THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — A Thief River Falls school principal will head Digi-Key Electronics’ human resources department as the major distributor refocuses leadership responsibilities to accommodate a multi-million-dollar expansion.
After serving Lincoln High School for eight years, Shane Zutz will become the director of human resources at Digi-Key, the school announced last week. His last day with the school is Aug. 4, he said Monday, July 10.
“It was a very difficult decision, and I have a heavy heart, without a doubt,” Zutz said of leaving the school. “The opportunity to work with Digi-Key during this time of expansion and help develop other leaders is something I have a passion for, and it is going to be a tremendous opportunity to do that.”
The hire by Digi-Key comes as it prepares to build a million-square-foot expansion near its Thief River Falls headquarters at 701 Brooks Ave. The project is expected to cost about $300 million and will add 1,000 jobs, Digi-Key executives have said.
The electronics distributor has more than 3,500 employees.
As the vice president of administration and human resources, Rick Trontvet has overseen Zutz’s future responsibilities for 15 years. With the added workforce, Digi-Key wanted to make changes to “bring the right amount of focus to each of these roles,” Trontvet said.
That’s why his title will change to vice president of administration while Zutz takes over the human resources department. Trontvet will focus on public affairs and community outreach while Zutz oversees internal business.
“We’re excited about the change,” Trontvet said. “We think it will bring added focus to both of those respective roles.”
The transition will be effective Aug. 7.
Zutz was an English teacher for three years at Franklin Middle School in Thief River Falls before becoming that school’s assistant principal in 2001.
The School Board was expected to accept Zutz resignation during a Monday meeting, as well as consider steps necessary to find his replacement. That includes posting a job description for an interim principal internally before opening up to outside candidates.
The interim position will last one year, Bergstrom said, adding he wants to start with an internal search in hopes of finding someone familiar with the educational mission at Lincoln who will expand upon Zutz’ work.
“I want to make sure the staff at Lincoln High School are taken care of,” he said.