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State Economic Competitiveness Summit

Join us Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at the St. Paul RiverCentre for the State Economic Competitiveness Summit. 

This daylong event brings together more than 400 community economic developers, workforce development practitioners, planners, civic and government leaders, educators, researchers and nonprofit and foundation representatives for a wide-ranging discussion on innovation, globalization and talent as key drivers to economic growth. 

The summit presents a unique opportunity to share best practices, build relationships and better serve Minnesotans. General and breakout sessions are designed to showcase tools and resources for use in communities statewide.

Be a Sponsor

The summit is an excellent opportunity to promote your company or organization in a highly visible, high-impact way. Sponsorships are available to fit most any marketing budget.

Bronze Sponsorship - $500

  • Your organization's name listed in the conference folder
  • A Link to your organization from the event website

Silver Sponsorship - $1,000

  • Your organization's name listed in the conference folder
  • A Link to your organization from the event website
  • One complimentary registration

Gold Sponsorship - $2,000

  • Your organization's name listed in the conference folder
  • A Link to your organization from the event website
  • One marketing piece in the conference folder
  • Two complimentary registrations

Platinum Sponsorship - $5,000

  • Your organization's name listed in the conference folder
  • A Link to your organization from the event website
  • One marketing piece in the conference folder
  • A half-page display ad in the conference program
  • VIP reserved seating
  • Logo prominently displayed during all general sessions
  • Three complimentary registrations

To Become a Sponsor

Use our online registration system.

For More Information

Call or email Jennifer Pettit-Hanson at 651-259-7298.

General and Breakout Sessions

Select the links below to see all the details for each session.

  • 8:00 to 8:30 a.m.__________WELCOME REMARKS - Framing the Day's Discussion

    Governor Mark Dayton welcomes the assembly and shares his thoughts on the day.

    Remarks from Major General Richard C. Nash.

    DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben then frames the discussion in terms of challenges, opportunities, and how we need to work together to grow Minnesota's economy by building a strategy focused on three pillars: Innovation, Globalization and Talent.

  • 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.__________OPENING GENERAL SESSION - Building the Economy of the Future

    Building the Economy of the Future

    The vision for Minnesota’s future economic growth centers on Innovation, Globalization and Talent. Panelists share their varied perspectives and discuss the challenges we face in realizing this growth.


    Katie Clark Sieben, Commissioner, DEED


    • Mary Brainerd, HealthPartners
    • Kathy Gaalswyk, Minnesota Initiative Foundation
    • Ravi Norman, Thor Construction
    • Steven Rosenstone, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
    • Tina Smith, Governor’s Office
  • 10:00 to 11:00 a.m.________CONCURRENT BREAKOUT SESSIONS

    Minnesota’s Innovation Future: Disruptive Technology and Key Sectors for Economic Growth

    Minnesota’s diverse economy presents opportunities for sector- based employment and training programs as well as investments in new and expanding businesses. Disruptive technology platforms are expected to generate $33 trillion a year in global economic impact by 2025. This session focuses on key growth sectors and the technology that will drive them.


    Brian Hermann, University of Minnesota


    • Andrew Borene, Robotics Alley
    • Jeff Degrange, Stratasys
    • Dave Foster, BlueGreen Alliance
    • Jim Rogers, Mayo Clinic Ventures

    Supporting Minnesota’s Small Businesses

    Minnesota entrepreneurs discuss how to use existing resources -- technical assistance, export assistance, training and loans -- to start and grow a business. They also share success stories and practical advice. 


    Elaine Hansen, University of Minnesota Duluth Center for Economic Development


    • Rae Anne Conat, Swanky Sweet Pea, International Falls
    • Yvonne Cheung Ho, Metropolitan Economic Development Association
    • Grover Jones, NEON
    • Mike Nolan, SBDC, Mankato
    • Susan Rani, Rani Engineering
    • Charles Schaffer, DEED Small Business Assistance Office

    Increasing Exports and Identifying Emerging Foreign Markets

    Seventy-five percent of the world’s buying power resides outside of the United States. Find out where we’re seeing the greatest market demand for Minnesota goods and services. Learn about the power of exporting and see how can companies grow by tapping these export markets?


    Ed Dieter, Deputy Director, Minnesota Trade Office (DEED)


    • Bill Blazar, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
    • Steve Cremer, Harmony Enterprises
    • Ryan Kanne, U.S. Commercial Service
    • Patrick Kelly, Fredrikson and Byron
    • Cathy Polasky, City of Minneapolis
    • Mike Wilcox, Delkor

    Driving the Talent Pipeline

    Education plays an important role in developing our future workforce. This panel shares innovative approaches to ensuring current students and job seekers have the skills and information necessary to be career-ready. Retaining talent is a key strategy to Minnesota’s economic competitiveness. Employers, educators and workforce providers are working to ensure that students have information about occupations, particularly those with growth potential, and an understanding of the education and training path to those occupations.  


    Connie Ireland, Governor's Workforce Development Council


    • Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota Department of Education
    • Patti Gartland, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
    • Andrea Hanson, BestPrep
    • Alyssa Klein, DEED Vocational Rehabilitation Services
    • Michelle Ufford, Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training
  • 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.___CONCURRENT BREAKOUT SESSIONS

    Investing in Minnesota: What is the Landscape for Private Investment in Minnesota Business?

    Panelists review the current state of early-stage investment and offer strategies to increase venture capital and early-stage investment for Minnesota entrepreneurs.


    Jeff Nelson, DEED


    • Dan Carr, The Collaborative
    • Joy Lindsay, StarTec Investments
    • Scott Litman, Minnesota Cup
    • Dale Wahlstrom, BioBusiness Alliance
    • Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund

    Minnesota's Economic Development Toolbox

    The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development was successful in pursuing significant economic development tools in the 2013 legislative session, including the Minnesota Investment Fund, Minnesota Job Creation Fund, Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, Angel Tax Credits and more. This breakout provides the nuts-and-bolts of how to access and use these incentives and financing tools to help retain, expand or attract a business to your community.


