Matt Varilek to become DEED Commissioner

Varilek Tapped to Lead Minnesota DEED

LITTLE FALLS, MN—Kim Ellingson, chair of the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees, praised the appointment today of President Matt Varilek as commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

“Matt has been a tremendous friend, leader and organizational culture-builder for the Initiative Foundation,” Ellingson said. “While his transition will be bittersweet, we’re in full support of his appointment as DEED commissioner. His steady and inclusive leadership style, and his experience and focused work on small business, workforce development, childcare and more will translate perfectly to an agency that influences economic development in every corner of Minnesota.”

Said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz: “From strengthening the economy and communities of Greater Minnesota to advocating for small businesses on the federal level, Matt Varilek brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role driving our state’s economy forward. I look forward to working with him to grow Minnesota’s strong, vibrant, and diverse economy and support our workers and businesses.”

Varilek was named Initiative Foundation president in 2016. Prior to joining the Initiative Foundation, he served as chief operating officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. His transition to the DEED commissioner role will occur on June 20.

As part of its succession planning, the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees anticipates naming an interim president and will undertake a professionally supported search for Varilek’s successor. Details about the search will follow in the weeks ahead.

“The Initiative Foundation has never been stronger,” Ellingson said. “Our board and staff are fully committed to serving the region without interruption during this time of transition.”