Winter Institute - Innovative Economics

Ed Glaeser

When: Feb. 1-2

Where: St. Cloud State and 912 Regency Plaza

Keynote Presenter: Edward Glaeser 

Topic: Understanding Cities

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He regularly teaches microeconomics theory, and occasionally urban and public economics. He has served as director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

He has published dozens of papers on cities economic growth, law and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1992.

His books include "Cities, Agglomeration, and Spatial Equilibrium" (Oxford University Press, 2008), "Rethinking Federal Housing Policy" (American Enterprise Institute Press, 2008) and "Triumph of the City" (Penguin Press, 2011).

Featured Speaker

Robert J. Weber

Rob Weber '08

Rob Weber '08 is a founding partner of Great North Labs, a Midwest-focused, early-stage venture fund.

Weber, 37, co-founded NativeX, a mobile advertising technology firm formerly known as W3i and

He has been a successful entrepreneur since the age of 16 when he and his brothers launched an e-marketing business. By the age of 20, the Weber brothers had turned their basement endeavors into a multi-million dollar business. As CEO, Weber saw enormous potential in advertiser-sponsored content and pivoted the company to capitalize on that trend.

In 2006, Weber shared the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award with his twin brother and business partner, Ryan Weber '03. 

A year later Weber was also named to the Inc. 5,000 CEOs Under 30 list.

Weber earned his bachelor's degree in Entrepreneurship from St. Cloud State. He is a private angel investor in a number of digital entertainment, e-commerce and B2B software start-ups.

He enjoys sharing his passion for the Internet and entrepreneurship with students at St. Cloud State and in other youth-mentoring venues. He has served on the board of directors for Minnestar, the 10,000-plus community of Minnesota tech enthusiasts.

Economic Outlook Speakers

King Banaian

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King Banaian is dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. He is also a professor in the Department of Economics at St. Cloud State. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Claremont Graduate School. He is author of "The Ukrainian Economy since Independence" (Edward Elgar, 1998), co-editor of "The Design and Use of Political Economy Indicators" (Palgrave, 2008) and more than forty articles and book chapters discussing monetary policy and political economy. 

He has served as a consultant to central banks and governments in several developing countries. He is a senior policy fellow of the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis. King was state representative in the Minnesota House for District 15B, 2011-13. He is also host of the King Banaian Show on Business1440 KYCR broadcast in Minneapolis, and co-author of the St. Cloud Quarterly Business Report. He lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with his wife Barbara.

Nimantha Manamperi

 Nimantha Manamperi picture

Nimantha Manamperi is an assistant professor of economics at St. Cloud State University. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from Texas Tech University. His research addresses: economic growth, monetary policy, BRICS countries and South Asian economies, economic education. 

His research has been published in many respected academic journals including: Journal of Policy Modeling, Applied Economic Letters, Empirical Economic Letters, Journal of Economics and Financial Issues. He enjoys teaching and specializes in teaching Macroeconomics, Forecasting and Time Series Econometrics, Monetary Policy. Previously he worked at Berea College and as a Business Analyst at Roomsnet International (pvt) Ltd.

Luke Greiner

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Luke Greiner is Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) regional analyst for central and southwestern Minnesota. Luke conducts research and analysis and writes publications about Greater Minnesota's economy, job market, industry trends, workforce availability, and hiring demand.

He has a bachelor's degree in management from Park University in Parkville, Missouri. Luke worked in workforce development for DEED before becoming an analyst and currently serves on the Minnesota's State ACT Council.

Anusha Nath

  Anusha Nath picture

Anusha Nath joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as an economist in 2016. She has taught at Boston University, Delhi University, and the University of Minnesota, where she is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Economics.

Anusha's current research focuses on applied microeconomics and development economics. Her work has been featured in the "The Economist", "Economic and Political Weekly", and "Brookings India Policy Forum". Anusha holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in economics from Delhi University and a Ph.D. in economics from Boston University.

Luncheon Panel

Shaunna Johnson

Shaunna Johnson

Shaunna Johnson is the city administrator for the city of Waite Park and has served in this position for almost 14 years and has more than 20 years of local government experience including areas in planning, economic development and human resources. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from Concordia College and her master’s degree in public administration from Wichita State University. Johnson been active in local government in Minnesota where she has served as the president of the League of Minnesota Cities and the president of the Minnesota City/County Manager’s Association. She also serves on St. Cloud State University's School of Public Affairs Advisory Council. She is married to her husband Chris of 22 years and they have four boys.

Matthew Staehling

Matt Staehling

Matthew Staehling City Administrator for St. Cloud

Ross Olson

Ross Olson

Ross Olson City Administrator for Sauk Rapids

Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau has been with the City of Sartell since 2003. She is currently its Community Development/Assistant City Administrator. In this position, Anita plans, organizes and implements programs and activities to accomplish established city goals relating to planning, zoning, and economic development. She also provides primary staff support to the city's Planning Commission and Economic Development Commission. Anita received a bachelor’s degree in political science and community studies from SCSU, master's degree in urban planning from Minnesota State University, Mankato and is currently completing a Doctorate Degree in Public Administration from Hamline University in St. Paul.

