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 Response Page - Langley  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Michael Langley Interview of


Michael Langley is Chief Executive Officer of Greater MSP, a new economic development organization serving the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. He describes that organization's vision and strategy for promoting the region globally. Langley discusses what Greater MSP has identified as the region's key assets and challenges. He describes five "levers" that can be employed to advance the region and five areas for potential growth.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Langley. 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.

1. Clear metro image is lacking. (7.2 average response) Although not well known nationally or globally, the Twin Cities metro area has many advantages but lacks a clear image, or “brand” that might be used to convey its strengths.

2. Education, workforce are strengths. (7.7 average response) A major strength of the Twin Cities area is the quality of its education and workforce, despite serious racial and economic disparities.

3. Innovation culture is robust. (7.3 average response) The Twin Cities metro area is above average in the nation in its culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. (7.6average response) The region's physical infrastructure--airports, roads, transit, parks, water and sewer--is a substantial advantage.

5. Quality of life is an asset. (8.4 average response) Overall, the Twin Cities area's quality of life ranks high across the nation.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Clear metro image is lacking.







2. Education, workforce are strengths.







3. Innovation culture is robust.







4. Infrastructure is an advantage.







5. Quality of life is an asset.







Individual Responses:

Anonymous   (2.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Anonymous   (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

Chris Brazelton  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. While there is always room for improvement, it does not help our

state when our elected officials, in order to further their own party's agenda, speak poorly of our state's business climate.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. It has been good, but parts are in disrepair.  We must stay on top of that with long term budgeting and planning.

Luke Weisberg  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

2. Education, workforce are strengths. GreaterMSP, as Langley points out, is a "marketing and sales" organization -- so we still need a stronger coordinating/advocating effort to address the disparities in education and workforce. The Metro area Workforce Investment Boards should lead the way, but they have not stepped up yet in that role.

3. Innovation culture is robust. On this point, we need to do more to assess the talent available here, and then identify those "ingredients" to entrepreneurs and others to ask what they can do with the "ingredients" we have here already.

Anonymous   (7.5)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (5)  (2.5)

3. Innovation culture is robust. I am afraid that much of this has been reduced in the last 25 years.  Many segments may remain strong but an example of lost leadership, I think, has been the computer industry.  The university should be given a high priority to develop this segment.  It should provide a more stable economy than the sports enterprises that seem to get the most publicity and perhaps attention lately. Food and agriculture should be able to remain strong.

Todd Graham  (2.5)  (10)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. I disagree that the Twin Cities is unknown globally.  Agree the Twin Cities has advantages.  Disagree that the Twin Cities has no "brand" -- though the brand is sort of out-of-date (Little House on the Prairie, Mary T Moore, etc.).

3. Innovation culture is robust. I agree the Twin Cities has innovative professionals.  Entrepreneurship connotes business start-ups and commercialization of innovations -- I expect the Twin Cities is only average in that regard.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. (There is) room for improvement in road cargo and air cargo sectors.  Roads in general are not bad.

5. Quality of life is an asset. Sure, why not.

David G Dillon  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (5)  (10)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. Branding is huge and little understood.  Right idea, very hard project.  Get ready to herd the cats.  

2. Education, workforce are strengths. I know first hand that the Twin Cities have a really strong workforce.  I read that we are resting on our laurels a bit about our educations system and suspect this is true.  I'm not so sure about "serious" racial and economic disparities.  What do you mean by "serious" I wonder?  Which metro areas in the Untied States don't have this problem?  Is this some sort of brand damaging nod to a liberal constituency?  The disparities exist to sure, and it's a real problem but I don't see how it belongs in a conversation about how to promote the Twin Cities.

3. Innovation culture is robust. It's a fact.  And, I just read that the U of M is committed to being a better partner on working with the private sector.  Yeah for the Twin Cities.

Bert LeMunyon  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

5. Quality of life is an asset. The Metro area ranks high across the nation, but the nation is not aware of it.

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

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

1. Clear metro image is lacking. One major problem is defining the Twin Cities: are we Minneapolis or St. Paul as cities with its own suburbs or are we a combination of all entities?

5. Quality of life is an asset. However, are we too much identified as a "cold-weather" area?

Anonymous   (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)

Peter Hennessey  (5)  (5)  (5)  (5)  (5)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. Well, if you are concerned about image, then why … do you elect clowns ... to high office? Who can possibly take you seriously after you do such (a) foolish thing?

2. Education, workforce are strengths. Maybe you should pay more attention to your policies for accommodating immigrants, both legal and illegal. Are you practicing the "melting pot" theory of assimilation, or the "garden salad" theory of accommodation -- our adaptation to them? Are your policies a magnet for illegal immigration, and are you going bankrupt paying for the services they abuse, or do you require their sponsors to assist them toward independent living in our society?

3. Innovation culture is robust. Any statement like this must come with references to statistics and definitions -- what is "innovation"? what is "entrepreneurship"? To whom are you comparing yourselves -- greater New York, San Francisco / Silicon Valley, Detroit / Ann Arbor, the Research Triangle in North Carolina, Boston, Dallas or Houston or Austin in Texas, Reno NV, State College PA, Boise ID, ... -- how high and how low do you set your sites to make the comparison?

