Staff Directory 6370513

Evan Ramstad

Business Columnist | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4241

Evan Ramstad is a Star Tribune business columnist.

He moved to the Twin Cities and joined the Star Tribune in 2013. Ramstad previously worked for The Wall Street Journal in Seoul, Hong Kong and Dallas, and the Associated Press in New York, Washington and Dallas and briefly at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, where he got a start in journalism at radio station KGRN.
Recent content from Evan Ramstad
Retirees are not moving to Minnesota "like crazy," a conclusion our columnist drew by using Census data in the wrong way. About 3,700 retirees left th

Ramstad: Misinterpreting data led me to the wrong conclusion about Minnesota retirees

My misreading undermined and distracted from my main point about fewer working-age Minnesotans.
A 219-unit apartment complex is under construction on the site of the former YMCA near downtown Rochester. The project, called First & Banks, is being

Ramstad: How Rochester is keeping its housing growth on track

Most places in Minnesota are in dire need of more housing. The state's fastest-growing city updated its zoning code to help meet demand.
It's tax time as the deadline arrives for filing 2023 income tax returns.

Ramstad: Think retired people are leaving Minnesota? Think again.

It's a myth that Minnesota is losing retirees because of weather and high taxes. They're responsible for our population growth these days.
Cropped shot of an unrecognizable doctor holding a stethoscope

Ramstad: Some Minnesota doctors bristle at state employee insurer's view of them

The state budget office runs employee insurance, giving it surprising power over doctors and clinics.
Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company general manager Bill Lee intends to gasify corn cobs to help to power his Benson Minnesota ethanol plant. Right now th

Ramstad: The debate over ethanol's future stalls push for less-harmful gasoline in Minnesota

Environmentalists who favored a low-carbon fuel standard in the past now think its time has gone.
Fifth graders Aiza Khan, left, and Amun Mahgoor studied math at Global Academy in New Brighton on Tuesday.

Ramstad: Twin Cities' charter Global Academy is still run by teachers

For years, the school has stood out on the Star Tribune's "beating the odds" report card.
Rideshare drivers waited in a remote lot at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week. Uber and Lyft plan to leave the Twin Cities market a

Ramstad: Stop hitting yourself, Minnesota

With the state's population leveling off, there's less room to do things that feel good politically but create economic pain.
Kara Swisher, right, author of "Burn Book: A Tech Love Story," spoke at the Westminster Town Hall Forum at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapo

Ramstad: Famed tech journalist Kara Swisher burns it all down

In a Minneapolis, Swisher describes her tough-love relationship with Silicon Valley and her admiration for Sen. Amy Klobuchar's attempts to rein in the tech industry.
"By doing away with single-family zoning, the city takes on high rent, long commutes, and racism in real estate in one fell swoop," announced Slate.

Ramstad: Readers defend local control of housing, question weather data

It's the first reader feedback column of the year.
GLEN STUBBE * Thursday, October 4, 2007 -- Minnetonka, Minn. -- UnitedHealth Group Headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn.

Ramstad: Cyberattack shows UnitedHealth is too big to fail

The finances of hospitals and clinics across the country were disrupted by a cyberattack on UnitedHealth Group.
3M lifer Mike Roman just completed his first year as the company's CEO and has been appointed board chairman. He took the helm while battling two diff

Ramstad: Roman's hard choices as CEO put 3M on cleaner, leaner path

Bill Brown takes the reins at 3M, after Mike Roman checked off a daunting to-do list in his final year.
The Immigration Court at Fort Snelling has a backlog of about 38,000 cases, about 1% of the backlog across the country.

Ramstad: U.S. immigration needs a remedy, and Minnesota's economy could benefit if done well

It's hard to say whether we're getting our fair share of costs or benefits from the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, photo Target CEO Brian Cornell poses for a portrait during a Target Holiday Outlook event in New York. (AP Photo/Mar

Ramstad: After a remarkable decade atop Target, CEO Cornell is still fixing big mistake of 2022

Brian Cornell forecasts more store growth for Target than anytime in his tenure.
Bills to supersede local zoning rules and encourage more home construction were initially portrayed as focused chiefly on affordable housing, in part

