City of Duluth combining ED and Construction/Planning departments

Keith Hamre

The city of Duluth is combining two departments - Business and Economic Development and Planning and Construction Services – into one. Effective Nov. 27, Planning and Economic Development will operate under the direction of Keith Hamre, with his appointment pending final confirmation by the Duluth City Council at the Dec 10 council meeting.

Hamre is a  21-year city employee, working most recently as Director of Planning and Construction Services. He will hold this position and transition the two departments into one  work group until his retirement in August 2019. A broad candidate search will commence in the spring of 2019 for his replacement.

“Duluth is on the front edge of important economic and community growth, and it’s time for us to more fully build out an integrated staffing approach to development," Mayor Emily Larson said in a formal announcement. "From supporting the launch of our Medical District projects to harnessing the full potential of Opportunity Zones, it is critical that we are integrating the values and vision of our comprehensive plan, Imagine Duluth: 2035, into all that we do, and responding to the call for greater efficiency, clarity and interdepartmental communication to better benefit our development and business community.”

“I am delighted that Mayor Larson and Noah Schuchman selected Keith Hamre to lead this transition. I have worked alongside Keith for over 20 years. He is a talented, intelligent and hard-working leader who will successfully lead this important effort. Mayor Larson’s leadership team can count on the Chamber to partner with them as they bring structure to their enhanced economic development initiative,” said David Ross, president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

This is the first organizational announcement made with Noah Schuchman as the city of Duluth’s Chief Administrative Officer.

“At the City of Duluth, our focus is on serving the best interests of the community. By merging these departments, our staff will be able to increase communication across divisions and continue to remove barriers for the public. I thank them for their hard work and dedicated service. Special thanks to Keith Hamre for taking on this additional responsibility – his retirement will be a loss to the city of Duluth, but his energy and vision will be critical to moving this new department into the future.”

The newly formed department will include 33 team members. This change brings the city of Duluth into alignment with major Minnesota cities in closely tying economic development and community planning staff to better serve the community, city officials said. The department is located in room 110 of Duluth City Hall with Economic Development staff temporarily housed in Room 402.