Statement on passing of Richard Hansen

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Public Works Department  • Richard H. Hansen Transportation & Public Works Complex
4787 Midway Road, Duluth, MN 55811 • Phone: (218) 625-3830

James T. Foldesi, P.E.
Public Works Director/Highway Engineer




May 5, 2017

MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Foldesi, Public Works Director



St. Louis County staff remembers Dick Hansen, former Public Works Director

The 17 years that Richard H. Hansen led the St. Louis County Public Works Department was the culmination of a 45 year career in engineering and public service. Hansen, who served as St. Louis County Highway Engineer and Public Works Director from 1985 to 2002, passed away Monday.


“Dick Hansen was a great leader, mentor and friend. He was a big man with an even bigger heart," said current Public Works Director Jim Foldesi, who was hired by Hansen. "The engineering profession owes him a debt of gratitude."

Hansen was known as a developer of people and a strong advocate for transportation. He is credited with shifting the Public Works Department to a more professionalized staff, and using a more strategic approach to maintain and improved the County's vast infrastructure of roads and bridges.


Hansen and his staff won the 2002 Minnesota County Engineers Project of the Year for the completion of the County's Public Works complex in Pike Lake, a facility that now bears his name. Other notable public works projects completed during Hansen's tenure with St. Louis County include:

  • The building of the Hibbing Public Works Facility, one of the first joint use facilities in the state. The facility is shared by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the City of Hibbing and St. Louis County.
  • The reconstruction of portions of Highways 16 and 110, also known as Forest Hwy 11. The projects spanned eight years and were done in coordination with U.S. Forest Service and Lake County, resulting in a better connection from the East Range to the North Shore.
  • The construction of Highway 115 connecting Cook and Tower. The new road improved transportation between the two communities and opened new areas for development.

In addition to his work with the County, Hansen worked for Mn/DOT for 25 years in various roles, and as Crow Wing County engineer for three years.


"Dick will be greatly missed," said Foldesi, "but his memory and legacy will live on in each person that he interacted with and I hope his family takes great pride and comfort in that.”



Dick Hansen
Former St. Louis County Public Works Director Richard Hansen passed away Monday at the age of 79.

Hansen Public Works Building
St. Louis County's Public Works complex in Pike Lake is named in honor of longtime Public Works Director Richard H. Hansen, who passed away Monday.