About GTS Educational Events

GTS Educational Events serves government agencies and civic organizations with educational event planning and management to ensure they have the knowledge and skills needed to make positive change for themselves and the communities they serve.

Educational Event Planning and Management Services chart

Mission, Vision, Values

Our mission: GTS Educational Events designs, convenes and supports educational programs for government and civic sectors that engage, inspire and inform.

Our vision: To be the national leader in educational events, helping government and civic organizations build knowledge, drive innovation and improve communication.

Mission, Vision, Values

Innovative Leadership

Boundless Growth

Enduring Excellence

Relentless Resourcefulness

Thoughtful Collaboration


Our clients include those who have worked with GTS for decades as well as new clients who are just beginning to reap the benefits of outsourcing their current event planning and management needs.

In addition to our clients' events, we also host our own events - events for the public and civic sectors that engage stakeholders, inspire change and inform action.

Minnesota Association of City Attorneys

  • Minnesota Attorneys' Educational Conference
  • Minnesota Attorney's Legislative Update

MAVA - Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Administration

  • National Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership

Minnesota City/County Management Association

  • Spring Leadership Institute

Minnesota Department of Health

  • e-Health Summit
  • Learning Days
  • Got Your Shots? Immunization Conference

Minnesota Department of Human Services

  • Minnesota Age and Disabilities Odyssey Conference

Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Division

  • Governor's' Homeland Security and Emergency Management Conference (HSEM)

Ramsey County League of Local Governments

  • RCLLG Annual Meeting and Program


GTS Educational Events prides itself on the experience, expertise and passion of its staff. Whether its knowledge of event planning, marketing and sales expertise, operations management or experience with nonprofits, our team is passionate about the work we do and the impact our efforts have on the careers and lives of those who are served through the events we plan.

GTS Staff Photo

Mary Wynne

Mary Wynne
Executive Director

"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." - T.S. Eliot

Terri Swanson

Terri Swanson
Director of Marketing and Communications

"An organization's greatest asset is its people."

Cynthia Berg

Cynthia Berg
Director of Business Operations

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not." - Oprah Winfrey

Alice Johnson

Alice Johnson
Senior Event Manager

"Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark." - Jay Danzie

Michelle Showalter

Michelle Showalter
Event Marketing Manager

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Caitlin Pinick

Caitlin Pinick
Event Manager

"Watching great people do what you love is a good way to start learning how to do it yourself." - Amy Poehler

Tonya Barnes

Tonya Barnes
Event Engagement and Registration Specialist

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make" - Jane Goodall

Julie Nerheim Erlandson

Julie Nerheim Erlandson

"You don't have to be great to start, but you do need to start to be great!" - Zig Ziglar


Our Board of Directors represent different roles and organizations, which helps provide breadth and depth as they guide and advise GTS Educational Events on issues of the day and future direction. This team of nonprofit and business professionals knows the underpinnings of GTS and what guides our work - and your deliverables. The GTS Board of Directors shares our mission and values and hold us to the highest standards so you receive exceptional service and results.

Claudia Dengler

Claudia Dengler

Board Treasurer
Business Planning Consultant

Mick Hawton

Mick Hawton

Board Member
Vice President of Business Development and Operations, Trig Life Services

Jeannie Fox

Jeannie Fox

Board Member
Professor and Director, Nonprofit Management Programs; Co-Director, Public Administration Programs
Hamline School of Business

Corrine Heine

Corrine Heine

Board Member
City Attorney, City of Minnetonka

Mike Sable

Mike Sable

Board Member
Director, Facility Services
Hennepin County Government Center

Terrance Kraling

Terrance Kraling

Board Vice Chair
Senior Manager, Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP

Jay Kiedrowski

Jay Kiedrowski

Board Member
Senior Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Dianne Miller

Dianne Miller

Board Chair
Assistant City Administrator, City of Eagan

James Kauth

James Kauth

Board Member
IT Operations Director, MN Department of Education

Mary Wynne

Mary Wynne

Board Secretary
Executive Director, GTS Educational Events


GTS AwardsGTS has won both formal and informal recognition with awards, commendations and formal recognition from the American Society for Training and Development (Minnesota Chapter), the Minnesota Association of Continuing Adult Education, three Minnesota governors and several professional and trade associations.

Although esteemed, the best award/reward we receive is the satisfaction of our clients and the success of the events that we manage and host. GTS has many long-term partners and clients including the Minnesota City and County Managers Association, the Minnesota Association of City Attorneys, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education and others.