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. And the truthfulness of a statement like this can only be determined by actual experience. Even then, the infrastructure that happens to suit me just fine may be totally inadequate for someone else's needs. My son evaluates an area on the practicality and convenience of its mass transit system. I travel by car, and my issue is congestion. My other son lives on the internet, so electrical blackouts, internet speed, and timely delivery by UPS or FedEx are his criteria.

5. Quality of life is an asset. Again, any statement like this must come with references to statistics and definitions. You certainly must like the wild extremes in the weather, for example. I like the symphony, my son is nuts about baseball; are your (amenities) any good and are they cheap enough to go all the time? Is your food supply local and fresh, or picked green thousands of miles away, because you, too, paved over the farm lands just outside your city limits?

David Broden  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. As one that travels in the business world and interacts with a variety of companies and wide range of people, the MSP image is not an automatic recognition but neither are many other thriving areas. The MSP brand has been damaged by the loss of several major players and poor statements from some of our leaders and general business people. I have been in many meetings where a member of my team will say that the next meeting must be in the south because it is too cold in MSP or there is no place to meet in the Twin Cities. The issue is as much selling ourselves as defining and communicating a brand.

2. Education, workforce are strengths. Education and workforce are uniquely strong and need to be communicated. I do not understand words about "serious racial and economic disparities" when compared to other cities and areas we have much less of an issue on these topics. While we have racial and economic disparities we should view our status as a positive and build to improve the situation-- we should not make a problem worse than it is.

3. Innovation culture is robust. Definitely true and proven and demonstrated in many ways and in new start-ups. The MSP area however is not branding and using these resources effectively. We do not even communicate this message among companies and the community so we all know the strengths of the area. Branding and a sales pitch (for) Twin Cities (is needed) plus messages within the company so that all employees understand the capability of the area.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. Infrastructure is definitely a strong plus. As I travel across the country and see the metro organizations, power lines above ground, strip malls, sprawl, mixed housing, zoning mixes and upgrade status the MSP status stands out very clearly. This needs to be sold as a major plus to retain and to attract business and people. Transition is another that must be highlighted.

5. Quality of life is an asset. This is a topic that does get some attention nationwide but not in the context of attracting and retaining business. The Brand and message must tie this all together. We needs some strong endorsement statements as well as illustration/video of what the area is and how people live and work as a community.

W. D. (Bill) Hamm  (5)  (0)  (0)  (5)  (5)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. I'm about rural development and could care less about metro development. That's the problem of those who live in the (city).

2. Education, workforce are strengths. Clearly this statement is based on an Edina point of view.

3. Innovation culture is robust. There is far more innovation in rural Minnesota.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. Maybe, and then again maybe not. I would not locate a company there.

5. Quality of life is an asset. That is all well and good if you’re a (city dweller).

Mina Harrigan  (10)  (8)  (10)  (8)  (10)

I scored both #2 and #4 an "8" because both are becoming a negative for the metro area.  Both need serious attention/improvement in the near future.

Wayne Jennings  (7)  (7)  (8)  (8)  (9)

John Milton  (6)  (8)  (7)  (2)  (6)

The unraveling of the "Minnesota Miracle" and shifting the burden more onto middle- and lower- income Minnesotans must be checked, or we will become another place for the ultra-wealthy to make their money and take it elsewhere. Where, oh where, have the Elmer Andersens, Dave Durenbergers, Bill Frenzels, Harm Ogdahls and Wayne Pophams gone?

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

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (8)  (8)  (5)  (8)

Problems not mentioned:  political/public complacancy, disfunctional politics without a common vision for MN and how to achieve it.

Lyall Schwarzkopf  (9)  (8)  (8)  (7)  (8)

BERT PRESS  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

Kevin Edberg  (8)  (9)  (8)  (9)  (9)

Maintaining our traditional high quality infrastructure, improving on that infrastructure to meet new needs, investing to grow and retain human capital, all are necessary to the success of the approach described here.  None are amendable with a "no new taxes" approach to state/regional finance.

Robert J. Brown  (8)  (8)  (7)  (9)  (8)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. The old media, which is headquartered on the East Coast, still views everything between them and California as "Flyover" country. Effective use of new media and social media could change that.
2. Education, workforce are strengths.  We have slipped some in recent years – perception does not change as fast as reality so there is still time to get back to where we should be.
5. Quality of life is an asset.  We had a unique situation with home grown major businesses headed by people with a sense of community and a commitment to giving back. As some of those businesses have left, merged, or seen their corporate headquarters moved we have too many imported corporate leaders focusing only on short term bottom line so we are in danger of being just like other areas.

Alan Miller  (9)  (9)  (10)  (9)  (10)

Having lived in many different sections and cities in the nation I can unreservedly say that the quality of life, the availability of culture, the recreational facilities and sports venues, the educational opportunities here are the best in the nation.

Chuck Lutz  (8)  (9)  (9)  (8)  (9)

Arvonne Fraser  (5)  (9)  (8)  (7)  (9)

Our infrastructure is deteriorating; our schools are underfunded and we aren't asking our citizens to pay enough taxes.  Otherwise life is great here.

Fred Zimmerman  (5)  (3)  (2)  (7)  (5)

Carolyn Ring  (6)  (8)  (7)  (8)  (9)

RC Angevine  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)

1. Clear metro image is lacking. I agree -- "fly over land" is not really the image we want to project to the world.

4. Infrastructure is an advantage. Good in many respects but starting to disintegrate due to lack of adequate funding.


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.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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