Aaron Hautala presents at MPR News Ideas Forum

Aaron Hautala recently spoke at the MPR News Ideas Forum on the future of Minnesota’s Iron Range in Hibbing. MPR News invited Hautala as one of six speakers to present their ideas for building and improving the future economic prosperity on the Mesabi Iron Range.

As the volunteer president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Hautala has been raising awareness of how the Cuyuna region has become a year-round outdoor recreation destination, including its mountain bike trail system.

Hautala grew up on the Mesabi Iron Range, so returning after 20 years to provide his perspective was significant.

“I grew up with Atari, then Nintendo, and then Super Nintendo always in hand. When the outdoors couldn’t provide that level of an engaging experience, I sat in front of the TV,” recalled Hautala. “The excitement of mountain bicycling delivers a reason to put down the remote control, to stimulate the mind and muscles. Speaking with MPR about the Mesabi Iron Range is a way to support what is already starting to happen up there, to help them discover new opportunities.”

The speakers addressed a live audience, followed by questions from MPR News Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer and Duluth-based correspondent Dan Kraker, as well as from attendees.

Hautala was asked if he could think of a past mistake that had provided a valuable lesson, to which he replied, “Peacemaking, instead of peace-faking, which is passive-aggressively stating your frustration behind someone’s back, or peace-breaking, screaming at someone to their face,” said Hautala. “Tackling difficult discussions and situations face-to-face with the opposition has been proven to be more powerful-and then working out a solution together. Most people call that compromise, but through the lens of a peacemaker, we call it collaboration in creating the mutual long-term win/win.”

Britta Greene, associate producer with MPR News, said, “Of the audience members who responded to a survey about the presentation, 85 percent said they talked to someone about the forum afterward and 61 percent said they encouraged others to take action. One person said they shared the story about the Cuyuna bike trails, finding it interesting and the most inspiring.”

As owner and creative director of RedHouseMedia, Hautala frequently speaks on the topics of communication, identity, and creative strategy at conferences for varying industries around the country.

“The excitement of mountain bicycling delivers a reason to put down the remote control, to stimulate the mind and muscles.”

Aaron Hautala

“Of the audience members who responded to a survey about the presentation, 85 percent said they talked to someone about the forum afterward and 61 percent said they encouraged others to take action. One person said they shared the story about the Cuyuna bike trails, finding it interesting and the most inspiring.”

– Britta Greene, associate producer with MPR News

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