Following the Governor’s opening remarks this morning, the Job Summit started in earnest. An executive panel of leaders from Minnesota companies big and small kicked off the event with a discussion about job creation in today’s global economy.
Panel members included Bill George, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic, Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Company, Neil Crocker, president of Schaefer Ventilation Equipment, and Susan Rani, principal at Rani Engineering.
The panel was moderated by Kathy Tunheim, Governor Dayton’s senior adviser for job creation.
Each of the panel members agreed that one of our largest priorities needs to be ensuring our future workforce is world-class, made up of highly-skilled, technically proficient workers. George, reflecting on his experience at both Harvard and Medtronic, talked about how this will take a joint effort between educational and business leaders, shifts in the way we educate young Americans and prepare workers, and a true lifelong commitment to learning.
Despite the economic challenges that persist today, the discussion was very optimistic in tone.
Rani, who traveled with Governor Dayton on his recent trade mission to South Korea, expressed her optimism regarding her company’s future in Minnesota based on what she saw in her travels. “America is admired, and our products are considered high quality. I’m very optimistic that we will figure this out because [in America and Minnesota] we recognize that talent needs to be rewarded and recognized.”
“It’s my experience that whenever you go through hard times you step back and take stock and inventory of what you’ve got,” Poferl said. “In Minnesota, we’ve got a great place to work, a great place to innovate, and we’ve got fabulous workers to get that done. There’s reason for optimism, let’s just go out and do it.”
Crocker echoed that sentiment in a short, to-the-point assessment. “Minnesota can have full employment just by being marginally better than it is today. Let’s go get it.”