Some of our awards include:

  • Pace Setters Award by the Intergovernmental Information Systems Advisory Council
  • Excellence in Count Government Award by Association of Minnesota Counties
  • Outstanding Contributions to Improving City Government by League of Minnesota Cities
  • Outstanding Professional Excellence Award by American Society of Training and Development
  • Outstanding Service for 25 years by Minnesota City/County Management Association
  • Outstanding Service Award, Minnesota Association of Townships
  • Outstanding Service Award, Municipal Clerks and Finance Association of Minnesota
  • Certificate of Commendation for Commitment to Education, from then Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson

"GTS was calm, organized and professional in helping us prepare for our statewide (Learning Days) conference. Their staff has expertise that made our job easier and, more importantly, helped produce a great event for our stakeholders. GTS is more than a conference planner. They're an event partner."
Carol Bauer, Planner Principal, Health Care Homes, Minnesota Department of Health

"Cisco has been a sponsor of the Government IT Symposium for over 10 years. We have found this is to be the most effective event in Minnesota for reaching our public sector customers."
Bill Bleckwehl, Account Manager, Government Sector, Cisco

"After years of doing sponsor recruitment through volunteers, we decided to ask GTS to help us out by partnering with our PMI-MN team. Based on experience with other events, they developed a program and structure that helped ensure that the sponsorship opportunities we offered were a win/win for the sponsor and PMI. Through their email campaigns and personal outreach, they also helped us bring in new sponsors as well as upgrade current exhibitor and sponsor commitments."
Joe Perzel, Board of Directors, Minnesota Chapter of PMI

"The key value that GTS provides is its ability to take charge of the event from beginning to end with outstanding results. I continue to be impressed with the staff's efficiency and effectiveness in handling the overall process, from working with the planning committee and co-sponsors to taking care of the myriad of details that an event of this magnitude demands. One of the special benefits that GTS offers is the fact that it has worked with state and local governments for years, and knows the ins and outs of delivering community services and intergovernmental operations."
Gopal Khanna, Chief Information Officer, State of Minnesota


Highlighting Minnesota Government's IT Innovations

An article on the Route Fifty web site about the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium and the Golden GOVIT awards.
Read More >

Golden GOVIT Award Winners Work to Transform Minnesota Communities Through Collaboration, Innovation and Service

GTS Educational Events announced and celebrated the winners at a special ceremony on December 5 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, in Conjunction with the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium.
Read More >

Media Alert: Career Connection

Career Connection: Exploring Opportunities in Government IT is an afternoon of learning and networking for recent grads and professionals looking for new career and government agencies in need of IT staff.
Read More >

Media Alert: 36th Annual Government IT Symposium

The Government IT Symposium is hosted by GTS Educational Events, a non-profit organization that designs, convenes and supports educational programs for government and civic sectors that engage, inspire and inform.
Read More >

GTS Educational Events Launches New Golden GOVIT Awards Program in Concert with the 36th Annual Government IT Symposium

Winners will be celebrated at a special awards ceremony on December 5 at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Read More >

The A+ Education Conference: Supporting the Professional Development of Minnesota Educators

The conference grows the work of the Minnesota Department of Education's Minnesota Assessment Conference, with expanded programming and a broader focus.
Read More >

Join GTS in Celebrating 40 Years!

GTS Educational Events invites you to our celebratory open house for food, drive and music.
Thursday, October 10, 4-6 p.m.
At our new location: 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 206, St. Paul, MN 55108

GTS Celebrates 40 Years of Dedication

GTS Celebrates 40 years of dedication to helping those in the public and civic sectors meet their needs for continuing education and professional management. Celebration to be held during the 35th Annual Government IT Symposium, December 6 - 8, 2016 at Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Date is Set For 35th Annual Government IT Symposium

Date is set for 35th Annual Government IT Symposium, December 6 - 8, 2016

GTS to Host Minnesota Assessment Plus (A+) Conference

GTS to host Minnesota Assessment Plus (A+) Conference, August 10, 2017


Office Manager

This highly visible and integral position provides accounting, administrative and operational support for a dynamic, mission-driven and client-focused organization. This role contributes in areas of basic accounting, purchasing, information technology, record keeping, and reporting, as well as operational support for the organization in the areas of business procedures and systems and guest care. This position requires flexibility, independent problem solving, a proactive approach and receiving direction from the Director of Business Operations, as well as the leadership team. Click here (.pdf file) for more information and application instructions.

10 Reasons to Select GTS to Help with Your Event

1. Renowned Event Planning Organization

With a 40-year history of serving the public and civic sectors, GTS has proven to be a leader in educational event planning, promotion, management and implementation. We will capitalize on our experience to provide you with a worry-free, successful event.

2. Resourceful

As a nonprofit organization, GTS needs to be smart and effective with what we do and what we spend. We pride ourselves on our ability to look for ways to help save time, effort and dollars without sacrificing quality-not only for our own organization, but for the events that we manage.

