Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday tapped Matt Varilek as the next commissioner of the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Varilek is president of the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation, which provides business loans, nonprofit grants and leadership training to 14 central Minnesota counties, plus the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs bands of Ojibwe. He has led the foundation since January 2017.
Varilek starts on June 20.
"Having grown up in a lower-income household, I'm passionate about helping more people enjoy greater economic prosperity," Varilek said in a statement.
Varilek previously served as chief operating officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and regional administrator for SBA Region 8, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.
"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," Walz said in a statement.
Previous DEED Commissioner Steve Grove is now publisher of the Star Tribune. Kevin McKinnon has been serving as temporary commissioner since March.