Janet Ady is an experienced business strategist who works with expanding and relocating companies, and the communities that want to recruit these kinds of companies, with a focus on value-added agriculture. As president of Ady Voltedge, she has led growth initiatives for over 300 companies and for over 200 economic development organizations.
Ms. Ady's background is in market research and strategy development. In that capacity, she has conducted over 3,000 in-depth qualitative interviews with business and technical decision-makers across a broad swath of businesses. Her knowledge of multiple industries allows her to provide value to individual businesses as well as communities and regions targeting specific sectors.
She also brings an in-depth knowledge of the site selection process, especially in terms of understanding what factors are evaluated during each step along the decision-making process, how to optimally position places, and develop compelling, differentiating messages.
Jim Allen is consultant to a number of 3D printing companies and the former Director of Economic Programs at Shapeways, Inc., the world's leading 3D printing marketplace and community platform. He worked closely with the company's founders, government agencies and the economic development community to manage the company's portfolio of economic development incentives. Jim was also involved in creating the Shapeways “Factory of the Future” in New York City; leveraging his expertise in manufacturing, site selection and product development.
Jim is also a 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry expert at Ridgetop Research, a leading research platform for institutional investment firms. Jim's additional clients include the New York City-based crowdsourcing company ChallengePost, along with other internet and manufacturing start-ups, incubators and accelerators.
Before relocating to New York City from Chicago, Jim was the Director of McHenry County EDC's Business Accelerator for Innovation and Collaboration (BAIC). This SBA-funded initiative was established to focus on the needs of over 600 manufacturers in McHenry County, providing business assistance and consultation free of charge. Utilizing a significant network of relationships, BAIC provided a vital link to the state, federal and private resources available to manufacturers with a focus on creating jobs, ideas and economic wealth. During that time Jim also co-founded and was COO of Micromanufacturing of Northern Illinois, a contract manufacturer of micromachined parts. The company operated out of and utilized equipment and personnel from EIGERlab, a mixed-use incubator in Rockford, Illinois.
Jim earned his MBA degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia. He served four years as an officer in the US Navy upon completion of his undergraduate degree.
Doug Baker, 55, is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ecolab Inc. A trusted partner at more than one million customer locations, Ecolab is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With 2013 sales of $13 billion and 45,000 associates, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to promote safe food, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. Ecolab has been named to Ethisphere's list of the World's Most Ethical Companies for seven consecutive years, and included in Forbes' ranking of the World's Most Innovative Companies for three consecutive years. Ecolab also has been named to Chief Executive Magazine's list of the Best Companies for Leaders (2013 and 2014), CDP Performance and Disclosure Leadership Indices (2013) and The Civic 50 (2013).
Baker began his career with Ecolab in 1989, following seven years in brand management at Procter & Gamble. At Ecolab, he has held key roles in marketing, sales and general management in both the U.S. and Europe, and leadership positions including vice president and general manager of Kay, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecolab; senior vice president of the Institutional Sector; and president and chief operating officer of Ecolab. In July 2004, Baker was named president and chief executive officer and in May 2006, added chairman of the board to his duties. In 2011, Baker led Ecolab's merger with Nalco, an $8 billion transaction which nearly doubled the size of the company. In 2013, he strengthened Ecolab's energy services business through the $2.3 billion acquisition of Champion Technologies.
In 2012, Baker was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame and in 2013, The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal named Baker the 2013 Executive of the Year.
In addition to his Ecolab responsibilities, Baker serves on the board of directors of Target Corporation and U.S. Bancorp. He also is trustee emeritus of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and is a member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).
Baker is active in the civic life of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. He serves on the executive committee of the Greater MSP Partnership, a private-public partnership whose mission is to stimulate economic growth and prosperity in the region. Baker also serves on the board of overseers of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota as well as on the executive committee of the Minnesota Business Partnership, an organization comprised of CEOs from Minnesota's top 100 companies focused on further enhancing the region's quality of life. He is a board member of Parent Aware for School Readiness (PASR), a nonprofit organization to support the statewide expansion of Parent Aware, Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System.
Baker received a bachelor's degree in English from Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass.
Mr. Baker has 31 years of experience in economic development, urban planning, site selection consulting, and corporate real estate, coordinating over $2.2 Billion in commercial, industrial, and re-development investments in 9 states that have resulted in over 29,000 new jobs. He is one of only 35 CEcD Certified Economic Developers and AICP Certified Planners in the nation dual-certified by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and the American Planning Association.
As Director of Economic Development for Tinley Park, Illinois since 2003, Ivan Baker coordinates all economic development efforts in the fast-growing suburban Chicago community of 60,000 people. During his tenure, Tinley Park has been a award-winning national model for economic development success and financial strength. Recent Tinley Park awards include: “National Winner for Excellence in Economic Development” by the U.S. Department of Commerce, “America’s Best Place to Raise Children” award from Bloomberg BusinessWeek; “Municipal Excellence in Economic Development” from the National League of Cities, the “Best Economic Development Website” from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), and “Top 12 U.S. Cities in Economic Development Leadership and Innovation” from CoreNet Global.
He is an IEDC Board Member and active with International Council of Shopping Centers, Illinois Development Council, CoreNet Global, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. He is adjunct instructor at University of Illinois Chicago and director of the accredited Illinois IEDC Basic Economic Development Course. A native of Kansas, Baker holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and Economics from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, is a graduate of the University of Colorado Institute for Organization Management, and received advanced economic development training at the University of Oklahoma and Rochester Institute of Technology. He is married, has two children and 4 grand-children, and spends free time as a pianist, square dancer, tandem-biker, and community theatre director.
Amy Baldwin is the Business Development Manager for the City of Brooklyn Park, holding this position since March 2005. In this role, she focuses on business recruitment, retention and financing as well as marketing activities and the general facilitation of development activities. She graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in Public Administration and has a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from Hamline University. Amy earned Economic Development Finance Professional and Housing Development Finance Professional certifications through the National Development Council and is a member of the Economic Development Association of Minnesota, Sensible Land Use Coalition, Urban Land Institute, and Minnesota Commercial Association of Realtors. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Community Capital Fund since 2007 – 2014 and was appointed to the Hennepin-Carver Workforce Investment Board in 2013.
After working in the financial services industry in New York City, Rob entered the economic development field in 1993 as Director of Community Development for the Village of Saranac Lake, NY. In that role, he facilitated the community's first economic development strategy that led to securing $3 million for downtown implementation projects and crafted a successful tax incentive program to promote commercial district private development. Subsequently, Rob served as Managing Director for River Street Planning & Development located in Troy, NY where he managed staff and firm finances, as well as provided consulting services to economic development organizations and municipal clients. Rob started Camoin Associates in 1999 specifically to provide economic development services to Economic Development Organizations, government, developers, and businesses.
Rob is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), past Chair of IEDC's Membership Development Advisory Committee and currently serves as the Vice Chair of its Awards in Excellence Committee. Additionally, he is one of three Board Members representing New York for the Northeast Economic Developers' Association (NEDA) and serves as a Board member for the NYS Statewide Zone Capital Corporation. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance and economics from St. Bonaventure University and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Rob has made many economic development presentations to municipal officials and economic development professionals including, "The Importance of Fiscal Impact Analysis on the Economic Development & Comprehensive Planning Process", "How to Conduct a Market Analysis" and "Three Critical Ingredients to Successful Economic Development."
Katrina Campos is a Business Development Manager for Ann Arbor SPARK, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the economy of the Ann Arbor region. In this role, she focuses on establishing and nurturing relationships with business retention, attraction, and expansion prospects. In addition, Katrina is the lead for a new innovative tool called the Virtual Business Advisor, which was created through a partnership among Ann Arbor SPARK, the A2Y (Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti) Chamber of Commerce, Washtenaw County’s Community and Economic Development Department, and a New Zealand-based company called QLBS. The Virtual Business Advisor is an online self-assessment tool that aims to assist entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses as they work towards their next stage of growth.
Katrina graduated from the University of Michigan with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies and Spanish, and a Minor degree in Moral and Political Philosophy. She is pursuing her Master of Business Administration degree at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Katrina serves on the board of the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce-Young Professionals Group and is a member of the Michigan Economic Developers Association’s Young Professionals Committee.
Danielle Casey joined the City of Scottsdale in June of 2013. She is responsible for the oversight of the Economic Development Department, which includes executing the City's initiatives related to new business attraction, business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurial support, downtown development, and tourism.
Prior to joining the City of Scottsdale, Ms. Casey served in various executive roles at the City of Maricopa since June 2005, most recently as the Assistant City Manager. Departments under her oversight included economic development, community services, development services, and city-wide marketing and communications activities. Since the inception of the City of Maricopa, she managed a number of noteworthy tasks in the establishment of the City's economic development office, such as the creation of the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Maricopa, the authorship and Council approval of a Fast Track Development Program, the creation and implementation of the City's Business Retention and Expansion Program, and a city-wide branding initiative and 5-year Economic Development Strategic Plan. The creation of the City's Redevelopment District Area Plan was also developed under her purview and in its first year received two grant awards. Prior to joining the City of Maricopa, Ms. Casey attained significant experience in the nonprofit sector working in fundraising, marketing, and event and membership management.
Ms. Casey received her Bachelor's Degree from Arizona State University and Masters of Administration from Northern Arizona University, and is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) as well as a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP). She is a member of the International Economic Development Council, the Arizona Association of Economic Development (where she serves as President-Elect), and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council's Ambassador Steering Committee. In May of 2010, Ms. Casey was the proud recipient of the ‘Economic Developer of the Year–Small Community' award from the Arizona Association for Economic Development.
She is currently a proud resident of the City of Scottsdale.
Helene Caseltine is the Director of Economic Development for the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber serves as the county’s primary agency for economic diversification on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners.
Helene was born and raised in Minnesota, and relocated to Florida in 1983. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Multinational Business from The Florida State University in 1987.
Upon graduation, she began her economic development career with the Florida Department of Commerce (which is now a private/public organization known as Enterprise Florida, Inc).
Helene worked 8 ½ years with the Commerce Department, in the areas of Small Business Development, Community Development, and International Trade. From there, she went on to serve as the Economic Development Director for the St. Augustine/St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Director for the City of Eastpoint, GA, and as Economic Development Manager for Collier County government, until coming to Indian River County in 2003.
Helene earned her designation as a Certified Economic Developer in 2000 – the highest professional status within the field, and one of approximately 50 certified practitioners in the State of Florida.
Steven Ceulemans is vice president of innovation and technology for the Birmingham Business Alliance, where he supports the growth of the Alabama knowledge economy through technology-based economic development in the Birmingham region.
