20 Under 40: Arik Forsman

Arik Forsman.JPG
Arik Forsman (Tyler Schank /

Arik Forsman, 32, Duluth

What do you do? (job, community involvement)

Day job: I help lead Minnesota Power’s business retention, expansion and recruitment efforts across northeastern and central Minnesota.

Night job: I serve as an at large member of the Duluth City Council, as well as on the boards of the Northspan Group, Community Action Duluth, Greater Downtown Council, 1200 Fund, Laurentian Chamber of Commerce and various other committees and task forces.

How do you spend your free time?

Our family loves taking family hikes on the Superior Hiking Trail, playing in our yard, and loading up in the van after dinner for ice cream.


I’m also quietly a big fantasy football nerd and have run a league with my high school and college friends for 14 years. I haven’t won the title in nine years, but it’s a fun way to stay in touch with the type of lifelong friends who will go out of their way to keep a guy humble.

Tell us about an influential person in your life.

I’ve been really blessed to have supportive mentors, role models and family in my life. My work ethic and drive come from my mom and dad, who have always pushed me. I’ve also worked for seven bosses in my career, including six amazing women.

One of those women is Nancy Norr. She is an incredibly community-minded leader who has pushed me to further my personal growth and development. Her mentorship, compassion and encouragement have been deeply impactful for me over the past five years. Even when I told her I was thinking about applying to serve on the City Council, an idea that may send other bosses running in the other direction, she took a deep breath and was fully supportive.

Nancy is known nationally in her profession of economic development as a leader who has mastered her craft. I feel lucky to get to learn from someone who expects the best of herself every day and has taught me invaluable lessons about building relationships, trust, and making an impact in my own career.

Where is your favorite place in Duluth/Superior?

This is like being asked to pick which child is your favorite. An impossible choice. But if forced to choose, going to Amsoil Arena for a hockey game with my family is at the top of my list. My wife, Jessica, and I went to University of Minnesota Duluth games together in college when we were dating and now we love sharing the experience with our two young kids. We are such diehards that we road-tripped as a family to Buffalo, New York, to watch them win the national championship in 2019. Go Bulldogs!

What have you learned in your time spent at home during the pandemic?


How much my dog actually sleeps during the day, how privileged I am to have a career that allows me to temporarily work from home, and that sometimes it’s OK to slow down a little. In “normal” times, I’m usually at full throttle and attending many events and meetings throughout the week (both before and after working hours).

The pandemic has definitely forced a slower pace that has allowed for more family time and "quiet" moments with my kids. But COVID-19 has also deeply exposed cracks in our systems that show how much our society depends on essential workers, many of whom struggle to make ends meet and who don’t have the luxury of working from home through a high-speed broadband connection.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to make our economy more equitable and durable as we move into a post-pandemic world (hopefully sooner than later). As a city, we must continue to work on issues like child care, housing, and growing more good-paying jobs to set our current and future families up for success. Duluth has so much potential, and I’m excited to be a small part of our city’s present and future along with these other talented 20 Under 40 leaders in our community.

Arik Forsman.JPG
Arik Forsman (Tyler Schank / free

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