Don Ness Plans to Open his Own Business

After eight years, Duluth Mayor Don Ness will step out of the spotlight and into a more entrepreneurial role. 

Mayor Don Ness will go from running the city of Duluth to running his own business. 

“We’ve come to this decision to start our own small business called Hillside Ventures,” said Ness. 

The business is a partnership with Ness, his wife Laura, and Tunheim, a premier professional services firm based in Minneapolis. 

The goal.. to reach out, mentor and support the next generation of community-minded leaders. 

“Hillside Venture will focus on entrepreneurial projects and partnerships with the primary focus on business and economic development, executive strategies, and organizational development and public affairs messaging,” said Ness. 

The new journey will allow the Ness family to stay in the city they love. 

“This is our home. We want to continue to be a part of this community and look at opportunities here in Duluth,” said Ness. 

And spend more time as a family. 

“I think the kids are looking forward to seeing more of Donnie.  James is like so when I get off the bus dad might be there?? Yeah, they’re trying to wrap their minds around the changes too,” said Laura Ness, Don’s wife. 

Ness’ leadership shined during the 2012 flood recovery. He was instrumental in shutting down the Last Place on Earth and boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S., along with the lowest unemployment rate Duluth has seen in more than a decade. 

“It has been a wonderful experience and this community has been so generous to our family and I’m really proud of the city of Duluth,” said Ness. 

Ness’ next adventure will start January 5, the day after his last day in office. 

Ness says he will spend a majority of the first three months of the year in the cities working Tunheim. 

Mayor-Elect Emily Larson will be sworn in as Duluth’s new Mayor on January 4. 

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