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Duluth Mayor Don Ness Named LSBE Business Person of the Year

Don Ness and Dean Amy HietapeltoFor over 40 years, the UMD Labovitz School of Business and Economics has recognized a business leader from our region who has made an impact in his/her area of expertise. While coming from a variety of business and leadership arenas, these people share the fact that their actions have contributed and created an economic impact to the community and the region through effective business practices, and they can serve as a role model for our students.

As someone who truly exemplifies the above qualities, Duluth Mayor Don Ness, 1997 Business Administration alum of UMD's business school, has been chosen as the 2014 Labovitz School of Business and Economics Business Person of the Year.

The award was presented to Mayor Ness by LSBE Dean Amy B. Hietapelto at the 22nd Annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards on Wednesday, April 23 at the DECC.

Mayor Ness' accomplishments this past year include

  • reducing the unfunded health care liability of the city,
  • supporting partnering with private sector businesses to encourage job creation and investment,
  • implementing a capital infrastructure plan for the streets, sanitary sewer overflows,
  • encouraging development and investment in the City,
  • reducing the general fund budget,
  • increasing the budget reserve,
  • creating a unified development code – the first in 50 years, and
  • adopting the motto – "own it – solve it" to resolve issues facing the city.

"Mayor Don Ness is an outstanding leader and very deserving of this year's award," said Dean Hietapelto "He is the CEO of a $250,000,000 organization, has made difficult business decisions, has publicly practiced personal integrity and ethical behavior in difficult situations, and has been a mentor to many. We applaud his accomplishments."