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Continued: David Olson, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, dies

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 17, 2014 - 9:34 PM

Duane Benson, a former Republican Minnesota legislator who ran the Minnesota Business Partnership for about a decade, said: “David’s magic was that he never built staffs, coalitions, networks, etc. He created families to solve problems. He probably never realized how effective he was as a team leader, because it was never about him. … It was about the success of the family.’’

Former Gov. Arne Carlson, a Republican, recalled Olson as a strong leader who sought relationships.

Carlson recalled that he joined Olson and the late Teamsters union leader Harold Yates on an inaugural flight from the Twin Cities to Reykjavík on Icelandair. Yates and Olson, who often warred over legislation, also enjoyed each other’s company.

“Harold was a meat-and-potatoes guy and David, a Scandinavian, loved fish,” Carlson recalled. “It seemed that all we were served was salmon in Iceland.’’

Other organizations also sought Olson for his expertise and diplomacy. He served six years on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities board of trustees, including as chairman from 2007 to 2010.

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

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