Steven previously served as the director of technology commercialization for the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, growing technology startups in New Orleans, LA. He has trained and worked in research and development roles for a number of organizations including the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, Software AG, the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium, Tibotec (Johnson & Johnson), Procter & Gamble, and the Joint Research Centre (European Commission). Steven received the Louisiana Governor's Technology Award as Academic Technology Leader of the Year in 2010, and the DCI national 40 under 40 in economic development award in 2013. He holds master's degrees in international business from Vlekho Business School in Brussels and in biochemistry and molecular biology from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Steven is a National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow and serves as a consultant to the National Research Council in Washington D.C.
Pam Christenson is the Economic Development Director for Madison Gas and Electric, a local utility company that generates and distributes natural gas and electricity to approximately 140,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. In this role, Ms. Christenson partners with business, education and government leaders to ensure well-planned and beneficial economic growth occurs in the MGE service area.
Prior to her work with MGE, Pam held positions in both the public and private sector including 15 years in a number of positions with the State of Wisconsin. While working at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, she served as the Director of the Bureau of Entrepreneurship and Technology Development and the Administrator for the Division of Business Development which housed the agency’s economic development and financial programs.
On the private sector side, Ms. Christenson spent several years working at the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, the statewide trade group for gas station and c-store owners as their Director of Public Affairs. She also did promotions and special events for the Miller Brewing Company. She and her husband co-own Christy’s Landing, a third generation bar and restaurant on the Madison side of Lake Waubesa.
Pam is an avid runner, having completed nine marathons and a two time Ironman triathlon finisher.
Kate Coburn has been a key player in the real estate industry for over twenty-five years, specializing in the retail and restaurant arena. She has an extensive background in planning, leasing and marketing of mixed-use developments, downtown revitalization strategies, and retail programming. Her work focuses on incorporating retail/commercial uses into these projects as activating components. Kate’s ability to understand the needs of the customer, developer and tenant – from the initial concept development, through tenant selection, lease negotiation, design development and construction – has created significant bottom-line results for her clients including universities, transportation agencies, business improvement districts, real estate developers and economic development agencies. Currently, Kate’s clients include public, non-profit, institutional and private sector clients across the country.
Kate recently completed a retail development and implementation strategy for Washington University in Saint Louis and the East and West Loop Business Improvement Districts that led to the signing of leases with a supermarket and destination restaurant, as well as to the launch of a new website designed to attract retailers to the Loop. She has also been involved with a wide range of retail analysis and tenanting strategies including the diversification of the retail tenant mix in the Times Square area, and concessions planning for the redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Airport on behalf of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kate advised on Staten Island Race for Space, an innovative competition to attract catalytic retail businesses to the Downtown Staten Island area on behalf of the NYCEDC. As part of a multi-disciplinary team on the behalf of the NYCEDC, Kate also worked on the Water Street Corridor Plan to develop concepts for the improvement of privately owned public spaces (“POPS”) along Water Street in Lower Manhattan.
Kate is currently supporting the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority in its efforts to activate the D Street corridor adjacent to the expanding Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, through a comprehensive place-making strategy that includes interim programming and the recruitment of retail and restaurant tenants that represent the best of twenty-first century Boston.
Prior to joining HR&A, Kate served as the Founding Partner in the New York office of Economics Research Associates. Prior to her work with ERA, she spent ten years as the Vice President of Retail Leasing and Marketing for the 18-building Rockefeller Center development in New York. In that capacity Kate was chief strategist, responsible for planning, marketing and leasing over 800,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in that mixed-use complex.
Chris Coleman took office as Saint Paul’s Mayor in 2005 after several years as a city councilmember, community and neighborhood leader. Immediately, Mayor Coleman set forth initiatives to make Saint Paul the most livable city in America. His priorities include working to close the achievement gap, creating sustainable and responsible budgets, and investing in the infrastructure of Saint Paul.
Mayor Coleman has achieved several of his goals, advocating for education and public safety, and being instrumental in championing the Green Line (Central Corridor Light Rail line)—the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in the state of Minnesota.
These efforts and initiatives are all accomplished with sound fiscal management in mind and guided by a passion for the City of Saint Paul.
Mayor Coleman’s sound fiscal judgment transformed a decades-long practice of balancing the city’s budget using one-time fixes and gimmicks into structurally-balanced budgets that use ongoing revenues for ongoing expenses. Putting the city on solid fiscal ground positioned Saint Paul nationally as an attractive city for investment from new businesses and employers, and allowed Saint Paul to host large international events such as Red Bull Crashed Ice, the USA Gymnastics National Championships and the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Mayor Coleman is currently the President of the National League of Cities, a national organization of city leaders across the United States. In 2012, Mayor Coleman was elected as the Second Vice President of National League of Cities, and became the League’s Vice President in 2013.
Under Mayor Coleman’s terms, Saint Paul’s downtown has seen a revitalization. As light rail construction has progressed and more restaurants and entertainment venues have moved in, demand for housing has increased exponentially and downtown’s vibrant culture has grown.
Bridging the education gap for children has been at the core of Mayor Coleman’s agenda. Understanding that the future and current success of Saint Paul depends on our ability to equip our students with the tools for success from cradle to career, Mayor Coleman has introduced revolutionary programs such as Sprockets that focuses on how our students spend their crucial time outside of the classroom. Mayor Coleman has marshaled the best minds and resources to enrich the lives of children by extending social and academic opportunities beyond the school day, opening new doors of opportunity to a better life and creating a safe environment for them to live and play.
Under Mayor Coleman’s leadership, Saint Paul has become a national leader in green initiatives and sustainable living. Just after taking office in 2006, Mayor Coleman signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and has hired sustainability, energy, environment, sustainable transportation and water resources coordinators. The city’s sustainable investments include retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency, equipping public places with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and more.
Mayor Coleman’s top priority has always remained the safety of all residents and visitors to Saint Paul. Committed to building world-class departments that set the standard for service to residents and community, Mayor Coleman continues to invest in emergency personnel and training, as well as improved technology to assist them in keeping our communities safe.
Mayor Coleman and his wife, Connie, live in Saint Paul’s West Side, where they raised their two children, Molly and Aidan.
Michelle Comerford develops and implements corporate location strategies for BLS & Co.'s manufacturing and distribution clients. Based in Cleveland, Michelle worked across a range of industries during her 12-year site selection career. She is an expert in transportation/logistics cost analysis, a key variable for industrial and logistics-sensitive projects.
She was formerly with Austin Consulting, the site selection practice within The Austin Company (U.S. subsidiary of Japanese construction conglomerate Kajima), serving most recently as Managing Director of the group. During her tenure there, Michelle directed clients in evaluating supply chain logistics, location strategy, and community/site selection alternatives, as well as due diligence, property acquisition, and other aspects of project implementation. Her clients have included Avon Products, Bimbo Bakeries, Colgate Palmolive, Celebration Foods and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Michelle led the Austin Consulting team in the development of the state-wide shovel ready site certification program for the State of Tennessee, known as Select Tennessee Certified Sites. Michelle has been a featured speaker at a number of economic development events and meetings, and she is a frequent contributor to industry-specific publications.
Articles she has authored include "Corporate Survey Analysis: Little Business Change, but Glimmers of Hope" (Area Development Winter 2011), "Labor Costs: The Number One Site Location Factor" (Area Development 2010) and "The Art and Science of Incentives Negotiation" (ChiefExecutive.NET).
JoAnn Crary is the President of Saginaw Future, a non-profit economic development organization. She has held that position since 1993 and has been in economic development since the mid 1980's. Crary completed her undergraduate degree from Ferris State University and has a Masters degree from Central Michigan University. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), a graduate of the University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute and is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional.
Crary is a member of the MEDC Collaborative Development Council and the Business Attraction Committee. She is currently on the International Economic Development Council's Board of Directors and serves as Secretary/Treasurer, is a member of the Governance Committee and the Economic Development Research Partners. IEDC is the foremost international economic development organization with nearly 4300 members. She has served on the IEDC Board since 2006.
Crary is also on the Saginaw County Revolving Loan Fund Board, Saginaw Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Citizens Bank Market Area Board and the Saginaw Hospital Finance Authority. Crary also serves on the Board of Fellows at Saginaw Valley State University, Mobile Medical Response Finance Committee and is an ex officio member of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Crary was recognized in 2013 as one of the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay, was given the Wally Bronner Community Spirit Award from the Saginaw County Chapter of American Red Cross in 2010. She was also honored with the inaugural Economic Leadership Award from Junior Achievement of Northeast Michigan in 2010. The Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce gave Crary its inaugural Athena Award in 2005 and in 2001, the Michigan Economic Developers Association named Crary as the MEDA Medalist Award winner. In 1996, she was honored by Governor Engler as the Economic Developer of the Year for outstanding contributions in economic development.
JoAnn and her two children, KaLynn and Michael reside in Frankenmuth.
Mr. Richard K. Davis has been the Chairman of US BanCorp. (DE) at U.S. BanCorp. Equipment Finance, Inc. since December 11, 2007 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since December 2006 and President since October 19, 2004. Mr. Davis serves as the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of U.S. Bank, the nation's fifth-largest bank. He serves as an Assistant Vice President of Claims at Maiden Re. He served as the Chief Operating Officer of US Bancorp, the holding company of Elavon Inc. from October 19, 2004 to December 2006. Mr. Davis has more than 30 years of experience in banking industry and was a key leader in the successful mergers of Firstar Corporation with U.S. BanCorp. in 2001, Firstar with Mercantile Bancorporation in 1999, and Star Banc Corporation with Firstar in 1998. Mr. Davis was responsible for Consumer Banking, including Retail Payment Solutions (card services), and he assumed additional responsibility for Commercial Banking from 2003 to 2004. He joined U.S. BanCorp. in November 1993.
Mr. Davis served as an Executive Vice President for Consumer Banking of Star Banc Corporation since 1993 to 2003. During this time, he also served as an Executive Vice President of Bank of America and of Security Pacific. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of Financial Services Roundtable. Previously, he was also Vice Chairman for Consumer Banking and Payment Services of US BanCorp. (DE) from February 2001 to October 2004. He served as Vice Chairman for Consumer Banking of Firstar Corporation from 1998 to 2001 and has also serves as Unit Vice Chairman of Xcel Energy Inc.
Mr. Davis has been an Executive Director of US BanCorp. since July 18, 2006. He serves as a Director of BITS Financial Services Roundtable. He has been a Director of The American Red Cross since January 26, 2011. He serves as a Director of U.S. BanCorp. Equipment Finance, Inc. and The Clearing House LLC. He has been a Director of Xcel Energy Inc. since 2006 and serves as its Lead Independent Director. He serves as a Director of the American Bankers Association, and Visa International, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Guthrie Theatre and the Minneapolis YMCA. Mr. Davis served as a Director of VISA U.S.A. Inc.
