Dayton names DEED commissioner

Governor Mark Dayton named a Kraus-Anderson Construction executive to lead the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

TNN_0273.JPGMark Phillips is a former Minnesota Power executive and served as a staffer on the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board during the Perpich administration. He’s currently the director of business development for Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson.

Phillips said he will focus on “engaging the business community, being smart with the tools we have in the state government to help job creation, technology transfer. A lot of my favorite things that I think would be important for getting the state working again were aligned with the governor.”

Dayton also selected a familiar name to a new position. Kathy Tunheim, once of Honeywell and the staff of Gov. and Sen. Wendell Anderson, will be Gov. Dayton’s “Senior Advisor to the Governor for Job Creation.” She’s best known as founder of Tunheim Partners, one of the state’s premier PR shops. Her new duties will be as an unpaid volunteer, Tunheim said.

Dayton also reappointed John Erdman to head Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism agency. He held the job during the Pawlenty administration.

DEED is one of Dayton’s later appointments, and the first he’s held a formal press conference to announce. Phillips marks the 17th of 24 posts the incoming governor is expected to fill.

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