What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

Phillips steps down as DEED commissioner, Clark steps in

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: October 18, 2012 - 11:51 AM

Katie Clark will be the new commissioner of Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced on Thursday that Mark Phillips, the commissioner of DEED, will step down effective Friday to pursue opportunities in the private sector after 20 months in the job.

Clark, 31, will take over the state's principal economic development agency, which employs 1,559 people and has a $421 million budget. The agency tries to promote business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. DEED also collects and publishes all sorts of data on jobs.

She said she will look at all of DEED's programs to make sure they're working and positioning Minnesota well in the global marketplace.

"DEED is well-run and well-positioned currently, but this does present an opportunity just for us to take a look at the programs and identify if the programs that we have are giving us the best return on investment," Clark said. 

Since Dayton came into office, Clark has been executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. She coordinated trade missions such as Dayton's June trip to China, tried to encourage foreign direct investment in Minnesota and developed a coaching program for small and mid-sized companies who want to start exporting their products.

“Ms. Clark shares my commitment to hard work, organizational excellence, and exceptional public service," Dayton said in a statement. "I know that she will be an outstanding commissioner.”

Dayton appointed Clark to head the trade office after she served as finance director for his election campaign. Before that, the Wisconsin native worked for Target in marketing and human resources, and also worked for a startup wind energy firm called National Wind.

She's a graduate of the University of Minnesota and was a recipient of the 2012 MSP Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” Award.

In a conference call with reporters, Dayton's chief of staff Tina Smith declined to say what Phillips will do next. And Phillips relayed through DEED officials that he declined to comment.

He came to the job in January 2011 from Kraus-Anderson construction, where he was director of business development. Before that, he had been the director of community and economic development up on Minnesota's Iron Range and a development director at Minnesota Power.

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