November 20, EDC Business Forum at Meet Minneapolis

DIDThe next East Downtown Council Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, November 20.  This month’s event will take place at Meet Minneapolis – 250 Marquette Avenue South. The title of this month’s forum is “Beautiful and Safe: Urban Design and Programming in the Built Environment.”  Registration, lunch and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., with the EDC Update and guest presenters starting at Noon. The cost to attend the lunch is just $20. Please RSVP by sending an email to by no later than Monday, November 17, at Noon.  


Urbanism studies show that greening and safety catalyze local investment, visitor spending, environmental cost-savings, and increased public health vitality.  As East Downtown becomes increasingly redeveloped it is important that all of the stakeholders in our district become aware of best practices for urban design and safety in the built environment such that we engage these important benefits. One key existing partner that is already doing this work in Downtown is the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (the “DID”).

The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID) is a non-profit entity that maintains a higher standard of care and behavior throughout downtown. It was formed in early 2009 after 5+ years of formative planning and advocacy by the Minneapolis Downtown Business Community.

The DID’s mission is to support, preserve, create and enhance a vibrant, competitive and thriving downtown that attracts and retains businesses, employees, residents and visitors. To that end, the DID pursues several goals: to create/support a competitive and thriving downtown through effective provision of clean, green, safe and better services; to pool resources and bring more effective implementation of services and initiatives; to bring a sustainable funding source to long-term initiatives; and to create and sustain an ecosystem that encourages a thriving public space in support of retailers, businesses, employees, visitors and residents.

At this month’s business forum, Ben Shardlow, the Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District, will discuss the overall work of the DID, specialized work of the Tactical Urbanism Initiative, and ways that EDC constituents can be aware and promote beauty and safety on our streets and in our open spaces.

In addition to Ben’s presentation, we will hear from three other guest speakers.  We will get an overall crime and safety report from The Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct Inspector Medaria Arradondo; Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant will give us an overview of how Minnesota won the Super Bowl bid for 2018; and Mortenson Construction will provide a Viking’s Stadium construction update.


  • Welcome and Introductions, Paul Mellblom, President EDC, Dan Collison, Executive Director EDC (10 Minutes)
  • Stadium Construction Update, Michele Kelm-Helgen, MSFA (5 Minutes)
  • Winning the Super Bowl Bid, Melvin Tennant, Meet Minneapolis (5 Minutes)
  • Crime and Safety Update, Inspector Rondo, Minneapolis Police Department (5 Minutes)
  • Urban Design and Programming in the Built Environment, Ben Shardlow, Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown improvement District (25 Minutes)
  • Q & A Moderated by Dan Collison (5 Minutes)
  • Preview of the October EDC Forum (5 Minutes)


Ben Shardlow, Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Downtown Improvement District

Ben Shardlow has been the Director of Public Realm Initiatives for the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District since January 2014. He is an urban planner with a focus on public space and urban design. He received a bachelor degree in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree with a concentration in Land Use and Urban Design from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota.

Prior to joining the MDC/DID, Shardlow gained seven years of professional experience in commercial real estate development and management and three years of experience in applied social science research, with additional work in placemaking, urban planning consulting, and community engagement.

After 16 months as a project manager for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District on a contract basis, Shardlow was brought on to the MDC/DID staff to focus on implementing the public space goals in the MDC’s 2025 Plan and to direct strategic projects for DID. He is the staff lead for the MDC Greening & Public Realm Committee, the Green Streetscape Task Force, the Meaningful Daytime Activities Subcommittee of the MDC Homelessness Committee, and the DID Tactical Urbanism Initiative.

Medaria Arradondo, Inspector of the First Precinct

Inspector Arradondo received his bachelor degree in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University and holds a master’s degree in Human Services from Concordia University. He is a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston, Massachusetts as well as the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Inspector Arradondo is a 24-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. He started his career with the MPD in 1989 working as a Public Housing Enforcement officer and School Liaison Officer. In 1997, he was promoted to Sergeant and worked in investigations, Internal Affairs and served as the assistant to the Chief of Police. In 2003, he was promoted to Lieutenant and oversaw the Federal Mediation Agreement, served as Public Information Officer, acting Inspector of the Second Precinct and worked many years in the Fourth Precinct.

