Dakota County Chamber President Ruthe Batulis to resign in April

The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced today that longtime president, Ruthe Batulis, will resign from her position effective April 1, 2013, after serving eight years in that position.

Batulis came to the DCR Chamber after gaining experience at both the Bloomington and Burnsville chambers of commerce. In 2005, the then Northern Dakota County Chamber expanded to include the former Farmington Area Chamber of Commerce, after which Batulis implemented a  re-branding campaign that included a name change for the organization.

A press release from the chamber said her new regional focus allowed the organization to think differently about its approach to chamber membership. Batulis implemented the dues program, Bundle Up, which provides members a customized approach to their membership investment.

“Ruthe is a visionary who brings energy and passion to any issue she tackles,” said Michele Engdahl, DCR board chair and Thomson Reuters employee. “I believe her legacy will be her commitment to making the business community in Dakota County prepared to compete in the global economy – all while feeling connected right here at home.”

The DCR Chamber was the first chamber to write a policy on broadband, and Batulis has continued to promote the business case for broadband for small business. She is a charter member of the Technology Working Group, an Eagan-based technology task force.

Under her leadership, the DCR Chamber and its members have scored numerous wins in support of area businesses, including defeat of a proposed Eagan city charter, a restrictive sign ordinance, and various permitting issues. Batulis also initiated an information campaign against unionization for family home child care providers, spurring action around the state and defeat of the measure. Recently, Batulis organized business input regarding Sales and Use Tax audits which have provided challenges in the business community.

In response to the education achievement gap in Minnesota, Batulis organized a successful bus tour of large employers for teachers, principals, and superintendents representing six Dakota County school districts. This led to the formation of the Business and Education Leadership Roundtable, which brings together thought leaders and innovators from business and education. The Roundtable’s findings will be published in February.

As a chamber president, Batulis has provided mentorships and internships for more than 25 students. Each student experienced business first hand, shadowed employees and participated in organizational operations. One intern has started her own business, another has been hired by a chamber member, and all have benefited from the business experience as they make career decisions.

“Ruthe has long been an advocate for healthy workplace initiatives,” said Engdahl. “She has offered innovative programming to members so they could leverage her successes to create a healthier workplace in their businesses. Ruthe purchased a recumbent bike to have onsite for staff to use for exercise during the winter months, and she was the first person I ever saw using a stability ball for a chair at her desk.”

Batulis is currently a member of the Eagan Rotary, the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board, the Business Services Committee, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce board of directors where she is the chair of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Executives. She has served on numerous statewide and regional boards.

A search committee has been formed to identify her replacement.