February 1, 2021
Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce Announces New 2021 Board Members
The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce elected two new board members at the January DCR Chamber Board meeting. Richard Payne, Ecolab, and Scott Swenson, Drake Bank, have been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for a three-year term commencing February 1, 2021. 
Richard Payne is currently the Director of Accounts Payable for Ecolab, overseeing their North America operations. He has also held previous positions at Ecolab serving in project and program manager roles to execute business process and change management strategies for technology deployments. Prior to joining Ecolab, Richard held roles at CHS Inc. as a Business Development Manager and several roles of increased responsibility at BNSF Railway, leading revenue and disbursement management teams and activities. He has also previously been a member of the St. Paul Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and served a term on their board as the treasurer. He holds a BS in Management from Purdue University and MBA from Texas Christian University. Richard is a Dakota County resident along with his wife, Sara.
Scott Swenson is currently a Senior Vice President at Drake Bank in St. Paul. He has spent most of his 35-year career working in community banks doing bank management
and commercial lending. Scott has been a longtime DCR Chamber member and has been heavily involved by previously serving as board chair, treasurer, and membership committee chair. In 2018 Scott was the recipient of the Legacy Award
at our Annual Meeting. Scott is also heavily involved in his community as a Eagan Rotary member, Chair of the Eagan July 4th Funfest, and founder of Supper Bagging Event with Open Door. He holds a BA from University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Masters in Business Management from the University of St. Thomas. Scott resides in Eagan with his wife, Carol, and two golden retrievers.

Weekly Update Sponsor
Governor Tim Walz Announces COVID-19 Recovery Budget for State
On Tuesday, January 26, Governor Walz announced his plan to reduce the state’s proposed $1.3 billion budget deficit and fund the state’s operations for the next two years. The COVID-19 Recovery Budget plan generates $1.66 billion in new revenues, uses some of the state’s budget reserves, and proposes $1.3 billion in new investments.

The Governor said that while COVID-19 has impacted all Minnesotans, not everyone has been impacted equally. Detailed information about the Governor’s budget and specific state agency information is available on the Minnesota Management and Budget website HERE.

Highlights of the Governor’s plan include:

Supporting Small Business & Driving Economy Recovery
  • $50 million in a new Small Business COVID Support forgivable loan program
  • $50 million for enhanced broadband development
  • $150 million to rebuild Minneapolis and St. Paul
Ensuring Students Catch up on Learning
  • $57.5 million federal funding to expand summer 2021 programming
  • $20 million to expand preschool for 4 and 5 year old’s
  • $300 million to increase the general education formula
  • $46 million to increase mental health support personnel
Supporting Working Families
  • Establish a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Benefit
  • $21 million to address homelessness
  • $100 million to expand the working family tax credit
  • $95 million to expand the first tier income tax bracket

Find out more details and information about the new COVID-19 budget HERE.
Longtime Dakota County Chief Prosecutor James Backstrom to Retire
Earlier in January Dakota County's Chief Prosecutor, James Backstrom, announced his unexpected retirement for February 27, 2021.

The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a message of congratulations to longtime chief prosecutor James Backstrom on retirement. Attorney Backstrom has worked for the Dakota County Attorney's office since 1987 and has proudly served the Dakota County community over that time. We wish you a happy and healthy retirement Chief Prosecutor Backstrom!

Chief Prosecutor Backstrom has been invited to speak at our Public Affairs Webinar Series on March 5, 2021. Register and join us in wishing him a happy retirement. More information to follow in the coming weeks.
Exhibitors Wanted for WomEn's Leadership Forum Vendor Marketplace

The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce is once again hosting a Vendor Marketplace at our 2021 WomEn's Leadership Forum. The Vendor Marketplace offers businesses the opportunity to advertise their business and sell their products/services to forum attendees.  

Marketplace Vendor Table Prices:
  • *DCR Chamber Member Marketplace Table: $150
  • *Non-member Marketplace Table: $200

*Includes one WomEn's Leadership Forum registration

Applications to become a marketplace vendor are due no later then Sunday, February 28, 2021. Register your organization HERE.

If you have any questions about becoming a marketplace vendor contact Heather Proskey, Director of Events & Member Experience, at [email protected]
Thank you to our 2021 WomEn's Leadership Forum Sponsors
Meet the Dakota County Legislative Delegation at the February Public Affairs Webinar

Please join us Friday, February 5, 2021, from 8:00-9:00 AM, as we introduce our newly elected Dakota County Legislative delegation. Their first task at hand will be to work on passing a state budget and tackle the pressing issues of business recovery, civil unrest, the future of transportation, education, environment, and healthcare. You will not want to miss this robust conversation with Minnesota State Senators Zach Duckworth (58) and Lindsay Port (56), and Minnesota House Representatives Kaela Berg (56B), Jessica Hanson (56A), Keith Franke (54A), and Liz Reyer (51B) as they provide insight as to will be a busy 2021 Legislative Session in Minnesota. 
Sen. Zach Duckworth (R) District 58
Assistant Majority Leader
Sen. Lindsey Port (D)
District 56

Rep. Kaela Berg (D)
District 56B

Rep. Keith Franke (R)
District 54A
Rep. Jessica Hanson (D)
District 56A

Rep. Liz Reyer (D)
District 51B

Thank you to our Public Affairs Webinar Sponsors
Register HERE
Start Your Morning With Virtual Coffee Break!

