David Olson: A Gentleman and a Tireless Advocate for Business
I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Minnesota Chamber of Commerce president David Olson. After undergoing several rounds of aggressive treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, David had been given a clean bill of health from his doctors. If it wasn’t for his hair loss related to these treatments I never would have known he was sick because he never stopped working. He shouted out a spirited personal greeting to me at a recent Chamber-sponsored event. He looked energetic and his hair was all back. I came to the belief that he was indestructible and that we would be working together for years to come. That is why his passing is such a shock.
To me, David was the face of the Minnesota Chamber. David seemed to be everywhere and doing so much. So much so that I believed that it was he alone who started the organization, which of course is not true because the Chamber is filled with many talented and dedicated individuals working hard to represent the interests of businesses in the State of Minnesota.
What people outside of the business community may not understand about the Minnesota Chamber is that its mission is really to improve the quality of life for all residents of the state. Their efforts to improve education, transportation, immigration and many other issues are being done so businesses can succeed first, and then provide jobs and pay taxes. Excessive taxes or other government initiatives that stymie growth are what the Chamber targets. They work hard and always in a professional bi-partisan way get their point across. While personally working through some of these concerns through the Chamber, it quickly became apparent to me that everyone who came in contact with David respected him and knew he was a man of honor.
This blog post is dedicated to the memory of David Olson – a great man taken too soon.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.