bank employees:  Jennifer Mathistad – VP of Retail Sales Supervision, Jazmine Flores – Universal Banker, Daisy Manriquez – Personal Banker & Sara Alberts – Personal Banker.

4:05 PM – International Professional Experience presented by Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez, Department Leader at Schwartz Farms.

Sergio Alejandro Rodríguez brings his ‘Global Workforce’ perspective as a TN Visa. He was born and raised in Mexico City, Mexico and spent much of his time in Puebla and Guerrero where his paternal grandparents are from. After studying zootechnical veterinary medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Sergio and his girlfriend (now Fiancé) travelled to the U.S. to pursue their careers at Schwartz Farms – where they have been over the last 2.5 years. Sergio started as a breeding technician and developed into the Department Leader where he manages the breeding functions and supervises the staff and facility operations.

4:30 PM – Community Keynote | Embracing change and strengthening community support to embrace and celebrate diversity, presented by Sue Harris, Organizer – Uniting Cultures, St. James

Uniting Cultures/ Uniendo Culturas began in 2017 when a group of committed community members attended the local “It’s Time To Talk: Forum on Race” event and decided to take the next steps to create an action plan.  This action plan has evolved into an active community organization over the past five years, starting with intentional efforts to build relationships within the diverse St. James community as well as to share customs, language, food, music and dance.  Striving to learn about and understand others in the community took the form of sharing immigration stories both in public panel discussions and in the creation of the book Your Story, My Story, Our Story.  The group has since provided the St. James community with many educational opportunities to engage in the challenging conversations and learning that often accompany equity and anti-racism work.  The membership of Uniting Cultures/Uniendo Culturas is comprised of individuals representing various sectors of St. James, including local government, school, civic, and business groups, as well as passionate volunteers from both the Latinx and white communities.

Susan Harris serves as the Community Education Director for St. James and Madelia Public Schools and in addition is the Integration/Desegregation Coordinator for three other School Districts.  She supervises programming that includes a wide variety of programming that serves newborns to adults.  In 2017 Community Education coordinated with Region 9 and their partners the St. James Forum on Race.  At the conclusion of that event, participants were asked if they would like to follow up on the themes from the session.   This follow-up meeting, with support from MN Extension/Region 9, led to the formation of the Uniting Cultures/Uniendo Culturas (UC) Community group in the summer of 2017.  Community Education is the fiscal host and provides support for both UC and the Latinx group Convivencia Hispana.

5:00 PM – Panel Discussion, Happy Hour & Networking