Ramstad: The house next door may become a duplex, and you'll be just fine

Here's why it's a good thing that the Legislature will likely to erode local control over zoning and other property rules.
Jesse Anderson of J&A Logging prepares to lift a set of logs just after they cut. Timber production is down in Minnesota this winter because many fore

Ramstad: Most of Minnesota's logging happens in winter, when there is a winter

The state's timber crews got a late start and an early finish to their busiest time of the year.
In May 2022, a haboob windstorm tore the roof off Blade's Store in Holmes City, Minn., where co-owner Julie Rice lives. The roof was repaired that fal

Ramstad: High winds, high claims brew an insurance storm in Minnesota

Recoveries take time these days as contractors charge more and insurers try to restrict payouts.
State legislators, congressional aides, consultants, license inspectors and others met at Leo Augusta Academy in Blooming Prairie on Feb. 8 to discuss

Ramstad: Minnesota fell behind on child care, now needs it to get more parents working

Beyond economics, help for child care means deciding to invest in kids before age 5.
Minnesota's top lawmakers discussed the new legislative session at a dinner hosted by the Minnesota Chamber on Feb. 12. From left, Sen. Mark Johnson,

Ramstad: Minnesota's top lawmakers show they sensibly grasp immigration and economic needs

The national immigration debate is a mess, but Minnesota's legislative leaders understand its complexity and economic importance.
a lab-grown diamond next to a natural diamond

Ramstad: There's never been a better time to buy a diamond ring

Technology is changing the jewelry we wear as fast as it is the cars we drive.
Along with DFL legislative leaders and his commissioners, Gov. Tim Walz threw a bill-signing party Wednesday morning on the Capitol steps.

Ramstad: Walz says he's willing to say 'no' to legislative allies

With budget constraints showing, Minnesota governor anticipates 'one of the more challenging' legislative sessions he's faced.
Mitch Vestal pours the product he developed, PlaySafe Ice Blocker, into a sprayer. The solution blocks ice from forming on driveways and sidewalks.

Ramstad: Ice-melt entrepreneur says it's time to change the way we combat slick sidewalks

For about five years, Mitch Vestal has been trying to sell people on a proactive approach to icy sidewalks and driveways.
The main street in Long Prairie is a mix of Mexican, Chinese and pizza restaurants, bars, clothing stores and small groceries like this one.

Ramstad: This Minnesota town can defy rural trends of decline, but first must overcome prejudice

A food processing town, which found the spotlight because of a local fight on workforce housing, is taking a deeper look at its economic future.
Tonya Allen, chief executive of the McKnight Foundation, at an event in Minneapolis in October 2023 for its GroundBreak Coalition initiative.

Ramstad: Why Minnesota's biggest development initiative starts with Black home ownership

A $5 billion effort led by the McKnight Foundation to help Black entrepreneurs and families represents a change in thinking.
Eric Anthony Johnson, chief executive officer of Aeon, a Minneapolis-based provider of affordable housing

Ramstad: Minnesota's affordable-housing providers should be trying to go out of business

Fresh off a funding windfall is the wrong time to ask taxpayers for more money.
Housing construction fell 35% in the Twin Cities in 2023 compared with 2022. That makes sights like this — two houses being built next to each other

Ramstad: Interest rates crimp Minnesota's new home construction, which we need for affordability

Residential real estate is a mixed picture in a market that needs construction to maintain its affordability.
An infant in a Kela maternity package box, which is distributed — filled with bedding, infant clothing and other useful items — to all new mothers

Ramstad: We've got to stop telling ourselves we can't be as good as other countries on child care

Americans always tell themselves they can't be like Scandinavians. With child care, the time may come to try in Minnesota.

Ramstad: Minnesota has worked one side of the child-care problem. The next step is to copy Iowa.

The idea of incentives for employers to create child-care centers in workplaces is taking off in Iowa and New York.
Striving for certainty of outcome and the reduction of risk, NASA’s strict control of astronauts on the third crew of Skylab led to a brief revolt i

Ramstad: As a new year begins, it's OK — even valuable — to be uncertain

Politicians will say things are certain. Businesses will seek teamwork and certainty. Innovation and change happen when things are not certain.

