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In 1973 the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission was organized by the area’s local elected officials as authorized by the Minnesota Regional Development Act of 1969 (MS Sections 462.381 to 462.398). The Act defined the boundaries, membership, operating principals and the specific duties and powers of a RDC.

13 regional development commissions were outlined with the purpose “to insure the orderly and harmonious coordination of state, federal and local comprehensive planning and development programs for the solution of economic, social, physical and governmental problems of the state and its citizens by providing for the creation of regional development commissions.”

The first office opened in Appleton and staff was hired on July 15, 1974.

There have been ten Chairmen since 1974:

  • John Thompson, Mayor of Benson, 1974-1981
  • Tom Johnson, Chippewa County Commissioner, 1981-1982
  • Johnny Larson, Big Stone County Township Officer, 1982-1989
  • Stan Berg, Yellow Medicine County Commissioner, 1989-1993
  • LeRoy Jans, Lac qui Parle County Commissioner, 1993-1995
  • Dave Torgeson, Big Stone County Commissioner, 1995-1998
  • Marlin Rieppel, Swift County Township Officer, 1998-2002
  • Ron Anderson, Mayor of Milan, 2002-2006
  • Gary Hendrickx, Swift County Commissioner, 2006-2010
  • Jim Dahlvang, Chippewa County Commissioner, 2010-2012
  • Gary Hendrickx, Swift County Commissioner, 2012-2016
  • Gary Johnson, Yellow Medicine County Commissioner, 2016-present


There have been five Executive Directors:

  • Dennis Dahlem, 1974-1980
  • Otto Schmid, 1980-1990
  • William Hope, 1991
  • Paul Michaelson, 1992-2008
  • Dawn Hegland, 2008-present