Shawn Kessel, Deputy Commissioner, North Dakota Department of Commerce

Shawn Kessel is an executive  professional, has served as adjunct faculty and is a small business owner who currently serves as Deputy Commissioner at the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

His focus at Commerce is on the Main Street Initiative, finance and internal operations, legislation/policy, community building & economic development. 

Prior to his recent appointment, Shawn brings almost 20 years of experience working at the municipal level of government. He spent nine years in Wahpeton, ND and almost ten years in his hometown of Dickinson, ND as City Administrator. These experiences provide an excellent background in leading Governor Burgum’s Main Street Initiative.

During his tenure in Wahpeton, the city was named the 2003 NDLC “City of the Year”. During his tenure in Dickinson, a city with a $100 million annual budget, the city was named Livability.com 2013 “Best Small Town” and in 2017 Money Magazine’s “6th Best City in America”. According to the US Census Bureau, Dickinson was the 4th fastest growing micropolitan in the US in 2011, 3rd fastest in 2012 and 2nd fastest in 2013 & 2014. These years spent at the municipal level have allowed him insight into city planning, infrastructure development and construction, financing, development of best practices and the value of a great team.

He currently sits on numerous statewide boards and was the Board President for the ND League of Cities and ND Insurance Reserve Fund. 

He has a BSW from Minnesota State University – Moorhead, and he holds an MBA from the University of Mary.