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David C. OLSON

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David C. OLSON Obituary
Age 57 Passed away peacefully surrounded by family after an 18-month fight with lymphoma. David, as president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for the past 23 years, was widely credited for the Minnesota Chamber being recognized as the state's premier business advocacy organization. He was respected across the state for his uncanny ability and art of bringing people together, for setting strategy and solving problems. His deep personal love for Minnesota carried throughout his long career where he was committed to improving the state's economy and the lives of Minnesotans. David was named president of the Minnesota Chamber in 1991 and immediately made grassroots participation central to every aspect of the Chamber's work. His insistence on listening to member concerns – and then engaging businesses of all sizes and types statewide – was evident both in the Chamber's legislative acomplish-ments and its organizational strength. He made the Minnesota Chamber a respected and formidable force at the State Capitol. The Chamber achieved many legislative accomplishments under David's leadership. In 1995, it delivered significant workers' compensation reform, resolving one of the State's most persistent and contentious problems. In 2006, it led the successful "Vote Yes" campaign that constitutionally dedicated more transportation funding. In 2008, it spearheaded significant changes in the delivery of health care to promote quality care at an affordable price and secured funding for the state's transportation system through a major funding initiative. In 2014, the Chamber successfully repealed the sales tax on business-to-business transactions so Minnesota companies can compete on a level playing field with their peers across the country. Many organizations sought out David for his expertise in advancing public policy, his leadership skills, and his ability to bring the right people together to get the job done. He was an active member of many local and national boards, including: The Minnesota State Colleges & Universities Board of Trustees (chair from 2007-10) and chair of the Chancellor Search Committee; United Way Board of Directors; Northern Star Council-Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors; National Association of Manufacturers Board; United States Chamber of Commerce Committee; Greater MSP Partner Advisory Council; co-chair of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Council; chair-elect of Council of State Manufacturers Association; Generation Next Partnership Board; President of Svenska Sallskapet; and many more. Prior to his tenure at the Minnesota Chamber, David was President of the TwinWest and Burnsville Chambers of Commerce, and held positions at the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and City of Minneapolis. He holds a MS in public administration from Mankato State University, and a BA in urban/political science from St. Olaf College in Northfield. He was especially proud of the fact that he was an Eagle Scout. Everyone David met became a friend. His humor, coupled with his passion for Minnesota, was his strength and made him an inspiration we all admired and will miss. The state of Minnesota has lost one of its greatest champions. David is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and sons Erik and Nicklas, of Golden Valley; sisters Elizabeth (Paul Erdahl) of Minneapolis, Mary Claire (John Potter) of Hudson, Wis., aunt, nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and many very close friends. Preceded in death by mother and father, Barbara and Glenn Olson. Visitation 5-8pm Sunday at Gearty-Delmore Plymouth Chapel; 15800 37th Ave. N at Vicksburg Lane. Service 1 PM Monday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to University of Minnesota Foundation, Lymphoma Research, 200 Oak St. SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis, MN 55455-2010. Gearty-Delmore 763-553-1411
Published in Pioneer Press on July 20, 2014
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