Roger Reinert named DECC's new Interim Executive Director |

Roger Reinert named DECC's new Interim Executive Director

Emily Ness
Updated: August 26, 2020 11:10 PM

Duluth's beloved entertainment convention center is now home to a new leader. On Wednesday, the DECC appointed Roger Reinert as their Interim Executive Director.

Most people know Reinert as a former state senator, but he also served on the Duluth City Council, as well as, on the DECC’S board of Directors for nearly a decade. He will be taking on this new role during a time when much of the DECC’s events have been canceled of postponed.

“We have two primary goals. One is to preserve the physical assets with which we've been entrusted,” Reinert said. “The second is to think about how we use those physical assets in new and different ways.”

Some new and different ways Reinert hopes to use the DECC are by partnering with others navigating the pandemic.

“How do we do things like drive through flu shot clinics? How do we do things like work with local businesses that are surviving with outdoor seating when it gets cold? You know, can we bring that indoors into a 5,000 seat DECC arena?,” Reinert said.

According to Reinert, this is on top of working towards the possibility of hosting a safe hockey season with UMD and the Minnesota Department of Health. But, that remains up in the air.

“We're working through how many people can safely be in Amsoil Arena? Can we get the state to work with us on volume and seating and entries and exits in 250 pods and things like that,” Reinert said.

Other protocol being taken for potential events would include health screenings and masks for all who enter the building.

“We’re going to do temperature checks, we’re going to do sanitizing, we’re going to do required mask wearing—all those sorts of protocols that give people confidence to start attending events again,” Reinert said.

Over the summer, DECC officials say they successfully held two dance competitions and their Movies in the Parking Lot events on Friday’s. As fall approaches, Reinert said he hopes to get more events on the calendar.

“Our slogan right now is: 'You have something you want to do, we have the space to do it.' And so for those out there who want to partner with the DECC and insure we are still there after the pandemic, call me, email me, tell me your crazy idea of what you want to do that you don't think you can do because of lack of space and we will work with you to find a way to 'Yes,’” Reinert said.

One steady event the DECC does have on its calendar for the fall is the Duluth Symphony's season, which begins in October and runs through December.

Reinert is replacing Chelly Townsend, who announced she was leaving just this week for personal reasons.


Emily Ness

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