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By Brady Stocker, 07/01/19, 12:00PM CDT


        The Essentia Duluth Heritage Center (EDHC) recently announced changes in its management team, effective with its new fiscal year which commences July 1, 2019
          Richard C. (Dick) Loraas now serves at the EDHC’s president and CEO, replacing Gerald R. (Jerry) DeMeo who retired on June 30. Loraas previously served as the organization’s president/CEO) from 2006-2010, when DeMeo took his place. 
     Administrative Assistant Shari Olson has been promoted to general manager and responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the business. Brady Stocker, Community Relations Associate and Troy Sager, Arena Manager comprise the balance of the administrative team. DeMeo will continue to serve in a consultant’s capacity on an as-needed basis.
            The facility first opened in 2008, as the Duluth Heritage Sports Center (DHSC). When DeMeo took office, the organization was dealing with a substantial construction debt, held by commercial lenders, and needed additional funding to manage the load. In order to aid fundraising efforts, it was necessary for the DHSC to demonstrate its ability to operate the facility efficiently without incurring any additional debt, while generating additional revenue to cover some of the interest and capital improvement costs. DeMeo assembled a dedicated team to meet the challenge, establishing a consistent, successful operating history. This performance aided the Duluth Heritage Sports Center Foundation (DHSCF), led by Pat Francisco, to secure the needed funds from the private sector to acquire all of the remaining construction debt from commercial lenders.
          The DHSCF currently holds all of the debt, with an “interest-only” arrangement, ensuring that the facility has adequate cash flow to manage its business while keeping market-competitive rates. Unlike many of the similar facilities in the state, the EDHC receives no support from taxes.