The University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) is pleased to welcome Shannon Stassen as the new Executive Director of the Northwest RSDP. In his new role, Stassen will lead a regional board of directors and work with local governments, nonprofits, community groups, foundations, and a variety of partners across Northwest Minnesota to connect local sustainability projects to research, education, and resources at the University of Minnesota.

“In all of the communities in the Northwest—whether the largest like Moorhead or Bemidji or the smallest like St. Hilaire—people are proud of their communities, and they have great ideas for making their communities even better. They see good things locally,” Stassen said. “That’s what gets me excited about this work: the people and their local pride.”

Northwest RSDP is one of five regions of the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Sustainable De­velopment Partnerships (RSDP) supporting local sustainability projects across Greater Minnesota. RSDP works in four focus areas: sustainable agriculture and food systems, clean energy, natural resources, and resilient communities. The Northwest RSDP service area includes Beltrami, Clay, Clearwater, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, and Wilkin counties and the sovereign Native nations of Red Lake Nation and White Earth Nation.

Stassen brings extensive experience with Northwest Minnesota communities as a former program associate with the Northwest RSDP, city administrator for the City of Crookston, and president of the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce. He has taught and coached at the University of Minnesota Crookston and is engaged in a number of community organizations, including the Crookston Youth Foundation and Polk County Wellness Coalition. In his free time, Stassen enjoys coaching youth sports and fishing, biking, camping, paddling, and gardening. Stassen has four children: Marcus (22), Grace (17), and Jaxon and Jakob (13). He and his partner Amanda call the region home.

To connect with Stassen and learn more about the work of the Northwest RSDP, visit