Mr. Davis holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics from California State University. He completed Banking School Programs at University of Washington and Cornell University.
Steve joined DCI in 2004 and has managed more than 20 economic development accounts, ranging from rural communities like the State of Wyoming to major metropolises like San Diego and Houston. He is currently working with several communities to promote their entrepreneurial environments nationally, including Albuquerque, Birmingham and Northwest Ohio. As a part of that outreach, he has placed dozens of client stories in Inc., Entrepreneur, Fast Company, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal and Wired. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a focus in broadcast journalism. He lives in Denver, CO with his wife, Michelle, and puppy, Sonoma.
Jim is an economic developer and project manager with 35 years of experience involved in projects valued over $2 billion. Managing large complex projects with complicated permitting issues is a specialty of Jim’s. He has experience in constructing industrial parks in areas of endangered bats, residential subdivisions in protected dunes, a call center in a high density urban core, and office centers in difficult terrain. He managed the first offshore coastal restoration project in the State of Louisiana, and the first offshore wind assessment project on the Great Lakes. Jim has extensive experience in writing bid specifications and placing projects out to bid in both the public and private environments. He is a serial business entrepreneur having formed and operated a transportation company, a retail store, a manufacturing company, and his current consulting firm. Edmonson Associates is a business management and accounting company that specializes in the needs of small business, entrepreneurs, non-profits, and economic development organizations.
Jim has a BS in geography and a minor in geology from Northern Michigan University; and a MA in planning from Western Illinois University. Jim has served as President and CEO of 6 private non-profits EDO’s, served on dozens of community planning and zoning boards, and was a local elected official in Sackets Harbor, NY. His expertise is having an eye for detail, organization of information, being a change agent and monitoring progress through performance based measurements.
As a business consultant Jim has managed loan portfolios in excess of $25 million in value. He has written hundreds of business plans; is a former business counselor for the South Louisiana Economic Council Technical Assistance Network Program (Thibodaux, LA) and, is currently the Business Accelerator Fund manager for Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids, MI). In addition, Jim has operated 4 business incubators ranging in size from 2,000 square feet to as large as 1,000,000 square feet.
Jela Ellefson's work as the Senior Grants Manager for the non-profit Eastern Market Corporation focuses on ensuring financial stability and growth of City of Detroit's Eastern Market, the longest operating historic working food district in the US. Before the advent of mobile refrigeration and the consolidation of large grocery chains, Eastern Market was the place for farmers and merchants to engage in commerce. It was local before local was cool. Over the years, with grocery consolidation, transportation improvements, and large scale distribution companies, Eastern Market's Wholesale Market, while still a significant economic driver for produce sales in the state of Michigan, had lost some of its luster. The retail-focused Saturday Market, conversely, has continued to flourish and is what the market is generally known for today. Jela works on improving Eastern Market District's infrastructure to incorporate environmental and financial sustainability that will allow it to succeed in the decades to come, as well as on securing funding to connecting growers with new markets expanding the activity and volume of the Wholesale Market, which will strengthen the role of Eastern Market as a true urban food hub and will help localize the food system in Southeast Michigan.
Janyce Fadden's experience in both the private sector and leading a nonprofit have established her as a sought after leader and consultant. Currently she is Executive in Residence at the University of North Alabama assisting the College of Business with engagement strategies and President at Jbfadden Enterprises LLC, a management consulting firm.
In her previous role as President of the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Fadden was responsible for managing all the organization's efforts, including business retention and expansion, new business recruitment, business startup and entrepreneurship, and improving the business climate of our region. Under Fadden's leadership, the RAEDC created and implemented innovative approaches to strategic planning for economic development and sustaining funding to support the organization. Fadden facilitated a collaborative approach to regional economic development work. In eight years, the results of this collaborative work resulted in the retention or creation of 18,700 jobs, $1,300M of capital investment and occupation of 13M square feet of development. During that time she served on the boards of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Rockford Local Development Corporation, Alignment Rockford, Rockford Area Strategic Initiatives, and Stateline Angels. Janyce also served as Executive Director of the I-39 Logistics Corridor Association.
Prior to joining the RAEDC, Fadden served in various capacities as President, Vice President, and General Manager for major multinational corporations including Honeywell, General Signal, Applied Power, Pacific Scientific, and Danaher.
Fadden earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Management from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, and she earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Northern Illinois University.
Over 35 years of experience have provided Tim Feemster, Managing Principal with a variety of hands on problem solving situations in real estate, transportation, logistics, distribution, and marketing. Tim is quoted frequently in the industry press and makes over 20 keynote presentations a year to professional organizations.
Before forming Foremost Quality Logistics, Feemster has experience as a senior manager in three manufacturing companies, a general manager, a consultant, an executive in two third party logistics providers, and a Practice Group leader in two Real Estate firms. Feemster has been responsible for building construction management, transportation & warehouse operations; real estate site selection; network optimization; strategic planning; lease management; marketing; inventory planning and deployment; lean systems & quality management; and private fleet management.
Feemster holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a B.A. in Mathematics from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and is a Six Sigma Green Belt. Feemster is an active member in the Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC.org), where he is a Past President; Council Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP.org, DePauw Alumni Board, and a board member of the DePauw DFW Regional Alumni Chapter. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Trade Data Exchange (TDE) Corporation.
Robert Fine was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After completing a degree in Urban Economics from the University of Toronto and Masters work at York University, Robert brought innovative programming to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario including GASAMO, a $35 million public gas-purchasing program under deregulation. He moved to British Columbia in 1989 where he worked for the Sea to Sky Economic Development Corporation until 1996. His many accomplishments included assisting in the development of Whistler which was named the number one ski resort in North America. In 1998, Mr. Fine was awarded “Economic Developer of the Year” by the Economic Development Association of British Columbia and the Bank of Montreal. He was honoured with an honourary fellow from Okanagan College and was named the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leader Award winner for 2009.
Mr. Fine is currently the Director for the Economic Development Commission for the Central Okanagan Regional District located in Kelowna, British Columbia. He is Past President of the Economic Developers Association of Canada and sits on the Board of the International Economic Development Council, based in Washington, DC. He is a member of the Provincial Small Business Roundtable, a director with Accelerate Okanagan, board member with the John Howard Society and has recently joined the Board of the Canadian Cancer Society, BC – Yukon. He writes a twice monthly column in the Kelowna Daily Courier, The Fine Print. In his spare time he sings the Great American Songbook, and has performed in Japan, the Caribbean, Europe and across Canada and the US. His 5th CD, a live recording with a 15 piece big band raised $20,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation.
Ms. Fish has over 20 years of direct experience leading the business development efforts of a small municipality, and working in both media and manufacturing sectors. As the Business Development Director for the City she managed the land sale and development in the City of Wausau's 400+ acre industrial park, including a $30 million private corporate headquarters/ manufacturing development. She took a leading role in planning, design, construction and programming for a new 42,900 square foot business incubator including successful grant writing/administration and other funding acquisition.
She has managed Industrial Revenue Bond deals, and wrote and administered three Tax Increment Financing Districts for the City of Wausau. She participated in deal structuring for several large development deals, utilizing multiple sources of funding and leveraging millions of dollars from the private sector.
Ms. Fish was President of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association in 2008. She is a Board Member of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) from 2006-2008, and again currently. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Association. She has her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, and Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of North Dakota.
Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 1973, he graduated from Harvard, where he met his wife Franni. They've been married for 38 years, and have two grown children, Thomasin and Joe. Senator Franken has one grandchild, Joe, born to Thomasin and her husband Brody in May 2013. Before running for the Senate, Al spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan - as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times.
In 2008, Al was elected to the Senate as a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party from Minnesota. He currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.
Since taking office, Sen. Franken has developed an impressive record of legislative accomplishments that focus on holding our nation's biggest institutions accountable to the American people they serve and finding commonsense solutions that improve people's lives. In fact, in both of the most significant pieces of legislation (health care reform and Wall Street reform) considered by the Senate since he's been in office, Senator Franken has had perhaps the strongest provisions in the legislation to do this.
Sen. Franken successful fought for a provision included in the health care reform law that makes insurance companies put 80 to 85 percent of premiums toward actual health services, not administrative costs, marketing campaign, or profits. His legislation, based on existing Minnesota law, represents the largest insurance industry reform in the health care reform bill.
Sen. Franken passed an amendment to the Wall Street reform bill to end the conflicts of interest inherent in Wall Street's current pay-to-play credit rating system. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently studying the issue and will automatically implement the Franken amendment or another suitable way to eliminate conflicts of interest. This amendment has garnered editorial praise nationwide for being one of the toughest industry reforms in the Wall Street reform bill.
Sen. Franken has also worked hard to improve education in Minnesota and around the country. As a member of the HELP Committee, he successfully incorporated four key provisions into the Senate bill to reform the federal "No Child Left Behind" law. His provisions would provide more flexibility in testing and improve schools by strengthening principal leadership, among other things. He has also been working hard to make college more affordable for Minnesota families. He introduced legislation that would require schools to use a universal financial aid form letter, giving families a better understanding of the true cost of college.
And in 2011, Sen. Franken was named chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law and has held a number of hearings, including investigations of mobile device privacy and electronic medical record privacy.
Since taking office in 2009, Sen. Franken has opened five offices throughout Minnesota and answered more than 500,000 constituent letters. He and his office have successfully closed the constituent cases of more than 10,000 Minnesotans who have reached out to his office for help.
In 2010, Sen. Franken convinced General Motors not to close a family-owned dealership in Faribault, saving a local business and dozens of jobs. After an earthquake devastated Haiti in January of 2010, he worked with a West St. Paul family to ensure that their ongoing adoption wasn't disrupted by the disaster and, thanks to the hard work of his office, the family adopted a 6-year-old girl.
Sen. Franken has also worked hard on behalf of Minnesota's veterans. The first piece of legislation he introduced - and passed - established a study that is currently pairing service dogs with veterans who have physical or mental wounds. He has helped a number of Minnesotans get the military medals they earned, but never received, including a World War II veteran from Duluth who was owed seven service medals for his service in Europe. He also successfully fought to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide benefits for conditions resulting from exposure to Agent Orange.
Peter Frosch is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at GREATER MSP. In this role, he works with external stakeholders to develop and implement regional economic development strategy, and leads the organization's 56 member Partner Advisory Council. Prior to joining the organization he served as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Betty McCollum in Washington D.C . and as Policy Director at the Minnesota Environmental Initiative in Minneapolis. Peter earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and master's degree in International Relations from Ireland's Dublin City University where he studied as a George Mitchell Scholar.
