On January 12, 2011, Governor Mark Dayton appointed Mike Rothman to serve as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Under the leadership of Commissioner Rothman, the Commerce Department is responsible for consumer protection, regulation of financial service industries including insurance, state-chartered banks, credit unions, securities, and real estate. The Department licenses franchises, collection agencies, and currency exchanges.
The Commerce Department is also responsible for enforcement of Public Utilities Commission (PUC) rules and orders, regulation of natural gas and electric public utilities, energy conservation standards and information programs, low-income home energy assistance and weatherization, regulation of telephone companies, the administration of Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM), petrofund, and unclaimed property programs.
Commissioner Rothman brings a distinguished record of consumer protection to the Department of Commerce and extensive public- and private-sector experience on insurance and financial service-related issues.
Prior to joining the Department, Rothman was an attorney for eight years with the firm of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., in Minneapolis, where he was co-chair of the Insurance & Financial Services practice group.
Commissioner Rothman's litigation experience began when he worked on the insurance insolvencies of Mission Insurance Companies and Executive Life—two of the largest cases in U.S. history.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Rothman began his career as a law clerk for the state Court of Appeals. In the late '80s and early '90s, Rothman worked for the state Senate, leading efforts to reform the state's regulatory laws.
In addition to his experience in state government and private practice, Rothman has also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School on insurance law and regulation.
Download: Commissioner Mike Rothman Photo
Steve Carlson became Deputy Commissioner of Administration for the Minnesota Department of Commerce in February 2011. He is responsible for managing all of the administrative functions in the Department, including: Finance, Human Resources, Internal Controls, Legal, and the Regulatory Information Center. In addition, he leads the Consumer Protection and Education Unit, Licensing, Unclaimed Property, the Petrofund, and Weights and Measures; as well as coordinating Information Technology with the Office of Enterprise Technology (OET).
Carlson is an experienced manager and lawyer with background in finance, economic development and commerce and more than 33 years in legal practice, including six in U.S. Government. He was previously the chair of the Banking and Commercial Department at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney. He was also the head of the Financial Services Regulatory Practice Group, and the head of the International Practice Group, among other management positions.
Carlson's law practice primarily focused on banking, corporate and international areas, with an emphasis on financial and commercial matters. Some of his clients included financial institutions, industrial companies, agricultural cooperatives, and the State of Minnesota.
In addition to his professional life, Carlson has been an active participant in civic life. He is the current chair of the American Swedish Institute Board of Trustees, and he has served as president of the Board of Directors for Advocates for Human Rights. In addition, Carlson was director of the City of Edina Art Center and led Dorsey & Whitney's Pro Bono practice.
Carlson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University (1973) and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law (1977).
Bill Grant is the Deputy Commissioner of Energy and Telecommunications for the Minnesota Department of Commerce. He is responsible for developing and managing programs and policies for Energy Planning and Advocacy, Energy Facility Permitting, the State Energy Office, Energy Assistance, Telecommunications, and the Broadband Development Office.
Before joining the Department in February 2011, Grant served as associate executive director of the Izaak Walton League of America, a position he held since 1995. The Izaak Walton League protects America's outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promotion of outdoor recreation.
Prior to becoming the League’s associate director, Grant served as director of the League's Midwest Office from 1992 to 1995; in that position he directed the League's advocacy of utility regulatory reform policies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Upper Midwest.
Grant has been instrumental in the development of several League publications, including Power to Spare in the Upper Midwest, Energy Efficiency and Minnesota Jobs: The Employment Impacts of Electric Utility Demand-Side Management Programs, and The Landowner's Guide to Wind Energy in the Upper Midwest.
Before joining the League, Grant spent seven years with the Minnesota Department of Public Service. His responsibilities there included the review of utility conservation plans, integrated resource plans, certificate of need filings, and interventions before federal regulatory agencies. Grant also spent six months on special assignment with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
Grant earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Macalester College in St. Paul (1979) and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Hamline University in St. Paul (1995).
Download: Deputy Commissioner Bill Grant Photo (medium resolution, 200 dpi)
Dennis Ahlers serves as Assistant Commissioner for the Commerce Department’s Division of Energy Resources. Assistant Commissioner Ahlers is responsible for overseeing the Department’s regulatory efforts on telecommunications issues and managing the Department’s efforts to ensure the reliability of the state’s electric transmission system.
Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Dennis Ahlers served for 12 years as associate general counsel for Integra Telecom, Inc., and 16 years as Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Ahlers has decades of experience in utilities regulation, representing clients before state utilities commissions and the FCC.
Ahlers earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas, an M.A. in Public Administration from Purdue University, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska.
Tim Jahnke serves as the Commerce Department’s Director of Administrative Services. Jahnke, who previously served as the Department’s Chief Financial Officer, retains his responsibilities as CFO. He is also responsible for managing the administrative and human resources functions of the Commerce Department, as well as overseeing the Weights and Measures and Petrofund units.
Jahnke has served the financial management division of the Commerce Department since 2005. Prior to joining the Department, Jahnke served as an executive budget officer for Minnesota Management and Budget where he assisted state agencies in preparing operating and capital budget requests for inclusion in the Governor’s budget. He has also served in accounting roles at the Departments of Administration, Transportation, and the Board of Animal Health.
Jahnke is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.