Month: May 2015

Rochester Ranked Best Midsize City for Women in the Workforce

Women in Business

The home of Mayo Clinic and Destination Medical Center recently received top honors as the country’s best midsize city for women in the workforce, as ranked by consumer financial website NerdWallet.

“A strong employment picture paired with Rochester’s affordability — the lowest percent of women’s earnings are spent on rent for midsize cities on our list — makes the city an attractive place for women,” NerdWallet reports.

Nationally, women earn about 78 cents for every $1 a man makes when working in the same position, according to the site. But not so, here in Minnesota. Not only did Rochester come out on top for best midsize city, Minneapolis ranked No. 2 among large cities, coming in behind Durham, North Carolina.

In 2013, the jobless rate for women [in Rochester] was 3.7% or 0.3% below male unemployment.
— analysis of U.S. Census data

Elements common to both large and midsize cities where women thrive in the workforce include having a large health care employment sector and geography. The Midwest is best for working women, NerdWallet reported.

Live Blog — City to Move Ahead with Chateau Purchase

Updates and repairs needed to convert the Chateau Theatre into civic use are unlikely to cost any more than they would for a similar, contemporary building anywhere in Rochester or Minnesota, according to a recent report from building inspectors and consultants working with the City of Rochester.

An image taken through a fountain outside the theater's main entrance on Peace Plaza

Necessary repairs are “typical for a building of its size and much less than could be expected for a building of its age,” said Randy Staver, president of the Rochester City Council.

With the purchase approved and minds set at ease over necessary repairs, it’s time for the city to begin developing a viable and engaging business plan for the Chateau that maximizes the use and enjoyment of the Chateau.

We want to make sure that we’re taking care of things right out of the gate.
— Randy Staver, president, Rochester City Council

Part of that planning includes the type and origin of artists and performers who will be invited to the theatre. According to Staver, and with the reinforcement of the DMC Corporation Board, the city plans to work with Tom Hoch, president and CEO of the Hennepin Theatre Trust, to evaluate programming options and discuss the Chateau’s future as a publicly owned entity.

Next steps for the city is to make a formal offer to the Chateau’s current owners, Staver said.

Live Blog — EDA Director’s Report

Lisa Clarke, executive director of DMC’s Economic Development Agency offered eight points in her monthly update to the DMC Corporation Board of Directors, in addition to discussion around how to survey and understand the patient experience from the patient’s perspective.

  1. Creating a formal process for developers to approach and work with both DMC and the City of Rochester. This initiative is currently in the planning process, in partnership with the city, and the team has drafted a universal application process that developers can use  when interfacing with Rochester and the Economic Development Agency will share.
  2. Development of a formal monthly report for the DMC Corporation Board of Directors and the public. Report would include an executive summary and will help board members and the public better understand day-to-day operations and current initiatives of the Economic Development Agency.
  3. Refining a digital informational package about the community and DMC that will help developers, investors, and the public understand what is DMC and why it’s important.
  4. A new Transportation Working Group held its first meeting this month to bring all affected parties together. “This is going to be an underpinning of everything that we do,” Clarke said. IBM has expressed interest in helping to study transportation into and throughout Rochester and the state with the company’s big-data interpretation and analytics unit.
  5. Communications update: Finished with a focus on crafting and discussing the DMC Development Plan and now moving toward keeping people informed about DMC and why the effort is so important. Website redesign is underway in two areas: more user-friendly, and developing a portal for investors and developers to get the information they need from anywhere in the world.
  6. Community Engagement: “Partnerships are critical, Clarke said. “Just because the plan is approved, doesn’t mean we’re going to stop asking for community input.” The EDA is currently soliciting input from neighborhood groups, faith-based groups, social service organizations, arts and culture groups, energy partnerships, affordable housing and Rochester-area Foundation, and others.
  7. Airport: “That’s a very important group to Rochester,” Clarke said. A group of regional businesses already has organized around the airport to support and bolster use of Rochester International Airport.
  8. Workforce Development: Elevating opportunities and satisfaction for employees across several industries throughout Rochester.

Live Blog — EDA Director: Discovery Square Study Due Feb. 2016

A feasibility study of the proposed biobusiness hub Discovery Square is expected in February of 2016, according to Economic Development Agency Director and Mayo Clinic Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Bolton.

The study, which is being funded by Mayo Clinic, will evaluate the extent to which Mayo Clinic and DMC might attract investment and entrepreneurs to Rochester, in addition to potential developer revenue streams and other types of industries that might be interested.

