Lori Higgins is no stranger to the sports community in Minnesota. As the Vice Chair of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commision (MASC), Higgins oversees the development of amateur sports facilities and programs throughout the state. She works closely with other members of the commission to develop and implement programs and initiatives that will support amateur athletes and promote youth sports in the state. Currently, she is the President of the MetroNorth Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held for 13 years.
Higgins was first introduced to the MASC while working for a state senator at the State Capitol in the early 90’s. There, she got to know Paul Erickson, the MASC’s first executive director, who was frequently in the office in search of funding for the National Sports Center. “When I started at the chamber, Paul came to me and said ‘Hey with all of your history and knowledge about the Sports Center and you living here and working at the chamber, you would be a fantastic fit for the MASC Board. And he is the one who encouraged me to apply,” Higgins added.
Her involvement in sports actually goes back further than her current role. As an athlete, volleyball and golf are her sports of choice. However, Higgins developed a love for soccer while volunteering at USA CUP, she explained:
Higgins expressed excitement about her new role as Vice Chair of the MASC, saying, “Obviously when you think about the MASC, you think about the NSC, but it’s so much broader than that. It’s been wonderful to be exposed to the different facilities around the state and the different grant programs…and getting a better understanding of how MASC supports other amateur sports throughout the state.”
Through her work at MetroNorth Chamber and involvement in MASC, she holds a unique perspective on the economic impact of sporting events. She’s seen firsthand how sports can bring commercial benefits to an area while also fostering a sense of community and camaraderie. As she explains, the National Sports Center (NSC) is a testament to those merits:
“There’s a ton of synergies between the National Sports Center and the economic activity it brings in to the area business community… we are so excited when USA CUP comes in or other large tournaments. You can see the traffic increase on Highway 65. You see that the restaurants are full. That’s a happy day for everybody. Now as a resident, I know to take the backroads. I know when not to go to Target, so there’s that side of it too. But as a chamber and as a business community, the impact that the NSC has brought to this area can’t be overstated.”
Higgins is passionate about creating partnerships between amateur sports organizations and MASC. “Most recently I have been in communication with the rugby group who’s very interested in a partnership with the NSC,” she told us. Her goal is to help MASC build stronger relationships with amateur sports organizations and create more opportunities for athletes across the state.