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David Abazs named Northeast RSDP Executive Director

Media Contact: Kathryn Draeger, Statewide Director, Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, draeg001@umn.edu, 612-625-3148.

David Abazs named new Executive Director of Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

David Abazs

DULUTH, Minn. (12/10/2018)—David Abazs has been named the new Executive Director of the Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership. The position provides leadership to a regional Board of Directors that builds community-University connections and supports sustainability projects across Northeast Minnesota.

“We are delighted to have David join our team,” said Doug Franchot, Northeast RSDP community board chair. “He is deeply knowledgeable and committed to creating effective and sustainable solutions in our region. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and as a group we are excited about his leadership. The Northeast Regional Partnership has an impressive record of success over 20 years, and we are confident that will continue and even expand under David’s lead.”

David Abazs standing in front of a projection screen

Abazs is a well-known figure in the region and a long-time partner and former board member of the Northeast RSDP. He is a former University of Minnesota Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems through the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA). As Endowed Chair, Abazs partnered with farmers and University of Minnesota faculty to research foodshed modeling efforts and food systems capacity in northeastern Minnesota. Abazs conducted the Western Lake Superior Food Study in collaboration with researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth, investigating the food-carrying capacity in northeastern Minnesota.

Abazs’ extensive community engagement includes serving as an elected official in the township of Crystal Bay (community of Finland, MN) for 20 years, working with the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District as a water plan coordinator, and starting the organic farm at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center. Abazs has also recently served as the Northeast Coordinator of the RSDP’s energy programming through the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs).

Abazs and his family have lived and worked in the region for more than 30 years and own and operate Round River Farm in Finland.

“We are thrilled to have David Abazs bring his extensive experience to our Northeast Region,” said RSDP Statewide Director Kathryn Draeger. “David brings in-depth community experience, academic research and stakeholder engagement to the work of the Northeast RSDP.”

Abazs can be reached at dwabazs@umn.edu, 218-726-6146 (office) or 218-940-2196 (cell).

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