The two-time interim executive director of the public U.S. Bank Stadium authority got the job permanently Friday after a national search and recruiting effort.
Jim Farstad, the stadium’s technology consultant, was the winner among 74 applicants for the $165,333 job at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA).
MSFA Chairman Mike Vekich said Farstad “rose to the top” of the applicant pool for his knowledge of the operation and organizational skills. The four other members of the MSFA board joined with Vekich to give Farstad unanimous approval, then presented him with a celebratory cake with his image on the frosting.
Farstad’s appointment was the main action taken Friday, but Vekich also announced that the meeting next month, currently scheduled for the 15th, would be pushed back. Vekich said he and Farstad need more time to evaluate and negotiate bids for the “darkening solution” for the NCAA Final Four in 2019.
When previous MSFA leaders bid for the event in 2014, they knew they had to find a way to block out the natural light in the glass building. The MSFA put out a request for proposals this spring, but Vekich has not disclosed the potential cost.
The MSFA is the public body that oversees the stadium structure and the $40 million annual operation on behalf of taxpayers. The $1.1 billion building turns two in August, and already there have been multiple transitions in the top jobs, mostly due to fallout from the resignations last year of two officials who misused luxury suites to entertain friends and family.
When Executive Director Ted Mondale left last February, Farstad stepped in until lawyer Rick Evans was hired for the permanent position. When Evans left in December because of health problems, Farstad again returned as interim.
Farstad has been the chief technology officer at the stadium dating back to early construction.
In hiring Farstad, the board bypassed two candidates with extensive operations and event experience. One was Super Bowl LII COO Dave Haselman, a St. Paul native who has spent his career running major national and international level operations from the Mall of America to the Olympics on NBC-TV.
The other finalist was Nicholas Langella, general manager of the Alamodome in San Antonio.