Dr. Barrett Haga

ACE Committee

Senior Engagement Administrator

U.S. Department of Commerce

Economic Development Administration (EDA)


Dr. Haga is currently the Senior Administrator for Economic Engagement and Executive Secretary for Skills where he is responsible for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) – U.S. Department of Commerce international portfolio and major thought leadership. As a member of EDA’s senior staff, he is also the Department of Commerce’s lead for workforce development and skills across all twelve bureaus of the Department. As the “Chief Geek” of EDA, he inspires communities to think differently in the new economy to increase the prospect of advancing commerce and trade between economies and accelerate business opportunities to create jobs.

Prior to this, he was the Senior Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist. As a senior member of the division, he assisted in coordinating two major offices (the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Office of the Executive Secretariat). Before joining EDA, he worked at the U.S. Department of Labor advising senior leadership on economic development, workforce, competency modeling, and outreach projects relating to healthcare, alternative energy, and manufacturing. His other employment experience includes working for the Florida Community College System, the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Education, the United States Senate, and the United States House of Representatives. Dr. Haga holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development; a M.P.A. in Public Administration and Policy from the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University; and a double B.A. in Political Science and Greek and Roman Studies from Rhodes College.

Areas of interest:

My main current interests are supporting entrepreneurship efforts and advancing gender equality in the region through programs financed by the U.S. Government.

Nicole Griensewic

Executive Director

Region Nine Development Commission in Minnesota


Griensewic has served as Executive Director of Region Nine Development Commission since 2012. As executive director, Griensewic has made it a priority to foster collaboration and engagement by sharing Region Nine’s story both regionally and globally. Griensewic is an active board and committee member for multiple organizations throughout Minnesota. Griensewic is the immediate past President of the Greater Minnesota Partnership, and is the first female to chair the Executive Committee for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies, where she served as chair of the Governance Committee. Griensewic also served as secretary of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota’s Governing Board of Directors and chaired the Governance Committee and currently serves as an advisory board member for South Central College’s Center for Agriculture. She serves on the executive committee for the MACS Board, Minnesotans for the American Community Survey Board of Directors and represents the Midwest on the National Assoc. of Development Orgs.’s (NADO) Board of Directors.

Griensewic is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and has completed course work through Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Executive Education. She received the 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Her professional background includes extensive private sector and non-profit leadership experience.