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University of Minnesota Extension

Merritt Bussiere

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Central Minnesota


Phone: 218-825-2175
Cell: 412-512-6289
Fax: 218-828-2424

Extension Regional Office, Brainerd
322 Laurel Street, Suite 21
Brainerd, MN 56401-3500

Communities where I work

Counties: Aitkin, Benton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Morrison, Todd and Wadena

Indian Country: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe


  • B.A., Latin American Political Economy, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • M.S., Urban and Regional Planning, Generalist Major/Economic Development Minor, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Numerous short courses, workshops and seminars on topics including community economic analysis, curriculum development, strategic planning, experiential learning, land use law, database design, educational program evaluation, municipal budget and finance analysis, adult education theory, group process techniques, spreadsheet model design, sustainable development, rural development, and survey research methods

Work experience

Merritt began his work for the Center for Community Vitality in April 2013. His background includes an extended affiliation with the University of Wisconsin Extension's Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development Program. He served as a county-based community development educator and as a campus-based, state land use education specialist.

Merritt also worked as a city community development director, business counselor, community planning and development consultant, loan fund manager, economic development director and zoning administrator. He has led public policy research programs for nonprofit and labor organizations. Merritt's areas of specialization include community and economic development, business feasibility planning and finance, household and user surveys, downtown revitalization, organizational development and group process, land use policy, planning and regulation, and public policy analysis and strategy development.

Affiliations, honors and community service

  • Awards: Dean's Merit Award, University of Wisconsin Extension (1994 & 1996)
  • Member: Community Development Society, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals, Core Team of Region 5's Virtual Highway Task Force
  • Certifications and Licenses: SBDC Business Counselor; NxLeveL Business Trainer; Latin American Studies Certificate, Temple University
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