Gynii is the managing director of Gynii Gilliam & Associates, a newly-formed consulting firm specializing in economic development, including site selection assistance, community development training, and business/organizational strategic planning. She has over 25 years of experience in the field, through both the private and public sectors and in both rural and urban communities.
Prior to striking out on her own, Ms. Gilliam was the Chief Economic Development Officer at the Idaho Department of Commerce where she was responsible for economic growth, across all industry sectors. Under her leadership, her team helped bring 3500 direct jobs and $700 million in capital investment to the state over an 18 month period in 2012-2013. Previous work in eastern Idaho also netted over 2000 jobs and over $600 million in capital investment for the Pocatello region (Pop 80,000). She has also worked on successful projects in rural central Idaho, as well as Los Angeles and Detroit.
Ms. Gilliam holds a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and studied abroad at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She was a California State Scholar and the recipient of the Rackham Graduate School Fellowship.
Gynii is involved in many local civic organizations, as well as various state and national economic development organizations. She has presented at the National Council of State Governments, the Northwest Food Processors Association, the Pacific Northwest Economic Development Council, and many others. She also teaches a graduate course in community and regional planning at Boise State University. Gynii and her husband Tony have two adult sons and have been residents of Idaho for over 25 years.
Michael Goldstein is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for bringing unique ideas to the light of day. Michael's experience has centered around consumer facing, online, transactional businesses, but is as broad as selling cinder blocks to university students for extra storage space. He now leverages his experience running Exhilarator, a start-up accelerator in Washington DC.
SwitchPitch is Michael's brainchild, with the goal of forging meaningful relationships between start-ups and big companies.
Since Oct 2006, Bob Guirl has been responsible for Strategy and Business Development for UTC Aerospace Systems' Electric Systems business unit. He is responsible for establishing strategies to pursue and win new business, and leads the competitive assessment activities and evaluation of merger and acquisition candidates.
Guirl is also a volunteer member of the Alignment Rockford Operating Board, a non-profit public school support organization for Rockford, Illinois public schools, and is the vice chair of its High School Pathways Committee.
From 2001 through 2006, Guirl led the company's activities for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program, coordinating marketing, product development and systems integration efforts for the complete 787 UTC Aerospace Systems work package.
He has spent his more than 30-year professional career entirely with UTC Aerospace Systems, joining the company then known as Sundstrand Corporation in 1982. As program manager for Airbus systems, Guirl led the development team that redesigned the electrical power generating systems for the Airbus A320, A330 and A340 aircraft. As resident manager in Cheltenham England, Guirl led the acquisition of UK-based Dowty Aerospace's ram air turbine emergency power business.
Upon graduation in 1984 from the University of Illinois, with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Mr. Guirl joined the company as project engineer for the NASA Space Shuttle program, and supported the Space Shuttle team in various roles for more than 11 years.
Mr. Guirl was born, and resides, in Illinois with his wife and two grown children.
Leads General Mills' efforts to incorporate minority and women-owned businesses into the company's supply chain, a $500 million effort that is expanding at a rate of 8 percent each year. Darren works to help small companies do business with General Mills, contributing valuable dollars to local economies while helping his company expand its footprint.
Michael Harris is a Managing Partner of the General Partner at Core Innovation Captial, and has over 15 years experience in venture capital, M&A, operations, and technology. He has extensive Board of Director experience and has helped direct growth and business development strategies in several health care, business services, and technology companies. Mike was also a partner in a venture capital firm with upper quartile returns when compared to the same vintage and style venture funds. Mike holds a BA from St. John's University and an MS in Economics and Public Policy from the University of Minnesota.
Betsy Hodges was sworn in as the 47th mayor of Minneapolis on January 2, 2014, after decisively winning the first open seat for mayor in two decades in the 2013 mayoral election. She was elected on a clear message of growing a great city, continuing to run it well, and eliminating the many gaps — in jobs, income, housing, health and education, among others — that separate white people and people of color in Minneapolis.
In the service of those three goals, Mayor Hodges is focused on making Minneapolis a safe place to call home, creating economic opportunity, better connecting our city through improved transit, building a sustainable city, and ensuring that all our children succeed, no matter their race, culture or zip code. She believes firmly that we are One Minneapolis, a city where every person and every community is responsible for, and benefits from, each other’s successes.
Prior to becoming mayor, Betsy Hodges served on the Minneapolis City Council for eight years as the representative of Ward 13. On the Council, she served as chair of the Ways and Means/Budget Committee, in which role she significantly shaped structurally-balanced budgets that led to lowering or holding the line on property taxes for up to 70% of Minneapolis homeowners for three successive years. She also led the fight to reform a broken closed-pension system that served neither pensioners nor taxpayers well, and in the process helped avert a $20-million rise in property taxes in 2012.
On the Council, she also served as chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. In that role, she helped lead the City of Minneapolis’ successful, years-long fight to restore Local Government Aid and balance the State of Minnesota’s budget honestly, and built relationships across the entire Minneapolis–Saint Paul region and the state of Minnesota. She is an active member of the League of Minnesota Cities and served as that organization’s president in 2012–13.
Before running for public office, Betsy Hodges was an organizer. She worked for TakeAction Minnesota and the Minnesota Justice Foundation, and helped found a program in Albuquerque, New Mexico to get HIV-positive women the help and resources that they needed.
In her spare time, Mayor Hodges works on staying physically fit, writes, reads poetry and enjoys seasonal viewings of “Die Hard,” her favorite movie. She is known for her extensive collection of Wonder Woman memorabilia. She is an occasional karaoke singer with a limited range.
A Minnesota native, Mayor Hodges is married to Gary Cunningham, vice president and chief program officer of the Northwest Area Foundation and a member of the Metropolitan Council. They have two children, four grandchildren, a dog and a slightly neurotic cat.
Mr. Imboden is a place expert with eight years of private commercial real estate experience in brokerage, development, and finance. He manages Hennepin County's Transit-Oriented Development program. Mr. Imboden managed real estate development projects and finance for The Ackerberg Group, a Minneapolis-based boutique commercial real estate firm. Passionate about how and why places change, he has been an active community leader with experience as the President of a business association, neighborhood association board member, a policy advocate, and has published two local history books. B.S. University of Minnesota (Urban Studies).
Christina Jennings has fifteen years of experience with community development loan funds and more than twenty years of experience in nonprofit organizations and social ventures. Prior to joining Northcountry in August 2008, she served as Executive Director of Katalysis Bootstrap Fund, a $5 million international micro-finance loan fund and as fund manager for another international investment fund supporting microfinance programs in Nicaragua. As Program Manager for the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers she managed a microloan fund serving women, low-income individuals, immigrants and people of color in Minneapolis. As Program and Training Manager for the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, she developed the organization's training programs and provided financial and management assistance to immigrant-led nonprofits in the Twin Cities. Jennings expertise includes fund management, raising social and impact investments and grants, community lending and microfinance, and organizational management and governance. She has served on the board of directors of numerous nonprofit organizations. Currently she serves on the board of Partners for Women's Equality and on the Finance Committee of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust. Jennings holds an MA in Community and Economic Development and Nonprofit Management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a BA in Gender and International Development from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is a certified Community Development Financial Professional.
In his third year as President, Eric Kaler continues to be focused on core priorities: academic excellence, access for qualified students, stewardship of tuition and public dollars, a world-class research enterprise that aligns with the needs of the state of Minnesota, and a deep commitment to public engagement and outreach, locally and globally.
During the 2012-13 academic year, and in his first biennial budget request to the Minnesota Legislature, Kaler forged a partnership with the State of Minnesota by achieving a tuition freeze for Minnesota resident undergraduates.
He also achieved $35.8 million in research investments from the state. In an initiative called MnDRIVE—the Minnesota Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy program—research emphasis matches some of the University's research and discovery strengths with the state's most pressing needs and key industries.
This year, Kaler and the University community are engaged in a consultative strategic planning process to set the institution's course for the next decade.
In 2010, President Kaler was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano named him to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council. In 2013, he was named a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
Kaler received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University in 1982. He went on to become one of the nation's foremost experts on “complex fluids,” which have applications in drug delivery, food processing, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.
Before coming to the “U,” Kaler served from 2007 to 2011 as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. Previously he was dean of the University of Delaware's College of Engineering. He also taught at the University of Washington. He received his undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.
Eric Kaler and his wife, Karen, have two adult sons.
As President & CEO of Enterprise Minnesota, Bob Kill leads the organization's efforts to achieve its strategic, growth, and operational goals. A long-time manufacturing executive, Bob is passionate about helping manufacturers grow and bringing attention to manufacturing as a driver of Minnesota's economy. Bob is committed to connecting public and private stakeholders of manufacturers together in order to foster the collaboration needed to produce a thriving manufacturing industry.
Bob is recognized as a spokesperson for Minnesota's manufacturing industry and is regularly quoted in national and regional media on manufacturing trends and industry outlook. He has appeared before the Minnesota State Legislature and the U.S. Congress emphasizing the high value of manufacturing to our economy. Bob received national recognition in 2010 by NIST-MEP, as Group Innovator, for the State of Manufacturing® strategy. In 2011 he was recognized by Twin Cities Business Magazine as “one of 200 Minnesotans you should know” noting he is helping all understand that “making something” is cool again.
Prior to leading Enterprise Minnesota, Bob served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Ciprico Inc., a manufacturer of high performance data and networking systems. Before joining Ciprico, he served in senior management positions with Northern Telecom Inc. His career in manufacturing began with the Burroughs Corporation.
Bob serves on the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board, the Minnesota Agriculture and Economic Development Board, University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor's Advisory Board, and Minnesota Center for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence Advisory Council. Additionally, he has served on numerous industry boards, including software, technology, manufacturing, and startup companies. Kill is also an avid bicyclist and golfer, both of which he has little time for because he is so dedicated to helping manufacturing enterprises grow profitably.
Jeff Kline is an accomplished entrepreneur with a successful track record spanning three decades in software product development, office automation, and Internet technology. As CEO and President of both Accrisoft and Accrinet Corporation, he provides operational guidance and strategic vision for all aspects of the business.
Jeff has special expertise in software strategies for not-for-profit organizations. Over the last decade, he has helped economic development organizations and chambers of commerces leverage the Web and digital marketing to effectively manage and grow membership, raise money, publicize causes, utilize social media, and communicate with key constituencies through dynamic email campaigns.
Jeff has held senior management positions in critical areas of business development, software product development, office automation, and Internet technology. He launched his career in 1982 at the Burroughs Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio. After several promotions he became manager for the Southeast United States.
In 1986, Jeff co-founded Adcom Corporation, a customer-driven company that specialized in providing total office automation solutions. As CEO of Adcom, he pioneered the development of the totally integrated office concept. Then, in 1990, Inc. Magazine recognized Adcom as the 151st fastest growing company in the United States. In 1996, Danka Industries acquired Adcom. In 1999, Jeff established Accrisoft Corporation as a standalone company with the release of Accrisoft Freedom™ Web empowerment software™.
