Madelia Strong: A Case Study in Economic Resilience

On February 3, 2016, a fire swept through Madelia, MN’s Main Street in the middle of a snowstorm, destroying nine businesses. Today, recovery in the city continues. With more than $250,000 in local support, all eight buildings have been rebuilt, including La Plaza Fiesta, Culligan Water Conditioning, and Hope and Faith Floral.  In responding to this economic shock, this small city of 2,239 people serves as an example to places large and small about what it means to be a resilient community.

The NADO Research Foundation and Region Nine Development Commission, with the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, have released a short video, “Madelia Strong:  A Case Study in Economic Resilience” that tells the story of the fire and the recovery.  “At first it was a huge shock and loss, but it also showed how no matter what the situation here in Madelia is, people start looking for solutions,” says Karla Angus, executive director of the Madelia Chamber of Commerce.

Region Nine Development Commission, the region’s economic development district, played an important role in planning and supporting the recovery.  “By being a development commission, the work we do is always tied to our CEDS, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  There are different goals and strategies within the CEDS such as helping communities respond to different economic shocks like the Madelia fire,” says Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine Development Commission.  “Having the CEDS as our foundation or almost as our strategic plan for the organization helps really define the role that we can play for our local communities.”

Guided by the CEDS and the local economic resilience plan, which was funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, residents are working together to set the course towards a more resilient future that will keep “Madelia Strong” for generations to come.

Says Madelia’s Karla Angus, “We were given opportunities to make us a better place.  And if we want to continue to grow, you need to continue to be planning and thinking ahead.”

For more information, contact NADO RF Associate Director Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

To learn about the CEDS and economic resilience, visit

This video was funded in part by the NADO Research Foundation through a grant with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (ED17HDQ3030005).  The statements and recommendations contained in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of those entities.


2023 Impact Awards

The primary applicant must be a NADO member. Project partners, both NADO and non-members, can be recognized under "Project Partners" below.

Primary Project Contact:
This person will be the designated point of contact for all future awards-related correspondence.

Organization Address

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Please upload your organization's logo which will be included on the winning project award certificate.

Project Information
This title will be printed on the award certificate for winning projects and in all 2022 NADO Impact Award materials and cannot be changed.

Project Summary & Questions
Please craft clear, thoughtful, and engaging responses to the following questions. Use the following sections to tell us how your project has made an impact, such as its use of creative funding mechanisms, efforts to create efficiencies or reduce costs, unique partnership models, and emphasis on building resilience and/or enhancing your region's quality of life.

For award-winning projects, the information provided below may be used verbatim to inform project descriptions that will be published in the 2023 NADO Impact Awards materials and included on the NADO website.

Please submit at least one photo showing your project in action. Please keep file size to a minimum (<2Mb) and use JPEG format. If uploading multiple files, ZIP files prior to submitting. If you have trouble uploading images they can be directly emailed to Brett Schwartz at [email protected] Include the project title they correspond to in the subject line of your email.

Note: Submitted photos may be used in NADO Impact Awards materials and in other NADO published materials with credit to your organization. Please also consider submitting photos for NADO's 2023 Photo Contest, which will be held this summer.

Your application is not submitted until you are directed to a confirmation page. If you have any questions or are unsure if your application has been submitted, please contact Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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