Ken Peterson has served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry under Governor Mark Dayton since January 2011. He previously served in the same position from 1988 to 1990. The agency oversees the state's apprenticeship, construction codes and licensing, occupational safety and health, wage and hour standards, and workers' compensation programs. His chief goal in the Dayton Administration’s second term are to help better prepare Minnesota’s future workforce, make the state’s workplaces safer and work with labor and employers to improve the workers’ compensation system.
Peterson has served in other leadership roles at the state and city levels. He served as deputy attorney general at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office; was deputy commissioner for utility regulation of the state Department of Public Service; directed St. Paul’s Planning and Economic Development Department and was chief of staff for St. Paul’s mayor.
In addition to public service, Peterson has worked in private law practice and as an associate professor of management at Metropolitan State University. Peterson started his legal career on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is president of the National Association of Government Labor Officials and serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Safety Council, St. Paul District Energy and The History Theater.
Peterson grew up in Osakis, Minnesota, and is a graduate of Hamline University (B.A.); George Washington University (J.D.); and Harvard University (MPA). He and his wife live in St. Paul and have two adult children.
Jessica Looman has served as deputy commissioner for the department since December 2014. She is responsible for the strategic coordination of the DLI divisions to meet the agency's objective of ensuring equitable, healthy and safe work and living environments for Minnesota.
Looman has been the assistant commissioner for the agency's Construction Codes and Licensing Division and Apprenticeship and Labor Standards units since January 2011 and continues to directly oversee these divisions.
Prior to joining DLI, she was general counsel for the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota.
Looman is a graduate of George Washington University (B.A. in political science) and from the University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.).
Chris Leifeld has served as assistant commissioner for the Workers' Compensation Division
since Jan. 1, 2015. He joined DLI in 2011 and has served as the director of the division's Vocational Rehabilitation unit and Alternative Dispute Resolution unit.
Prior to his work at DLI, he was the executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference
for nine years.
Leifeld is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas (B.A.) and from the University of
Minnesota (master's degree in education).