Board Of Directors


John Edman

Brand USA Chairman

John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, is responsible for the development and implementation of tourism plans, policies, and programs to promote Minnesota as a tourism and travel destination. He is the state’s chief spokesperson for tourism-related issues and manages an agency with approximately 60 full-time staff and an annual budget of $13.9 million. First appointed to the Brand USA board of directors in Fiscal Year 2015, John’s reappointment will run through Fiscal Year 2020.

John has more than 25 years of CEO-level experience in some of the world’s most prominent private and public sector travel organizations. He has managed programs for government agencies, for-profit corporations and convention bureaus, and was directly appointed by three Minnesota governors. John has been elected to leadership positions by peers in numerous national and regional organizations and helped reposition Explore Minnesota as a separate state agency to maximize private sector involvement.

Previously, he served as the director of Carlson Companies’ destination marketing services, representing agencies and bureaus responsible for tourism marketing programs for hundreds of state and national tourism destinations throughout the world.

John has been active in national and state leadership positions with numerous organizations and boards including:

  • National Council of State Travel Directors
  • U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors
  • Great Lakes USA
  • Mississippi River Country
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Foundation
  • Minnesota Film and TV Board
  • University of Minnesota Tourism Center

John holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a BSc degree from the University of Minnesota. He also is a graduate of the Carlson Executive Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota. He is a life-long resident of Minnesota, is married with two children in college, and loves traveling, skiing, fishing, golfing, hiking, dogs, and the great outdoors.