BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN No name has appeared in the Delano Herald Journal more than Ryan Gueningsman.
Not only was he managing editor of the newspaper for nine years, but he has also been highly involved in the community, namely as executive director of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce for five years.
Now, he is stepping away from his duties after accepting a full-time position at Target Center, where he has worked part-time for five years.
Gueningsman grew up in Winsted and began working for Herald Journal there after graduating from high school in 2002.
He took a break to work as a correctional officer, but decided it was not a good fit, and accepted an offer to serve as the editor of the DHJ when it started in September 2006.
“You get to know the community,” Gueningsman said. “One thing about Delano is it really embraced the new publication and staff, as well.”
The transition to the chamber position was a natural one, after serving on the organization’s board for four or five years, including a term as president in 2012.
“I thought this would be a great way to stay in the Delano community and maintain relationships,” Gueningsman said.
He’s proud of what has happened during his time at the Chamber.
“We’ve really been able to grow our major events,” Gueningsman said.
That includes the chamber celebration dinner, the Delano Community Expo, the Taste of Delano, and the Christmas tree lighting.
The chamber also added the Business Trick Or Treat event and After Hours Business Socials once a month, and brought the Culpepper Merriweather Circus to town in 2018. Membership has also increased.
Gueningsman has enjoyed working with those who have helped make all those developments possible.
“One thing that’s interesting and makes it fun is you get to work with volunteers,” Gueningsman said. “Your bosses change every year. That’s been a lot of fun to work with different community leaders . . . I appreciate them taking time to run an organization like this that helps the business community be successful and thrive.”
He gave a special shout out to one of those individuals.
“The chamber’s Task Force Chairman, John Tackaberry, has been a great supporter of the chamber and community as a whole and has been a great mentor to me during my years in Delano,” Gueningsman said.
Not only has he worked with individuals within the community, but also people like Wright County Economic Development Partnership Director Duane Northagen. The two worked together to launch the Wright County Chamber Executive Summit.
“We get together a couple times a year to brainstorm and share ideas,” Gueningsman said. “It’s an idea I had that I was proud to start.”
Geuningsman will continue living in the area and volunteering with Rock from the Heart, Ribfest, and Winstock.
He would like to see others participate with events and organizations such as the chamber.
“I’m encouraging people to get involved,” Gueningsman said.
DACC President Michelle Harwood thanked him for his involvement.
“I want to thank Ryan for his years of service to the chamber, and the Delano community as a whole,” said Harwood. “While it’s sad he’s leaving our organization, we wish him all the best as he embarks on the next chapter of his career.”
In the interim, the board has hired LaRae Rogers to work in the DACC office and maintain operations of the organization. Rogers will be staffing the office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning Monday, Sept. 9. She may be reached at 763-972-6756 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The DACC board of directors plans to advertise for the staff position. Harwood may also be reached at 320-420-4484 during the transition.