EVELETH, Minn.—Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich today announced the appointment of four Next Gen members, who are all under age 34, to the Better IRRRB Task Force. Sertich said, “Because the task force will focus heavily on the future of the region, it is important that younger Iron Rangers bring their unique perspectives to the process.”
The Next Gen members are as follows:
Britta Bloomquist of Virginia is a communications coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in Virginia through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
Victoria Hagberg of Hibbing is a geotechnical engineer for Barr Engineering Company in Hibbing.
Kyle Lamppa of Virginia is a United Steelworkers training coordinator at ArcelorMittal-Minorca Mine in Virginia.
Jordan Richards of Ely is a data analyst for Twin Metals Minnesota and co-manager of Rockwood Bar and Grill, both in Ely. He also is an aircraft armament system specialist with the Minnesota Air National Guard 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth.
Sertich also noted that he originally planned to appoint two Next Gen members to the task force but ultimately decided to expand the number to four, due to the number of qualified applicants. He said, “The education and experience of these four individuals, coupled with their strong vision and passion for the Iron Range, will make each of them a great asset to the task force.”
The 17-member Better IRRRB Task Force, which was created in June, is charged with protecting agency resources, particularly the $143 million in the Douglas J. Johnson Trust Fund. The DJJ fund, as it is commonly known, is a trust fund of local Iron Range tax dollars established in 1977 that supports projects that stimulate employment and encourage diversification of northeastern Minnesota’s economy. Over the past decade, there have been repeated and failed attempts to raid the fund by some elected officials at the Capitol. The task force also will develop strategies for improving the IRRRB and helping it evolve with the times. Input will be gathered from all citizens, including current agency stakeholders, previous customers, former IRRRB Commissioners and former IRRR Board members. Findings and recommendations are due to Sertich by the end of the year.
IRRRB is a state economic development agency headquartered in northeastern Minnesota whose mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.