    Kevin McKinnon, Executive Director, Business and Community Development, DEED


    • Bob Isaacson DEED Office of Business Finance
    • Louis Jambois, St. Paul Port Authority
    • Joe Jandrisch, Geringhoff
    • Shawn Mason, International Falls Economic and Community Development
    • Meredith Udoibok, DEED Office of Community Development

    Building the Workforce of the Future

    Minnesota’s changing demographics mean our workforce will need all Minnesotans on board with the skills to match employer needs. This session highlights initiatives underway to bring unemployed, underemployed and under-served Minnesotans into the workforce and discuss strategies to bridge the employment disparities gap in under-served communities. Employers, educators and workforce providers are working to ensure that students have information about occupations, particularly those with growth potential, and an understanding of the education and training paths to those occupations.


    Cynthia Bauerly, Deputy Commissioner, DEED


    • Patricia Brady, Everybody In, Ramsey County WIB
    • Steve Ditschler, ProAct, Inc.
    • Shar Knutson, Minnesota AFL-CIO
    • Musse Salah, DEED Vocational Rehabilitation Services
    • Abdi Warsame, Minneapolis City Council

    The Training Toolbox

    Employers often have specialized training needs, and there are a number of resources available to help. This session will provide information about the options for finding the right set of tools for training incumbent and future employees. 


    Tom Norman, Workforce Development Director, DEED


    • Cecilia Cervantes, Hennepin Technical College
    • Larry Curry, DEED Business Services
    • Mary Desjarlais, DOLI Apprenticeship Representative
    • Mario Hernandez, Latino Economic Development Council
    • Debra Kerrigan, Dunwoody College of Technology
    • Paul Moe, DEED Minnesota Job Skills Partnership
    • Mike Wagner, DEED Vocational Rehabilitation Business Services
  • 12:15 to 1:30 p.m._________LUNCH

    Get the details on the new Made in Minnesota online supply chain directory and the advantages it offers to homegrown manufacturers and suppliers. Hear about some of the companies listed in the directory. And learn how Minnesota companies can participate. 

    Hear from the heads of key state agencies and offices that play important roles in the state's economic competitiveness. Panelists include:

    • Kathy Tunheim, senior adviser on jobs to Governor Mark Dayton
    • Larry Pogemiller, director, Office of Higher Education
    • David Frederickson, commissioner, Department of Agriculture
    • Myron Frans, commissioner, Department of Revenue
    • Brenda Cassellius, commissioner, Department of Education
    • Tony Sertich, commissioner, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board

  • 1:30 TO 2:30 p.m._________CONCURRENT BREAKOUT SESSIONS

    Regional Collaboration through Public/Private Partnerships

    Flourishing regional partnerships have led to important economic growth success across the state. Panelists will discuss how can we continue to leverage economic development success and relationships into continued economic growth.


    Robin Sternberg, DEED Deputy Commissioner


    • Dan Dorman, Greater MN Partnership
    • Dr. Cheryal Hills, Region Five Development Commission
    • Michael Langley, Greater MSP
    • Gary Smith, RAEDI
    • Jonathan Zierdt, Greater Mankato Growth

    Broadband Expansion and Economic Opportunity

    Access to high-speed internet is an economic development imperative, especially for small and rural communities around the state. Panelists will discuss the implications of broadband in capturing future economic development opportunities.  


    Danna MacKenzie, DEED Office of Broadband


    • Emmett Coleman, Comcast
    • Gary Evans, Hiawatha Broadband
    • Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation
    • Rick King, Thomson Reuters

    Attracting and Growing Foreign Direct Investment

    Today Minnesota is one of the world’s best kept secrets, but that is rapidly changing with a campaign in development to tell the world about Minnesota’s great assets. Learn about initiatives aimed to attract foreign investment to Minnesota, including an EB-5 Center in northwest Minnesota.


    Kathleen Motzenbecker, Executive Director, Minnesota Trade Office (DEED)


    • Jim Curtis, USCS Minneapolis
    • David Griggs, Greater MSP
    • Jennifer Kocs, PRA Global
    • Tim Odegard, DEED Minnesota Trade Office
    • Ning Shao, MTO Shanghai office
    • Fritz Speller, MTO Dusseldorf office

    Aligning Business Needs with Training and Education

    The changing economy requires new and incumbent employees to have state-of-the-art skill sets. Educational institutions across the state are working to refine and redefine educational programs to meet new and changing needs.


    Rick Roy, DEED Workforce Development


    • Joan Danielson, DEED Job Service
    • Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd, St Paul College
    • Louis King, Summit Academy
    • Lynette Kluver, Alexandria Extrusion Co.
    • Scott Peterson, Schwan’s 
  • 2:45 to 4:15 p.m.__________CLOSING GENERAL SESSION

    Summing It Up

    As a final presentation, DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben recaps discussions from throughout the day on our state’s economic competitiveness and highlights Minnesota’s strengths in public-private partnerships and state-regional collaboration in order to sustain the state’s economic success in the long term.


The Crowne Plaza - St. Paul Riverfront (11 Kellogg Blvd East, St. Paul) is holding a courtesy block of rooms for the night of Tuesday, Jan. 21, with a room rate of $133.00 per person, per night.

Rooms must be reserved prior to Wedne sday, Jan. 8, 2014 to receive the negotiated rate.

To Make a Reservation

Call the reservation office and ask for the block of rooms being held for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MN DEED).

Reservation Staff:

Cassandre (651) 605-0197

Tanesha (651) 605-0185