Helle to leave Hormel Historic Home

Published 1:25 pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AUSTIN — There’s a big change coming for Vision 2020.

Laura Helle, executive director for the Hormel Historic Home, will leave her position to become the new Director of Vision Creation for Vision 2020. In effect, she’ll coordinate efforts between the 10 committees designed to improve Austin by the year 2020, which will include pursuing grant money and other administrative efforts.

“It became pretty clear that all of the committees could function more smoothly with one person coordinating,” Helle said.

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The move is welcome, as Vision 2020 organizers said it was clear someone would need to help each committee as they transition through their respective projects.

“It’s just outstanding,” said Gary Ray, Vision 2020 Steering Committee chairman. “She’s been so deeply involved in Vision 2020 to date.”

Helle joined the HHH as executive director six years ago, after working in Albert Lea and wanting a new challenge to tackle. She said she was pleased to work with an organization where so many people volunteered their time and effort.

“I really feel like it’s been a privilege, and the HHH is such a community asset,” Helle said. “And it is a community asset because of so many people who support the mission.”

Helle will work full-time with the HHH for the next two weeks, and then will split her time between the HHH and Vision 2020 starting Sept. 12. She will continue at the HHH for six weeks, until she joins Vision 2020 full-time on Oct. 24. She will be paid through a three-year Hormel Foundation grant, and other organizations are stepping forward to fund further Vision 2020 initiatives as well, according to Ray.

“It’s a community effort,” he said.

Helle said she is looking forward to working with Vision 2020 and watching as more committees progress.

“I’m very impressed at how far it’s come over the past year,” she said. “I think the next few years we’re going to blow ourselves away with the progress we’ve made.”