An expert in leveraging websites and digital marketing for economic development success, Jeff is a frequent guest speaker on web strategies for business success, email marketing, social media, personalized news, Web analytics and other critical topics.
In 2006, Amy Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the United States Senate. Throughout her public service, Amy has always embraced the values she learned growing up in Minnesota. Her grandfather worked 1500 feet underground in the iron ore mines of Northern Minnesota. Her father, Jim, was a newspaperman, and her mother, Rose, was an elementary school teacher who continued teaching until she was 70. Amy has built a reputation of putting partisanship aside to help strengthen the economy and support families, workers and businesses.
Amy has always understood that her first duty is to represent the people of Minnesota. She acted quickly to obtain full funding to rebuild the I-35W bridge just thirteen months after it tragically collapsed into the Mississippi River. She worked across party lines to expand education and job opportunities for returning service members, fought to ensure that Minnesota National Guard members received the full benefits they earned, and helped turn Minnesota's ground-breaking "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program into a national model. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Amy worked closely with Minnesota farmers to pass a strong Farm Bill is 2008, and was recently named to the important Farm Bill conference committee that is responsible for reaching an agreement between the Senate and the House on a long-term Farm Bill.
Since arriving in the Senate, Amy has worked with Democrats and Republicans on legislation focused on moving the country forward. She fought to pass the most significant consumer product safety legislation in a generation, keeping foreign toxic products off our shores and out of our stores, and pushed the cell phone companies to enact more consumer-friendly policies.
Amy has pushed for a bipartisan, balanced approach to reducing our nation’s debt and was part of a group of fourteen senators who fought to create the bipartisan debt commission. She helped pass the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate, has pushed to reform the Senate rules, and worked to beat the filibuster and led the fight to confirm the first director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in seven years.
As Senate Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and a member of the President’s Export Council and the Senate Commerce Committee, Amy has been a leader in working to implement a competitive agenda to ensure businesses have the tools they need to grow and create good jobs in their communities. She has authored legislation to help small businesses tap into new markets abroad, passed a significant amendment aimed at boosting funds for STEM education for American students, and led successful national initiatives to boost American tourism, including a series of regulatory reforms adopted by the Administration.
Amy also chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer rights, where she has worked to advance policies that protect consumers from anti-competitive behavior and make sure businesses are able to compete on a level playing field. She has introduced legislation to crack down on “pay-for-delay” agreements, the practice of brand-name drug manufacturers using pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market.
Before serving in the Senate, Amy headed the largest prosecutor’s office in Minnesota for eight years, making the prosecution of violent and career criminals her top priority. She led the effort for successful passage of Minnesota’s first felony DWI law, and received the leadership award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Her safe schools initiative, community prosecution efforts, and criminal justice reforms earned national awards from both the Bush and Clinton Justice Departments. As a private citizen and before being elected to public office, Amy was the leading advocate for successful passage of one of the first laws in the country guaranteeing 48-hour hospital stays for new moms and their babies.
Her work has gained national recognition. The American Prospect named her a “woman to watch,” and Working Mother Magazine named her as "Best in Congress” for her efforts on behalf of working families. This year she received an award from the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) for her work to fight sexual assault in the military, and last year the Disabled American Veterans honored her work to improve the lives of America’s veterans. She has also received the “Outstanding Member of the Senate Award” from the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition and the “Above and Beyond Award” from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for her commitment to developing a supportive work environment for employees serving in the Guard and Reserves.
Amy was the valedictorian of her Wayzata High School class. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School. Her senior essay in college, published as the book "Uncovering the Dome," chronicles the 10-year-history behind the building of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and is still used at colleges and universities across the country.
Amy is married to John Bessler, a native of Mankato, who attended Loyola High School and the University of Minnesota. Amy and John have a daughter, Abigail, who is 18 and is starting her freshman year in college.
Jim Kumon is the Executive Director of the Minnesota based non-profit, Strong Towns, which is focused on helping America's towns achieve financial strength and resiliency. Born and raised in rural southeastern Michigan, he is a graduate of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Jim started his professional career in architectural and urban design in Los Angeles and later practiced and lived in Denver.
He has worked as a designer and project manager across a range of land development, civic buildings and transportation infrastructure projects, working mostly with clients in governmental agencies. His professional and community organizing activities over the last ten years have focused on improving life and the built environment at the neighborhood scale. Now based in Minneapolis, Jim currently serves on the board of directors of his neighborhood association, chairs its redevelopment committee and is a liaison to the business association serving southwest part of the city.
Michael J. Landsburg is the Vice President of Real Estate for NFI and has been with the company since 2005. He is responsible for managing the real estate activities for the company comprised of an owned and leased portfolio of over 23 million square feet located throughout the United States & Canada. NFI is a privately held integrated supply chain solutions company with operations throughout North America generating over $1 Billion in revenues, utilizing 2,200 tractors, 7,000 trailers, and 6,500 employees. Prior to NFI, Michael was an acquisitions and development associate for a mid-Atlantic real estate company for 4 years. Michael is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a licensed Real Estate Broker in New Jersey. He is also currently pursuing his CCIM designation and is a committee chair for the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) along with being active in NAIOP, CoreNet, and CSCMP. Michael lives in Philadelphia with his wife and 2 young children.
Michael Langley is the founding CEO of GREATER MSP, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership. GREATER MSP leads global promotion, regional strategy, and project management for economic growth and job creation in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region, with over three million residents and a Gross Metropolitan Product of over $200 Billion. He brings years of experience to the role as a widely recognized economic development strategist who has also led successful regional economic development organizations in Florida and Pennsylvania.
Michael's award winning work as a practitioner includes his leadership as CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, often regarded as a globally leading organizational model for regional economic development, regional advocacy, and public policy research. It also includes the founding of Langley Group, a national economic development consulting firm focused on regional best practices and economic growth strategies, where Michael served as President.
Prior to becoming an economic development practitioner, Michael led a successful corporate career, spent primarily in the technology sector working in leadership positions for a number of Westinghouse/CBS divisions, including serving as President and CEO of Westinghouse Audio Intelligence Devices, Inc., a world leader in wireless surveillance technology.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Mike also earned a MS in information systems from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He served as a Navy pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight and crew time on surveillance and intelligence missions worldwide and as a technology analyst on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate in Humanities by American Intercontinental University for his work in community improvement.
Barry I. Matherly is a certified economic developer with over 20 years of leadership experience at the city, county, regional and university levels.
Currently, Barry is Senior Vice President at the Greater Richmond Partnership, a public/private regional organization that is the single point of contact for domestic and international businesses looking to locate or expand in the Richmond Virginia Region.
Previously, he was the executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association in North Carolina, the Director of Economic Development for the communities of Goochland and Pulaski, Virginia and the Special Projects Manager at the Economic Development Assistance Center at Virginia Tech University.
Mr. Matherly has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech University. He is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and a recipient of the Robert B. Cassell Leadership Award.
Barry serves on the Governance Committee of the International Economic Development Council Board and is the chair of its Planning and Business Development Committee. Barry also serves of the Executive Board of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and is chair of the Special Projects and International Committee.
Barry Matherly was named one of the 40 Leaders Under 40 (2002) by the Charlotte Business Journal, recognized as a North Carolina Main Street Champion, designated as a Fellow Member by IEDC and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.
Ken Meter is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter holds 41 years experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building. His “Finding Food in Farm Country” studies have promoted local food networks in 85 regions in 30 states and one Canadian province. As coordinator of public process for the City of Minneapolis Sustainability Initiative, he guided over 85 residents in creating a 50-year vision for the city including sustainability measures. He served as an advisor for the USDA Community Food Projects including managing the proposal review panel, and serves as a contributing editor to the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. He is convenor and co-chair of the Community Economic Development Committee for the former Community Food Security Coalition. Meter taught economics at the University of Minnesota, and at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Janet M. Miller is Chief Economic Development and Marketing Officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. Janet has oversight of the team that serves as the 10-county region’s lead agency for economic development and job creation strategies, with oversight of functions including business recruitment, working with existing Nashville-based firms on expansions, entrepreneurship initiatives, and international business. She also has oversight of the Chamber’s marketing and communications team, and is responsible for delivery of all Chamber of Commerce marketing and branding programs. Miller works on a day-to-day basis with corporate executives of relocating and expanding companies to advise on capital investments and site locations. Successful relocation projects in which Miller has been involved include Nissan’s North American headquarters, Dell Computer Corporation, Caremark Rx, Asurion, Louisiana-Pacific, HCA, PRIMUS/Ford Motor Credit, Mars Pet Care, and numerous others. Since she took on the departmental leadership role at the Chamber in 2002, over 93,000 jobs have been created in the Nashville region and over 275 companies recruited.
Miller was named the local Sales and Marketing Executive Association’s National Salesperson of the Year for 2006, and was named one of three “Women of Influence” in the “Inspiration” category by the Nashville Business Journal in July 2007. She was named a Fellow Member of the International Economic Development Council in recognition of exceptional contributions to the field of economic development in America in Fall of 2007. She was named in 2009 to the International Economic Development Council’s board of directors, after chairing the organization’s awards section in 2009. She is a past-President of the Tennessee Economic Development Council, a past Tennessee director for the Southern Economic Development Council Board, and a board member and past chairman for the Tennessee Economic Partnership. She is also a Tennessee board member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP); a member of AAA Auto Club’s Tennessee advisory board; an associate member of CoreNet Global; past membership recruitment chair, program chair and a current board member for Nashville’s Downtown Rotary Club; a member of the United Way of Nashville board of directors and serves on the campaign cabinet for United Way for 2010; and serves on numerous other boards. She is a graduate of the 2001 class of Leadership Nashville, and a 2008 graduate of Leadership Music. Miller is a frequent lecturer at economic development classes around the country, including engagements as an instructor at Basic Economic Development Courses at Georgia Tech, the University of Kentucky, and the Tennessee Basic Course.
Miller did her undergraduate work at the University of Tennessee, and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma, where she received the Certified Economic Developer designation, the industry’s highest achievement, in 2000. Prior to her tenure at the Nashville Chamber, she served as Director of Research and Marketing for Grubb & Ellis/Centennial, Inc.
