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Paynesville City Administrator/Economic Development Director Finalists

For Immediate Release:
September 15, 2020
Paynesville City Administrator/Economic Development Director Finalists

Paynesville – The Paynesville City Council is pleased to announce the finalists selected for the position of City Administrator/Economic Development Director. On September 14, 2020, the Council selected six individuals to participate in an interview process that will take place on October 19 and 20, 2020. Liza Donabauer of DDA Human Resources, Inc., is the consultant hired to assist the City in the selection process. A brief bio for each individual finalist follows.

Tariq Al-Rifai is currently the founding member of Quorum Centre for Strategic Studies in London, UK. He has served in this capacity for approximately four years, and prior to that he served as the Head of Research & Investor Relations for the Kuwait Finance House, Kuwait, for three years. Prior to that, he served in various banking and investment roles for approximately 15 years. Mr. Al-Rifai holds a Master of International Business Management from DePaul University and has a bachelor’s degree in International Business Finance from St. Cloud State University.

Christopher Fieldsend
most recently served as the Parks/IT/Facilities/Fleet Superintendent for the City of Park Rapids, Minnesota, where he was in the role for seven years. Prior to that, he worked in the Public Works Department for 17 years and was the City’s Liquor Store Assistant Manager for one year. Mr. Fieldsend holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

Faith Goenner is currently the Administrative & Finance Director for the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, where she has served for approximately four years. Concurrently, Ms. Goenner serves as a Consultant for Faith Goenner Consulting for approximately 2.5 years. Ms. Goenner served as the Owner/Founder of a pregnancy shop and spa for approximately 2.5 years and in various leadership positions for the University of Minnesota for approximately 20 years. Ms. Goenner a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Minnesota.

Belinda Ludwig
is currently the Acting Co-City Administrator for the City of Paynesville, MN. She served in this position for approximately nine months in addition to her role as the City Treasurer/Finance Specialist where she has served for approximately 12 years. Prior to this, Ms. Ludwig served as the Motor Vehicle Specialist for three years for the City of Paynesville. Ms. Ludwig has a collective span of working experience of approximately 23 years in education and banking, the private sector and the county auditor’s office. Ms. Ludwig attended Ellsworth Community College.

Alexis Smith
currently serves as a Regional Program Director, providing service to the Armed Forces and International Services for the American Red Cross where she has served for approximately 1.5 years. Prior to her current employment, she served as a Human Resources Hiring and Retention Specialist for Thrive Behavioral Network for approximately 18 months. She also served as an Office Manager for the Cardiac Registry Support for 27 months and a Battalion Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Non-Commissioned Officer for the US Army National Guard for eight years. Ms. Smith holds a Master of Public Administration from St. Cloud State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the same university.

Darryll Wolnik
is currently employed with the Town of Johnstown, Colorado Planning Department as a Planner II. He has been in the position for one year. Prior to this, he served as a Planner/Planning Tech for the Sandy City Community Development Department for one year. He has also held other position including Programming Director and Assistant Summer Camp Director for Base Camp for Kids for two years, Facility Supervisor for the City of Loveland-Chilson Recreation Center for six months, and as a Patrol Officer/Swat Team Leader for the Painesville Police Department for over six years. Mr. Wolnik holds a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Tourism and a master’s degree in City and Metropolitan Planning. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Public Administration.