Neal Ronquist, publisher of the Traverse City Record-Eagle in Michigan, has been named the new publisher of the Duluth News Tribune.

Ronquist, 46, a Minnesota native, will begin at the News Tribune on Jan. 19.

“The News Tribune means so much,” Ronquist said by telephone from Traverse City. “It’s the voice of the Northland; it’s the voice of northern Minnesota. What a great responsibility and a great honor to uphold the tradition of that newspaper.”

The move also marks a return to their home state for both Ronquist and his wife, Renae, he said. They have two daughters: Rachel, 13, and Reese, 10.

Ronquist grew up in Maplewood, Minn. He graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., and started his career at the St. Anthony (Minn.) Bulletin. Ronquist was promoted to ad director, publisher and group publisher roles in Austin, Albert Lea and Fergus Falls, Minn., and in North Carolina for Boone Newspapers. He later worked for Paxton Media Group as a publisher and group publisher in Arkansas and Indiana before moving to Traverse City.

He has been in Traverse City for the past two years.

Ronquist worked his way into publishing after beginning his career in the newsroom.

“I’ve always been interested in the writing side and the journalism side of the business,” he said. “I remember from an early age being interested in newspapers; everyone has a story to tell.”

He has worked in most newspaper departments at one time or another, he said.

Ronquist’s abilities and background make him a good match for the newspaper, said Matt McMillan, director of newspapers for Forum Communications Co., which owns the News Tribune.

“We had an outstanding slate of candidates apply for this important position,” McMillan said. “The management team at the News Tribune and at Forum Communications talked to the finalists and agreed Neal is a wonderful fit. He excels at building teams, setting goals and working together. That fits our culture perfectly.”

Ronquist’s father worked for Burlington Northern, and he has childhood memories of taking Amtrak to Duluth at least once, he said.

“I have fond memories of being on the North Shore and skipping rocks into Lake Superior as a youngster,” he said. “It’s just a great community. I’m eager to learn even more about it.”

Ronquist will succeed Ken Browall as publisher of the News Tribune. Ronquist also will oversee the Superior Telegram, Lake County News Chronicle, Cloquet Pine Journal and Duluth Budgeteer News.