The Evolving Duluth: Breaking the Stereotype

Jonathan Ballmer
Project Manager
Kraus-Anderson Construction Company

Approximately one year ago I received a job opportunity which allowed my family to move to Duluth from the Twin Cities.  As I excitedly shared my news with people, half of them said, “Do you know they don’t have summer there?” and the other half said, “That is awesome!  I love Duluth!”  Out of that second half, roughly half of those people then followed up with, “I would love to live in Duluth, but there aren’t any jobs.”  

I thought to myself, “Do these people really believe this?”  I understand the history of Duluth in the early 1980’s.  On the other hand, I am telling them that I just got a job in Duluth, we were just starting to come out of a recession, and I work in the construction industry.  So as I made my way North up Interstate 35, I began to focus on understanding the identity of Duluth.

Through my time here, I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people throughout the community.  I found an underlying theme in the culture of Duluth; its people are passionate, engaged, and active.  As I look at the City, I see how these values have translated in the form of investment and/or re-investment by many businesses here over the last 5 – 10 years.  As the modern workplace continues to evolve, these values will only help to enhance the appeal of Duluth as people look to establish or grow their organizations.

I now view it as my responsibility to help educate people on the opportunities and possibilities that exist here.  Duluth is not just a great city to visit; it is a great place to live. 


Finding Ways to Advance Your Career

Kristine Jensen
Executive Administrative Assistant

As a woman that has a family, full-time career, and as new grad student at St. Scholastica, I can tell you first hand that my life is busy! I know that there are many people out there that are looking to move forward in your careers and it might not seem like it, but there are many options right here in Duluth.

I made the decision to go back to school because I knew that I could do more and BE more. I realized that, I am the only one that can make the difference in my life, and I decided to do something about it. Having a family, juggling extracurriculars, school and a social life is not going to be easy over the next two years, but the best part is that I can already notice the workings of my brain being retrained and getting back into the mode of writing papers and adhering to deadlines. Not to mention I have already seen my family taking on more responsibility; which is another great perk!  The point is that you need to put yourself out there in order to reap any reward. Without taking even the minimal risk of stepping outside of your comfort zone, how can one ever excel?

One outlet that can be used to enhance your abilities is the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. An opportunity that I personally grew from was the, “Social Media Conference,” that I attended in 2012, held by the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. It gave me expertise in digital networking, social media and a variety of technological ideals. 

Another organization related to the chamber, working to offer young, motivated individuals the opportunity to network and acquire knowledge is the Fuse program. An upcoming opportunity that I feel can be even more rewarding for thriving adults is the, “YPRO to CEO Conference,” on September 25. With such an encouraging atmosphere, engaging speakers and content, I have no doubt that anyone who attends will walk away inspired. 

Going back to school is great, but requires a lot of money and time. Why not be open to new opportunities and check out a Fuse at Five, get on linkedin and join some local business groups that interest you, or visit a Words from the Wise Luncheon, offered by Fuse (this one looks good titled, "Road map to being your own boss!")

I am so excited to be a part of Fuse as it is a new opportunity for me and I look forward to networking with individuals, sharing my story, and being inspired by all of you.