50 Local Biz Leaders to Join Dayton on China Trade Mission

Fifty local business leaders will accompany Governor Mark Dayton on his June trade mission to China, which is Minnesota’s second-largest export market.

Governor Mark Dayton will be joined next month by 50 local agricultural, industrial, and academic leaders on his trade mission to China.

The group will include representatives from large Minnesota-based companies, including 3M, Best Buy, and Medtronic, as well as local trade groups like the Minnesota Pork Growers Association and the Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

“China is a growing market for Minnesota manufacturers, service providers, and agribusinesses,” Dayton said in a statement. “Building relationships with Chinese leaders, expanding markets for Minnesota products, and encouraging reverse investment are all aimed at growing our state’s economy and creating more jobs for Minnesotans.”

China is Minnesota’s second-largest export market: The country received $2.3 billion in Minnesota exports last year. China accounts for more than 25 percent of all agricultural exports from Minnesota.

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said in a statement that the state’s agricultural exports to China have increased 800 percent during the past decade. “China’s the top buyer and the main market for Minnesota soybeans and a growing market for our pork,” he said.

The delegation will meet with high-ranking Chinese executives and government officials in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian. Some of their objectives include exploring new trade opportunities, gaining potential business contacts and partners for Minnesota companies, and attracting Chinese investment in Minnesota.

The trade mission will take place between June 8 and June 17. The delegates are:

  • Dave Anderson, international sales manager, Jet Edge, Inc.
  • Peter Beacom, software architect, Quality Bunker
  • Laura Bishop, vice president of government relations, Best Buy Company, Inc.
  • Rick Breza, owner, Superior Feed Ingredients
  • David Buck, vice president, Minnesota Milk Producers Association
  • Griff Davenport, managing principal and CEO, DLR Group
  • Jeff Davidman, director of government affairs, Delta Air Lines
  • Steve Dickinson, partner and co-chair, Asia practice group, Fredrikson & Byron, PA
  • Peter Dugan, retail and restaurant specialist, CBRE
  • Adam Dombrovski, sales manager, Dombrovski Meats Company
  • David Griggs, vice president of business investment, Greater MSP
  • Trevor Gunn, senior director of international relations, Medtronic, Inc.
  • Tom Haag, vice president, Minnesota Corn Growers Association
  • Sue Hammersmith, president, Metropolitan State University
  • Kevin Hanson, president, International Creative Capital, LLC
  • Karl Johnson, executive board member, Minnesota Pork Producers Association
  • Robert Jones, senior vice president for academic administration, University of Minnesota
  • Wayne Knewtson, president, Knewtson Soy Products, LLP
  • Michael Langley, CEO, Greater MSP
  • Kevin Leiser, board member, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council
  • Christopher Larus, partner, Robbins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, LLP
  • Steve Mertens, chairman of the board, LifeScience Alley
  • Steve Mindrum, director of sales and marketing, GMI, Inc.
  • Jim Moline, president, Midwest Ag Enterprises, Inc.
  • Jay Moore, executive board member, Minnesota Pork Producers Association
  • Dennis Nguyen, chairman, New Asia Partners
  • Vince O’Brien, vice president and general manager, MK Foods (Michael Foods joint venture)
  • Kevin Paap, president, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation
  • Earl Potter, president, St. Cloud State University
  • Jeffrey Rageth, vice president of public affairs, 3M Company
  • Susan Rani, president, Rani Engineering
  • Ronald R. Rich, president, Atmosphere Recovery, Inc.
  • Robert Sanberg, chief operating officer, WindRider International
  • Michael Schumann, managing director, HSML, PC
  • Mark Sellner, certified public accountant
  • Alan Wilensky, attorney
  • Min (Amy) Xu, attorney, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP