MARL Class X descended on Perham Mn. on January 22 – 24th, for the 9th and final domestic session of our course. As the weather thawed outside we gathered in the ARVIG building conference room, learning about who is a visionary leader and asking ourselves when have we been visionary leaders as well as the value of creating a shared vision and leading a change. We culminated our day with supper at the Pine Island Fish Co. and a late hotel check-in.

Day two we found our way to the Prairie Lakes Municipal Solid Waste Facility where plant manager Brian Schmidt explained the unique features of the facility, showing us firsthand how the boilers are fed the garbage with “The Claw” and the steam produced is sold to neighboring business’ Tuffy’s and Bongard’s to run their production lines. Counterpart Scott Munson carried us through the many facets of the recycling  process within the plant, showing us how workers and equipment size, sort, redistribute, and finally package the various materials we through away.

We then made our way across town to Kenny’s Candy and Confections where Keith Carlson and Kathy George toured us through their plant, showing us how the many types of licorice, gummy bears, popcorn and other treats are made sorted, packaged, and shipped. Workers seemed to be happy with all that sugar around!


The Thursday afternoon session we ventured to the Perham Sportsman’s Club where Toby and Christy led us through a “Facilitate to Lead” program where we discussed how to set up and build a meeting agenda as well as dealing with conflicts in a meeting and difficult behaviors. We ended the day at The Cactus for our supper banquet where Class X’s own Erin Spangler gave a keynote address on Health and Safety in Agriculture which moved all in the room to count our blessings!

Friday morning we gathered for breakfast with our emotional intelligence groups before meeting at the Arvig conference room where we discussed the details of our upcoming International trip to Cambodia and Taiwan next month. Planning and tasks of our April 3rd graduation and auction were delegated to various members of the class. Leaving us to wrap up the week electing Curtis Mahnken and Matt Altman in a tie breaker, as our class representatives for the next two years! Congratulations to Curtis and Matt, they will represent us very well!


Submitted by Steve Schmitt


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