Bonny Moellenbrock is the Executive Director of Investors’ Circle, the largest and most active early-stage impact investing network in the world. Since 1992, IC has propelled over $180 million into 280+ for-profit enterprises dedicated to improving the environment, education, health, and community. Bonny is also the Executive Director of SJF Institute, a nonprofit that has been connecting, inspiring, and accelerating impact entrepreneurs since 2001. Previously, Bonny was a Managing Director at SJF Ventures, a leading impact venture fund investing in high-growth, positive impact companies in the cleantech, sustainability, and tech-enhanced services sectors. Before joining SJF in 2000, she served as COO and CFO of Preservation North Carolina and on the management team of an entrepreneurial recycling company.
Bonny serves on the GIIRS Developed Markets Standards Advisory Council, the Advisory Board of AMCREF Community Capital and the Board of Trustees of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. She holds an MBA, a Master of Regional Planning, and a BA in Environmental Policy from UNC-Chapel Hill, and is a graduate of the Venture Capital Institute. She enjoys gardening and making music with her husband and two daughters at their historic bungalow in Durham, NC.
With over 30 years of extensive take-to-market experience in fast-paced industries, including tourism (Wardair, Canadian Airlines, Delta Hotels) and telecommunications (TELUS), Mary Moran began her present role as VP, Marketing & Communications with Calgary Economic Development in 2010.
She has a focus on leading teams in the development of strategic marketing plans that result in increasing market share, strengthening stakeholder relations and building brand equity. With experience across private, public and non-profit sectors, Mary holds an expertise in take-to-market initiatives for measurable results. Mary holds an MBA program from Royal Roads University.
In her first five months at Calgary Economic Development, she has led the creation of a national marketing campaign under the brand of “Calgary. Be Part of the Energy” focusing on talent and business attraction into Calgary. The initial phase of this campaign (June 2011-April 2012) held 7 promotional events targeting key markets in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Halifax. Since its debut, this campaign has received both gold and platinum recognition from the 2011 MarCom awards.
Outside of her work, her commitment to child and youth well-being and development is seen in her dedication to the Ronald McDonald House Southern Alberta, Merit Scholarship program, Calgary Police Foundation and YouthLink. Mary has been volunteering with the Ronald McDonald house for 12 years, and is a past President of the Board. One of her objectives has been bringing the first Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (mobile medical unit and team) to Canada to help medically underserved children in East Calgary.
She is an active member of the Marketing Partnership Council with Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University.
Jane Muir spent the first decade of her career in the private sector and the past 20+ years in leadership roles in technology transfer at the University of Florida. In addition to her current role as Director of the Florida Innovation Hub at UF, she is also the Associate Director in the technology licensing office. She also serves as Director of UF Tech Connect. Prior to that, Jane served as Marketing Director for the NASA Southeast Regional Technology Transfer Center in the College of Engineering.
Jane previously served as the Vice President for Professional Development for the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), where she developed and implemented training programs internationally. She currently serves as AUTM's President.
Jane graduated cum laude from Southwest Minnesota State University with a B.S. in Marketing and a B.S. in Business Administration & Management. She has served on the boards of a number of organizations, and has been awarded numerous grants for technology-commercialization programs. Most recently she was the primary author on the $8.2 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to build the Florida Innovation Hub at UF.
Mark Newberg is Managing Director of Impact Strategies for 5 Stone Green Capital, an emerging green real estate firm. At 5 Stone, Mark leads the firm’s “layered impact” strategy, incorporating impact principles into each project, in ways that support bottom-line financial returns while producing tangible external benefits. He also served as Chair of the Design Committee for the Inaugural Global Innovation Summit, a gathering of global thought leaders organized by T2 Venture Capital. Mark was previously a Senior Policy Advisor at the US Small Business Administration, where he helped lead impact investing policy efforts and the Startup America: Reducing Barriers series as part of his high-growth entrepreneurship and innovation portfolio.
Prior to his time at SBA, Mark was a post-Katrina Advisor to the New Orleans City Council, focusing on big picture policy issues in the recovery. Currently based in Washington, DC, he has written occasional opinion pieces for various outlets, including the recent Spectrum of Impact in America, and advises several high-growth, high-impact startups. Mark holds a BA from Tulane University, a JD from Tulane Law School, and was a Visiting Student at Harvard Law School.
Mike Opat is the Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, the governing body for the largest county in Minnesota, with more than 1.1 million residents and an annual budget of $1.7 billion. The County Board governs the delivery of county services, approves Hennepin’s budget and property tax levy, establishes ordinances, approves contracts and appoints key staff members.
Commissioner Opat was elected to the Board for the first time in 1992 and has served from 1993 to the present. He represents a district that includes more than 160,000 residents in six suburban cities.
As chair of the Hennepin County Medical Center Governing Board in 2006, Commissioner Opat led the transition of HCMC to Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., a governance change that gave the hospital greater autonomy and operational flexibility. Also in 2006, he led the effort with the Minnesota Twins to finance and build the new outdoor ballpark in downtown Minneapolis. It will open in April 2010. Commissioner Opat has also been involved in numerous transportation improvement projects.
Formerly a supervisor at the Hennepin Adult Corrections Facility and Minnesota Correctional Officer of the Year, Commissioner Opat is active in criminal justice efforts. His other efforts include partnering with local school districts to launch a teen pregnancy-prevention effort and improve outcomes for underprivileged young women. With two young sons, he is also enthusiastically involved in Guys Read, a literacy program that helps spark reading habits for boys.
Commissioner Opat has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Minnesota and earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He serves on the new Hennepin Healthcare System Board of Directors and the Counties Transit Improvement Board, the newly created board that will build new transit lines in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. He is a member of numerous private associations, including the American Council of Young Political Leaders, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and is an Honorary Board member of Arc Greater Twin Cities.
Commissioner Opat lives in Robbinsdale with his wife Kim, sons Luke and T.J. and daughter Tess.
David Owen is Chief Executive of GFirst UK, the local enterprise partnership for Gloucestershire. GFirst leads on economic development through investment, skills, connectivity, and promotion in a county that boasts the Cotswolds tourism destination alongside world class brands as diverse as Messier-Bugatti-Dowty landing gear and Superdry clothes. David became Chief Executive of GFirst in 2009 and is also currently a non-executive director of the equity fund South West Investment Group and growing training company GEL.
David's career at senior management level stretches back over fifteen years and prior to joining GFirst, he had been Director of Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Gloucestershire, Enterprise Network Manager at the University of Bristol, and Managing Director of a high-growth start-up training company - Liverpool Business Services Ltd. He is also a previous President of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the South West UK Business Advisory Group.
David has a first degree in business studies and a masters degree in leading change. In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his young family, watching football (soccer!): supporting Liverpool, climbing mountains, and playing golf very badly.
Mr. Peterson joined the company in December 2008 as executive vice president and chief human resources officer. He is responsible for the company's human resources efforts and provides direction for the company's strategies concerning Best People.
Mr. Peterson has 25 years of experience in human resources. Prior to joining the company, he served as the senior vice president and head of human resources for Select Comfort, Inc., a specialty retailer with 450 store locations, two manufacturing facilities and several distribution hubs staffed by homedelivery personnel. He has also held HR leadership roles with Lifetime Fitness, Inc., Simon Delivers.Com, Diageo/Pillsbury and the Quaker Oats Company.
Mr. Peterson earned his bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Marquette University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a master's degree in industrial relations from the University of Minnesota.
Cathy Polasky leads the City of Minneapolis Economic Development Division which includes Business Finance, Business Development and the Employment and Training Program.
Before joining the City in January, 2008, Ms. Polasky launched a nationwide mortgage division, as Senior Vice President for the Bank of America, leading 1000 employees, practiced law with the Popham Haik law firm, Prudential, and Norwest Mortgage, and worked on land use legislation at the Metropolitan Council.
Ms. Polasky presently serves as board president of The Family Partnership, and has previously served on the boards of the Center for Energy and the Environment, WCA Foundation, and Lake Country School.
Ms. Polasky lives in Minneapolis and has a law degree from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Urban Planning from the University of North Carolina and a BA in Geography and Urban Studies from Macalester College.
Laurie R. Preece serves as the Executive Director of Alignment Rockford, an innovative 501(c)(3) collective impact organization established in 2009 to improve public education in Rockford, Illinois.
Alignment Rockford's mission is to coordinate community resources aimed at raising student achievement, improving the health and happiness of children, and advancing the economic and social well-being of the community. The organization designs and pilots tactical solutions to strategic challenges facing Rockford Public Schools.
In fulfilling this important mission, Alignment Rockford engages a diverse array of community organizations and individuals from post-secondary education, government, business, churches and social agencies in a proprietary planning and implementation process. Alignment Rockford's working committees have designed, piloted and expanded initiatives ranging from College & Career Academies in Rockford's high schools to a community information campaign targeted at improving secure infant attachments with their caregivers.
As Alignment Rockford's director, Laurie works with a Governing Board of Directors to lead the implementation of the organization's vision: ensuring that all students graduate from high school with marketable employment skills, enroll in post-secondary education, and are eager to live, work, learn, create, and play in the Rockford region as contributing adults. This charge involves strategic planning, operational oversight, development and fundraising, public communications, and effectively managing relationships with a broad network of stakeholders.
Laurie speaks at regional and national events as an evangelist to communities seeking productive educator-employer partnerships. Prior to leading Alignment Rockford, Laurie served as the volunteer executive director of the Rockford Charter Schools Initiative whose mission was to support the development and authorization of high-quality charter public schools as innovative learning laboratories and academic options for families. The Rockford Public Schools Board of Education authorized three charters in 2009.
Sree Ramaswamy is a Senior Fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey’s business and economics research arm. He leads research on the activities of corporations and their contribution to productivity, growth and competitiveness. He also leads MGI’s work on the future of global manufacturing and the impact of changes in demand, costs, technologies, and policies on various industries. In this capacity he has worked on issues related to advanced industries, investment and trade, and the trend of next-shoring in manufacturing. Other recent work includes an in-depth look at game-changing opportunities for the US economy—in energy, advanced industries, and infrastructure—and studies on labor and talent challenges in the US and other advanced economies.
Previously as a McKinsey consultant for three years, Sree worked on topics related to regional and city economic development, public sector efficiency, and business strategy for private-sector clients in aerospace, energy, and high-tech industries.
Prior to joining McKinsey, Sree spent ten years in the US telecom and aerospace sector. He worked on systems research and design for broadband satellite networks and holds three patents in the field. He worked at both satellite design and operator companies, and his experience includes satellite systems engineering, business development, and international regulation and policy issues related to satellite communications.
As vice president of marketing & business development with Mall of America, Jill Renslow is responsible for working with new and existing tenants to create unique experiences and drive sales and traffic. Bringing over 16 valuable years of development experience with Mall of America, Jill oversees retail marketing, advertising, digital media, group sales, events, amusement park and theater marketing. She also is responsible for forming strategic partnerships and technology advances. Working with various innovative partners, the goal is to develop and integrate emerging technologies into both Mall of America retail and entertainment environments.
