Small Talks Recap:

Minnesota’s Workforce: How Businesses Benefit from Early Childhood Education

This event took place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 7:30am—9:00am

Thank you to all who attended and helped make this Small Talks a success!
Please enjoy photos, resources and a video to recap the talk.

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Tim Penny

President/CEO, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s
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Timothy (Tim) Penny was named as Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) President/CEO April 2007. Penny’s extensive background complements SMIF’s key interests, including early childhood and entrepreneur development.

Penny represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1994. Previously, he was a member of the Minnesota State Senate from 1976-82. Most recently, Penny was a Senior Counselor at Himle Horner, a Twin Cities-based public affairs firm, and a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute.

As a member of the Minnesota Senate, Penny served as vice-chair of the Transportation and Finance committees. While in Congress, Penny served on the Education and Labor, Agriculture and Veterans’ Affairs committees. He chaired the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Education and Training and the Foreign Agriculture and Hunger Subcommittee.

Throughout his congressional career, Penny placed an emphasis on budget issues. He chaired the Democratic Budget Group as well as the Porkbusters Coalition.

Penny has co-authored three books: Common Cents; The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics; and Payment Due. Born and raised in southeastern Minnesota, Penny received his B.A. in political science from Winona State University, and was Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve.


Oriane Casale

Assistant Director, Labor Market Information Office, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
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Oriane Casale oversees labor market publications, Helpline and special requests, and several surveys including the Job Vacancy and the Occupational Employment Statistics surveys. Before joining DEED, Oriane worked as a researcher with several non-profit organizations in New York City and the Twin Cities where she specialized in early childhood education, social safety net and work issues. Oriane has a B.A. from the New School for Social Research in New York and an M.A. in public affairs from the University of Minnesota.


Mark Hanson

Economic Development Coordinator, Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services, Inc.
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Mark P. Hanson has 19 years of experience in economic/community/and business development. He has worked in over 10 cities, for 2 counties and is the current economic development coordinator for Region 7W. The scope of his experience ranges from DEED programs, Regional initiatives, community marketing, business retention and expansion, financing packaging, and childcare and workforce development.

Dan Dorman

Executive Director, Greater Minnesota Partnership
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Dan Dorman joined the Greater MN Partnership (GMNP) staff in 2013. Prior to his work with GMNP, Dorman was Executive Director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency and served 8 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives where he chaired the Capital Investment Committee and served as vice-chair of the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee. Dorman is a co-owner of Hanson Tire Service in Albert Lean and currently serves on the boards of the Riverland Community College Foundation and the Albert Lea Community Foundation.


Panel Moderator:

Mark Lofthus

Economic Development Director, Dakota Electric Association
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Mark Lofthus is economic development director at Dakota Electric Association, managing growth and new investment into the utility’s service area in Dakota County. Before joining Dakota Electric in 2012, he was worked for 24 years in program management at the Minnesota state economic development department. He previously served at the Countryside Council in Marshall, Minnesota, participating in the start of the Southwest Initiative Foundation and serving as a founding board member.

He is chair of the Dakota-Scott Workforce Development Board, past chair of the MN Economic Development Foundation, and is a board member for the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Mark has a B.A. in economics from the University of Minnesota, and an M.A. in public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato.



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