March-April 2013 Issue

> Developer Index > Member News

EDAM Past Presidents Honor Don Risk

Legacy Award
MN Economic Development Foundation "Legacy Award" recipients (left to right): Bill Farrell, Al Madsen, Don Risk

On March 20, 2013, EDAM Past Presidents and members of the Minnesota Economic Development Foundation gathered to honor Don Risk at Jax Café in Northeast Minneapolis. Several times a year, members of these two groups meet to enjoy sharing stories from the past, discussing economic development issues and occasionally honoring a member who has displayed a long-term commitment to his community, state and to the economic development profession in Minnesota.

Don Risk is a life-long resident of Minneapolis, and has served his city, region and state in several important capacities, starting in 1961 when he was elected to the Minneapolis City Council. In 1968, he resigned from the council to become Director of the Minneapolis Industrial Development Commission and later, Director of Marketing and Real Estate and a Deputy to Executive Director Jim Heltzer.

During his tenure at the City of Minneapolis, Mr. Risk had several notable achievements, including the development of the process by which the first industrial revenue bonds were used in the city for the acquisition of land from the Burlington Northern Railroad (which became Kasota Industrial Park in Southeast Minneapolis). He assisted in the development of the Mid-City Industrial Park in Northeast Minneapolis, Northgate Industrial Park in North Minneapolis and oversaw the operation of the Minneapolis Municipal River Terminal.

As Director of MIDC, Don created the “Minneapolis Profile”, a fact book on the city that was awarded first place in competition with hundreds of literature presentations by the American Economic Development Council. And, in the course of the last 20 years of his professional career, he worked with countless businesses and industries to assist in their relocation or expansions plans within the city.

While serving his community, he also was busy as a past president of the Minnesota League of Cities; a charter board member of the National Council for Urban Economic Development; and as past president of the Minnesota Industrial Development Association, now known as EDAM, in 1974-75. Professionally, Don graduated from the American Industrial Development Institute in Norman, OK, and also received his International Business Executive Certificate designation.

Even after he had retired from the city, Don remained active by serving as Chair of the Greater Metropolitan Foreign Trade Zone Board, as well as an Advising Director to the EDAM Foundation, now known as the Minnesota Economic Development Foundation. In 2007, Don was awarded the Foundation’s “Legacy Award” for his “demonstrated high standards of service and contribution to his city, state and the economic development profession in Minnesota.”

Many EDAM members have been inspired by Don Risk's strong work ethic and leadership abilities, his unselfish qualities, and his outstanding example for us to follow in our professional and family lives. He has served his community faithfully for more than 30 years in promoting and enhancing the economic development within the City of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota. Thank you, Don.

  • Kristin Lukes

    Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
    (651) 259-7451

    Tim Korby
    First Vice President
    Donohue & Associates
    (952) 920-1808
  • Heidi Peper
    Second Vice President
    Short Elliott Hendrickson
    (320) 229-4386

    Connie Christenson
    Past President

    Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
    (218) 748-2261