Prairie Profiles: ‘Excited to be here’

Published 7:16 pm Monday, December 30, 2019

Interim chamber director owns mediation, consulting firm


A local business owner is stepping in to a new role in the business community.

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Torrey Zimmerman, founder and owner of Zimmerman, Steel & Gray mediation and consulting firm, was named the interim executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce in early December. The chamber announced in September that it had parted ways with previous executive director Rhonda Jordal.

Zimmerman, who runs his firm out of The Outlet in downtown Albert Lea, said he was approached to step in to the temporary role on a contract basis. Having worked with nonprofits and other organizations through his business before, Zimmerman said he has been an interim director or leader for other organizations in the past. He said it gives the groups time to find the right person for the job, instead of rushing the search in order to keep operations consistent.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity,” he said. “It’s an honor for me to be asked.”

Zimmerman, 46, has been in the area for about eight years. He lives in the Alden/Manchester area with his wife and children, and started his mediation and consulting firm in 2015. He said he hasn’t quite settled into the chamber role yet as the holidays have changed the usual routine, but said he looks forward to understanding the “complex organization” and its resources. He said the chamber is unique in that it doesn’t just work with businesses, but also government and civic entities.

“There’s lots of stuff going on,” he said.

Zimmerman said the business climate in Albert Lea is complex, vital and very active, and the people he has met so far seem very interested in pouring resources back into the community.

“This community is really interesting in that a lot of the businesses here are not transplants,” he said. “They were grown here. Their presence is strong.”

Zimmerman said the chamber is made better by the businesses in the community, and that there are a lot of opportunities for growth and advancement, for both businesses and the chamber itself. He said he looks forward to meeting with more business owners and leaders to find out ways the chamber can grow and adapt to an ever-changing business climate to better assist its members. The chamber is not shying away from questions or concerns its members or prospective members may have, Zimmerman said.

“I’m excited to be here, and to see what the next few months hold,” he said. “I’m hoping to talk with everyone.”


Torrey Zimmerman

Age: 46

City: Alden

Livelihood: owner of Zimmerman, Steel & Gray mediation and consulting firm, and interim executive director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce

Family: wife, Clare, and three children


About Colleen Harrison

Colleen Harrison is the photo editor at the Albert Lea Tribune. She does photography and writes general-assignment stories.

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