Phillips re-appointed to lead IRRRB

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips was re-appointed Friday as commissioner  the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. The appointment was announced at a news conference by Gov.-elect Tim Walz.

“Commissioner Phillips is dedicated to helping our local communities in northeastern Minnesota not just survive, but thrive,” Walz said.

Phillips said he re-applied for the post after recently listening to Walz speak in Hibbing.

“You have to be totally aligned with the boss when you seek these roles,” Phillips said. After hearing Walz, he added, “I knew I was all in.”

“Through the integration of business partnerships, public policy, and community and workforce development, I look forward to continuing our work to revitalize and invest in northeastern Minnesota," Phillips said.

He has more than 35 years of leadership in development and finance, including launching new and creative programs for community and economic development, real estate development and business financing. Previously, He served as the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and as the Director of Business Development at Kraus-Anderson Construction Company. He is a recipient of the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s Career Achievement Award.

“We look forward to continuing our work together to advance our region and economy,” said   Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota..

Mary Finnegan and Ben DeNucci also applied for the position.

Two Harbors native Nancy Leppink was named Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry.

Leppink has worked to protect the rights of workers since 1985. Nancy began her career as an Assistant Attorney General with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and later as Chief General Counsel for Department of Labor and Industry. After 24 years in state service, she was appointed by the Obama Administration to be the Deputy Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and led the Division as its Acting Administrator.

Also appointed were Steve Grove as Commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development; Steve Kelley as Commissioner of the Department of Commerce; Cynthia Bauerly as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue;  John Harrington as Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety; and Larry Herke as Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs. A Commissioner for Minnesota IT Services will be named at a later date; Friday, Walz announced Bill Poirier will serve as Acting Commissioner.

Walz and Lt. Gov.-Elect Peggy Flanaga will be sworn in Monday.