COLUMN: Room for everyone
EDITOR'S NOTE: Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please ...
EDITOR'S NOTE: Palace City Profiles is an ongoing series of community members' stories, introducing us to our neighbors and the personalities that call Mitchell home. If you have suggestions for individuals or families with a great story, please contact Jacki Miskimins at (605) 996-1140.
There are two things Beth Folkerts has never been short on: creativity, and love for her hometown area. The community passion came easily growing up on a farm just north of Mount Vernon, The creativity was nurtured through family traditions of crafting, baking and decorating, and a personal interest in photography.
After graduating from Mount Vernon High School in 2004, Folkerts attended Southwest Minnesota State University for graphic design and marketing. There, she honed her technical design skills creating images, branding pieces and marketing collateral for university mailings, events and publications. With graduation approaching, Folkerts felt compelled to come home, but struggled with the prospect of establishing a creative career in the small-town atmosphere she wanted.
"I knew I wanted to put my design skills to work, to get up every morning and create amazing things. But I honestly thought the only possibility for landing a creative position like I wanted directly after college was to go to the cities or somewhere far, far away," Folkerts said.
After graduating in 2008, Folkerts moved to Minneapolis to bulk up her corporate design experience.
"I learned a ton. But I wanted to come home."
With her strong Midwestern work ethic and a bursting portfolio of professional work, she was offered positions at a variety of companies -- including, to her surprise, one in Mitchell.
"I was absolutely thrilled -- I could do what I loved, where I loved," she said.
Not long after, she met her husband, Jeff. Also from the area, Jeff Folkerts holds a degree in architectural drafting and building construction from Mitchell Technical Institute and a business degree from Dakota Wesleyan University. He is a CAD Specialist at Vantage Point Solutions. With two budding careers, friends and relatives nearby and a growing family, the Folkerts were thrilled at their good fortune.
Then, in the spring of 2013, a friend approached Beth Folkerts with a question.
"She had heard Laura Klock mention in their Leadership Mitchell class that she could use help with the marketing side of Klock Werks," Folkerts said. "She knew about my design background, and called wondering if I might consider a new direction."
It was a serendipitous connection. Within hours, Beth was hired to work freelance, moving to full-time following the birth of the Folkerts' son, Ledger.
"I honestly never thought I could work for a company that is so in line with my values and my family" she said. "Their involvement with the community is amazing. I've even learned how to ride a motorcycle since I began here. It's been an incredible ride -- literally!"
Looking back, the Folkerts family is grateful.
"Someone was really looking out for me," Beth said. "To find a career I love, at a business that is so in line with my personality -- and where Jeff can work, while we raise our son so close to family has been incredible."
Jeff agrees. "I never thought that we would both have these great jobs -- creative, and technical -- in Mitchell. We didn't realize how big the job market really was here," Jeff said. "But we both found exactly what we were looking for."
"It's amazing how you can live somewhere for so long, and not fully understand what the community has to offer until you're older," Beth said. "I have fallen in love with my hometown all over again."