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Governor Dayton Makes Appointments to Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

June 14, 2012

Appointments are the next step to build people’s stadium and put thousands back to work


(Saint Paul) Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced three appointments to Minnesota’s new Sports Facilities Authority.  Governor Dayton named Michele Kelm-Helgen, John D. Griffith, and Duane Benson to three spots on the panel, appointing Kelm-Helgen as Chair.  By law the Governor appoints three of the five Authority members, including the Chair.  Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak will appoint the final two members.  

“This is another important step forward for building a people’s stadium and creating thousands of good jobs here in Minnesota,” Dayton Chief of Staff Tina Flint Smith said. “Governor Dayton is confident that Ms. Kelm-Helgen, Mr. Griffith, and Mr. Benson bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and vision to this important project. They will provide steady leadership for the Sports Facilities Authority, making sure that we are truly building a ‘people’s stadium’ that Minnesotans can be proud of.”  

The Minnesota Sports Facilities will oversee the design, construction, and financing of the new ‘people’s stadium’, which will be home to the Minnesota Vikings and serve as a multi-use facility for college and amateur sports teams.  

“This appointment is a tremendous honor,” Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said. “I share the Governor’s commitment to this important project and look forward to working with my counterparts on the Sports Facilities Authority to ensure that the ‘people’s stadium’ is an asset that all Minnesotans will be proud of for years to come.”

Michele Kelm-Helgen brings a unique background of business and public policy experience to her role as chair.  Currently Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of the Governor, an appointment she will resign from to serve as chair.  Kelm-Helgen is former Chief of Staff for the Minnesota Senate, and has served as a partner at the government affairs consulting firm North State Advisers, and as Director at Control Data Corporation, now known as Ceridian.  In addition, Kelm-Helgen is the former Chair of both the Eastern Carver County School Board and District 112 Personnel Committee.  She is also a former Board Member of the Chaska Rotary and in participated in the Rotary Mentorship Program at Chaska High School.  Kelm-Helgen received her Bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Catherine, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and graduated with honors, from the University of St. Thomas with a Master’s in Business Administration.  

John D. Griffith is currently the Executive Vice President of property development for Target Corporation, where he leads the real estate, construction, architecture, engineering, store planning design, facilities management, property operations and Target Commercial Interiors teams.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for GREATER MSP, the Boards of Trustees and Executive Committees of Bethel University in St. Paul Minn. and the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

Duane Benson currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation.  He has also served as the Executive Director for the Minnesota Business Partnership and was a member of the Minnesota Senate from 1980 to 1994.  Benson played 11 seasons in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, and Houston Oilers. 

The Authority will replace the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which has owned and operated the Metrodome since 1977.