In December 2012, Arradondo was appointed as Commander of the Internal Affairs Unit. He has been an active member in the community serving as a Board Member on the State Council on Black Minnesotans; African American Men’s Project; Police Community Relations Council; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Minnesota Criminal Justice Project. Inspector Arradondo also serves on the accountability sub-committee for the Chief’s Advisory Council.

Melvin Tennant, CEO and President of Meet Minneapolis

Melvin Tennant has been Chief Executive Officer and President of Meet Minneapolis since April 2008. Mr. Tennant served for more than 25 years in leadership positions for destination-marketing organizations, including the San Antonio, Texas Convention & Visitors Bureau. Mr.

Since arriving in Minneapolis, Mr. Tennant serves as a Member of the Board of Directors at the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Council and HIRED, a leading Twin Cities area provider of job-skills training and employment training. Previously, Board Chair & Executive Committee Member of Destination Marketing Association International; Board of Trustees Members at Meeting Professionals International Foundation; International Executive Committee Member of Meeting Professionals International; Board Member of ASAE/Center for Association Leadership, Travel Industry Association of America, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, City of Charlotte Mayor’s International Cabinet (chair), March of Dimes (Charlotte Chapter), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Arts and Science Council, San Antonio Christian Business Chamber of Commerce.



October 16, Business Forum will feature GreaterMSP

Michael Langley #2The October 16, Business Forum is titled “The Leading Edge of East Downtown Development,” and will feature GREATER MSP CEO Michael Langley. Langley will review GREATER MSP’s Strategic Vision for the East Downtown Business District.

This month’s business forum is FREE to attend. The Hyatt Place Hotel is offering a complementary lunch to all attendees. In lieu of paying for lunch; however, the EDC Board invites attendees to make a voluntary contribution to the newly established EDC Community Advocacy Fund. Registration is still required. Please RSVP by sending an email to by no later than Monday, October 13, at Noon.


1. Welcome and Introductions, Paul Mellblom, President EDC, Dan Collison, Executive Director EDC (10 Minutes)

2. Ryan-Wells Fargo Construction Update, Mike Ryan, Director of Architecture and Engineering, Ryan Companies (5 Minutes)

3. Greater MSP Presentation, Michael Langley (30 Minutes)

4. Q & A Moderated by Dan Collison (10 Minutes)

5. Preview of the November EDC Forum (5 Minutes)

Click here to review a PowerPoint presentation regarding GreaterMSP’s Downtown East District Strategic Vision.


GREATER MSP  (Minneapolis Saint Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership) is a private non-profit organization (501C3) dedicated to providing public and private sector leadership, coordination and engagement to grow the economy of the 16-County Minneapolis Saint Paul region. With its economic development partners throughout the region, GREATER MSP is advancing a coordinated regional economic development strategy, a coordinated regional brand to promote the region’s assets, and a coordinated regional business retention, expansion, and recruitment program to stimulate capital investment and job creation in the region. For more information on Greater MSP please visit the organization’s Web site.


join-today-concept-23103815 (2)“Building Our Economic Future Together”

The East Downtown Council is a business association whose economic development work is funded by membership dues from organizations within the Downtown East and Elliot Park neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

Now is the time to join the East Downtown Council as significant investment and attention will be placed on the Downtown East and Elliot Park neighborhoods over the next several years with the construction of the new Vikings stadium, and the redevelopment of the Star Tribune properties by Ryan Companies.

Please visit the new East Downtown Council Web site to RENEW or BECOME A MEMBER online. You can paying using your credit or debit card, or request to be invoiced.

The East Downtown Council provides its members with the following benefits:

Connection and Collaboration
We bring business and civic leaders together to catalyze economic opportunities that benefit everyone.