“We’re hoping this serves as a hotbed of innovation that pushes us toward new modes of development,” Bolton said.

Discovery → translation → commercialization

Mayo Clinic has put an institutional focus on converting research into better healthcare products and possible new revenue streams, Bolton said. And, the institution has opted to pursue and fund Discovery Square as a way to support not only its own financial future but the future of Rochester and Minnesota.

“It’s very important that we pursue a more diverse economic base” in Rochester, Bolton said.

Live Blog — Optum Labs in Rochester?

DMC Corporation Board Member Bill George reported he has been agitating on the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees for Optum Labs to move into the proposed Discovery Square biobusiness hub in downtown Rochester.

DiscoverySquareDiscovery Square represents one of three key priorities of the DMC Corporation Board of Directors for 2015, and Mayo Clinic has taken the lead in developing this visionary space to attract international business and entrepreneurship in the medical sciences and technologies.

Mayo Clinic is currently funding a feasibility study for construction and development of Discovery Square through Minneapolis-based development firm Hammes Company.

Optum Labs launched in 2013 as a partnership between Mayo Clinic and Optum to merge clinical data with insurance/payer data to evaluate ways to bring greater efficiencies and improvements in patient care, while simultaneously decreasing costs.

Optum Labs is currently housed in Cambridge … If Discovery Square were up and running, I think Rochester would have been much more competitive in attracting that business, and we still have the opportunity to bring them here
— Bill George, DMC Corporation Board member


Sustainable Energy Grant on Tap from McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation is offering a grant for DMC to study and develop a “groundbreaking” sustainable energy program and policies for the DMC District and Rochester, as a whole, DMC Corporation Board Member R.T. Rybak reported this morning.

The board unanimously supported Rybak’s motion to pursue the offer from the McKnight Foundation, which currently consists of an emailed proposal. The foundation would have to formally approve the grant before work could begin on studies and suggestions, and no dollar amounts were discussed, but the proposal, as Rybak characterized it, “amounts to free help from very talented experts.”

Studies and proposals would include DMC, The City of Rochester, Rochester Public Utilities, and public workshops, the board reported.

“This could be a very exciting project,” Rybak said.

Live Blog — Lt. Gov. Tina Smith Pushes Heart of the City

DMC Corporation Board Chairwoman Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, with support of the attending members, suggested devoting an entire meeting to discussing and refining direction for the proposed “Heart of the City” sub-district surrounding Mayo Clinic and Peace Plaza.

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede said he supports the initiative and looks forward to connecting Mayo Clinic, the Chateau Theatre, and Peace Plaza.

“Chateau Theatre has captured many of our hearts in the Heart of the City, but there are many more things to consider,” Brede said. “How does it all blend together with the Peace Plaza and the Heart of the City?”

Board member Bill George put things a bit more directly:

This is the thing that’s going to connect Mayo to the city, itself … We’ve been at this for a year-and-a-half, 2 years. And I think it’s important for the citizens of Rochester to see something in place … that’s a mark that means people understand ‘Ah, now I understand what they mean by Destination Medical Center.’
— Bill George, member, DMC Corporation Board of Directors

Board member R.T. Rybak urged the board and its Economic Development Agency to put as much of the public space as possible into public ownership.

“Much more of the places we gather is becoming privatized, and I think there’s a real opportunity to bring as much as possible truly into the public realm,” Rybak said. “The public should own, both in a real and a figurative sense … areas that are in the public space.”

Live Stream from DMC Corp Board Meeting

Today’s regular May meeting of the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board of Directors’ is now underway. Here’s a link to watch online through DMC’s Ustream Channel:

More videos are available from DMC’s live streaming channel on Ustream.

Live Blogging from DMCC Board Meeting Tomorrow Morning

We’ll be blogging live Thursday morning from the Destination Medical Center Corporation Board of Directors’ regularly scheduled May meeting. Here’s all the attendance and agenda info…

Attendance info

When: 9:30 a.m. – noon on Thursday, May 28

Attend in person:
Mayo Civic Center, McDonnell Meeting Room
30 Civic Center Drive SE
Rochester, MN 55904

Follow online:


  1. Call to order
  2. Roll Call
  3. Approval of agenda
  4. Approval of Minutes: April 23, 2015 and April 30, 2015
  5. Public comment period
  6. Chair’s report
  7. DMCC 2015 Budget: Year to Date Update
  8. Economic Development Agency
    1. Update
  9. City of Rochester
    1. Update
  10. Meeting Schedule
    1. Next Regular Meeting: Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.