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June 16, Business Forum at North Central University – “Growing the Minnesota Workforce Through New and Innovative Means”

June 16, 2016 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm


The next East Downtown Council Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, June 16, at North Central University in the Trask Worship Center – 910 Elliot Ave.

The topic for this event is “Growing the Minnesota Workforce Through New and Innovative Means.” The featured speakers for this event are Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner (District 4); Peter Frosch, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at GREATERMSP; and Steve Cramer, President and CEO, Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District

Registration, lunch and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., with the program starting at Noon. This month’s event is free. Please RSVP by sending an email to [email protected] by no later than Monday, June 13, at Noon.


Local economic vibrancy, regional competitiveness, and the future of Minnesota’s growth overall depends upon the strength of the Minnesota workforce. This joint forum of the Minneapolis Downtown Council-DID and the East Downtown Council will bring together an outstanding panel of leaders discussing emerging trends and current programs that our region is engaging to advance our workforce development.


  1. 11:30-Noon               Networking
  2. 12:00-12:10pm         Steve Cramer Welcome and Overview of Topic
  3. 12:10-12:20pm         Peter McLaughlin Presentation on Hennepin County Initiatives
  4. 12:20-12:30               Peter Frosch Presentation on “Make it. MSP”
  5. 12:30-12:55               Dan Collison moderate panel discussion
  6. 12:55-1:00pm            Closing Announcements (Dan Collison)


Steve_Cramer_new_President_and_CEOSteve Cramer, President and CEO, Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District

Cramer is the President and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District. He was a Minneapolis City Council member from 1984 to 1993. Steve also worked for the nonprofit organization Project for Pride in Living from 1994 through 1999, serving as the director of housing and development, chief operating officer and finally president and executive director. He then served as director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (known today as CPED) from 1999 to February 2002 and as director of the Hennepin County Department of Housing, Community Works & Transit from February 2002 to August 2003, when he rejoined Project for Pride in Living as their president and executive director until joining the Downtown Council in December 2013.

Presently, Steve serves on the Boards of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Meet Minneapolis, Opportunity Partners and Catholic Charities.  He is the co-chair of both the Hennepin County Workforce Leadership Council and the Heading Home Hennepin Executive Committee. Steve also serves as the District D Commissioner on the Metropolitan Airport Commission since his appointment by Governor Mark Dayton in December 2012.

A long-time Minnesota Twins fan, Steve also served as Chair of the Minnesota Ballpark Authority from 2006 – 2014.

Steve has a Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from the University of Tulsa and a Master of Arts in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute of the University of Minnesota.

mclaughlin-3Peter McLaughlin

McLaughlin joined the Hennepin County Board in 1991. He coordinated the regional effort with the help of labor, business and the community in successfully lobbying for light rail transit (LRT) funding which led to the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line, the Hiawatha Line, now called the METRO Blue Line in 2004. In 2008, he was instrumental in establishing a dedicated funding source to expand the region’s transit system of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit lines. He presently serves as chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which invests revenues from the five-county metro sales tax for transitways and advocates for expansion of the transit system.

Among other transportation-related accomplishments, he helped develop a comprehensive county bicycle transportation plan and create a bicycle gap funding program to expand non-motorized transportation options for county residents and workers. In 2008, he secured $1 million in funding for infrastructure improvements to eliminate “gaps” in Hennepin’s network of bicycling facilities as part of the county’s 5-year capital improvement plan for 2008-2012. He is also a leading advocate for the construction of Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, which serves multiple light rail, commuter rail and intercity passenger rail lines, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. Passed additional funding for road and bridge projects through a county-wide wheelage tax.

Commissioner McLaughlin’s leadership and achievements during his tenure on the county board reflect a strong commitment to public service and encompass the broad range of county programs and services. A passionate advocate for the environment, he authored the resolution making Hennepin County one of the founding members of Cool Counties, a national initiative committing counties throughout the United States to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. He won approval for several bold actions to combat crime, including creation of a drug court; expanded juvenile work squads and adult Sentence-To-Serve work crews; additional juvenile detention beds; putting inmates to work and working closely with the District Court on the Adult Gun Policy and the Juvenile Gun Education Program. He sponsored board actions to develop and endorse Accelerating Graduation by Reducing Academic Disparities (A-GRAD), a long-range plan to ensure all Hennepin County youth graduate from high school.

In addition to many other accomplishments, Mr. McLaughlin is actively involved in many community service organizations and innovative initiatives aligning efforts of the public and private sectors. He is a founding member of the Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership, which have guided transformative investments in infrastructure, housing and jobs in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis and along the Midtown Greenway corridor, respectively, over the past 15 years.

Prior to joining the County Board, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature, rising to the post of Assistant House Majority Leader. He was the chief author on several key pieces of legislation, including the Parental Leave law, and legislation establishing the State Jobs Program (MEED), and State Dislocated Worker Program.

Mr. McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971 and his Masters degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977.

FROSCH, PETERPeter Frosch, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at GREATER MSP

Frosch is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at GREATER MSP.  He is responsible for developing and implementing the economic development strategy for the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region.  To do this work, Peter builds and leads high-performing project teams comprised of senior leaders from private, public, academic and philanthropic organizations.  He is also charged with creating and maintaining strategic relationships to support all areas of GREATER MSP’s mission.  Prior to joining GREATER MSP in January 2013, Peter was Legislative Director for Congresswoman Betty McCollum in Washington, D.C. In this role, he managed the legislative staff and directed all aspects of the Congresswoman’s policy agenda including her work on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.

He is a member of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies Executive Committee, a participant in Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program, and a 2015 winner of the Knight Foundation Cities Challenge. Peter earned a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in international relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, where he studied as a George Mitchell Scholar. He lives in Saint Paul with his partner Anne, and their two young children.


June 16, 2016
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


East Downtown Council
View Organizer Website


North Central University – Trask Worship Center
910 Elliot Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404 United States
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