Duluth mayor Don Ness held a New Year's Day news conference to talk about his future. The two-term mayor is leaving office, but he plans to use some of the experience he gained while leading the northern Minnesota port city in his next venture.
Ness chose not to seek a third term last November, so he is stepping aside as Mayor-elect Emily Larson takes over Monday.
He tells the Duluth News Tribune that he plans to start a new business called Hillside Ventures where he will offer his experience to assist clients with economic development.
"The idea, in a nutshell, is that I'm going to start my own business and will be looking to take on projects. I'm interested in the entrepreneurial mindset and approach and being open to opportunities as they arise," Ness told the newspaper Friday.
In addition, he's agreed to a strategic partnership with the well-known, Bloomington-based public relations firm, Tunheim. While Ness will be based in Duluth and hopes to do most of his work there, he told the News Tribune that he's excited about the prospect of getting involved in the Twin Cities.
During his eight years on the job, Ness led Duluth through many different challenges. The city faced bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009 and dealt with massive flooding in the summer of 2012.
But, according to WDIO, Ness remained optimistic about Duluth's future. A major proponent of the outdoors, he helped the city gain national attention as "America's Best Outdoor Town." Additionally he's overseen business investments and growth in the city's aviation sector.
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Ness expressed some mixed feelings about his transition. On his Facebook page, the mayor admitted that Thursday – his last full day in office – was the toughest.
He also expressed his gratitude to his co-workers.
"There are such amazing people who work for our city and I'm going to miss being part of this team," Ness wrote.
He planned to pack and prepare to leave office over the weekend. The official transfer takes place at noon on Monday.