As a member of the strategic leadership team, Dan Sparks serves as a liaison between AURI, the Minnesota legislature, state and federal agencies, as well as federal legislative representatives, staff and committees. Other responsibilities include fund development, illustrating AURI impacts and projects with stakeholders, developing industry relationships, and leading initiatives that benefit Minnesota agriculture. His background in in banking, community development and the Minnesota Legislature, which brings together his work interest of fostering relationships and bringing people together to accomplish a desired outcome.
Dan represented district 27 as a Minnesota State Senator from 2003 – 2020 and currently serves as Mower County’s Commissioner in district four. During his time in the Senate he chaired the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and was lead of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committees. Additionally, he served on the Legislative Energy Commission, Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council, the Nextgen Energy Board, and the Minnesota Clean Water Council.
Dan and his wife, Andrea live in Austin, MN with their 11-year-old son, Niklas. They have three adult daughters. In his spare time Dan enjoys sharing his love of baseball, hockey, and golf with his son.
During his time in the senate, Dan received two Legislator of the Year awards, a Minnesota Legacy award and Public service award.