ST. PAUL (AP) -- Administration Commissioner David Fisher was vice president for a multinational corporation when Gov. Jesse Ventura put out the call for private sector people to help him run state government.
"After more than 15 years in the corporate world doing legal work, I wanted to be more of a general manager," said Fisher, whose job it is to keep things together with half the state work force on strike.
Even before the strike, Fisher said, his standard response to people who wanted to know why he chose government was that "it's three times the fun at one-third the pay."
Fisher was born in La Crosse, Wis., to a father who was a grain trader and a mother who was a part-time teacher. The family moved around the Midwest for a while. As a child living in Duluth for a few years, Fisher remembers having as a playmate Mike Hatch, who is now the state attorney general.
He ended up graduating from Edina High School, attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and was valedictorian of his law school class at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.
Fisher, 52, worked for Pillsbury for 15 years and helped establish a food production business in Russia. Before he was appointed by Ventura, Fisher was vice president and general counsel for ADC Telecommunications, a $3 billion manufacturer and distributor of telecommunications equipment. At ADC, among other duties, he oversaw international joint ventures.
A proponent of improving technology in state government, Fisher said some of the strike's impact on citizens has been reduced by the expanding ability to do business with the state online.
On Oct. 1, the first day of the strike, the number of hits on the state government's North Star Web page soared to 1 million from a normal average of about 690,000 per day.
All the planning, he said, "does not mean that we are here to break a strike. We're here to maintain priority functions."
Fisher is the father of two grown children and lives in south Minneapolis with his wife, Barbara. He enjoys in-line skating, working out, photography and spending time at his cabin near Brainerd.
On the Net:
State of Minnesota North Star site: http://www.state.mn.us
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