Ramstad: It's time for Minnesota to allow taller buildings with a single staircase

The state needs to keep housing affordable, and that can only happen if more types of housing are allowed to be built.
Two jetbridges were connected together at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for most of the year. They formed a hallway to funnel arriving in

Ramstad: Those connected jetbridges at MSP looked funny, but they did the job

With construction outside Concourse G, where Delta's international flights arrive, the airport needed a secure way to funnel passengers to U.S. Customs.
3M’s decision to sell its resort in northern Minnesota became an emblem of even bigger change at the company that, for decades, was the state’s la

Ramstad: As year ends, 3M's resort is still for sale and many Minnesota employers still seek workers

Our columnist catches up with some of the people who helped him out this year.
The new Carlson School of Management dean Jamie Prenkert speaks during renovation kickoff event for Carlson School of Managementon at the University o

Ramstad: New dean of U's Carlson business school arrives amid university transitions

Jamie Prenkert came from Indiana and right away picked up on a particularly Minnesota trait.

Ramstad: Oops, Minneapolis economists explain to me how inflation can cool without recession

In this reader response column, our business columnist admits he fell for conventional wisdom about inflation, which economists here in Minnesota challenged 50 years ago.

Ramstad: Hamline University class tests AI, discovers it's no replacement for critical thought

Political scientist David Schultz, after letting students use AI as they wished in classes this fall, finds it wasn't a game-changer.

Ramstad: State spent everything everywhere all at once, then reality bit

Revenue poured into state coffers over the last two years, leading to a huge jump in spending. That's all over now.

Ramstad: Minnesota is losing independent pharmacies, victims of scale, efficiency

Legislation to relieve financial pressures on pharmacist-owned drugstores was stymied in Minnesota. Industry consolidation and PBMs have made it challenging for independent pharmacies.

Ramstad: In the St. Paul school district, a play for student market share is paying off

After closing some schools in 2021 and 2022, St. Paul Public Schools opened East African Magnet Elementary this fall and regained some market share lost to charters and nearby districts.
Amalia Moreno-Damgaard prepared a meal in her kitchen and studio in Eden Prairie. A media personality and caterer, she led the Minnesota chapter of th

Ramstad: Minnesota will never see an economic force like the one created by women in last 40 years

NAWBO-Minnesota is hitting stride again by bringing young entrepreneurs together with the women who changed Minnesota's business scene over the last few decades.
Brian Funk, chief operating officer of Metro Transit, left, with Lesley Kandaras, general manager and Carrie Desmond, manager of electric bus infrastr

Ramstad: Switching bus fleets to electric will be more of an evolution than revolution

The expectation that EVs would quickly take control of the car market took a big hit in 2023. Transit operators are also learning some hard lessons about battery-powered buses.
Christ Chapel, at the center of the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and the Nobel Science Hall on the left.

Ramstad: How one of Minnesota's best-performing colleges confronts declining enrollment

Gustavus Adolphus scores highest of any Minnesota school on New York Times and Wall Street Journal college rankings.
Ryannon Frederick, chief nursing officer for Mayo Clinic, left, and Alissa Zimmerman, nursing administrator for Mayo in Rochester, said the health car

Ramstad: Minnesota's nursing troubles are puzzling, damaging and could get worse

The failure of a nurse staffing bill, opposed by Mayo Clinic, was the biggest drama at the end of the Minnesota Legislature this spring. That's just the opening act.
Tuesday’s inflation report signaled to investors that interest rates may have peaked in the U.S. and will begin to fall soon. That could unlock resi

Ramstad: New inflation data marks watershed moment for interest rate outlook

Tuesday's consumer data triggered a notable shift in investor sentiment on interest rates, but impactful cuts could take some time to unfold.
Kory Kath, principal of Owatonna High School, says its new building was designed to blur the line between school and the start of a career.

Ramstad: For Owatonna, a stunning new high school is a bet on the future of its kids and itself

Owatonna residents for years rejected building a new high school. Then, some of Owatonna's biggest businesses, eager to attract employees, put millions into it.
There are still two years to go before Minnesota’s Paid Family Medical Leave program is implemented.

Ramstad: Minnesota's Paid Family Medical Leave law hits first speed bump

The paid leave program will cost more than lawmakers' minimal levels, an outside assessment found. That has restarted the debate over costs and benefits.
Individual stories of excessive rent increases and problem landlords crop up in the Twin Cities. But our columnist thinks rent control is not the solu

Ramstad: Readers with excessive rent hikes question columnist's opposition to rent control

Readers also propose ideas on rural broadband, AI and drug pricing. Also, what about that unrequited love?
Massachusetts and Minnesota are wealthy places where growth is leveling off, or falling. Above, the George Washington monument at Boston Common.

