Phillips, Edman, Tunheim will bring experienced, private sector leadership to DEED, Explore Minnesota, and statewide job creation efforts
St. Paul, MN —Governor Mark Dayton underscored his commitment to put jobs and economic growth at the forefront of his agenda, today announcing a strong team to lead the efforts. He appointed Mark Phillips, a private sector business development professional, as the Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the anchor agency of the Administration’s job creation efforts. The Governor re-appointed John Edman as Director of Explore Minnesota, continuing efforts to boost tourism – a key engine of economic and job growth statewide. Governor Dayton also announced that Kathy Tunheim will serve as a Senior Advisor to the Governor for Job Creation, a volunteer position that will drive outreach efforts to spur jobs growth.
“The best solutions to Minnesota’s chronic budget deficits are jobs and economic growth,” said Governor Dayton. “They will be my top priorities, and these three outstanding leaders will be tremendous partners in putting these words into action. I will work closely with this strong team of Kathy Tunheim, Mark Phillips, and John Edman to encourage Minnesota’s economic growth and help put Minnesotans back to work.”
DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips brings over twenty-five years of demonstrated leadership in development and finance, including launching new and creative programs for community and economic development, real estate development and business financing. Currently, he serves as Director of Business Development for Kraus-Anderson Construction. Phillips’ career bridges public and private industry in both metro and greater Minnesota, having served as Director of Community and Economic Development at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) under Gov. Perpich, as Director of Development for Minnesota Power, and as Vice President of Northeast Ventures Corporation. He is a recipient of the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s Career Achievement Award.
“It is an honor to be chosen to lead this agency that’s so important to our state’s economy,” said Phillips. “Governor Dayton has made it clear that jobs are his number one priority, and I am ready to get to work to enhance Minnesota’s economic environment and support the Governor in his mission to get Minnesotans working again.”
Governor Dayton also reappointed John Edman to lead Minnesota’s tourism office, Explore Minnesota. Since taking the helm as Director in 2000, Edman has earned the widespread respect of the tourism industry. Edman previously held leadership positions in prominent public and private travel organizations, including serving as Director of Marketing for Carlson Destination Marketing Services.
Tourism remains a key economic driver in Minnesota, generating $11 billion in gross sales, $3.9 billion in wages, and $699 million in state sales taxes, according to Explore Minnesota’s most recent Economic Impact study. Because tourism represents not only a large sector of our economy but also a tremendous opportunity for growth, Governor Dayton and Mr. Edman will travel to Brainerd to meet with the local tourism industry and participate in one of the state’s major ice fishing events, in recognition of the importance of tourism to the area.
To further his commitment to job creation and building a foundation for economic growth, Dayton today announced that Kathy Tunheim would serve as a Senior Advisor to the Governor for Job Creation. Tunheim’s role will be to bring together the best thinking, advice, counsel and expertise on how to grow private sector jobs and Minnesota’s economy. The focus will be on three specific areas: what do facts and analysis say about what will drive job growth and economic vitality in Minnesota; what kinds of jobs should Minnesota focus on creating and where is our competitive advantage; and what are the specific opportunities before us and how do we seize them.
“I am especially grateful to Kathy Tunheim for undertaking this key role in a volunteer capacity” said Governor Dayton. She brings priceless experience and exceptional working relationships with many of Minnesota’s business and other civic leaders. She will help me to develop those relationships and, despite the painful task of balancing the state’s budget, reach out to Minnesota’s job providers to find out what we can do to encourage their continued success and growth in our state.”
“Governor Dayton has asked all Minnesotans who are able to serve, and I’m honored to be asked to serve in this capacity,” said Tunheim. “Minnesota has a diverse and complicated economy, and we will focus on pulling all the different threads together and evaluating the best policy options to ensure Minnesota is an economic leader for years to come.”
Kathy Tunheim is founder of Tunheim Partners and President of IPREX Worldwide. Tunheim has spent a lifetime in leadership in both the public and private sectors, including Honeywell and in the office of Wendell Anderson as both Senator and Governor. While she has served on the boards of such prestigious groups as the Bush Foundation and the University of Minnesota Foundation, she will be resigning from her non-profit and advocacy board positions in order to dedicate her efforts to the charge given to her by the Governor.
Tunheim will report to the Governor, and will work directly with DEED. Tunheim’s work, alongside the many efforts of DEED, will be key pieces of Dayton’s effort to engage the private sector to work in greater partnership with the state to create jobs and prosperity for all Minnesotans.