Our Community at Work

Where Are They Now?Many of us remember Georgia Steele who was with us some time back before ordination to the diaconate and placement elsewhere. Here’s an update on where she is now: “I have requested an assignment to St. Martin’s, Fairmont, MN (almost on the Iowa border) on a ‘part-time’ basis (2-3 times a month) starting Easter Sunday 2014. This parish is near my hometown of Ceylon, MN and will give me more time to be with my family in the next year in a more intentional and focused way. I am grateful that the Bishop has granted me this opportunity.”

Our Members at Work in the World Gethsemane member Thomas Powell has joined the staff of the Council on Crime and Justice (crimeandjustice@crimeandjustice.org) as a Mentor Coordinator and Parenting Class Educator. 
Thomas brings extensive experience in the criminal justice field. While working at the Hennepin County Public Defenders' Office, Thomas was a dispositional advisor. He also served on the hospital review board of the Minnesota State Sex Offenders Program, facilitated men's support groups for the Domestic Abuse Project, and was a restorative justice facilitator for the Legal Rights Center. “I’ve always liked the work. There’s an uncertainty about opening the concept of justice up to emotions. But that sensitivity, that awareness and understanding is what communities need to heal. When you give people the chance to talk, everyone can come away with a sense of hope.”

Thomas first came in contact with CCJ while facilitating restorative justice conferences. “I appreciated the Council for not just finding the best approach, but really putting that data to work through collaborations in the community….It’s amazing, the wealth of expertise at the Council. That, matched with the passion for equality, that’s a recipe for positive change.”

Thomas attended his first Parenting Class Graduation this past week at Stillwater’s Minnesota Correctional Facility. Eight men graduated Tuesday, and an additional four men were recognized for their participation. “Two of the men in the group said that before taking the class, they were not on speaking terms at all with their children. Now, they’ve reconnected and are working toward establishing a healthy relationship with their children.” 

CCJ classes begin with a two-fold approach. One educator says, “There’s a stigma that comes with incarceration. For a lot of participants and their families, they have to overcome the shame of serving time. Then we can take steps toward more positive relationships.” As one graduate said last night, “It’s all about making changes.”

Small Business: Rani Engineering on track to grow • Article by: TODD NELSON , Special to the Star Tribune • Updated: March 2, 2014 - 10:06 AM Rail-signal engineering work in booming North Dakota and other states is helping to propel Rani Engineering, based in Minneapolis. Rani Engineering is a small Minneapolis firm that doesn’t act like one, working on huge projects like the Central Corridor light-rail line and tapping North Dakota’s oil boom to fuel growth. Driving the company’s expansion, founder and president Susan Park Rani said, are partnerships with bigger firms, rail-signal design services and continuing investments in employees and equipment.

As a woman and minority in a traditionally male-dominated industry, the South Korea-born Rani has seen her profile rise along with her firm’s. In July, Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her to the eight-member board overseeing the Mayo Clinic’s $5.6 billion Destination Medical Center expansion in Rochester, the largest economic development project in state history. Rani will be the keynote speaker on March 11 at a Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce event focusing on the Mayo project.

“I thought he made a mistake when he called,” said the self-deprecating Rani. She was among those accompanying Dayton on his 2011 trade mission to South Korea. Rani left there as a youngster, joining her engineer father here and later earning a civil engineering degree and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Find the full the Star Tribune article at: http://www.startribune.com/business/247901921.html

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