Gov. Doug Burgum appointed Shawn Kessel as interim Commerce Commissioner on Oct. 1, 2018.
Kessel joined the North Dakota Department of Commerce as deputy commissioner on June 11, 2018. He had served as Dickinson’s city administrator since January 2009, and prior to that he spent nine years as city administrator in Wahpeton.
In Dickinson, Kessel provided leadership through the largest expansion in the city’s history. During his tenure, Dickinson’s population grew from around 16,000 people to more than 23,000. The city also completed numerous infrastructure projects totaling more than $250 million and formed a new department focused on community development. Dickinson was named Best Small Town in the United States in 2013 by Livability.com. Wahpeton also received City of the Year honors from the North Dakota League of Cities during Kessel’s tenure.
Kessel earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Moorhead (Minn.) State University in 1991 and a master of business administration degree in 2004 from the University of Mary. His private-sector experience includes co-owning a residential property management firm and owning a spa/salon. He also taught business ethics as an adjunct faculty member at Dickinson State University.
Kessel is past president of the Western Dakota Energy Association, North Dakota League of Cities and North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund.