Mike began his professional life as a teacher in a small town in rural South Dakota. Like many young teachers, he expected to use the position as a stepping-stone to employment at a larger school. That changed, however, when a group of high school students challenged him and others in the community to invest in a “buy local” campaign. Not only did their efforts encourage him to spend more money locally, but they also caused Mike to rethink how his teaching practices contributed to the community’s decline in other ways.
This realization led Mike to begin employing place-based learning in his classroom. In 2001, he stepped into the community develop field as a local economic development professional and has been in that field ever since.
Mike currently works for Dakota Resources in South Dakota as their Network Orchestrator. In this role he helps community leaders learn faster together and co-create solutions for their day-to-day challenges as they work to create thriving rural communities.