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Dawn Hegland
Executive Director

320-289-1981 ext. 101

First hired as transportation planner at the UMVRDC in 1994, I had the opportunity to work in many of the program areas of the agency before becoming Executive Director in 2008. I have a Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude degree in Biology, Environmental Science, and Secondary Education from Concordia College in Moorhead. I have the pleasure of representing the region on several regional, state, and national committees including the University of MN Morris Center for Small Towns, University of MN Tourism Center Advisory Council, Minnesota Association of Development Organizations, Center for Rural Policy and Development, and the National Association of Development Organizations. The best thing about my job is living and working in my home area. It is rewarding to work on a diverse variety of initiatives that I can relate and connect to personally and professionally. I live along the Minnesota River in beautiful Lac qui Parle County on a family farm with my husband Ed and three children: Grace, Evan and Elias. We love to travel, garden, cook and camp.

Jackie Sigdahl
Administrative Assistant

320-289-1981 ext. 100

I joined the UMVRDC team in September 2011 and have the pleasure of working with a great group of people. I also have the privilege of providing support to the agency in all different capacities since I get to work with all the staff in their area of expertise. I have lots of variety in my day. When you stop by our office, I am the one responsible for the smooth operations in the front office and help connect people to the information they need. Prior to joining the RDC, I was employed at the Prairie Correctional Facility for 18 years so feel at home working back in the City of Appleton.Together with my husband Gary and our three children; Riley, Trevor and Jessica, we live in Lac qui Parle County on a farm site a few miles outside of Madison. We love the lifestyle that country living has to offer and are happy to be a part of a small, caring community.


Kristi Fernholz
Community Development Senior Planner

320-289-1981 ext. 106

I first started at the UMVRDC in 2000. I work on a variety of community development projects including grant writing, comprehensive planning, hazard mitigation planning and tourism planning. Two of the main projects that I coordinate are Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway and the Meander Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl. My passion is to assist our communities with whatever project makes sense for them, whether it is solid waste planning or coordinating regional public art projects. Originally from Milan, I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. I live on a small farm near Appleton with my husband Brad (originally from Madison) and two children. I have been a Meander featured artist since 2004 and you can find me and my photographs in Milan during Meander weekend, which is always the first weekend in October. A perfect work day for me would be to bike to work with a camera on my back, with a yummy lunch made from my garden and to work on a variety of projects with our local units of government!

Jacki Anderson
Community Development Senior Planner

320-289-1981 ext. 111

Since 2007 I’ve had the great privilege of working for the local units of government that make up western Minnesota in the UMVRDC region. I hold a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Science from St. Cloud State University in the areas of community development and mass communications respectively. My practical experience in economic development has allowed me to gain significant knowledge in local, state and federal programming. As a senior planner my responsibilities include leading multidisciplinary teams through planning and grant writing processes, identifying local, state and federal resources, bringing project partners to the table, managing projects and successfully delivering project results. Being a wife and mother of a young daughter I’ve found my planning and communications skills, along with my ability to identify creative solutions, invaluable tools for negotiating with a toddler. As a family we enjoy the outdoors and spending time with friends and family at the lake!

Emily Zandt
Community Development Planner

320-289-1981 ext. 104

I began my position at the UMVRDC as a Community Development Planner in March 2014. My current projects at the RDC include Safe Routes to School and Hazard Mitigation Planning. Originally from Wisconsin, I earned a Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree and a Housing Studies minor from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from the Bloustein School at Rutgers University in New Jersey. After spending time on the East Coast, I am excited to be back in the Midwest, living in Appleton, and working with such a wonderful organization.  I look forward to learning more about the area and getting involved in the community.

Erin Smith
Community Development Planner

320-289-1981 ext. 110
I joined the UMVDRC staff in June 2014. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies from the University of MN- Duluth and a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from Minnesota State University-Mankato.  I am working as the West Central Regional Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) and will be working on a variety of other projects with staff.  I am LEED accredited and have previous experience working in the non-profit realm.  I enjoy reading and being outdoors in my free time.  I am new to the area and excited to explore the region and be part of the RDC team!

Barrett Voigt
Community Development Planner

320.289.1981 ext. 107

Prior to joining the UMVRDC the beginning of February 2015, I earned a Master of Science degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa. Along with my education I have planning experience through internships which consist of an Assistant Zoning Administrator for Clinton County in Iowa, a Geographic Information System (GIS) Technician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and a Community Development Planner for the cities of Faribault, Minnesota and West Fargo, North Dakota. Before I became engaged with work in the planning field I had the opportunity to teach English in China for several years. As a Community Development Planner for the UMVRDC I will be working on a variety of transportation and community development projects. Some of these projects will focus on local and state transportation plans, Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grants, Safe Routes to School, and hazard mitigation plans. I am originally from Minnesota and currently live in Appleton with my wife, Min, and our two year old son, Phillip.

Melissa Carruth
Marketing Coordinator

 320-289-1981 ext. 105


I joined the UMVRDC in January 2014 and I am honored to work with such a great group of people. I have a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Advertising, along with a Business Administration minor from North Dakota State University. My main responsibilities as the Marketing Coordinator consist of coordinating the Prairie Waters Tourism Program, along with various marketing projects for the UMVRDC. I have a variety of projects that keep me busy such as putting together newsletters, reports, press releases, updating websites, creating ads, and much more! I am extremely excited to be working in my home town area and living on my family farm near Danvers. I am honored to be part of such a successful and rewarding organization!


Arlene Tilbury
Financial Director

320-289-1981 ext. 103

I have served as the financial officer for the UMVRDC since April of 1993. I was born, raised and continue to live in rural Marietta with my husband Cleon. In my spare time I enjoy vegetable and flower gardening and attending my grandchildren’s activities. In addition to managing the fiscal needs of the organization, I have assisted several communities by providing fiscal agent grants management services. Over the past several years, UMVRDC staff has administered in excess of 25 million dollars for the local units of government within our region. We work closely with State and Federal agencies (DNR, DEED, HUD, RDA, etc.) to assure compliance with all rules, regulations and reporting requirements. I am proud of the success in our region which is a direct reflection of the work we do in this office!

Randy Larson
Loan Officer

320-289-1981 ext. 102

Prior to being hired here at the UMVRDC in January 2014, I was a student at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In December 2013, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with Bachelor of Science Degrees in Accounting and Finance.As the loan officer at the UMVRDC, I work with financial institutions and gap lenders to enable members of our region to start and expand their businesses. My main roles are to process loan requests and manage the Revolving Loan Fund Program. It is very rewarding to come to work and see what people in our region are doing to further develop our region’s economy. No two projects are ever the same. Besides the RLF program, my hope is to be able to guide and help those who inquire about various other programs. If I don’t know the answer, I will direct you to someone who knows the answer or I will search for the answer.Besides working at the UMVRDC, I’m also the City Clerk of Bellingham, MN. I’m a native to the Bellingham-Odessa area. I enjoy getting involved in the communities that have shaped the person I am today. I enjoy working on the family farm and renovating my house in Bellingham. . .long process nonetheless. . .but enough about me. I look forward to working with you and our region.