Previously, Renslow was director of business development at Mall of America. During her tenure, Renslow oversaw a $25 million rebranding effort of the nation's largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe, as well as annual enhancements including new rides, attractions and partnerships. She also managed a $2 million renovation of Theatres at Mall of America, adding 3D technology, DBOX, StarBar and a V.I.P. theater. Improvements to the theater contributed to a 35 percent increase in gross revenue and a 26 percent decrease in expenses.
Renslow holds a B.A. in marketing communications from St. Cloud State University and an M.B.C. from the University of St. Thomas.
Sydney Rogers is the founding Executive Director of Alignment Nashville, a 501©(3) collective impact organization whose purpose is to strategically and systemically align community organizations in support of public education and children's health. Rogers is currently developing Alignment USA, a national network of collective impact organizations that adopt Alignment Principles, Structure, Process, and Technology. Six cities and regions are currently members of the Alignment USA network. She is also a consultant for Ford Next Generation Learning, an initiative of the Ford Motor Company Fund and in that role, is working to scale Alignment nationally through the Ford NGL network.
For thirty years, Sydney served the community at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville and Nashville State Community College. During her tenure at Nashville State, she served as a faculty member, department chair, Dean of Technology, Executive Vice President and finally, in 2001, was named Vice President of Community and Economic development. While at the college, she led a 10-year effort to develop collaborative high school and college reform initiatives with support and funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). She founded an NSF Regional Center for Innovation in Technological Education (CITE), The Case Files project (a national network), South East Consortium for Advanced Technological Education, and Tennessee Exemplary Faculty for Advanced Technological Education (a statewide effort).
Another highlight of her work while at Nashville State was the development of the blueprint for the unique collaborative design for the Tennessee Board of Regents Online Degree Program (RODP), one of the most successful on-line universities in the country. She has served on many local and national non-profit boards and NSF National Visiting Committees, presented numerous speeches, and testified for the U.S. Congress and the National Academies.
The focus of her work in educational transformation has been in developing effective practices for creating new learning environments using authentic experiences, especially in the workplace, and modeling effective methods for engaging businesses in education by using the “How People Learn” framework. She is the co-founder of “Synergy,” an NSF funded bi-annual national series of collaborative meetings to integrate multiple aspects of education reform. “Synergy” events have been held in Nashville, Boston, and Phoenix and have engaged teams of educational reformers from more than 20 states.
Steven Rosenstone has had a distinguished career in higher education beginning with his summa cum laude bachelor's degree from Washington University and his master's degree and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He was professor of political science at Yale University until 1986 when he joined the University of Michigan to serve as professor of political science and program director in the Center for Political Studies. He is the author of Who Votes?; Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America; Third Parties in America: Citizen Response to Major Party Failure; Hispanic Political Participation; Forecasting Presidential Elections; and numerous scholarly articles on elections, political participation, and higher education. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Recruited to the University of Minnesota in 1996 to serve as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Rosenstone earned a reputation as a visionary and effective leader. In recognition of his service to the University of Minnesota, he was awarded the McKnight Presidential Leadership Chair in 2004 and was promoted to Vice President for Scholarly and Cultural Affairs in 2007.
Named chancellor of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in February 2011 by the Board of Trustees, Rosenstone began his term in August 2011. As chancellor, Rosenstone is responsible for leading the seven state universities and 24 community and technical colleges that serve more than 420,000 students in 47 communities across the state.
Chancellor Rosenstone has led the development and implementation of MnSCU's new strategic framework to enhance the role that Minnesota State Colleges and Universities play in growing Minnesota' s economy by:
1. Ensuring access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans
Rosenstone serves on the Governor's Workforce Development Council, the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the Itasca Project, the Business Partnership, and the governing boards for Minnesota Compass and Generation Next.
Della Rucker is the author of The Local Economy Revolution: What's Changed and How You Can Help. She is Principal of the Wise Economy Workshop, a consulting firm that focuses on economic revitalization planning and public engagement. She is also the Managing Editor of Engaging Cities, an online magazine focused on the intersection of internet technologies and public involvement in community and government life.
Della has spent over 20 years providing economic development planning, downtown revitalization strategies, fiscal impact analysis, public engagement and other services throughout the United States. She is one of less than 20 people in the United States who carry industry-standard certifications in both planning (AICP) and economic development (CEcD).
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Della holds a Masters in Community Planning with a concentration in economic development from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Northwestern University. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Myles Shaver is Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He has received numerous teaching awards for MBA and executive education classes on Corporate Strategy, Multinational Business Management, and Corporate Responsibility; and Ph.D. classes on strategy and international business research. Myles' research interests revolve around corporate strategy choices and their impact on performance. In particular, his research focuses on the management and economics of international expansion as well as corporate expansion through diversification and mergers and acquisitions. Myles' work has been published in several leading academic publications and he has presented his research at numerous universities and conferences around the world. Myles is an Associate Editor of the Global Strategy Journal and Management Science and is on the Editorial Boards of the Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Strategic Organization, and the Journal of International Business Education.
Myles makes frequent media appearances to discuss topical business issues and was awarded the Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) Distinguished PhD Alumni Award in 2010. Poets and Quants included Myles in their profile of the "World's 50 Best Business School Professors."
Katie Clark Sieben was appointed DEED Commissioner in October 2012. Prior to that, she served as executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO). MTO promotes the creation and retention of jobs and economic prosperity of the State by assisting Minnesota companies to export manufactured goods and services and attract foreign direct investment. As executive director, Katie was responsible for managing the overall strategic direction of the MTO which includes promoting the State of Minnesota and its companies in the global marketplace, introducing Minnesota companies to foreign buyers and investors, building diplomatic relationships with international delegations and managing a staff of international trade representatives.
Katie brings years of experience in business development and recruitment in the private sector, including with one of Minnesota's largest corporations, Target Corporation. She has managed large-scale, multi-million dollar operations; built strategic partnerships at the highest levels of business and philanthropy; and created and implemented nationwide marketing campaigns. In addition to working for Target Corporation, Katie served as the director of community relations for a startup wind energy developer, National Wind, and as finance director for Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota.
She serves on the board of SIDO, the State International Development Organization. She also serves on the advisory boards for the University of Minnesota's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the University of Minnesota Carlson School Global Institute, and the Minnesota Department of Education Global Competencies Advisory Board.
Katie graduated from the University of Minnesota and was a recipient of the 2012 MSP Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" Award.
Snorton is a nationally recognized small business and economic development expert with a proven record for “results.” In 2008, Henry left his post as the Vice President of Business Development at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce to start Mission Vision Partner (MVP), a practitioner-based full service economic development consulting firm. MVP works throughout the US delivering “big results and big impact for the smalls” in three areas: 1) economic development, 2) small business & entrepreneurial development and 3) grants and application development. MVP's niche is assisting the smalls, distressed and underserved communities and corporate programs and projects to grow and improve economically first, socially second.
MVP subcontracts with organizations such as Minority Economic Development Initiative of Western Kentucky, Inc. (MEDI) to fully manage its strategy implementation, loan and grant funds administration, servicing and reporting and technical and financial assistance delivery. In result, MVP's leadership produced 332 new or retained jobs and $1.83 Million in capital investment through small business and entrepreneurial development, measuring more than $8 Million in economic output.
MVP is also an approved grant reviewer for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Funds. And, serves US Army troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky by working in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans & Military Families as a presenter for the nationally known Operation Boots to Business, From Service to Startup course.
Snorton was also appointed by Kentucky Governors, Beshear and Fletcher to serve on the Governor's Minority Employment, Business Affairs & Economic Development Council. This Council initiated Kentucky's new Ethnic Minority Business Small Purchase policy, online small and minority business database and tracking system, Minority & Women-owned Business Entity Certification Program and reciprocity agreement with Indiana's Minority Business Entity (MBE) Certification Program.
Snorton is also a serial entrepreneur and Certified CDBG Administrator. He earned his MPA and Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tennessee State University's Institute of Government and Bachelors degree in Economics from Kentucky State University.
Snorton has attained Kentucky's highest civilian honor by being named a Kentucky Colonel. He has been recognized as the Community Leader of the Year and received the Excellence in Community Development Work National Team Award from the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) in 2011. He has also received the Mark Your Mark Award from the Mayor of Hopkinsville and Citation from Kentucky House of Representatives in 2008 and National Planning Project Award from American Planning Association in 2000.
William Sproull is President and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce (RCC), Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) and the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP). This unique and complex set of organizations he runs has two separate Board of Directors and a City Council to whom he reports.
He has led the revitalization of Richardson's telecom based economy through a focus on industry and technology diversification. He built the MTBC into the state of Texas's largest trade association for technology companies. He led the RCC in 2010 through the rigorous US Chamber Accreditation program successfully, earning the highest 5 Star rating conferred by the US Chamber for accreditation. Sproull and his REDP team are credited with bringing two catalyst economic development projects to Richardson: a 3,000 employee Bank of America operation in 2004, and a $3 billion Texas Instruments semiconductor factory in 2003.
In 2005, he helped lead a statewide coalition that got legislation passed in Texas to create the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, a half-billion investment fund. Governor Rick Perry of Texas has appointed him to three consecutive two-year terms on the Fund's Advisory Committee, and appointed him as Chairman in 2010.
Previously he held senior economic development positions at the Greater Dallas Chamber, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation and at the EDC of Kansas City, Missouri. Sproull is a graduate of Baylor University, where he received a BA degree with a double major in Economics and Political Science.
Sproull is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Texas at Dallas, the North Texas Regional Center for Innovation & Commercialization, the North Texas Commission, and the Technology Councils of North America.
Sproull's economic development accomplishments were recognized by the editors of Site Selection magazine when they selected the $3 billion Texas Instruments project as the Top Development Deal nationally of 2003; his economic development teams have been selected three times by Site Selection as one of the top 10 development groups in the U.S. in 1994, 1997 and 2004. He is a two-time recipient of the American Economic Development Council's “Best of Class” marketing award. In 2010, the International Economic Development Council designated him with the distinction of being a Fellow Member.
The Metroplex Technology Business Council inducted Sproull as the inaugural member of their Hall of Fame in 2010 by declaring him a Tech Titan.
Michael J. Taylor is senior vice president, West Territory Executive, for PNC Bank. He is responsible for community and economic development activities for Northern Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin. Prior to this he was the president and executive director of the National City Community Development Corporation, the first community development corporation founded by a financial services company. The Community Development Corporation invested more than $1.5 billion in revitalizing neighborhoods.