3. Impeccable Reputation

Whether it's planning an event from beginning to end, handling online registration only, or managing sponsors and exhibitors, our clients as well as our event participants continually rate GTS high for service. We work hard for our good reputation and value the positive and constructive feedback we receive from our clients. We will use this input to foster a positive partnership with you and for your event.

4. Exceptional Service Delivery

Service is one of our core values; it is the key to how we work together as a team and how we work for our clients. With a streamlined and proven approach, we ensure that all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed so that you and your team can relax and enjoy a smooth, successful event.

5. Staff Expertise

We are well versed in event planning, management, marketing and implementation. Not only do we have deep knowledge and experience of our own roles, but the entire process needed for a successful event. Our team members draw on each other's experience, skills, expertise and assistance and support to provide nothing short of excellence for you and your event.

6. Team Approach

GTS is an effective event management team of professionals who work together to achieve success. You will have a key contact person who will handle your needs, questions and concerns, and will manage an internal team to keep your project moving forward.

7. Turnkey System

We are a full-service organization ready to handle all your educational event needs from theme to thank you. No need to juggle multiple vendors. We will help you find the best speakers, manage your registration needs, provide additional funding for your event through sponsorship and exhibitor sales, negotiate with facilities to secure your venue, oversee all your onsite setup and equipment needs and even handle special events. We can provide all the pieces to make your event go smoothly for you, your attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

8. Community Connections

GTS has relationships with key public, private and community leaders across sectors and disciplines that we can leverage as we help you plan your speakers, learning sessions and event programs. We have also worked with hundreds of companies and organizations who seek opportunities to exhibit and/or sponsor at events like yours. Our goal is to create a mutually beneficial relationship for our clients and our connections and we are happy to facilitate these partnerships to that end.

9. Kindred Spirit

As a nonprofit, we understand your specific needs and are philosophically aligned with your mission to support the people you serve. Our mission is to create educational opportunities for the public and civic sectors that engage stakeholders, inspire change and inform action.

10. Long-term Perspective

We focus on the short-and long-term goals of your event. We help identify, assess and develop solutions to meet your immediate educational needs, while offering a plan for continuous learning for your attendees and quality improvement and for your program for years to come. Your goal is a long-term educational program for your attendees and members; our goal is a long-standing partnership with our clients - you!


40 Years of Engaging, Inspiring and Informing

Minnesota ranks sixth in the nation in the number of local government entities. This strong emphasis on local governance has its benefits, but also its challenges. For example, how do local policymakers, staff, and appointed officials in diverse settings and from diverse backgrounds gain the knowledge to make informed decisions about the future of their communities and the skills to work effectively with other stakeholder groups?

In 1976, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Minnesota convened a group of local government officials, state legislators, and higher education representatives to address this very question. Government Training Services was the result. Originally structured as a public, joint powers organization, its governing members included the Association of Minnesota Counties, League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota Association of Townships, Minnesota Regional Development Organizations, Minnesota School Boards Association, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, State of Minnesota, and University of Minnesota.

The guiding principles behind the creation of GTS were to bring together the providers and consumers of education and training, to develop quality programs available to all local governments so that each local entity did not have to "reinvent the wheel," and to consider economies of scale. What emerged was a vehicle ideally suited for addressing intergovernmental and multi-sector educational needs.

Initial funding came from three-year foundation and federal grants. In 1981 a state appropriation was secured, which underwrote approximately 16 percent of the GTS operating budget. The remainder of GTS revenue was earned through registration fees, contracts for services, grants and private sector funding.

In 2003, GTS transitioned to a nonprofit organization.

The appropriation we depended on was just one of many cuts made during the 2003 state legislative session to eliminate a projected $4 billion deficit. In addition, local government aid was reduced significantly and legislation was passed limiting state contracts for the biennium, affecting our key clients and audiences. Finally, neighboring Minnesota Public Radio bought the building that housed the GTS office, forcing a search for new quarters. These factors converged to create an unpredictable future for GTS.

During nine months of discussion with representatives from the governing-member organizations, several things became clear. First, many clients wanted to continue working with GTS. Second, the staff's experience and expertise in collaborative efforts had potential benefits and applications for the nonprofit community as well. Finally, many new opportunities could be pursued through creation of a new structure, development of new products and services, and interaction with new audiences.

Consequently, the GTS governing board decided to officially dissolve the joint powers organization on March 31, 2004, and member organizations transferred the GTS name, intellectual property, contracts and monies to a newly incorporated nonprofit organization.

On April 1, 2004, staff came to work for the nonprofit Government Training Services, Inc, with a new board and expanded mission. Known today at GTS Educational Events, we continue to plan, manage and promote educational events for thousands of public and nonprofit participants each year, including handling events for government and civic organizations as well as hosting our own educational events.