As a born and raised native of Elk Horn, the largest rural Danish settlement in the US, Lisa Steen Riggs, a third generation Danish American, knew she wanted to be a Viking or Don Quixote at the age of ten. Unfortunately, those roles were already taken so she became the manager of the Danish Windmill in 1977. Lisa has announced her intention to retire this year after 44 years. She is working with the Board of Directors to recruit the next caretaker of the historic Mill and help them learn the ropes.
Lisa was the first full time employee hired when the 1848 Danish Windmill was brought from Denmark and restored on Iowa soil. Under her leadership the Mill has become a viable tourist attraction, museum and an Iowa Welcome Center. Lisa promotes Iowa tourism day in and day out and helped create the two annual Danish American festivals in the Danish Villages over forty years ago. They continue to this day.
Through the years, Lisa has been President of the Golden Southwest Tourism Region, Western Iowa Tourism Region, Iowa Travel Federation and Myrtue Memorial Hospital Foundation. She has served on many committees on a state, regional and local level representing tourism, festivals and economic development. She also was one of the first board members for The Danish Immigrant Museum now the Museum of Danish America.
For eight years she represented the USA on the Council of The International Molinological Society (study of mills worldwide). She served with other council members from twelve different countries and has been published twice in their journals on the subject of milling and marketing.
In her retirement, besides spending time with new grandchildren she looks forward to serving on the International Board of Directors of the Rebild National Park Society, a Danish-American Friendship Organization.
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