A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: Director of public policy

Age: 45

Quinn Cheney is working to reduce commercial property taxes as the new director of public policy for NAIOP Minnesota, the state's chapter of the national Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Cheney said her priority is to make sure that elected officials understand how property taxes affect the developers, owners and other members that the organization represents in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. With 750 members, the Minnesota chapter is the fourth largest in the country.

"Minnesota has some of the highest property taxes in the country," Cheney said. "With a budget surplus now, Minnesota's economy is in pretty good shape. But NAIOP members are making decisions on investments that are 10, 20 maybe even 50 years away. If we want to make sure that Minnesota's economy stays strong, we've got to give them reason to continue to invest in Minnesota even when the economy maybe isn't doing so well."

The chapter also is advocating for transparency in understanding why local government services cost what they do.

Cheney has more than 20 years of experience in government affairs at the local, federal and state levels. She most recently managed her own consulting and lobbying firm. She served in former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration and has been a local policy adviser to the Canadian Consulate General in Minnesota. She has degrees in political science and French from St. Olaf College.

Q: What do the issues of concern to your industry mean to those outside it?

A: The commercial real estate industry affects the average Minnesotan every day. Whether you're going to work, to the grocery store or to the doctor with your kids, they're all in my members' buildings. If the commercial real estate industry and our members are doing well, then Minnesota's economy is probably also doing well.

Q: What appeals to you about working in public affairs?

A: I like finding solutions. I like hearing the challenges, what works and what doesn't, and then trying to help solve that challenge. As I've grown in my career, the way I can help people has grown as well.

Q: Who would you name as a professional hero?

A: As a girl who grew up in Springfield, Illinois, I have to say Abe Lincoln. He did a good job of listening to all sides of an argument, and then not until he listened to everybody did he move forward with a decision. When he did, he was very decisive.

Todd Nelson