After 38 years with the HRDC, executive director Cliff Tweedale set to retire next week
BEMIDJI — The saying goes something like this: There is one thing they don’t make more of, and that is time.
Cliff Tweedale, executive director for the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, heard that saying from a friend awhile back, and admits the idea of having more free time was a factor when he decided to retire after 38 years with the HRDC.
A retirement party for Tweedale is set for 2:30 p.m. today at the Bemidji Town & Country Club. His final day at HRDC is June 28.
The HRDC works with cities and counties to address issues they may not be able to accomplish on their own, be it housing, community development issues, infrastructure needs and transportation. They also help with economic growth by helping businesses get started by making loans in conjunction with banks.
"I think as leader of the HRDC, Cliff Tweedale has been a really important figure in our community because the HRDC has made a name for itself as an organization that really understands the communities and how to assist them," Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht said. "He’s built an organization that’s well respected in the region. I think we are going to lose one of our community stewards when Cliff retires. I’m sorry to see him go, but I’m happy for him."
Tweedale said he’s still passionate about the work, and the people who go along with it.
"I still get up in the morning after 38 years and I look forward to going to work. The work is wonderful, it demands a lot of time to do a good job," Tweedale said. "But I’m looking forward to having more time for a lot of different things. It’s not ‘not liking work,’ … But I am looking forward to have a little bit more time for other activities."
Using that new-found free time is yet to be determined, but it will fall into two or three categories, Tweedale said.
"One is, I’m going to make some time for service. Try to get some volunteer work in there in some capacity," Tweedale said. "Certainly, make some time for travel with my wife, Joan. And I’m going to keep learning; carve out a little time for learning new stuff.
"Right now, I like everything outdoors, I’ve ended up getting into building some wood kayaks, I love kayaking, biking, hiking, you give me something outdoors, and I’ll end up loving it. There are not enough days in the summer for all the stuff you want to do."
Originally from White Bear Lake, Minn., Tweedale attended college at the University of Minnesota and went to graduate school at the University of Iowa.
"Frankly, in 1975, I was just looking for a job, and applied up here," Tweedale said. "I was offered the job by John Ostrom, the old executive director. He was actually the president of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. He was here for 25 years as executive director, and when he went over there (NMF), I became executive director here."
It will be the people and what they do that he is going to miss.
"I will miss dearly mixing it up with staff on a day-to-day basis; people I’m fortunate to call friends as well as colleagues" Tweedale said. "I’m also going to miss our customers and our partners. I just feel like I was blessed to work in the best part of the state with the best people.
"It’s never a bad day when I get to be out of the office dealing with both those customers and partners. I’ll definitely miss the people."
The work through the HRDC is something he’s proud of.
"I think this organization has done some incredibly good work over the last 10 or 15 years," Tweedale said. "And it isn’t because of any one person; it really is because of the team. . . You get very little done as boss yourself. Anything good that comes out of an organization really takes a number of people working together."