Craig Dawson has a 32-year career in city management in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He held a variety of assistant positions in the cities of Saint Louis Park, Eden Prairie, and Maplewood before going on to manage cities in the South Lake Minnetonka area over an 11-year period. He began as city manager in Excelsior in 1997, where he served through 2000 before joining the neighboring city of Shorewood to serve as its city administrator from 2001 through 2008. He has since served as interim city administrator in the cities of Lake Elmo and Lake St. Croix Beach. Craig began in late February 2012 as director of the aquatic invasive species (AIS) program with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
Craig has had a life-long interest in environmental issues and has been involved with them throughout his career, including the establishment of residential recycling programs in Saint Louis Park and Eden Prairie; groundwater contamination in Saint Louis Park; a landfill expansion in Eden Prairie; a DNR-shore fishing facility in Excelsior; and the Gideon Glen restoration project with the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District in Shorewood.
He also has extensive experience in intergovernmental collaboration. Notable accomplishments include joint powers agreements to establish Southwest Transit and the Excelsior Fire District (EFD). During his service in South Lake Minnetonka, he led staff efforts to transform the City of Excelsior’s fire department into the five-city EFD. He continued in providing staff leadership to the area while at Shorewood and, as executive director of the newly-formed Shorewood Economic Development Authority, coordinated the development of $12+-million public safety facilities for the EFD and the four-city South Lake Minnetonka Police Department (SLMPD). This project required the agreement of eight units of local government before construction could begin.
Craig has also been active in municipal and professional organizations. He has served on and chaired policy committees for the League of Minnesota Cities and for Metro Cities, and is a past president of the Metropolitan Area Management Association.