Mr. Taylor has experience in both private and public sector community and economic development, as well as twenty-five years of banking experience. He has held the position of senior vice president and executive director of Michigan Multi-Cities Community Development Association. He has served as community development specialist for the National City CDC, and commercial/community development manager for National City Bank – Southeast Michigan. His responsibilities included expanding the CDC investment and loan portfolio in Illinois and Indiana, and coordinating the corporation's commercial community development lending activities for the Southeast Michigan Region. He directed bank commercial loan activities in the Detroit Empowerment Zone and other targeted markets, and functioned as product manager for the Initiative Small Business Loan Product. From 1986 to 1990, he served as executive director for the Saginaw Economic Development Corporation in Saginaw, Michigan.
Michael Taylor is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a master's degree in Administration. He is also a graduate of Robert M. Perry School of Banking. During his career, he has received numerous awards and recognition for outstanding contributions and service to the community.
Marty Vanags became Executive Director of the Indy Partnership in February 2013. Vanags leads a group of professional economic development staff whose mission is to market and promote the nine-county Indianapolis region as a place to invest and grow business. The Indy Partnership is a business unit of the Indy Chamber.
Vanags is a graduate of Illinois State University and Northern Illinois University (MPA) and has over 25 years of experience in community and economic development, private commercial real estate development and business management. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). He has served as Chairman of the Illinois Development Council, Chair of International Economic Development Council Public Policy Advisory Committee, and member of the same organization's Economic Development Research Partners (EDRP). He is an active alumnus of Illinois State University serving on their Alumni Board, and the Board of Advisors for the Means Center for Entrepreneurship at ISU's College of Business. Vanags also is a co-founder and creator of the Center for Emerging Entrepreneurs, a business incubation and development program at Illinois State University.
He is a co-founder and on the Board of the @Midwest Social Media Conference, and speaks and provides seminars on social media and its impact on economic development and non-profits. Vanags has spoken at various venues and conferences on topics ranging from communication, leadership, change management, and data-use in economic development and community development. Under Vanags' leadership, the Bloomington Normal EDC received numerous accolades and awards for marketing, communication and economic development best practices.
Ellen Watters has a broad background in community and organizational development, civic engagement and public policy. She launched her own consulting firm in 2014 after being part of Civic Source, a two-person consulting firm for seven years.
Ellen's recent portfolio of work includes serving as co-project manager for the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership, a collaborative of 13 higher education and healthcare institutions in Minneapolis-St. Paul working together to create economic opportunity and neighborhood stability in a targeted geography. She also assisted in the project management of the Jobs Central/Corridors 2 Careers initiative through Ramsey County. And for 13 years she has co-created and managed the InterCity Leadership Visit, a study mission for elected officials, business and civic leaders to learn best practices by visiting another region of the U.S.
For seven years she was a principal and co-founder of the consulting firm, Civic Source, where she concentrated on community development collaboratives and community leadership programs. This experience includes extensive work helping cross-sector partnerships align around common goals and develop implementation strategies. She also has worked with organizations to do strategic planning with board and staff and to develop more effective boards.
Prior to Civic Source, Ellen served as Senior Vice President of Economic Development for the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce. Her responsibilities included developing macro policies to attract and retain investment and working to ensure a climate conducive to growth. Before joining the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce in 2002, Ellen served as President of the Midway Chamber of Commerce for nearly six years. Her earlier career was primarily in communications and fundraising.
Ellen serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Northern Clay Center, Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of Episcopal Homes of Minnesota and on the board of directors of the High Winds Fund at Macalester College. Ellen has a BA in Economics and Business from Macalester College.
Steve Weathers was appointed President & CEO of the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA) in December of 2013. Prior to his appointment at the ECIDA, Steve served as President & CEO of the World Trade Center San Diego. Prior to his role at the World Trade Center San Diego, Steve was President& CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) in Georgia. While at SEDA Steve lead the effort to create the World Trade Center Savannah, serving as its first President & CEO. He has also served as President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) where he created and led the pre-seed venture capital fund Rocket Ventures as its President & Managing Director. During his time at RGP in Toledo, Ohio, the organization assumed a leadership role that led to the creation of more than 7,200 new high-paying, high-skilled jobs in the region. Rocket Ventures, the region's first ever pre-seed venture capital fund grew to become a $22 million early-state investment fund, launching and supporting more than 80 new technology start-up companies in a three-year period.
Steve has more than 20 years of economic development experience, with 11 of those years in San Diego, California as Vice President of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Through the years, Steve has been involved in the attraction, retention, growth and start-up of more than 500 companies. Some of his most significant and notable successes during his economic development career have been the attraction of the Novartis Genomic Research Center, Gateway Computers Headquarters, the LEGO Theme Park and the SPAWAR Defense Headquarters in the San Diego region, as well as the attraction of GEICO, Citigroup and Intuit Software National Service Centers to the Tucson region.
Steve has been awarded certifications in both community and economic development (CEcD) from the International Economic Development Council. He has also held positions as adjunct instructor, where he taught university courses in economic development at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Currently, Steve serves on the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).
Tim Welsh has served some of the nation's leading life insurers, P&C insurers, banks and retailers on issues of strategy, organization and operations.
Additionally, Tim is active in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. He helped create the Itasca Project—a coalition of more than 40 CEOs, the governor, and other civic leaders—that is helping to drive development initiatives in the region. He also supported the Mayor of Minneapolis in a project to transform the city's economic development activities. He serves on the Board of the United Way, as well as St. Paul Academy and the Summit School.
Joy Wilkins is a frequent advisor, speaker, instructor, and author on economic development, leadership development, community capacity building, strategic planning, and quality management topics. She has served as a consultant for clients in the United States and Canada.
As a member of the University of Georgia’s public service faculty, Joy serves with the state office team for the Georgia Small Business Development Center, contributing to initiatives to enhance overall organizational effectiveness. In a prior capacity with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, she facilitated community leadership dialogues, conducted strategic assessments, and advised leaders on a variety of matters.
Prior to UGA, Joy served with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and grew the community services unit of the organization into a high performance team. She oversaw the development and delivery of the Institute's planning, research, and advisory services for leaders in economic development representing chambers of commerce, cities, counties, regions, and state and federal entities – and contributed to the design and deployment of professional development courses to serve them. In this role, she promoted the organization to a wide range of constituencies.
In another prior capacity, Joy served with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce where she conducted research and produced customized reports and publications concerning metro Atlanta's economic development landscape for investors ranging from the entrepreneur to the corporate executive. While at the Chamber, much of her work was concentrated on addressing research needs associated with Atlanta's hosting of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
Joy entered the economic development profession in 1994 and has been a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) since 2002. She has a master's degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology; a graduate certificate in real estate from Georgia State University; and a bachelor's degree, with majors in sociology and political science, from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Joy serves on the IEDC Board of Directors, chairs the Georgia Economic Developers Association’s Professional Development Committee, and has been actively involved with a number of other endeavors to serve the profession.
Rhys Williams is a Buyer at Co-op Partners Warehouse, a distributor of organic produce, dairy, soy and juice servicing retail co-ops, natural food stores and restaurants in the Upper Midwest. Rhys buys different organic products including fruit and vegetables and helps farmers enter the Co-op Partners Warehouse market. Previously he was a partner in Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables a 140 acre diversified organic vegetable and fruit farm in Rushford MN. Rhys has also managed Apple and Pear operations in upstate New York, Kelowna British Columbia, and Yakima Washington. He has also been a community organizer and was in the Peace Corps.
Rhys is on the board of the Land Stewardship Project, Woodhill Community Gardens, and a member of the Minneapolis Food Council. He is also activte in his community, working with Roots For The Home Team and Hope Community in Minneapolis.
Gene Winstead was elected to his first term as Mayor of Bloomington, Minnesota on November 2, 1999, and is now serving in his fourth term as Mayor. He's been a member of the Bloomington City Council since his appointment in 1995. In addition to his work on the City Council, Mayor Winstead is currently serving on Bloomington's Port Authority, Bloomington United for Youth, and the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is also a board member of the American Red Cross Blood Services Division and is on the Senior Community Services Board. He is a past member of the City's Planning Commission, serving as its Chairperson through the development of the Mall of America, and has served on several other community boards and foundations including the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association (BCPA), Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Winstead has been a resident of Bloomington since 1975 and is married with three grown daughters and seven grandchildren. He retired as Vice President of Operations from Lieberman Companies in Bloomington in August 2004 after 34 years and now keeps busy as a partner of Ike's Food & Cocktails in downtown Minneapolis and at their newest location at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport.
Ben Wright is one of the foremost experts in economic development marketing, with over 18 years of experience, working primarily in North America. In the ten years since he started U.S. based Atlas Advertising, the company has grown to serve more than 70 different economic development clients, in 40+ states and 6 countries.
Ben started his career in economic development as the Chief Economist for the Metro Denver EDC, in Colorado in the early 1990s. He brings a wealth of branding, digital marketing, and GIS experience into every client engagement. Ben helps clients develop and execute innovative marketing strategies, and is a frequent speaker with the International Economic Development Council, Georgia Tech Innovation Institute, and various state and regional economic development conferences.
Having worked all over North America, Ben understands how economic development agencies must compete in a global marketplace. He applies this passion for places and knowledge of people into Atlas Advertising’s very core, and, thus, into every project.
Ben is a graduate of Stanford University in California with a degree in economics, with emphasis on urban studies. Ben lives in Denver, CO with his wife and three adventurous daughters.
Kim's primary responsibility at ICIC is defining and implementing a research agenda that explores economic development issues in U.S. inner cities. She also directs the advisory services practice that works with clients across the nation to apply ICIC research findings. ICIC has advised over 50 cities on economic development since its inception in 1994. The organization is a leading authority on urban economies, especially distressed urban cores, and continues to build a library of insights and strategies for leaders in urban economic development. ICIC's research continues to push the economic development field forward. Kim is currently directing a portfolio of action-oriented research that includes: a comprehensive analysis of economic trends in the nation's inner cities; expanding the role and definition of anchor institutions; including developing a systematic approach to measuring shared value; exploring new investment tools for cities that will deliver sustained economic growth; and city initiatives that support high-growth urban businesses.
Kim has over 15-years of experience researching and advising on economic development issues. She has published dozens of academic and professional articles and is co-editor of the book Revitalizing American Cities (2013), which explores the historical, regional, and political factors that have allowed some industrial cities to regain their footing in a changing economy. According to Manny Diaz, the former Mayor of Miami and past President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the book should be “required reading for anyone working to stabilize and strengthen America's industrial cities.”
Kim holds a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, where her research focused on regional and community economic development. Kim has held several academic positions, as a Visiting Scholar at the College of William and Mary, a professor at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and a professor at the University of Kentucky. Most recently, Kim was Vice President and Community Development Officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, VA. Before joining the Fed, she was a research director and business consultant with the Corporate Executive Board, Business Leadership Forum, in Washington, D.C.