Axios Twin Cities
August 23, 2023
Good morning! It's National Cuban Sandwich Day. Who makes the best one in the Twin Cities?
- He's appointing Karl Procaccini, a former Walz administration general counsel, to the vacancy on the court.
Today's newsletter is 1,001 words — a 4-minute read.
1 big thing: HVAC techs in high demand
For Twin Cities cooling and heating company Genz-Ryan, prepping for this week's heatwave began months ago in a newly constructed classroom in its Burnsville headquarters.
- More than half of the 26 Genz-Ryan workers taking calls this week are graduates of the program.
Why it matters: The technician shortage is more than an inconvenience at a time when extreme temperatures can turn heating and cooling problems into potentially dangerous situations.
State of play: The U.S. heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry will need tens of thousands of new workers in the coming years to replace those leaving the field for retirement or other professions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and industry leaders estimate.
- The gap between supply and demand in Minnesota is expected to hit nearly 4,000 additional workers over the next decade, per the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Zoom in: "There's an overwhelming need for our services, and there just isn't the talent pool in place," Genz-Ryan owner and president Jon Ryan told Axios during a tour of the company's headquarters.
- The program's goal, he said, is to attract young workers who might be reluctant to pay for trade school or go through a longer apprenticeship.
How it works: The academy combines classroom instruction with hands-on practice on air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration units custom-built to replicate problems technicians might encounter in the field. Trainees are paid $16 an hour throughout the program.
Zoom out: Other local training programs are also seeing high demand for their workers. William Bobick, a senior instructor teaching the trade at Dunwoody College of Technology, told Axios his classes typically have a 100% job placement rate.
Between the lines: Bobick argues students are best served through an accredited program, which delivers standard training that he said is more likely to be accepted and sought after by a wide range of employers.
- Ryan told Axios he's exploring whether his program can and should become accredited in the future.
2. Which Minnesota athletes make the most
Rudy Gobert will make more money this season than any athlete in Minnesota sports history.
Why it matters: The Wolves center's $41 million salary is the latest example of skyrocketing athlete contracts that have been made possible by new TV rights deals that are injecting billions into professional sports.
Zoom in: Nowhere is that truer than the NBA, which is in the early stages of negotiating new TV contracts in hopes of doubling the $2.66 billion a year it gets annually under the current deal with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.
- The Timberwolves have four of the largest 10 contracts in local pro sports. Karl-Anthony Towns will top the list next year as he is set to make nearly $50 million during the 2024-2025 season.
Just missed the list: Wolves center Naz Reid ($12.95 million), Twins pitcher Sonny Gray ($12.9 million), and Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov ($12.5 million), according to data from Spotrac.
Of note: No Lynx players came anywhere near the list, as the WNBA's top salary is $250,000.
- The highest-paid woman in Minnesota's sports scene might be gymnast Suni Lee, who has previously been estimated to have $1.5 million in earning potential from her name, image, and likeness (NIL).
3. The Spoon: Frentz dips toes into 1st district race
❌ Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed a recently passed ordinance that would have raised wages and added job protections for Lyft and Uber drivers. (Background via Axios)
- Frey said Uber has committed to minimum pay levels for rides in the city without a mandate and that he plans to continue to work on establishing rider protections. Supporters called the veto a "betrayal of rideshare workers."
🇶🇦 U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar traveled to Qatar last year for the FIFA World Cup on the Middle Eastern country's dime. (Star Tribune)
- A spokesperson for the Minneapolis Democrat defended the trip, saying Omar demanded accountability for Qatar's treatment of migrant workers and "vile labor practices."
🏢 3M named Bryan Hanson as the CEO of its health care business, which it's spinning off from the company. Hanson is a former Medtronic executive who was most recently CEO of Zimmer Biomet, an Indiana-based med-tech company. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)
🗳 State Sen. Nick Frentz (DFL-North Mankato) confirmed to Axios that he has had conversations about potentially running against GOP U.S. Rep. Brad Finstad in the 1st Congressional District next year.
- Frentz, who serves as assistant majority leader, said he doesn't have a timeline for making a decision.
Context: The southern Minnesota district, once held by DFL Gov. Tim Walz, was considered a swing seat in some recent elections. But Finstad won his bid for a full term by about 11 percentage points last year.
4. National Cinema Day: Where to see $4 movies in the Twin Cities
Movie tickets at many Twin Cities theaters will drop to $4 on Sunday to celebrate National Cinema Day.
What's happening: The Cinema Foundation announced this week the holiday's return after the success of last year's inaugural event, which drew an estimated 8.1 million moviegoers nationwide, Axios' Kelly Tyko writes.
Where to watch: Most large chains with Twin Cities outposts are joining in, including AMC, Marcus Theaters, Emagine, Alamo Drafthouse, and CEC Theatres.
Stay booked and busy
📅 Upcoming events around the city.
La Clave Orchestra, Live Latin Dance Night at Granada Theater and Uptown Lobby on September 8:
- Latin Dance Nights at the renovated Granada Theater in Uptown Minneapolis is a great way to explore Latin American music and culture.
- These nights aim to put the musicians at the center of the experience, showcasing the local talent of the Twin Cities.
- No prior dance knowledge necessary. No partner required. Dress to impress optional.
Hosting an event? Email [email protected].
5. Trivia from the archives: Where were these kids cooling off?
This week we have a trivia question that we can't answer.
🔎 Nick went looking through the Getty archives for old images of people beating the heat before air conditioning. He found this gem of kids getting cooled off by firefighters who tapped into a hydrant.
- It has little in the way of a description. It's from the Minnesota Historical Society archives, but staff's access to the archives is limited right now due to technical work on the website.
What we know: It was taken somewhere in Minneapolis or St. Paul, sometime before 1945.
Do you recognize the building in the background? Where is this?
🐟 Nick has been swimming for exercise in Lake Harriet and the other day passed right over a massive muskie that was hanging out in the shallows. No need to visit the DNR pond at the State Fair this year!
🎬 Audrey will not be seeing "Barbie" or "Oppenheimer" again on Sunday. Twice was enough.