• Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

Varilek to Lead Minnesota Division of Employment and Financial Improvement – Brainerd Dispatch


May 25, 2023

ST. PAUL — Matt Varilek, president of the Small Falls-primarily based Initiative Foundation, will lead the Minnesota Division of Employment and Financial Improvement.

“Obtaining grown up in a reduced-earnings household, I am passionate about assisting a lot more individuals delight in higher financial prosperity,” Varilek mentioned in a news release. “I’m deeply grateful to Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan for the chance to join the talented group at DEED at this pivotal moment. The division has just been entrusted with an unprecedented set of tools and sources, and I am eager to assist place them to operate for the advantage of firms, workers, and households across Minnesota.” 

Gov. Tim Walz announced Varilek’s appointment Thursday, Could 25. Varilek will replace Kevin McKinnon, who has been serving as short-term commissioner due to the fact March. The Division of Employment and Financial Improvement is the state’s principal financial improvement agency, advertising small business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce improvement, international trade, and neighborhood improvement.

“From strengthening the economy and communities of Higher Minnesota to advocating for modest firms on the federal level, Matt Varilek brings a wealth of expertise and expertise to his new function driving our state’s economy forward,” Walz mentioned in a news release. “I appear forward to operating with him to develop Minnesota’s powerful, vibrant, and diverse economy and help our workers and firms.”

Varilek was named Initiative Foundation president in 2016. Prior to joining the Initiative Foundation, he served as chief operating officer for the U.S. Modest Small business Administration in Washington, D.C. His transition to the DEED commissioner function will take place on June 20.

“Matt Varilek is a steady, thoughtful leader who brings tremendous expertise driving financial improvement and prosperity in diverse communities across the state,” mentioned Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “Having partnered with him to advance loved ones financial safety and kid care in the previous, I am confident in Matt’s potential to operate inside and across communities — from Higher Minnesota and the Twin Cities to our tribal nations – to develop a a lot more equitable and inclusive economy that operates for all Minnesotans.”

Previously, Varilek was the chief operating officer for the U.S. Modest Small business Administration, a regional administrator for U.S. SBA Area VIII, and a candidate for Congress for the at-massive district of South Dakota. Varilek was also an financial improvement director and speechwriter for the offices of U.S. Senators Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson and served as the director of policy and analysis for Natsource LLC.

Varilek earned his bachelor’s degree from Carleton College, his Master of Philosophy in financial improvement from the University of Glasgow, and his Master of Philosophy in atmosphere and improvement from the University of Cambridge.

“Matt has been a tremendous buddy, leader and organizational culture-builder for the Initiative Foundation,” mentioned Kim Ellingson, chair of the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees, in a news release. “While his transition will be bittersweet, we’re in complete help of his appointment as DEED commissioner. His steady and inclusive leadership style, and his expertise and focused operate on modest small business, workforce improvement, childcare and a lot more will translate completely to an agency that influences financial improvement in each and every corner of Minnesota.”

As element of its succession organizing, the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees anticipates naming an interim president and will undertake a professionally supported search for Varilek’s successor. Information about the search will comply with in the weeks ahead.

“The Initiative Foundation has under no circumstances been stronger,” Ellingson mentioned. “Our board and employees are totally committed to serving the area without the need of interruption through this time of transition.”

Reactions to the appointment, incorporated:

“Matt brings an amazing background for this function, like expertise with state and federal policy, deep relationships in small business, nonprofits and foundations, and an significant point of view from rural Minnesota,” mentioned Minnesota Council on Foundations President Susie Brown, in a news release. “I’m so pleased that Minnesota’s philanthropic neighborhood has a powerful and constructive partnership with Commissioner Varilek. We appear forward to operating with him and the DEED group to help Minnesota’s financial improvement possibilities.”

“Matt Varilek is a accurate leader and a constant champion for firms in Higher Minnesota,” mentioned Joe Nayquonabe, Commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, in a news release. “He was a driving force behind the Enterprise Academy plan inside the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy and as CEO of the Initiative Foundation, he led a convening of other foundations across the state, advertising a ‘better together’ mentality. I’m confident he’ll bring that exact same leadership to the workplace of DEED and produce an atmosphere of innovation and development.”

“When I served as board chair of the Initiative Foundation, I got to see Matt’s steady and inclusive leadership style in action – welcoming diverse voices and assisting to locate a path absolutely everyone could really feel great about,” mentioned Wyoming Machine, Inc. Co-President Traci Tapani. “As a small business owner, I’m excited that he brings in depth expertise of workforce improvement, modest small business lending, and other concerns that are significant to firms, massive and modest.  Matt is exceptionally nicely equipped to operate productively with the small business neighborhood as DEED’s subsequent leader, and I congratulate Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanaganon a wonderful option.”

For a lot more specifics about the agency and its solutions, go to the DEED web-site at


Our newsroom sometimes reports stories below a byline of “employees.” Generally, the “employees” byline is made use of when rewriting simple news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which demand tiny or no reporting. At occasions, this byline is made use of when a news story contains several authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from numerous sources. If outdoors sources are made use of, it is noted inside the story.

Hi, I am the Brainerd Dispatch. I began operating a couple of days prior to Christmas in 1881 and became a day-to-day paper two years later. I’ve gone by way of a lot of alterations more than the years, but what has under no circumstances changed is my commitment to neighborhood and to neighborhood journalism. I’ve got an whole group of devoted individuals who operate evening and day to make confident I go out each and every morning, whether or not in print, as an e-edition, by means of an app or with added facts at www.brainerddispatch.com. News, climate, sports — videos, photographs, podcasts and social media — all covering stories from central Minnesota about your neighbors, your lakes, your communities, your challenges and your possibilities. It is all element of the work to hold individuals connected and informed. And we could not do it without the need of help.

Leave a Reply