Ruthe Batulis, long-time leader of the Dakota County Regional (DCR) Chamber of Commerce, is resigning from that position effective April 1, the organization announced Wednesday.
Batulis is leaving to take up a role in civic-engagement efforts in Spooner, Wis.
The DCR Chamber, which represents businesses in Rosemount as well as Eagan and smaller cities throughout Dakota County, hailed Batulis in a news release for fostering "a culture of innovation, advocacy and relationship building" during her eight-year tenure.
Batulis came to the DCR Chamber after working 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 bold re-branding campaign that included a name change for the organization. According to the news release, her new regional focus allowed the organization to think differently about its approach to Chamber membership. Batulis implemented the innovative 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.
The news release cited Batulis' leadership on such issues as the defeat of a proposed Eagan city charter and a restrictive sign ordinance.
"Batulis also initiated an information campaign against unionization for family home day 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 next month.
“Ruthe has long been an advocate for healthy workplace initiatives,” Engdahl said. “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.
A search committee has been formed to identify her replacement.