Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today congratulated departing Commissioner Steve Grove and thanked him for his years of service at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Grove will depart from his position to serve as CEO & Publisher of the Star Tribune. Commissioner Grove was appointed by Governor Walz in January 2019.
“Commissioner Grove has truly exemplified what it means to be a public servant and advocate for the state of Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “He led Minnesota’s workers and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, made Minnesota’s economy one of the strongest in the country, and promoted Minnesota as a player on the global stage. Commissioner Grove has been key in growing Minnesota’s strong, vibrant, and diverse economy. Through his work with the Council on Economic Expansion, he has created a roadmap to guide the state’s work for years to come. Commissioner Grove’s leadership and expertise has left a lasting impact on our state.”
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency and its programs promote community development to facilitate an economic environment that produces jobs and improves the quality of the state’s workforce. The work is driven by overarching objectives that provide a roadmap for action and help assess progress in meeting goals for Minnesota’s workers, businesses, and all communities.
“We will greatly miss Commissioner Grove’s tenacity, leadership, and strategic vision,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “By expanding access to high-speed broadband and affordable child care and making historic investments in BIPOC-owned businesses, Commissioner Grove has built a more equitable and inclusive economy for Minnesotans across the state. He truly turned the vision of making Minnesota the best state to live, work, and raise a family – no matter your income, race, or zip code – into action. We are better off thanks to Commissioner Grove’s work, and I know he will be successful in his next role.”
As a member of the Governor’s cabinet since the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s first term began, Grove has centered DEED’s efforts around equity and has been a key leader in securing historic funding to grow Minnesota’s economy. That includes launching record-setting grant programs in broadband development and child care, creating the Launch Minnesota program, and bringing back Minnesota’s Angel Tax Credit. The son of small business owners, Grove has been a champion for small businesses in the state through the development of the $100 million State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and through crafting the Main Street Economic Revitalization Program with legislators.
“It’s been an honor to be Minnesota’s Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development for the last four years, and I’m grateful to Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan for the opportunity to serve in the best job I’ve ever had,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Minnesota’s economy is rich with a nationally renowned workforce and an entrepreneurial business community that has brought so much opportunity to our state. The people and businesses I’ve worked with in my time as Commissioner give me great confidence in the future of Minnesota. I know that under Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan’s leadership, the best days of Minnesota are ahead – and that DEED will continue to empower the growth of the Minnesota economy, for everyone.”
Grove’s most critical role in the Governor’s first term was serving as the administration’s point person on economic security during the COVID-19 pandemic, issuing over $15 billion in unemployment insurance payments to Minnesotans and delivering over $300M in emergency aid to small business through over 15 different aid programs. He also facilitated the Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion, a group of economic advisors who wrote a 10-year roadmap for the future of Minnesota’s economy.
During the last four years, DEED quadrupled the amount of dollars it drives to businesses owned by BIPOC founders through a variety of new and targeted programs, and the agency developed a goal-setting system under Grove’s leadership that drives each division to pursue stronger equity metrics in their program areas.
Grove grew up in Northfield, Minnesota, and his first job was working for his parents’ landscaping business. He holds a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in philosophy, politics, and economics from Claremont McKenna College. Along with his wife Mary, Grove co-founded a nonprofit in 2014 called Silicon North Stars, which helps youth from underserved communities in Minnesota pursue careers in technology. In 2018, the Groves moved from Silicon Valley to Minneapolis with their twins.
Grove’s last day as commissioner will be March 2, 2023. Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon will serve as temporary commissioner until a permanent successor is appointed by the Governor.