Each year, the Best Minnesota Town Panel consists of notable Minnesotans that 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.
President, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Douglas Loon is President of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, a position he has held since September 8, 2015. The Minnesota Chamber represents more than 2,300 Minnesota companies, 130 local chambers and 65 business trade associations at the Minnesota Legislature on a variety of issues that impact Minnesota’s economy.
Prior to assuming leadership of the Minnesota Chamber, he spent 20 years at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 17 of those in Minnesota. As the vice president for regional affairs and advocacy, he managed the seven regional offices that provide political and grassroots outreach across the nation. He also managed the U.S. Chamber’s Midwest Region that includes Minnesota. He was intimately involved in supporting state and local chambers and businesses to move public policy in a direction that helps them be successful.
Informed Engagement Network
Rick operates the Informed Engagement Network – a strategic communications & marketing group with offices in Minneapolis & Washington, DC.
The former Emmy winning news anchor & investigative reporter who’s been recognized with “Best of Show” at the New York International Film Festival… now applies the journalistic skills of investigation, analysis and storytelling to major brands. He helps clients build solid strategies to leverage digital & social media in innovative ways – for business growth & retention.
i.e. network deploys teams of journalists & digital strategists on critical business issues for some of the largest companies in this state and in the healthcare and telecommunications sectors more broadly.
In the last ten years he’s founded and helped grow several early stage startups, including BringMeTheNews, an innovative digital & broadcast hybrid which he sold to the Pohlad Group in the Summer of 2015.
Kupchella is a public speaker on Digital Transformation… and the impact of changing media and technology on marketing, communications and business more broadly. He’s hired by major corporations and industry trade groups to help design & facilitate global & national meetings. He’s also hosted several public & private political forums, including gubernatorial debates, in recent years.
Kupchella is the former Chairman of Smile Network International, former President of the MN Society of Professional Journalists & currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy in Minnesota & the Dakotas.
Senior Exhibitor Developer, Minnesota Historical SocietyKate 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.