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City of Farmington hires a community development director

Adam Keinberger will begin his new position as community development director for the city of Farmington on May 30.

It has been eight years since the city of Farmington eliminated its community development director position, but as of Monday, the position is back on the books.

On Monday, the Farmington City Council approved the hiring of Adam Keinberger.

Keinberger has been the economic development specialist for the city of Lakeville for the past 8 ½ years. Prior to that, he worked for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development as a senior grants specialist in the Brownfields/Redevelopment/JOBZ unit. He also worked for the city of Woodbury as the economic development assistant.

During his tenure in Lakeville, Keinberger has worked on the staff of David Olson, Lakeville’s community development director. Olson held the same position in Farmington more than a decade ago.

Keinberger has experience in strategic planning, business retention, marketing, community branding and grant administration and writing. He’s also developed contacts throughout Dakota County and the state.

Farmington city administrator David McKnight interviewed Keinberger three times as part of the hiring process. Each time, McKnight said, Keinberger rose to the top of the list of candidates.

“His level of professionalism was something that stuck out to me the whole time,” McKnight said. “It was exactly what I was looking for. He was prepared. His ability to envision, I like. He’s technology savvy, which doesn’t hurt, and he’s been prepared in his position in Lakeville. It’s time for him to sit in the director chair now. I’m very excited to bring him on board.”

McKnight considers the community development director position a new one, even though it was once a part of the city’s organization. As the position was phased out, the duties and departments that fell under community development were placed under other, existing departments.

In preparation for the creation of this new community development director position, McKnight restructured several of the city’s departments again, and recreated the community development division.

As part of his duties, Keinberger will now oversee economic development, planning, building inspections and code enforcement. He will also work with the economic development authority, the planning commission and the heritage preservation commission.

“In reality, he’s going to have the opportunity to build this position and the department from the ground up,” McKnight said.

Keinberger is looking forward to that opportunity.

“That’s one of the exciting things,” he said, “to be able to define what that will look like and what it means. I’m certainly excited to dive into that role and help define what it is going to mean for the community.”

His last day in Lakeville is May 29, and he begins in Farmington on May 30. Keinberger plans to ease into the position by getting out to businesses and getting to know people in the community. He’ll familiarize himself with documents like the EDA’s strategic plan, and take time to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the area.

“I don’t want to speculate on the future,” Keinberger said. “There will be a little bit of a learning curve, but that will be one of my first steps.”

Keinberger has already started making some connections with city staff, McKnight said.

It will still be some time before Farmington really feels the benefit of having a community development director in place.

“I’m very happy to have the position filled, and it brings us a ton of potential,” McKnight said. “My biggest job with the position is managing expectations. Just because I have a new person in there, and have Adam in there, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to happen tomorrow. We have to work with the council, the EDA, and the planning commission, so that what they’re expecting is manageable and attainable at the same time.

“But I’m just as excited as heck. I’m excited to give him a chance and work with him.”

Keinberger will have a starting salary of $84,559. He is eligible for a raise to $86,622 after six months and a successful performance evaluation.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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