Each year, the Best Minnesota Town Panel consists of notable Minnesotans represent the state in various fields. They join Minnesota Monthly’s editorial team and the people of Minnesota in selecting the Best Minnesota Town contest winner. 2018 panelists will be announced soon!
President & CEO - Hospitality Minnesota Executive Vice President - Minnesota Restaurant, Lodging and Resort & Campground
Dan McElroy has been leading the state-wide trade associations representing Minnesota Restaurants, Hotels, Resorts, and Campgrounds for the past six years. Prior to that served as commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s chief of staff, and commissioner of the Department of Finance. McElroy has years of experience as an elected official, including city council member (1983-1987) and mayor (1987-1995) in Burnsville. He served as House assistant majority leader from 2001 to 2002. McElroy also has experience in the private sector, serving as CEO for Travel Agency Management Solutions, Inc.; President of Mainline Travel; and Chief Financial Officer of Travel Professionals. He has a B.A. in history from the University of Notre Dame.
Senior Exhibitor Developer, Minnesota Historical Society
Kate Roberts is senior exhibit developer for the Minnesota Historical Society and author of the best-selling book Minnesota 150. Over the past two decades she has developed some of MNHS’s most notable projects, including Minnesota A to Z, the inaugural exhibit for the new Minnesota History Center Museum (1992); permanent exhibits for the Mille Lacs Indian Museum in Onamia, Minnesota (1996) and for Mill City Museum in Minneapolis (2003); and Minnesota 150 (2007), a groundbreaking crowd-sourced exhibit marking the state’s sesquicentennial. Roberts and her colleagues have received multiple awards from the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. Her work plays an important role in our state’s collective history, education, and tourism, as well as provides the public with engaging and thought-provoking programs, exhibitions, and events.
Playwright, author, humorist
Osseo native and Gustavus alum Kevin Kling was officially appointed the Minneapolis Story Laureate by Mayor R.T. Rybak in 2014. His plays have been produced at regional theaters throughout the country and he has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation. A frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, he is also the author of The Dog Says How, Holiday Inn, Big Little Brother, Big Little Mother and On Stage with Kevin Kling, and Come and Get It.