Join the DCR Chamber Tuesday, February 9, 2021, from 8:00-9:00 AM, for our bi-monthly networking event, Coffee Break. Start your morning off right with a fresh cup of coffee from the comfort of your home and friendly networking.

Each participant will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and your business.
Coffee Break was established by the DCR Chamber to network in a comfortable atmosphere. Register for a great morning of virtual networking.

If your organization is interested in hosting this or any future Coffee Breaks, contact Heather Proskey, Director of Events & Member Experience, at [email protected] for more information. Your virtual investment is only $150!

Register HERE
The Future of Public Safety in Dakota County Webinar

The death of George Floyd led to protests around the world. It also sparked a nationwide movement calling for changes in policing and public safety. The riots and protests in our Nation’s Capital and other State Capitals have also created a sense of urgency for our personal and business communities.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul region and Dakota County are being transformed by what has taken place. Businesses are being included in city and county plans for an equitable society and many new public/private alliances are being formed.

Join us Thursday, February 18, 2021, from 8:30-10:00 AM for a conversation about what is important to our businesses and communities and how law enforcement can be reimagined to better serve us all.  
Tim Leslie
Dakota County Sheriff
Roger New
Chief of Police
City of Eagan

Mikael Dahlstrom
Chief of Police
City of Rosemount
Kelly McCarthy
Chief of Police
City of Mendota Heights
Thank you to our Dakota County Critical Issues Forum Sponsor

Register HERE
American Cancer Society Starts ResearchHERS: Women Fighting Cancer Campaign

ResearcHERS empowers women to fundraise in support of women-led cancer research, but it's more than just a fundraising campaign. ResearcHERS is a movement. A sisterhood of purpose determined to sustain women-led cancer research and recognize the female trailblazers in the field. While the American Cancer Society has funded 49 researchers who have gone on to receive the Nobel Prize, none of them has been a woman...yet. Join the ResearcHERS movement and help us fuel the future of women-led cancer research. Learn how you can get involved HERE.
The Open Door Wins Local Touchstone Energy Community Award

Dakota Electric Association named The Open Door, Eagan, as the local 2020 Touchstone Energy Community Award winner. The Touchstone Energy Community Award recognizes organizations for outstanding contributions to the local community. The Open Door has grown from a closet in a church to the largest food shelf in Dakota County, providing fresh and healthy food to more than 14,000 people each month (7,000 people per month before COVID-19 hit) through a combination of innovative programs. Congratulations Open Door!
City of Rosemount Business Appreciation Luncheon
In the past, the City of Rosemount has sponsored a Business Appreciation Luncheon. It is an opportunity to thank our local businesses and typically includes a speaker that provides business information for attendees. Given the current COVID-19 capacity restrictions, this year’s Business Appreciation Luncheon cannot be held in person. In lieu of an in-person event, the City of Rosemount is sponsoring a “Lunch on Us,” as part of our Rosemount CARES initiative. Businesses will opt in to receive two $15 gift cards for one of Rosemount’s local restaurants. The outcome will benefit our local restaurants while thanking our local businesses. To participate in the Lunch on Us event, click HERE.  
Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Support for Local Small Businesses – Workshops

Join us the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board for an interactive series of events designed to connect the needs of local small businesses with expert advice and available resources. Presented in partnership with Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers.

Tuesday February 16 Part 1: Sharing Session - Register Here
  • Share your needs, wants and successes with other local business leaders. Library staff and Open to Business advisors will offer resources to help your business move forward in 2021 and beyond.

Tuesday, March 2 & 9: Part 2: Learning and Resource Sessions - Register Here
  • Join us for presentations by Open to Business advisors on topics that you want to learn about. Discussion topics will be selected at Part 1 of this three-part series and facilitated by experts in the field.
Networking at its Best
Registration is Required
Thursday, February 11, 2021
8:00-9:00 AM
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
9:00-10:00 AM

Renewed Members

JT Dental – 16 years
Premier Bank – 7 years
Ceva Logistics – 6 years
Mark’s Towing, Inc. – 6 years
Acorn Mini Storage – 1 year

If you have questions or concerns about your membership renewal, please contact Anna Schueler at [email protected] or call 651-452-9872.
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