The hope is to have an accepted job offer later this month or in early April

    Interviews of applicants hoping to be the consultant that would head up Crookston’s new Small Business Development Center are underway. Search Committee Chair Kevin Thompson, a faculty member in the U of M Crookston’s Communications program, said one candidate, Christine Anderson, interviewed on campus late last week, and it’s expected that more candidates will be interviewed later this month.

    “Our hope is to be able to extend an offer to the top candidate by the end of March or early April,” he told the Times in an email.

    The interview committee, in addition to Thompson and various representatives of the University of Minnesota Duluth - which is freeing up some of its SBDC funding to launch the Crookston location - includes CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth, Philip Knutson of Northwest Minnesota Foundation, UMC Business Program faculty members Rachel Lundbohm and Eddie Walker, and City Administrator Shannon Stassen.

    Due to privacy and confidentiality statutes, Thompson said he cannot tell the Times how many people have applied for the job or how many are being interviewed. Although phone interviews have taken place, he said Anderson is the only candidate so far to be invited to campus for an interview.

    The launch of the SBDC in Crookston, which will be housed at Valley Technology Park but may relocate to downtown at some point, coincides with the arrival of Mary Holz-Clause as U of M Crookston chancellor. She approached the Crookston City Council in the fall, saying it was one of her top priorities to launch an SBDC in Crookston, which, she said, had been underserved for years by such consulting services for entrepreneurs and small business people. Eventually, the Crookston City Council and CHEDA agreed to provide $15,000 each over the next two years to help get the SBDC off the ground in Crookston.