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 Response Page - Griggs  Interview -      
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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
David Griggs  Interview of

Both private and public sectors have important roles in regional economic development


Both the private and public sectors have roles to play in economic development in the 16-county Minneapolis/St. Paul region, says David Griggs, vice president of business development at Greater MSP, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to economic development in the region.

Griggs outlines five broad sectors in which the region competes very well: health and life sciences, headquarters and business services, food and water solutions, innovation and advanced manufacturing, and financial services and insurance. He discusses some of the 27 subsectors Greater MSP has identified within those five sectors, such as the region's aerospace industry. He says aerospace often goes unnoticed but is a major contributor to the region's exports.

He notes the major contribution of the engineering sector to the Minneapolis/St. Paul region's success. He says the region is the number one destination for engineering graduates from universities in surrounding states. And he points out that the region has the second highest concentration of industrial engineers in the country. But he says the region is a net exporter of talent, since graduates of the Twin Cities area's universities and colleges in all disciplines tend to leave the region rather than stay. He believes the University of Minnesota is making changes to be more responsive to the needs of business. 

For the complete interview summary see: Griggs interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree):

1. Topic is of value. (7.9 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

2. Further study warranted. (7.5 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

3. Work to attract specific firms. (6.2 average response) It is not enough only to emphasize quality governmental functions, such as schools, colleges, public safety, parks and recreation, and infrastructure; Minnesota must also invest directly in attracting specific businesses to the state.

4. Focus on our strong sectors. (7.6 average response) Rather than chasing every business, Minnesota should focus on those areas where it already is strong, such as health and life sciences, headquarters and business services, food and water, advanced manufacturing, and financial services.

5. Private-public cooperation key. (8.1 average response) Minnesota can best succeed in multi-state and international competition by assuring strong cooperation among its current business organizations and local and state government.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   (8.2 average response) To help grow Minnesota's trained workforce, immigration laws should make it easier for foreign students to remain here to work after they graduate.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.







2. Further study warranted.







3. Work to attract specific firms.







4. Focus on our strong sectors.







5. Private-public cooperation key.







6. Ease foreign grads' work visas. 







Individual Responses:

Larry Schluter  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

1. Topic is of value. Very interesting.  We need to work on those areas where we can compete.

2. Further study warranted. It would to get periodic updates on what success they have had.

3. Work to attract specific firms. This would go along with #4 that we need to focus more on the areas [in] which we have had success and build on it and focus on those strong sectors.

Dave Broden  (5)  (7.5)  (5)  (0)  (10)  (10)

1. Topic is of value. Insight provided was an indication of how shallow the thinking and knowledge of some of those in the public policy and related field is and how it is impacting MN future.

2. Further study warranted. Additional interview should focus on one or more of the companies outlined by the guest to understand what they think.

3. Work to attract specific firms. MN investment should be in ensuring that the proper and priority supporting and maintaining capabilities are in place. Specific effort for unique businesses gets into making free market decisions, which is not the role of government.

4. Focus on our strong sectors. MN should build those segments of strength while being open to all industries.

5. Private-public cooperation key. Key to this is for MN to be openly and strongly supportive of business in the state and not have negative attitudes regarding some businesses. Work to strengthen and maintain and that will draw others.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   The need [for] international workers integrating into the workforce thru immigration law changes is a national need and must address all skills levels.

Kevin Edberg  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Robert Freeman  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)

3. Work to attract specific firms. There has to be a careful balance where the state offers economic assistance since that money comes from taxpayers, and ostensibly their competitors who are already headquartered here.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   The H-1 cap should be removed or vastly extended for people who earn degrees in US universities if those graduates want to work in their field.

Don Anderson  (5)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)

Josh D. Ondich  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (2.5)

3. Work to attract specific firms. I would agree with that statement to a certain point, Minnesota needs to attract businesses that are serious about creating high paying jobs and remaining in the area long-term.

4. Focus on our strong sectors. Minnesota needs to focus on industries that have contributed the most to Minnesota's economy.

