Mary Somnis

Executive Director, Cook County/Grand Marais EDA and Creative Economy Collaborative (Grand Marais, Minnesota)

Session: Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority and Creative Economy Collaborative (Saturday, 9 – 10:15am)

Mary Somnis came to northeastern Minnesota in 1979 to work on the Gunflint Trail and the North Shore.  Following several years of hospitality and management experience, she was employed as Executive Director of the Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association. 

From 1997-2016, Mary was employed as Tourism Director for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.  Mary managed the Wild North marketing campaign, provided technical support to tourism businesses and organizations and administered the Culture and Tourism Grant Program.  This grant work provided Mary the opportunity to work with many arts and culture organizations to enhance the quality of life throughout the region.

Mary is now the Executive Director of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA).  The EDA’s mission is to diversify the economy, create employment thought retention and expansion of existing businesses and development of new businesses, support the development of housing and increase the tax base.  The EDA owns Cedar Grove Business Park and Superior National Golf Course. Top priority recently has been the development of workforce housing.   

She is a member of and provides administrative support to the Cook County Creative Economy Collaborative (CEC). The CEC’s mission is accelerating the development of Arts and Culture as a key prosperity driver contributing to the social and economic vitality of Cook County.