The Farmington City Council welcomed a new council member in Katie Bernhjelm, the Vikings manager of marketing partnerships.
Bernhjelm was appointed Monday evening to fill Tim Pitcher's vacated seat and serve the remainder of his term, which runs through December 2018.
Pitcher was elected to the council in November 2014 but resigned on March 9 due to the acceptance of a new job outside of Farmington. Nine candidates applied for the open seat, including Bernhjelm, who has held a position in the Vikings front office since 2013.
Participation in local politics is not a new interest for Bernhjelm, who has been actively involved in a number of local chambers, including the Eden Prairie Chamber board and currently serving on the steering committee for Leadership Twin Cities through the Minneapolis Regional Chamber.
"My husband and I purchased our first home last summer in Farmington," Bernhjelm said. "I knew we would be living there long term, giving me the opportunity to eventually get involved in something like the City Council."
Bernhjelm, who is expecting her first child in early May, feels strongly that being actively involved in one's community makes it a better place to live.
"You get to know more of the area businesses, your neighbors, and the community as a whole," she said. "You feel more invested in seeing your community grow and prosper."
Added Bernhjelm: "I also see it as an opportunity for personal and professional growth and continued education in a hands-on way."
Bernhjelm was heavily involved in marketing projects surrounding the building of U.S. Bank Stadium, and the process helped her to gain a new perspective on the way public and private partnerships work congruently.
The current project of the Vikings new practice facility in Eagan furthers Bernhjelm's motivation for being involved at the city level.
"The Vikings have always encouraged us as employees to give back or get involved in our local communities, and I'm glad they are supportive of employees pursuing our passions," Bernhjelm said. "[Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren] often proclaims that our team goal is to be 'best in class,' and I hope to bring that same goal and enthusiasm to the City of Farmington."