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Seven Minnesota Business Leaders Share Their Goals for 2019

From mental health support to launching a stadium, local businesspeople are already looking at what’s on their plate next year.

Seven Minnesota Business Leaders Share Their Goals for 2019

Amid TCB’s annual Person of the Year Celebration on Tuesday evening, we took to the floor to ask attendees what issues or opportunities they intend to tackle in the year ahead.

Some had specific goals or events in mind, while others had their eyes set on trends affecting their staff or customers. In the end, no answers were the same.

“Something that’s always a relevant issue is mental health, especially among cooks, servers and everyone in the kitchen. Since Anthony Bourdain committed suicide, this has gotten even more attention. How we give the most to our employees — whether it’s [positive] support or time off when they have a child — that’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about.” —Gavin Kaysen, a James Beard award-wining chef and the owner of Spoon and Stable, Bellecour, and the soon-to-launch restaurant Demi

“Next year I’d like to get to outcomes faster while using my influence in responsible ways to drive change.” —Greg Cunningham, head of global inclusion at U.S. Bank

“We need to open up Allianz Field… Our seats are full. We have 14,500 season tickets already sold and the remaining tickets we expect to be sold out by the middle of next year for the entire season. So now it’s about creating an environment where our fans feel like they’re at home. My big focus for next year is hiring the right people to staff the stadium and making sure we create that environment where people feel like it’s home.” —Maureen Smith, executive vice president and COO of Minnesota United FC

“I’m selling something; I hope to open more things. And I hope to be more engaged in the community and work more in the community. I’m looking forward to bringing the International Women Chefs and Restauranteurs national conference back for a second year. It’s never had a repeat host city.” —Kim Bartmann, a Twin Cities restaurateur and CEO of Bartmann Group

“The main thing for us is we have a new leadership team in place and I’d love to see that continue to gel and result in new business. I would say personally as a leader, I’d like to make sure that I’m hearing the truth of what the team is saying and putting the resources in place that they need to succeed.” —Michael Noer, president of Airtex Group and CEO of Acme Made

“We handle the health care for companies and there are a lot of challenges. The real critical piece is a company has to [switch to being] self-insured in a certain way, and that’s the kind of secret sauce of what we do. It’s such a complicated field frankly. We just [helped] a company of 200 employees and starting January 1st they are getting better benefits and it’s self-insured. Through the year, we manage their costs and they spend about $1.5 million [on health care], so our goal is to save them $400,000 in 2019. Personally, [I want to] lead by example. That’s not an easy thing to do all of the time.” —John Butler, president of JB Benefits Consulting

“I think navigating change [is important to me]. We and others in many industries are seeing a lot of [change] overall, whether you’re in the banking industry, the transportation industry, or like ourselves in communications. Navigating that change is going to be a continued priority regardless of what you do. My job is to make sure that we’ve got the right people in place for the needs of our clients, and that’s my job, to be sure that our team has the resources.” —Rob Rankin, president of Clarity Coverdale Fury

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