5. Private-public cooperation key. Strong cooperation with current businesses, which would [aid] retention of those industries, would help Minnesota compete with other states.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   I believe Minnesota should focus on strengthening the workforce of domestic workers instead of flooding the job market with foreign students. I believe foreign students should meet certain requirements like proficiency in English, graduate with a 3.0 GPA or greater and be applicants for citizenship before given extensions in their student visas.

Paul Gilje  (10)  (10)  (2.5)  (10)  (5)  (10)

3. Work to attract specific firms. I'm not sure that we gain all that much.  But clearly the interstate competition makes it so difficult to say no.

5. Private-public cooperation key. I wish I knew, however, who really is best qualified to be in the lead.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   This country must come to recognize the importance of welcoming workers from other countries, for our own good and theirs.

John S. Adams  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Topic is of value. Griggs focused on Twin Cities industries that have an above-average presence in the greater TC region.  This above-average presence may be explained in many ways, but he did not say anything about that point.  The present situation may have historical roots but may not represent current competitive strength.  What he did not say—and what might have shed more light on this point—is to examine rates of growth locally (measured by sales, employment, investment, income, etc.) compared with (1) overall rates of growth in the industry under examination, or (2) compared with major competitor regions, national and internationally.  I thought that the presentation was rather thin on substance and analysis.

2. Further study warranted. It might be useful to hear from one or two of the Greater MSP analysts who support the overall effort, but I think we heard all that Griggs was able to say.      We heard more of a sales pitch than analysis of the Twin Cities competitive situation.

3. Work to attract specific firms. It depends on what is meant by "invest".  More money for subsidies and bribes, e.g., Mall of America?  No.   Expanded vocational-technical education/training, e.g., like UM-Stout, like Dunwoody?  Yes.

4. Focus on our strong sectors. OK, as long as we distinguish between "strong" and "disproportionately big".

5. Private-public cooperation key. Again, depends on what is meant by "cooperation".  For many years, local business communities worked closely with local vocational-technical schools and the school districts that those schools were part of.  That cooperation worked well for many years; it's much weaker now, and the state and its regional economies have been paying a price.

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   Absolutely.

Dennis L. Johnson  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)

6. Ease foreign grads' work visas.   Government is normally not very effective in the goals suggested as compared with the private sector. Government should concentrate on being business-friendly by keeping business taxes low and minimizing regulation of business beyond basic health, safety and welfare considerations. Business is very good at finding the most business-friendly environments in which to locate.

Robert J. Brown   (8)  (8)  (5)  (8)  (10)  (10)

Mina Harrigan   (8)  (8)  (4)  (9)  (9)  (10)

Chuck Lutz   (8)  (9)  (9)  (6)  (8)  (10)

David F. Durenberger   (5)  (3)  (5)  (5)  (5)  (3)

Wayne Jennings   (10)  (8)  (10)  (8)  (8)  (9)

Trixie Girtz Golberg   (10)  (10)  (5)  (9)  (10)  (10)

[I] would like to see more definitive return on investment analysis for direct investment.  Prioritize Minnesota entrepreneurs in public investments.  Venture capital is too difficult for Minnesota small business and entrepreneurs.

Fred Zimmerman   (3)  (4)  (5)  (3)  (4)  (9)

Minnesota’s economic development people are making a strategic mistake by assuming that product development and corporate management functions can easily be located in areas distant from manufacturing. Much cross-functional iterative improvement takes place when important functions are co-located.

Tom Spitznagle   (8)  (7)  (5)  (7)  (6)  (7)

Roy Thompson  (6)  (7)  (7)  (7)  (6)  (8)

Minnesota's geographic location presents some shipping problems for manufacturing products.  The agricultural production in Minnesota is a viable industry that does provide opportunities, but because of [the] number of producers (farms), it is somewhat difficult to work with cohesively. [It] is a fairly stable influence to the area.

Tom Swain   (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (9)

Paul and Ruth Hauge   (9)  (8)  (7)  (7)  (8)  (8)


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   David Broden,  Janis Clay,  Bill Frenzel,  Paul Gilje,   Jan Hively,  Dan Loritz (Chair),  Marina Lyon,  Joe Mansky, 
Tim McDonald,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and Bob White

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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