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Extension economics educator hired in Brainerd

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The University of Minnesota Extension announces the arrival of a community economics educator, Merritt Bussiere, in Brainerd. Affiliated with Extension’s statewide Center for Community Vitality, Bussiere will provide applied research and educational support for communities in Aitkin, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

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“I’m excited to be here and eager to connect community, business and other partners in central Minnesota with university resources,” said Bussiere.

Community economics educators help communities and their leaders:

• Work together to evaluate and respond to economic problems and opportunities;

• Use local retail data and community discussions to help know and grow an area’s retail customer base;

• Create community-driven plans to retain and expand the local business base;

• Use economic impact analysis to support better informed local economic discussions and decisions;

• Promote local economic growth through tourism; and

• Tap into community economics workshops, on-line resources, and trainings.

Bussiere began his work for the Center for Community Vitality in early April 2013. His background includes an extended affiliation with University of Wisconsin Extension’s Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development Program serving as a county-based community development educator, and as a campus-based state land use education specialist.

Previous positions include city community development director, certified business counselor, community planning and development consultant, loan fund manager, economic development director for a regional commission, zoning administrator, and public policy researcher for nonprofit and labor organizations. Bussiere’s areas of specialization include community and economic development, business feasibility planning and finance, household and user surveys,  downtown revitalization, organizational development and group process, land use policy, planning and regulation, and public policy analysis and strategy development.

Bussiere may be contacted at the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Office in Brainerd, 322 Laurel Street, Suite 21, 218-825-2175, bussiere@umn.edu.

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