Speaker Date Topic
Chip Rankin Jan 26, 2021
Minnewaska Area Schools and MN National Guard Member
Minnewaska Area Schools and MN National Guard Member

Nearly 700 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard are getting ready to deploy to Africa.

The soldiers from the Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, start reporting to Camp Ripley June 1.

Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Chip Rankin said this deployment is particularly challenging, given all the uncertainties the soldiers' families face here at home because of the pandemic.

"Yeah, it's been a lot of juggling," Rankin said.

Rankin has many duties here in Minnesota. He's not only a National Guard commander, but he is also the superintendent of Minnewaska Area Schools and a father of four.

"You know, time keeps ticking and so you're constantly having to prioritize what you're not going to be able to do because there just won't be enough time," Rankin said.

Rankin said his battalion will be on a peacekeeping mission in Djibouti as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"I think a lot of people in America forget that we have soldiers and service members deployed across the world all the time," Rankin said.

As he prepares to be gone for the next year, he is trying to spend quality time with his wife and kids, while also wrapping up the school year for 1400 students in his district who have been dealing with the challenges of distance learning.

Rankin has deployed two other times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He noted it is always a sacrifice but said he is so proud of the soldiers who will be serving alongside him in Africa.

"They're from your hometown. They're from your neighborhood," Rankin said. "They come from every walk of life and they're going to do their very best to make this world a better place."

In lieu of deployment ceremonies at all unit Armories due to social distancing requirements, the battalion will have a private departure ceremony at Camp Ripley on June 19. They deploy to Africa in July.

Matt Lewis Feb 02, 2021
Greater MSP
Greater MSP

Matt Lewis is Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. Matt works to advance the Regional Economic Development Strategy through the implementation of the GREATER MSP Partnership’s portfolio of cross-sector strategic initiatives, including: Make It. MSP., Forge North, MBold, ConnextMSP, Center Cities, and the Regional Air Services Partnership. He was named Young Economic Development Professional of the year by the International Economic Development Council for his work to build Make It. MSP., the region’s talent attraction and retention initiative. Matt earned his MBA from the Carlson School of Management and his Master’s of Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. He serves in leadership positions at a number of civic organizations including as Board President of Conservation Minnesota.

Margaret Rose Feb 09, 2021
State of Edina Morningside Rotary Club
State of Edina Morningside Rotary Club
Lee McGrath Feb 16, 2021
Institute of Justice

Lee McGrath is the Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice’s Minnesota office and serves as IJ’s Senior Legislative Counsel. He joined the Institute in December 2004.

Lee was instrumental in lobbying the Minnesota legislature to reform its eminent domain laws in 2006 following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London. He also led efforts to deregulate Minnesota’s transportation industry. These included repealing the state’s regulations of in-state household goods movers and the City of Minneapolis’ cap on taxis. Following Minneapolis’ opening the taxi market, Lee joined with other IJ attorneys to defend the deregulation in court. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit’s decision in Minneapolis Taxi Owners Coalition v. City of Minneapolis in 2009 set precedent that numerous federal circuits have adopted.

Lee became IJ’s legislative counsel in 2011 and has been instrumental in lobbying for greater economic liberty and reforms to forfeiture laws in states across the country. Since 2011, IJ has worked with legislators to enact over 95 bills. These include new laws that end civil forfeiture and replace it with criminal forfeiture as well as establish sunrise and sunset reviews of occupational licensing laws based on the concept of least restrictive regulation.

Lee received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul where he was the president of the Federalist Society’s student chapter. Before that, Lee worked for more than 20 years in corporate finance at General Motors and other corporations. His last position was as Vice President and Treasurer of Jostens, the yearbook and ring company headquartered in Bloomington, Minn.

In addition to his law degree, Lee holds an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. Lee also was a Policy Fellow at the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota.

Lee and his wife Bonnie have four children and live in Edina, Minn.

Lindsey Wimmer Feb 23, 2021
Star Legacy Foundation
Star Legacy Foundation

Lindsey Wimmer, RN, MSN, PHN, PCNP, CPLC, is Founder and Executive Director of the Star Legacy Foundation. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and a Master of Science degree in pediatric nursing from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner with 11 years in a primary care setting and 5 years in an emergency care setting. She most recently taught in the nursing department at St. Catherine University.  Ms. Wimmer is certified in Perinatal Loss Care (CPLC) and frequently presents on perinatal loss prevention and bereavement care. Lindsey and her husband, Trent, are the parents of Garrett, their son who was stillborn at term in 2004, Grant, Bennett, and Austyn.


Derek Sharrer Mar 02, 2021
St. Paul Saints and Minnesota Twins Partnership
St. Paul Saints and Minnesota Twins Partnership

The St. Paul Saints knew how important year number five was in their beautiful Lowertown ballpark, CHS Field.  With even more competition in the Twin Cities than ever before, the Saints knew they needed to step their game up to the next level.  They did that with attendance that continues to be well over capacity, a highly successful All-Star Game, a state-of-the-art City of Baseball Museum and brand new SPIRE Sun Deck, promotions that were talked about from coast-to-coast, and a ballpark that continues to be a destination for everything from the Saints to a Cat Video Festival.  One man has overseen it all and because of all that continued success Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Derek Sharrer, along with Cleburne Railroaders Director of Operations Josh Robertson, was named American Association Executive of the Year for the fifth straight season.

During Sharrer’s tenure with the Saints they have consistently finished at, or near, the top of the league in attendance.  In 2006 the Saints were named the inaugural Baseball America Independent League Organization of the Year, for their history of excellence and role as trailblazers in the industry.  Additionally, Sharrer was named to the 2007 Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Top 40 under Forty.  In 2018 Sharrer was included in Minnesota Magazine’s 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders and earlier this year he was named as one of Twin Cities Business Magazine’s “100 People You Should Know.”