Marie Pflipsen ’14 is committed to building her new community from her new office in city hall.
With her bachelor’s in planning and community development, Pflipsen quickly took on the role of executive director of the Economic Development Authority for Lake City, where her job is to attract and retain businesses and jobs.
“I am the go-to person for people that are interested in starting a business in Lake City, but don’t know how to begin their journey,” Pflipsen said.
Lake City is a scenic community of roughly 5,000 residents on Lake Pepin along the Mississippi River. The town is also home to the largest small craft marina on the Mississippi River.
Tourism is a vital part of the town’s economy; Pflipsen works with local businesses and organizations like the Tourism Bureau to continue Lake City’s development.
A native of Sauk Rapids, Pflipsen was inspired to pursue a career in city offices from a young age.
“I had the great opportunity to be the student Mayor of the Month in Sauk Rapids during my senior year of high school. Hanging out with the mayor all month really sparked my interest.”
The summer after graduating high school in 2010, Pflipsen was crowned First Princess of Sauk Rapids and again had the opportunity to get a close look at the inner workings of the city. Her growing interest made her choice of major an easy decision to make.
“When I came to St. Cloud State University I found out about the Planning and Community Development major and instantly knew I wanted to pursue the degree,” Pflipsen said.
During her junior year at St. Cloud State, Pflipsen was the president of the Community Planning Association and planned various fundraisers to send the group to different conferences around the country.
She also credits the many different planning and geography classes from her major as great references for the everyday office work in her position.
Her best experience in college came during her internship with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation (GSDC).
“Through my experience and time at GSDC I was given the opportunity to shadow and participate in successful economic development. I was able to connect with the other staff members, many local business owners and CEOs,” Pflipsen said.
Along with her position in Lake City, Pflipsen is part of the Rotary Club, Tourism Bureau and an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce.
However, she still remains involved with the community of her hometown.
Pflipsen is the youngest director on the Benton County Fair Board, which operates one of the five largest county fairs in the state, and she is a co-director for the Sauk Rapids River Days Parade. Both roles identify her passion for people and the area she calls home.
“Community events are in my blood. I have worked and volunteered for the fair ever since I was little,” Pflipsen said.
Pflipsen enjoys being in a completely different part of the state and exploring the region. She continues to meet new people every day in her new city and the surrounding areas, all the while loving the small-town atmosphere of the community that has adopted her.