Ramstad: Minnesotans love Boston, but Massachusetts' growth problem is worse than ours

Both places are rich without growth and need to bring more people into the workforce.
Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, left, and House Speaker Melissa Hortman said the spending increases the state made this year were for things tha

Ramstad: Did Minn. leaders expand the source of $17B surplus? Time will tell.

Dziedzic, Hortman and Walz didn't just spend the surplus. They kept the source of it running.
Shannon Smith Jones, second from right, discussed the effects of the Fair Housing Act at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of

Ramstad: Affordable housing should be built across the Twin Cities, but instead we keep fighting

Minnesotans shouldn't live in bubbles of race or affluence. The state's affordable-housing financiers and developers should be building everywhere in coming years.
A worker for Brooklyn Park-based Turtle Island Communications installs optical fiber with a cable plow on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming

Ramstad: Here's what you can't see as hundreds of millions are spent to fill broadband gaps in Minnesota

About 400,000 Minnesotans can't access or afford high-speed networks.
Ozempic, initially used to treat diabetes, is now becoming popular as a way to quickly lose weight. It and other GLP-1 drugs now cost about $900 to $1

Ramstad: Slim chance, but demand for weight-loss drugs may crack Big Pharma

It may be too much to hope for, but diet drug dynamics could be what finally breaks the pharmaceutical industry's pricing control in U.S.
Audrey Lucas of McKinsey & Co. and Ron Feldman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis led a discussion about recruiting people to live in Minnesot

Ramstad: Minnesota businesses are known for civic engagement, but it's weakening

Business and community leaders warn that the erosion of engagement may limit Minnesota's ability to tackle tough problems.
David Schultz, political science professor at Hamline University, described economic systems to his political ethics class last week.

Ramstad: Capitalism has an image problem among college students

College students always flirt with alternatives to capitalism, but the views in a Hamline classroom suggest something has changed.
An apartment building under construction in St. Paul on Lexington Avenue between I-94 and University Avenue. The project, built by Minneapolis-based A

Ramstad: Rent control is the issue no one will talk about in Minneapolis election

The rent control debate lurks in the background of the moderate vs. progressive battle for control of the Minneapolis City Council.
Aerial image of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Ramstad: MSP Airport to get $1B upgrade next year, impressively without taxpayer money

At a cost similar to U.S. Bank Stadium — and free of political debate — MSP is able to pay for itself and grow according to market demands.
Minnesota’s stocks this year reflect the defensive posture many investors have taken in light of uncertainty about prospects for a recession. Above,

Ramstad: Minnesota companies' stocks are a microcosm for the U.S. market in 2023

Most Minnesota companies are underperforming a stock market that has effectively stalled for the last two years.
Linda Gustafson, front, her husband Paul Gustafson, left behind, and his brother John Gustafson, right, all car collectors, stood in front of her 1956

Ramstad: Minnesota is a car collectors' paradise, ranking 'friendliest' for the hobby

The state's car collectors are a large and varied group, encouraged by state policies. And now, they're getting ready for winter.

Minnesota is a car collectors' paradise, ranking 'friendliest' for the hobby

Delta Air Lines is changing its loyalty program to accrue rewards through spending rather than accumulating flight segments or miles.

Ramstad: Delta's change to SkyMiles fixes a business problem and hurts a lot of us

Delta's focus on dollar spending for rewards makes sense, though it will end the thrill of the chase for many customers.
The U.S. is a top producer of products like corn and soybeans, but it has lost share in exports as other countries become more competitive.

Ramstad: It's hard to accept, but America's dominance in global food trade is ending

Brazil now exports more corn than the U.S., another sign of strengthening competition in a basic industry.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in a file photo, said the city will keep fighting in court to preserve the 2040 Comprehensive Plan that ended zoning for

Ramstad: Minneapolis' 2040 Plan mired in housing vs. environment clash among progressives

My question: Where does growth fit into the conversation for a city and region in desperate need of it?
Pro sports teams, working with data specialists like CrowdIQ, are learning there are sometimes big differences in kinds of fans who come to games.