Advocacy and Resourcing
We advocate on your behalf with the City of Minneapolis, Downtown East and Elliot Park neighborhoods (The DEEP District) to facilitate business grants and strategic 21st century urban development.

Leadership and Voice
We integrate the thinking and leadership expertise of our small, medium and large organizations into a cohesive representation of our collective economic growth goals.

There are six tiers of membership proportioned at affordable options for organizations of all sizes:

Individual ($50)
Offered to individuals seeking to invest in the district and network with business and civic leaders.

Bronze ($150)
Offered to home-based and emerging businesses with 1 or 2 employees.

Silver ($250)
Supporters who value the networking opportunities and recognition received through membership benefits. This level is suggested for companies with between 3 and 10 employees.

Gold ($350)
Supporters who give added support for ongoing membership benefits such as database development, website and administrative services. This level is suggested for companies with between 10 and 35 employees.

Leader ($750)
Leading businesses that seek to enhance development goals and promote a safe and productive environment for our business community. This level is suggested for companies with over 35 employees.

Platinum ($1,000)
Leading businesses that contribute and receive recognition as our highest level of supporters. Membership includes complimentary registration for one person to attend the 10 monthly business forums, mention and logo recognition at all business forums, and priority placement on the EDC website.

Prepaid Luncheon Coupons for Colleagues and Guests ($20)
Prepaid luncheon coupons for the September 2014 through June 2015 business forums may also be purchased with your membership for $20 each. Coupons will be delivered to you when you attend your first lunch, and may be used for other members of your organization or guests who attend with you.

Please RENEW or BECOME A MEMBER of the East Downtown Council online. You can pay using a credit or debit card, or request to be invoiced.

September 18, Business Forum will feature Valspar and Kraus Anderson

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The September 18, business forum will feature Valspar’s new Applied Science and Technology Center in the Downtown East neighborhood, as well as Kraus-Anderson Construction.

The event will take place the VAST Center – 312 11th Avenue South.  Map of VAST Center Campus for parking and building entrance information.

The cost to attend the event is $20, which can be paid at the door.  To register, please send an email to by no later than Monday, September 15, at 4 p.m.

Kraus Anderson


Valspar Corporation is the fifth-largest manufacturer of paints and coatings in the world, with $4.1billion in annual revenue, and traces its beginnings to 1806. In 2012-2014 Valspar contracted with EDC Member Kraus-Anderson Construction Company and spent more than $30 million to restore an 87,000 square foot vintage structure on S. 3rd Street that was once its headquarters. Kraus-Anderson achieved award-winning results and this important investment in East Downtown has contributed to the revitalization of our district next to the Hiawatha light-rail line. The building houses a “best-in-class” laboratory as well as meeting and office space.

Plan on attending this exciting launch of the 2014-2015 EDC Business Forum that will feature speaker Steven Erdahl, Executive VP and Dr. Cynthia Arnold, Senior VP and Chief Technology Officer of the Valspar Corporation along with John Campobasso, Vice President and Director of Marketing for Kraus-Anderson Construction Company. There will be a brief tour of the showroom portion of the newly renovated facility following the main presentation.


  • Welcome and Introductions, Paul Mellblom, President EDC, Dan Collison, Executive Director EDC (10 Minutes)
  • Stadium Construction Update, Tom Schmall, Mortenson Construction (5 Minutes)
  • Valspar Campus Renovation Presentation (30 Minutes)
  • Q & A Moderated by Dan Collison (10 Minutes)
  • Preview of the October EDC Forum (5 Minutes)


Steven Erdahl, Executive Vice President, The Valspar Corporation

Steve Erdahl is Executive Vice President of The Valspar Corporation, with responsibility for the company’s Global Wood business as well as for Valspar’s Global General Industrial business.  Since joining Valspar in 1974, Erdahl has held a series of finance, sales, and sales management positions of increasing responsibility and was elected a corporate officer in 1989, as Vice President, General Industrial.  After experience leading most Valspar businesses and functions, he was named Executive Vice President in 2002.  Steve also serves as lead director of MOM Brands.