Concurrent Session Presenters

Charles Marohn - Building Economically Strong Communities for an Uncertain Future

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Charles Marohn - known as "Chuck" to friends and colleagues - is a professional engineer (PE) licensed in the state of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He is the founder and president of Strong Towns.

Marohn has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a master's in urban and regional planning from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute. Marohn is the author of "Thoughts on Building Strong Towns" ? Volume 1 and Volume 2 ? as well as "A World Class Transportation System".

He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns? web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America. Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years.

In addition to being passionate about building a stronger America, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and religiously follows his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters and two Samoyeds in their hometown of Brainerd, Minnesota. Learn more about the work of Strong Towns at

Giacomo Fiorani and Serena Mariani - Resource Efficiency within Cities

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Giacomo Fiorani recently earned his Ph.D. in economics and management at the University of Macerata (Italy). His research addresses: ?Made in Italy? products development and its internationalization policies, agribusiness supply chains, regional industrial development and internationalization. He is now involved in the Grage Project, which studies the problem of elderly people living in city areas, in particular focusing on the urban agriculture activities and the possibilities given by those activities (working paper: "Sustainable Food and Gastronomic Cities"). He is also involved in the study of the Marche Region industrial sector to design the policies to overcome the negative consequences occurred to the productive sectors after the recent earthquake.

Serena Mariani picture

Serena Mariani is currently a Ph.D. student in Law at the University of Macerata (Italy). Her main field of study concerns agricultural law and, currently, she is conducting applied research at Agroservice Spa, a local company that carries out activities of research, development, multiplication and commercialization of seeds for agriculture. Her research aims to investigate the legal aspects connected to access, innovation and certification of plant genetic resources in the global, European, and Italian seed market. Recently, she passed the bar-exam. She is also involved in the research for the working package "Urban agriculture: legal issues" of the Grage Project.

Patti Gartland and Brian Myres - Collective Impact

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Patti Gartland is the president of Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Patti is a lifelong resident of the greater St. Cloud community and has more than 30 years of experience in community and economic development, private sector business, and higher education. She is a graduate of St. Cloud State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in community development & economics.

Prior to joining GSDC, Patti served as Planning Director for the City of St. Cloud for 13 years followed by her more recent service as the city administrator for Sartell for nearly 12 years.

Patti received the Leadership award from the St. Cloud State College of Social Sciences, and the ATHENA award from the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Patti was also appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton and serves as vice chair on the Metropolitan Airports Commission and she serves as a vice chair of the Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership Executive Board. She also serves on the St. Cloud State School of Public Affairs Advisory Council.

Brian Myres

Brian Myres of Myres Consulting, LLC and DAYTA Marketing is originally from Pequot Lakes MN. He moved to St Cloud MN in 1980 to obtain a BS degree in Finance from SCSU and had a successful banking career spanning 36 years, most recently as Managing Vice President of Capital One 360. Prior to the acquisition by Capital One, Brian was one of the founders of Citizens Savings Bank and ING DIRECT USA and led both the operations and sales areas of ING DIRECT USA.

Today Brian resides in Clear Lake with his wife Karla and two sons and is enjoying his post banking career as a management consultant and community volunteer and board chair of the Greater St Cloud Public Safety Foundation and the Greater St Cloud Development Corp, and a board member of the JA Wedum Foundation.

Louis Johnston - How did Minnesota become "above average"?

Louis Johnston picture

Louis Johnston is a professor of economics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. He earned his Bachelor of Science at the University of Minnesota (1983), and his Master of Arts (1987) and Ph.D. (1990) at the University of California, Berkeley (all in economics).

Johnston specializes in macroeconomics, economic history, and the connections between economic policy and economic history.  His most recent projects focus on analyzing the evolution of Minnesota?s economy and how Minnesota became "above average" over the past 70 years. 

Johnston was special contributor to the 4th and 5th editions of "Principles of Economics" by Robert H. Frank and Ben S. Bernanke (McGraw-Hill / Irwin, 2009, 2012), with responsibility for developing and writing all of the macroeconomics chapters along with the study guides and instructor manuals for the 3rd, 4th and 5th editions.

Johnston writes a regular column on economics and the economy for MinnPost and is a regular guest on Minnesota Public Radio and WCCO Radio.

Michelle Kiley - Repurposing Community Spaces

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Michelle Kiley is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a B.A. in local and urban affairs and M.S. in tourism, planning and development. Michelle grew-up in rural Minnesota supporting in her family's businesses and has professionally worked for non-profits, government entities and educational institutions. Specializing in engagement and leadership development, Michelle supports the Initiative Foundation's grassroots community programs; designed to help local leaders identify their unique assets, most pressing challenges and key strategies to ensure a vibrant community for years to come. 

