About Us

SouthGrow is an economic development alliance of twenty-four south central Alberta communities committed to working together to achieve prosperity for the region.

SouthGrow Regional Initiative is a member-driven, non-profit regional economic development alliance in south central Alberta. Voting representatives among member communities consist of one elected and one designated community member from each municipality. Our focus is on working with member communities, industry/business, government and others to achieve common purpose of area economic development and shared services opportunities.

Strategic Collaboration
Marketing & Communication
Economic Development & Innovation




Our Core Goals

SouthGrow’s mission is to accelerate and enhance quality of life, development and sustainability for the communities of the SouthGrow region of Alberta.

Specifically, SouthGrow:

  • Fosters a south central Alberta shared vision for regional economic development;

  • Creates new economic development opportunities in the region;

  • Encourages and enhances shared services among communities through cooperation; and

  • Provides south central Alberta with a unified voice on regional priorities.​

Recent Projects

The SouthGrow region continuously produces companies, organization, and communities which are successful on a provincial, national, and even global stage. Below are a few case studies of such examples:

  • Launch extranet through website

  • Annual council presentations

  • Focused committees

  • Regional asset inventory

  • Secure increased investment from members

  • Secure funding increase from province

  • Expand staff and increase organizational efficiency

  • Develop grant monitoring and application program

  • Secure final three members

  • Expand associate memberships to industry

  • Website redevelopment

  • Community website enhancement

  • Organizational rebranding

  • Site selection assets for all communities and the region

  • Legislative review for investment readiness 


Our Team

SouthGrow Regional Initiative is operated by a small but dedicated team of employees and an Executive team of the Board of Directors.

Jim Willett

My name is Jim Willett and I am a member of the Village Council in Coutts where I also serve as Mayor.

I became a member of the SouthGrow Management Board  in February of 2018. I am also a past director on the board of Community Futures Chinook where I sat on the


Investment Review Committee. I was a journeyman tradesman in industrial instrumentation and control and spent over 25 years in mining maintenance supervision. Prior to moving to Coutts in late 2013, my wife, Cindy Clarke, and I, were private business-people in Edmonton. I chose to retire in the SouthGrow region because it felt like home, the people are friendly, and opportunities abound.

As chair of the SouthGrow Executive I am blessed to be able to work with a very dedicated group of people on the executive, and an outstanding executive director,  who have nothing else but the advancement of our region economically as their collective goal. We have an outstanding region with tremendous potential, and SouthGrow is working to see that potential recognized worldwide. I’m happy to be able to play a part in this great adventure.

Ron Lagemaat

I was born and raised in Lethbridge, obtaining my BSc degree from the U of L.  While my career took me away from Southern Alberta for a few years, my family and I decided to live in Coalhurst upon returning to the area.  I am currently a Councillor for the Town of Coalhurst serving my 4th term in office. I am also a small business owner in

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Lethbridge operating Right Choice Realty Inc, an independent Real Estate Brokerage serving Lethbridge and Area since October 2017.  I am returning to SouthGrow, after having been Chairperson in the past, with an enthusiastic view towards municipal collaboration in economic development and prosperity for our region.

Phil Wright

Phil is a councillor for the Town of Milk River, located along Highway 4 near the U.S. border. Phil brings to the Board a long history of working in telecommunications, in multiple roles and in multiple countries and is an invaluable advisor for SouthGrow's efforts to expand Broadband infastructure.


Phil's experience in the region includes many years working for the County of Warner. Recently, he took over the management of the Milk River Cable Club. 

Phil joined the board to bring his considerable experience in Broadband to the service of the region.

Laurie Lyckman

I was born and raised in Carmangay and married my husband, Randy, forty-two years ago. We have four daughters and ten grandchildren. We live on the Lyckman homestead which was started in 1907. One of our daughters has come home with her family to continue with our cow and calf operation. We also do custom haying along


with our own hay.


I have been very involved in my community since I was young. I received the first Carmangay Lions Award and the Provincial Award for Volunteerism for my community leadership and volunteer work in 2016. I worked at the Peter Dawson Lodge in Vulcan for over twenty years as Director of Resident Care and loved my job so much I never worked a day in my life. I was elected to the Council of the County of Vulcan in the last election and I have truly enjoyed people I have met and all that I have been able to help with on our council.


I’m looking forward to being on the SouthGrow Board & helping bring more to Southern Alberta which I have always called God’s country because it is so beautiful.

Gerry Selk

I was born and raised in Southern Alberta (in Milk River) and aside from 6 years in Edmonton at the beginning of my career, I have lived (in Cardston) and worked in Southern Alberta my whole life.


I can safely say this area is a big part of who I am. I married my wonderful wife, Barbara Johnson, almost

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35 years ago and we have three children all married and on their own, as well as three amazing grandsons. I spent 32 years working for the Canada Border Services Agency and retired from there two and a half years ago. I previously sat on Cardston Town Council from 2001-2007. I was somewhat familiar with Southgrow back then but when I made my return to council last fall Mayor Maggie Kronen, knowing of my passion for Economic Development, insisted that I attend the planning sessions that resulted in our Strategic Plan. She paved my way into SouthGrow and I am grateful to her and for this opportunity to serve on the board.

Peter Casurella
Executive Director

My name is Peter Casurella. I was born and raised in Didsbury, Alberta, where I attended a rural school, and lived and breathed the rural Alberta lifestyle till I moved to the big City of Lethbridge to attend University. Lethbridge quickly became my home and won over my heart, and over the intervening years Southern


Alberta has taken over a big chunk of my heart. I met my beautiful wife here, and now we are raising a small family together.


The SouthGrow Region has so much promise, so many opportunities, and can play such a big role on the world stage. Our communities form a hub of technological and agricultural innovation with a deep well of experience and talent to draw from. We are backed by one of the most vibrant economies in the world, fueled by massive natural resources and environmental advantages, and have economic opportunities unrolling in front of us that speak directly to our strengths. 


It is my honor to be able to play a key role in helping our region seize these opportunities so that all of our communities can enjoy a high quality of life together. 

Vern Steinborn
Outreach Officer

My name is Vern Steinborn, I am a plumber, gasfitter and utility operator by trades and have been working in these trade from 1975 to 2016 in the southern Alberta area.

SouthGrow was looking to fill a position of an outreach officer for the promotion of the On Farm Energy Management Program,

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which is now called the Farm Energy and Agri-Processing Program, along with the Farm Solar PV Program. I applied and was accepted for this position, My area covers from Ponaka County south, covering a total of 25 counties. So, I represent the producers helping them to understand what is available within these programs to receive funding and why it is beneficial for them to want to change to an energy savings way of doing business. Not only is it beneficial for the carbon footprint but also reduces their total cost of production.

I chose to do this because I could see the benefits of energy efficiency for not only producers but to all Albertans.