Dr. Cynthia Arnold, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, The Valspar Corporation 

Dr. Arnold is responsible for global technology and development of Valspar’s coatings and paints, polymers and dispersions, overseeing an organization of approximately 1000 technologists located in 38 Valspar laboratories throughout the world. Prior to Valspar, Dr. Arnold served as the Chief Technology Officer of Sun Chemical, a global leader in pigments, inks and graphic arts coatings; Vice President of Technology of Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties for Eastman Chemical. She has held various technical leadership positions at General Electric.  She served for several years as a Sloan Executive Science and Engineering Fellow in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House and is currently a member of the Board of the Minnesota Zoo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA.

John Campobasso

Vice President Director of Marketing, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company

John joined Kraus-Anderson in 1992 and has led the company’s marketing and business development efforts since 2000. Prior to joining Kraus-Anderson John served as vice president and director of development for the St. Paul Port Authority. He is active in a number of professional and civic organizations including the Minneapolis East Downtown Council, Minneapolis Downtown Council/ Downtown Improvement District, Minneapolis Uptown Rotary and the Economic Development Association of Minnesota.

June 19 EDC Business Forum at Day Block Brewing Company

“Growth on Every Level: A Conversation with All Three City Council Members Representing the East Downtown.”

The next East Downtown Council Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, June 19, at Day Block Brewing Company – 1105 Washington Avenue S.  Registration, networking and lunch starts at 11:30 a.m., with the EDC Update and guest presenters starting at Noon.

This month’s business forum’s guest speakers include the three Council Members who represent the Downtown East and Elliot Park neighborhoods: Third Ward Council Member Jacob Frey, 6th Ward Council Member Abdi Warsame and 7th Ward Council Member Lisa Goodman.

The cost to attend the EDC Business Forum is $15.  Please RSVP by sending an email to Christie Rock Hantge at, by no later than Noon on June 16.


The City Charter for the Minneapolis requires redrawing City wards and Park and Recreation districts every year ending with a “2” and using most recent census data. The redistricting process that took place in 2012 has given the East Downtown District two new ward seats at City Hall. The expanded representation affords our district greater diversity and stronger connections to all that surrounds us.

Plan on attending the June business forum to hear all three East Downtown Council members, Jacob Frey (3rd Ward), Abdi Warsame (6th Ward) and Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) speak about how Minneapolis and our district can leverage surging redevelopment into holistic and meaningful density. This forum will include an extended time of question and answer.


11:30 a.m. to Noon – Registration, lunch and networking

Noon – Welcome and introductions by EDC President Dan Collison

12:05 pm – EDC Update by EDC President Dan Collison

12:15 pm – Panel discussion with Minneapolis City Council Members

12:45 pm – Q&A moderated by EDC President Dan Collison

1:00 pm – Announcements and Adjournment

2014 Minneapolis City Council Members

May 15, EDC Business Forum will feature the Minnesota Vikings

The next EDC Business Forum is coming up on Thursday, May 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the 1010 Building – 1010 Metrodome Square. This month’s event will feature Steve LaCroix and Lester Bagley from the Minnesota Vikings.  More information to follow soon.

Registration, lunch and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., with the EDC Update and guest presentation starting at Noon.

Please RSVP by no later than Monday, May 12, at 4:00 p.m., by sending an email to The cost to attend the lunch is $15. Please pay with cash or check at the door.

Joint neighborhood meeting scheduled for May 15, 2014

Mark your calendars, the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, Elliot Park Neighborhood, Inc., Mill District Neighborhood Association and the East Downtown Council are co-hosting a joint neighborhood meeting on Thursday, May 15, at Open Book, at 6:30 p.m. The joint meeting is an opportunity for Ryan Companies to give downtown residents and businesses an update on their Downtown East Redevelopment Project.