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What’s next for Go Minnesota?

By Staff | Apr 6, 2009

On Monday, Go Minnesota’s board of directors met for their first-ever annual meeting.

What the future holds and how to plan for it more than likely was on Monday’s meeting agenda.

It took a different tone, however, with news that Go Minnesota executive director David Piggott died suddenly on Saturday, March 28.

Bill Eckles, former board chair, called Piggott a real professional who was honest and innovative.

“He was taking us in directions we never thought of. He told us what worked elsewhere and came in with a history of success,” he says.

When Piggott took his two daughters on a trip to New York for a Christmas present, Blue Earth City Administrator Kathy Bailey didn’t realize that would be the last time she would ever see him.

Piggott’s office was located at City Hall, across from Bailey’s.

The city administrator says Piggott brought a ‘wealth of experience and knowledge’ that allowed him to step right in and get the organization off and running.

In just seven months, the non-profit, private economic development group has experienced successes:

• the number of board of directors has grown from four to eight;

• a research intern has been hired;

• a website is being designed;

• the organization’s membership is increasing;

• and a strategic plan has been developed.

There also was a personal side, Bailey says, that Piggott was really proud of.

“He was always sharing bits and pieces about his wife, daughters and family life,” says Bailey. “He wasreal excited about his trip to New York with his daughters.”

Upon his return to Minnesota, Piggott was hospitalized.

City and county officials received word of Piggott’s death Monday afternoon from City Hall by way of an e-mail.

“We regret to inform you that David Piggott, Go Minnesota executive director, has died,” the e-mail read.

Local officials were told Piggott died from liver and kidney complications.

John Rivisto, CEO of Wells Concrete, is one of the four original board of directors.

He says he expected to hear good news from Piggott on Monday regarding health issues he has been dealing with.

“I was shocked and floored,” he says.

The expansion opportunities in the county, says Rivisto, excited Piggott so much that he was willing to commute weekly from his home in Stillwater.

He says there was no doubt when Piggott was hired that he was the right person for the job.

“He was focused like a laser beam and very clear on what we needed to do, to the point that he was blunt at times,” says Rivisto. “But, he had a soft side to him as well.”

Prior to being hired in October, Piggott was executive director of Anoka County Partners — a private company promoting economic development.

In all, he spent 22 years working on business ventures and expansion in Minnesota, Virginia and Wisconsin.

At the top of Piggott’s ‘to-do list’ when hired was changing the group’s name of Faribault County Regional Development Corporation.

“It’s too long and confusing,” Piggott would say on the need for a new name. “The city of Blue Earth is in Faribault County, not Blue Earth County. And, the city of Faribault is in Rice County, not Faribault County.”

Consequently, Go Minn-esota was created.

“He (Piggott) came up with that idea. For us to be a marketing-driven organization and take advantage of things that fit in well with what we already have,” says Eckles.

Go Minnesota will begin advertising for a new director.

Eckles says the board will work with research intern Linsey Warmka during the transition.

“We’ll just have to pick up the pieces and move forward,” Eckles adds.

Rivisto says whomever is hired will need to be supportive of the ‘strategic plan’ Piggott put together.

In coming weeks, Eckles says the board of directors will meet with city and county EDA officials to discuss what their next move will be.