Outgoing President is unique in his industry.
Not only was Lindgren born and raised in Richfield, but he’s also spent nearly 20 years at the helm of its chamber—something that he says is uncommon among other chamber executives who usually work their way up to larger organizations.
However, now Lindgren is counting the days until his Aug. 1 retirement, .
“It’s time for a new person,” Lindgren told Patch. “Twenty years is a long time to run a chamber. … [But], there was never a dull moment.”
In the chamber’s 57-year history, Lindgren is just the sixth president.
“I say the next person is lucky No. 7,” Lindgren joked.
While it’s time to hand the reigns over, Lindgren said he’ll miss the daily interaction with the developers, investors and entreprenuers who are working to expand their businesses and build a future Richfield.
“The thing that gets me the most excited for Richfield’s future is the redevelopment that’s going on now,” Lindgren said. “You can do all the planning, you can do all the preparation and all the promotion, but there really is some luck involved in catching the wave. The community needs to be prepared for seizing that opportunity. .., I think Richfield has done a really good job with that.”
“I’ve been through two redevelopments of 66th and Lyndale—that’s how old I am,” Lindgren joked again.
He also said some scars remain from past redevelopment efforts, namely Kmart—which is being redeveloped again as we speak—and the construction of Best Buy headquarters.
"We've had some phenomenal redevelopment. The Best Buy corporate campus is a good example, but it nearly tore the town apart," Lindgren said. "However, I think now, even its harshest critics would say some good came of it, even though the company is facing some tough times."
Chamber Board Member , president of , said he’s happy for Lindgren, but the transition will be tough.
“[Retirement] will be good for Steve,” Brekken said. “But speaking from the business community, he will be very missed. He’s done a lot in 19 years for this community.”
, owner of , echoed Brekken’s sentiments and said: “You certainly get used to having someone around like Steve who runs the show—and sometimes you take it for granted.”
While Lindgren won’t be “running the show” anymore, he said he has no plans to leave Richfield. He also said he plans to remain active as treasurer for the Richfield Spartan Foundation, a nonprofit for youth sports organization that he has been involved with since its inception 23 years ago.
As far as fond memories go, Lindgren said seeing a second generation of business owners come through was exciting. Citing , Morris Nilsen Funeral Home and , Lindgren said: “These are good examples of hard working people, who have made a life for themselves but are now looking to pass that opportunity on.”
The board has yet to find Lindgren’s replacement, however, it’s Bornholdt and Brekken’s hope that one can be named by the chamber’s annual fall gala, which is Oct. 5 this year.
Applications for Lindgren’s position are still being accepted by the board and can be sent via e-mail to Bornholdt at firstname.lastname@example.org.