Michelle is a serial reader with a love for design, small towns and country living. She believes that communities have a host of shared spaces capable of engaging individuals - both young and old. It is in those spaces, she becomes truly inspired. Michelle sees creatives or artists as community thought leaders; possessing the ability to transform objects, reinterpret concepts, and authentically connect stories. A public artist's work shares these same values, but the end-product spills out onto the streets, parks, hallways and other communal spaces. As a planner, she believes that creative cities are necessary to remain relevant. Cities must meaningfully connect residents, encourage thought leaders and challenge practitioners to consider new ideas (big and small) to invigorate the heart of their community. To learn more, follow Michelle's blog or on Twitter at @MKiley2048.

Taisiia Stanishevska and Edward Glaeser - The Impact of Refugees in Germany and the U.S.

Taisiia Stanishevska picture

Taisiia Stanishevska is a senior, undergraduate student at St. Cloud State University majoring in Economics and minoring in German. She will graduate this semester (Spring 2018) and this presentation is based on her senior project in economics. She plans to continue her studies and intends to pursue a graduate degree in Economics. Taisiia enjoys reading German newspapers and learning more about German culture. Her deep interest in Germany was the inspiration for her senior project. In Taisiia's words "This study gives me an opportunity to combine my interests in Economics and Germany and I am very excited to present my findings at the Winter Institute."

Edward Glaeser picture

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He regularly teaches microeconomics theory, and occasionally urban and public economics. He has served as director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

Paul Drange and Anna Gruber, Rediscovering Cities Workforce through Shared Services

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Paul Drange is the Director of Regional Programs at National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA).  Paul has a Master?s of Science Degree in Higher Education Leadership from Capella University in Minneapolis and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Concordia University in Saint Paul. 

Paul joined NJPA in January of 2014.  Paul?s responsibilities as Director of Regional Programs include developing and carrying out continuous improvement and strategic planning to ensure optimal programming for Region 5 Education and City & County Members.  Before joining NJPA, Paul worked in the higher education field in a variety of positions.  Paul worked as an enrollment director at Capella University in Minneapolis before joining Minnesota State Community and Technical College in 2004.  In his most recent position, Paul served as the Director of the Center for College Readiness (CCR) at M State.  Paul also previously served on the Wadena Area Chamber Board of Directors.  He currently serves as a hospital board member at Tri-County Hospital in Wadena.

Anna Gruber picture

Anna Gruber is the Manager of City & County Solutions at National Joint Powers Alliance.  Anna has her Masters of Business Administration from West Texas A & M University and a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Saint Cloud State University, as well as minors in Business and Community Development.

Anna joined NJPA in March of 2014.  Anna?s responsibilities as Manager of City & County Solutions include identifying and promoting opportunities to serve the Cities and Counties of Region 5.  Anna is also responsible for developing and carrying out City and County programs and services to ensure optimal outcomes for Region 5.  Before joining NJPA, Anna worked in the government sector in a variety of positions.  She began her career at Tri-County Action Program, Inc. in 2008 as the Community Development Assistant.  In 2009, she began her role as the City Administrator for the City of Pierz in Morrison County (Region 5).

Aspasia Rigopoulou-Melcher, Cathy Mehelich, and Leslie Dingmann - The Stories Cities Tell

Aspasia Rigopoulou-Melcher picture

Dr. Aspasia Rigopoulou-Melcher, Ph.D. is a professor of Urban and Regional Planning with specialization in Economic Development and Housing in the Department of Geography and Planning at St. Cloud State University. She received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a Master's Degree in Economic and Social Development, Graduate Certificate in International Development and Planning with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Economics from West Virginia University Institute of Technology. She has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and St. Cloud State University.

Her academic credentials are complemented by her professional experience in the planning field. She has worked as the Director of Economic Development for West End and Elliot communities, City of Pittsburgh as well as Director of Housing for the City of Wilkinsburg, PA.

Cathy Mehelich picture

Cathy Mehelich was selected as St. Cloud?s Economic Development Director in 2011 with the City's creation of its first Economic Development Authority. She has 20+ years of providing economic development services for municipalities. Cathy has a BA degree in Local and Urban Affairs from St. Cloud State University, and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council.

Cathy facilitates business expansion and attraction for the City of St. Cloud. Her passion is driven by a strong desire to help businesses grow and succeed by understanding unique needs, effectively connecting to resources, and efficiently facilitating the city development process.

Leslie Dingmann picture

Leslie Dingmann is the Business Development Associate at Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.  GSDC welcomed Leslie Dingmann as its Business Development Associate in 2013. Leslie is a lifelong resident of the greater St. Cloud community and has more than 10 years of experience in community and economic development. Prior to working for GSDC, Leslie was an Economic Development Specialist with the City of Big Lake.

She received her undergraduate degree in Community Development from St. Cloud State University and her graduate degree in Urban Studies with a Certificate in Economic Development from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Additionally, she received her Certified Economic Finance Development Professional certification from the National Development Council.

Leslie's work at GSDC involves facilitating retention, expansion and attraction activities in the greater St. Cloud area as well as working on downtown St. Cloud redevelopment initiatives and regional transportation infrastructure investment.