Lindsey Reding loved the time she spent living and working in Thailand, but she knew it wasn’t going to be permanent. Her place, she felt, was in Southeast Minnesota. “I have always loved this area and knew I would eventually want to come back,” she explained. While living in Preston and working as an Interpretive Naturalist at Forestville State Park, she heard about the open Preston Area Chamber of Commerce Director position and applied for it. She was hired and began her new job on August 2.
Reding, who grew up in Rochester, graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in Recreation and Tourism with a minor in Biology. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Thailand to work with community development. After leaving the Peace Corps, she stayed in Thailand for 11 years running a foundation and working with tourism in a small village. In June 2023, Reding moved back to Minnesota to be closer to her sister and nephews. “I love Southeast Minnesota,” she said. “The nature is beautiful, and the people are extremely kind.
“I feel very, very lucky that I found this job because I wanted to find something to keep me here,” Reding said. She loves that the work is similar to what she had done in Thailand. “Community development is kind of the same everywhere,” she explained. “I got a sense of how tourism ties into economic development while in Thailand.”
The transition to her new job as Chamber director has gone smoothly for Reding so far. “Everybody has been extremely helpful with introducing themselves and sharing information,” she said. “I’ve felt nothing but support since I’ve been here. I already feel like it’s a
family.” She also credits outgoing director Gabby Kinneberg with being very organized, which has made it easier for her to find what she needs.
Reding jumped right into her new job with preparing for the rebranded Taste of the Trail, the Root River Valley Autumn Trail event which will take place on September 16 in Preston. She’s sat in on a council meeting and a Chamber meeting, and even led her first Chamber meeting on September 6. For the time being, she doesn’t have any big plans for the Chamber. “This year, I’m just going to take a calendar year to see how things are run, what typically happens throughout the season, and just see how things ebb and flow,” Reding explained. She is looking forward to the upcoming winter season and the events that go with it.
As a fairly new resident of Preston, Reding looks forward to truly becoming part of the community. She is also excited to get to know what the members of the community see for Preston’s future and what direction they want to go. She has plans to conduct a survey over the winter months to help clarify that vision and to be inspired by what people have to say. “I’m going to go with the flow for now and get a sense for where people want to see the town go,” she said.
Reding describes herself as outdoorsy, making the Preston area a perfect fit for her. She enjoys hiking and can’t wait to try trout fishing when the season opens next May. She has found learning the history of Preston and the surrounding towns to be very interesting.
“Each town along this area has their own special gems,” she commented.
“Thank you to everyone in Preston for welcoming me so nicely and being so kind and friendly,” Reding said. “It’s been a very easy transition for me to come here. Being able to do what I love in a place I love is very good for me.”