How can the city better position itself to become an information technology leader and a center for economic innovation?
That was the question at the core of Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire's annual State of the City address, given Thursday morning at the Eagan Community Center.
With the departure of longtime City Administrator Tom Hedges and other veteran city officials over the last year, one chapter of the city's history has closed, the mayor told a crowd of more than 100 attendees.
But the city can't rest on its laurels, Maguire added, as he urged local organizations and residents to ask "What's next?" for the city.
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Over the next 30 minutes, Maguire began addressing that question. The mayor highlighted the efforts of local tech employers, like Intertech, which has nearly doubled in size over the last three years; and MISO, .
But businesses like Thomson Reuters, the mayor added, still struggle to find qualified candidates for higher-skill technology jobs.
For Eagan's already-robust technology industry to keep growing, the city must do its best to foster a "talent economy," Maguire said.
Check out Eagan Television's video of the full address.
"The new generation looks beyond just compensation from work. They look at neighborhoods, school districts, entertainment, cultural aspects and how their lives can be enhanced beyond work," Maguire said.
Like many other metropolitan suburbs, the city is also growing older and more diverse, Maguire said. The city already has double the statewide average of Asian and East Asian residents, and new businesses catering to those communities are springing up throughout the city.
Nearly 100 languages are spoken in School District 196, the mayor added, and in the last decade, the non-white population in Dakota County grew by 92 percent.
So how does Eagan begin addressing all those changes?
"I believe we start by developing a mindset as a city government and as a community that we are not only open to change, but we will capitalize on it," Maguire said.