Ramstad: In NFL stadiums, teams now watch fans more than fans watch games

The Vikings tailor their in-stadium experience on insights from a new breed of data firms that study crowds.
David Schultz, second from left, led a session of the American Government and Politics class at Hamline University last Friday, as a student’s lapto

Ramstad: As colleges learn to navigate AI, a Hamline professor goes all in

Colleges are a key proving ground for the chatbots that may someday have a big impact on American business.
Higher prices aren’t the sole measure of economic health, though many readers seemed upset that our columnist didn’t acknowledge the pain they’v

Ramstad: Readers scoff at rosy economic perceptions, ponder U hospital's future

High prices are painful, but something unexpected is going on as inflation falls without a big jump in unemployment.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai ate ice cream in the Dairy Buiding at the State Fair Wednesday.

Ramstad: Shift in U.S. trade policy targets problems narrowly, moves away from big deals

The U.S. isn't pursuing sweeping trade deals that tended to benefit farmers more than makers of other goods, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said during a visit to the Minnesota State Fair.
The refusal by the Minnesota Department of Commerce to allow Royal Credit Union to buy Lake Area Bank unveiled tensions between credit unions and bank

Ramstad: Within Minnesota's financial industry, conflict lurks like it did with the U's hospitals

State regulators are taking a case-by-case approach to mergers in financial services. That can't go on forever.
(Cambridge, MA - September 15, 2008) Moral Reasoning 22: Justice, taught by Professor Michael Sandel inside Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Sta

Ramstad: This Minnesotan at Harvard says college applications should be a lottery

Michael Sandel, the Minnesota-born star professor at Harvard, says the meritocratic drive is harming colleges and society. His bold proposal: Elite universities should use lotteries to admit students.
Kobi Gregory, left, and her mother, Tasha Harris, at their store Kobi Co. in downtown Minneapolis.

Ramstad: Inside the happiest place in downtown Minneapolis

Kobi Co. began as a teenager's fundraising project but turned into a mother-daughter business.
The price hikes of the last few years won’t reverse. But inflation is slowing and unemployment remains low. Something good is going on.

Ramstad: If things stay this good with the economy, what will we complain about?

Politicians will never play it straight, and the media always sees a glass half-empty. But things are good right now.
Archie Black will end a 22-year stint as chief executive of Minneapolis-based SPS Commerce in October.

Ramstad: Tech leader Archie Black, a master on building buy-in during change

There's always a bias within a business toward the existing market. Black led SPS Commerce to resist that again and again to help build one of the Twin Cities' most successful tech companies.
Kibble Equipment displayed the last John Deere Model 3710 plow at Farmfest near Morgan, Minn., last week.

Ramstad: An era ends for the plow that built John Deere — and America

More and more farmers use no-till planting practices that don't need to turn over soil.
NIck and Nyree Kedrowski, partners in Five Skies Consulting, have trained and placed hundreds of Native Americans in construction and other union jobs

Ramstad: How a Native couple forge compromise to help others build careers

Nick and Nyree Kedrowski have helped hundreds of Native Americans find good-paying jobs by teaching about compromise and sacrifice.
Japanese beetle, about a quarter inch in length, and a menace to Minnesota’s fruits, flowers and lawns.

Ramstad: University of Minnesota research could lay foundation for future beetle-fighting business

Scientists at the U are eyeing a spore that's abundant on the East Coast to kill Japanese beetles and their lawn-destroying grubs.
The city of Luverne purchased an office building that it will convert, with help from federal and county funds and donations, into a child care center

Ramstad: Rural Minnesota's child care shortage is an economic problem. Luverne offers a solution

One of the big obstacles to growing Minnesota's labor force is a shortage of child care.
University of Minnesota officials earlier this year unveiled a proposal for a new $1 billion hospital on the Twin Cities campus, shown in this renderi

Ramstad: Sanford is out of the picture, but U still needs direction for medical system

The heat may be off now that Sanford no longer plans to merge with Fairview, but university and state leaders need to stay on it.
So much attention is being paid to the prospect that AI will replace jobs. But the immediate challenge is that it invade users’ privacy.

Ramstad: For now, AI threatens your privacy more than your job

The immediate challenge when using a generative language program is how much information you are giving to it.