Inver Hills Foundation 2021 Award Winners

Employee of the Year: Randi Goettl Alumnus of the Year: Dave Rustad Inver Hills/DCTC Community Partner: The Open Door

The Inver Hills Foundation is pleased to announce the college’s award winners for 2021. Randi Goettl, accessibility resources director and The Bee’s Knees Committee lead, has been named Employee of the Year. Dave Rustad, owner/president of Minnesota ATM Inc., has been named Alumnus of the Year. The Open Door, a hunger-relief organization based in Dakota County, has been named Inver Hills/DCTC 2021 Community Partner.

All three award winners were honored Thursday, April 22, at the DCTC & Inver Hills 2021 Virtual Gala: Celebrating Success. The Foundation surpassed the fundraising goal of $60,000 by receiving nearly $63,000 in donations. Funds raised from the event will benefit students at both colleges and have a major impact. If you were unable to attend the gala, you can still support students by donating online.

“Thank you to all who submitted nominations,” said Elsbeth Howe, Inver Hills Foundation development director. “We received many excellent candidates. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

Kim Shaff, executive director of the Inver Hills and DCTC foundations, added: “We love the opportunity to recognize people and organizations every year and highlight their dedication to our college and students.”

2021 Employee of the Year: Randi Goettl

Randi Goettl
Randi Goettl

Director of Accessibility Resources
The Bee’s Knees Committee Lead

Awardee perspective:

“This award is an honor that I will always cherish. I have amazing colleagues who have made a huge impact this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic as we transitioned to running our institution almost exclusively online. This was a tall task for all of us. I think we all need to be recognized for pushing through some rather difficult days in which balance and progress almost seemed impossible.
“During this past year, I found working from home as an opportunity to make a positive change with our social and environmental justice issues at Inver Hills. Although I had to be creative in balancing my roles as a full-time employee, a kindergarten teacher, and a mom of two young boys, I feel that this award is a confirmation of trying to be a leader in areas that I am deeply passionate about.”
Randi Goettl
Director of Accessibility Resources
The Bee’s Knees Committee Lead
Inver Hills Community College

More about Randi…

Brian and Randi by ADA-compliant raised garden bed
Brian Jacobsen and Randi by ADA-compliant raised garden bed

A licensed graduate social worker, Randi Goettl has proven to be a feverish advocate for the development of a more inclusive and disability-conscious institution through developing key partnerships, designing programming that are inclusive, encouraging consciousness of barriers to access, and challenging current institutional systems that prevent access.

Randi with Emily Johnson at Kick Off 2019

Highlights of Randi’s tenure include launching an academic coaching program, piloting a co-collegiate peer mentorship program, and continuously promoting access to higher education opportunities for individuals with ID/DD in Minnesota.

In addition to her role as the disability expert on campus, Randi has been working diligently in making the campus a more sustainably-focused and pollinator-friendly institution. She led efforts in making Inver Hills the first college in Minnesota to be recognized as a Bee Campus USA affiliate. Inver Hills is committed to conserve native pollinators, provide educational opportunities regarding pollinator conservation and oversee a committee who is dedicated to this work.

Randi has also taken the lead as the chair of the newly formed Sustainable Facilities Committee, which looks at different avenues of integrative green solutions for both Inver Hills and DCTC. In the first year, the committee has successfully launched a grant-funded recycling program at both institutions, plan a prairie restoration project, and enhance natural spaces on campus to make Inver more inclusive to all members of our community.

Nominator perspectives:

“Randi is amazing. She is an excellent advocate for students with disabilities, of course, but her work really serves as advocacy for all students—she seeks out new ways to bring awareness of ability to campus and to make real systemic changes to improve our campus culture.”

“Randi has also done incredible work to improve the environmental sustainability and carbon footprint of our campus, chairing multiple committees that are working on projects that will greatly improve our campus and how we impact the environment.”

Matt Kruger, Karen Schmidberger, Randi Goettl, Nicole Bietz at First Generation College Celebration

2021 Alumnus of the Year: Dave Rustad

Dave Rustad

Owner/President of Minnesota ATM Inc.

More about Dave…

Dave Rustad majored in Sales, Marketing and Real Estate at Inver Hills. Dave completed his studies at Inver Hills in 1988, the same year the Liberal Arts building opened on campus. He attended Inver during the tenure of Dr. Patrick Roche, the college’s fourth president.

Dave is an innovative, knowledgeable and prosperous entrepreneur. He is the owner/president of Midwest ATM Inc. and Rustad and Associates Inc., and the owner of Stillwater Advance Self Storage and Quality Mobile Wash.

Nominator perspective:

“Dave supported the college through donations that launched the first Inver Hills Alumni Association. He led fundraisers for Inver Hills and one of them helped students to travel out of state to compete in a business competition. Dave was an excellent student while at Inver Hills and has been successful in many business pursuits.”

2021 Inver Hills/DCTC Community Partner: The Open Door

Hunger-relief organization based in Dakota County

Awardee perspective…

“This is truly an honor. The partnership with Inver Hills and DCTC has truly been a shared effort to make student’s lives better. The commitment of campus leadership, and the creativity of campus staff have made this partnership a model of how higher education can work with community partners to make tangible impacts on campus hunger.”

Jason Viana
Executive Director
The Open Door
VolunteerDonate FoodMake a Financial Gift

“We here at The Open Door sure are delighted, honored and humbled to be selected as Inver Hills/DCTC Community Partner of the Year! We are thankful for this recognition and appreciate our long-standing partnership with Inver Hills and DCTC.

“It is through our partnership with the colleges that we are able to propel our mission and feed more people in need of healthy food support. Thank you again for awarding The Open Door!”

Sarah O’Brien
Development and Communications Manager
The Open Door
Volunteer Donate Food Make a Financial Gift

More about The Open Door

The Open Door is a hunger-relief organization based in Dakota County making fresh and healthy food available to more than 14,000 people each month through its combination of a bricks-and-mortar food shelf and a collection of neighborhood-based programs. Since the onset of COVID-19 and its economic impact, the organization has scaled its operations to serve more than double the number of community members in an effort to meet increased demand using the flexibility of its Mobile Food Programs.

The Open Door has the only Mobile Food Pantry in Dakota County, serving sites in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville and Rosemount. Financial challenges, mobility issues, and a lack of transportation impact thousands of seniors and families across Dakota County and limit their access to vital nutrition. The Open Door designed their collection of Mobile Food Programs to take fresh and healthy food directly into the parts of the community where it is needed most.

Nominator perspective:

“The Open Door has been a consistent partner for us since 2013 when we first began our Mobile Pantry program at Inver Hills. The Open Door has worked closely with us to continuously adapt and improve the program based on student needs and feedback. This adaptability was put into overdrive last spring when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“When everything else on our campus shut down, we knew we still needed to provide a way for students to access food during this crisis. In the early months of the pandemic, we worked with The Open Door to provide prepackaged bags of nonperishable food and other necessary items for students in need (including toilet paper)!

“As the pandemic continued, we transitioned to offering some drive-through food distribution events along with a self-service food pantry on campus, and The Open Door has provided us with all the necessary food and support to make this happen.

“Without this partnership, we would not have been able to provide this necessary resource for our students. We are so thankful for this ongoing partnership and excited to see how it continues to grow and adapt in the coming years.”

Learn more about the Inver Hills Foundation by contacting:

Kimberly Shaff
Executive Director
Inver Hills and DCTC Foundations

Elsbeth Howe
Inver Hills Development Director

Chris Hinrichs
Foundation Business & Accounting Coordinator

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