Albert Lea-based renewable energy consulting business is expanding
Good steward consulting headquarters moving to former Color wheel
Mariah Lynne, president and CEO of Good Steward Consulting, started her business as a one-person operation in 2017. Now in 2021, Good Steward is moving to a new building in downtown Albert Lea, and has 19 employees with more offices across the Midwest.
The reason for the move is to make room for her ever-expanding business and growing number of employees.
The company assists renewable energy development companies with their public outreach vision, goals and implementation.
When Lynne bought her current building at 137 N. Broadway, she said she did a complete overhaul of the building, restoring it to its original architectural design. In doing so, Lynne designed the building for one- or two-person businesses. Now, with a growing number of employees, Lynne said it was time to move.
“We outgrew that space — actually relatively quickly,” Lynne said. “Within the first two years, by 2019, we had outgrown the space on the main level. We actually moved into the apartment upstairs and made that work for a while, but we knew we would outgrow that, too.”
Lynne said she liked being in downtown Albert Lea, so she kept an eye out for any building that became available.
Eventually 126 W. Main Street, the former location of The Color Wheel, became available, and Lynne jumped at the opportunity.
WIth a larger main level, Lynn said some minor renovations will happen such as the addition of offices, a conference room and an additional bathroom.
Lynne and her team have worked remotely since April 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said some aspects of working remotely have been difficult, but they’ve been able to make it work, and they are excited to start working together again under the same roof.
“Because we shared the space with the attorney’s office and other renters, we didn’t have the ability to fully make the space our own and enjoy it completely as a team,” she said. “The new building, we have the opportunity to make the space what we need for our growing company, to make the space our own and we’ll be the only entity utilizing that main level.”
The old location is still home to an attorney’s office, Gerard Mental Health Services, two newly open offices with shared conference space, and will be home to the local project office of a renewable energy project taking place in rural Hayward.
“With all of our projects, we try to have a local office,” Lynne said. “A place for the public to come in and learn about the project and ask questions. Our old building will be home to the local representative for the Hayward solar project.”
Not only has Good Steward Consulting grown into needing more space for its headquarters, it has also grown into eight additional offices located across the Midwest. There is a local project office in Missouri, four in Wisconsin and four in Indiana, according to Lynne.
“The thought does cross your mind, ‘Are we located where we need to be to provide services to the Midwest?’” Lynne said. “A lot of our projects are 10-plus hours away. When it came down to where we wanted the headquarters to be, I never thought twice about keeping it in Albert Lea. I have a real strong passion for Albert Lea. I’ve been able to find talent in Albert Lea and attract talent to Albert Lea.”
Lynne said buying the new building and expanding her business has been satisfying on a number of levels.
“It’s satisfying to me because I always wanted to see the community of Albert Lea be a place where I could do what I love and find success, and it’s proven to be that place for me,” she said.