Commissioner leaves state economic agency

  • Article by: ADAM BELZ
  • Star Tribune
  • October 18, 2012 - 7:28 PM

Minnesota's jobs and economic development agency is getting new leadership.

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Thursday that Commissioner Mark Phillips, 62, has quit to work in the private sector and that Katie Clark, director of the Minnesota Trade Office, will take over.

Phillips will pursue opportunities in private business after spending 20 months on the job, the governor's office said.

Clark, 31, now is responsible for Minnesota's principal agency devoted to promoting economic growth, which employs 1,559 people in offices across the state and has a $421 million budget. The state Department of Employment and Economic Development tries to promote job creation and economic growth, business recruitment, expansion, workforce development and international trade. The agency also collects and publishes data on jobs, pay and unemployment.

Clark said she will review the department's programs to make sure they're effective and that they're putting Minnesota in a position to compete 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.

Clark has been executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office since Dayton appointed her to that post in January 2011. She coordinated trade missions such as the governor's June trip to China, has tried to encourage foreign direct investment in Minnesota and developed a coaching program for small and mid-sized Minnesota companies who want to start exporting their products.

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

Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz

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