Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach
Nicole Blissenbach has served as DLI’s commissioner since January 2023 after serving as DLI's temporary commissioner since August 2022. DLI’s mission is to ensure Minnesota’s work and living environments are equitable, healthy and safe. The department serves employees, employers and the public by regulating buildings and workplaces through education and enforcement.
Prior to assuming the role of commissioner, Blissenbach served as DLI's deputy commissioner and directed the work of the Labor Standards, Minnesota OSHA Compliance, Minnesota OSHA Workplace Safety Consultation, the Office of General Counsel, Research and Statistics, and Projects and Planning work units. She began work at DLI in June 2019 as DLI’s assistant commissioner for Enforcement and Compliance Strategies and Partnerships.
Blissenbach previously worked at Education Minnesota, where she served for nearly 10 years as an attorney in the legal department. Prior to working for Education Minnesota, she worked in a private law firm, where she practiced labor and employment law.
Blissenbach is a Minnesota State Bar Association Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Morris, and earned her law degree from the University of Minnesota. She is married, has two children and lives in Minneapolis.
Deputy Commissioner Kate Perushek
Kate Perushek is DLI’s deputy commissioner. She oversees Apprenticeship Minnesota, the Construction Codes and Licensing Division, Dual-Training Pipeline, Labor Standards, Legislative Services, the Office of Combative Sports and Youth Skills Training.
In February 2021, Perushek was named a DLI assistant commissioner and, since 2019, she worked as DLI's director of Legislative Affairs. Before her work at DLI, Perushek was senior policy advisor to Gov. Mark Dayton in 2017 and 2018 regarding initiatives for DLI and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Prior to that, she worked at the Minnesota House of Representatives for nine years, including a role as legislative director to the Speaker, where she helped develop and pass the Women’s Economic Security Act in 2014, an effort that first drew her to the work of DLI.
Perushek earned a master’s degree in both public policy and social work from the University of Chicago.
Assistant Commissioner Kate Daly
Kate Daly is assistant commissioner for DLI’s Workers' Compensation Division. Daly comes to DLI from the St. Paul City Attorney's Office and has almost two decades of workers' compensation experience in both the private and public sectors.
Daly’s private practice experience was devoted to workers' compensation defense. She advised employers and insurers and arbitrated, mediated and litigated cases before DLI, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) and the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA). Daly moved to the public sector when she joined the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, where she led the workers' compensation teams for both Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Medical Center. She advised and counseled on liability determinations and litigated cases before DLI, OAH and WCCA.
Daly received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas and her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.
Assistant Commissioner Kristy Swanson
Kristy Swanson is DLI's assistant commissioner for operations. She oversees Communications, Enterprise Business Technology, Facilities Management, Financial Services, Human Resources, and Projects and Planning. In addition, she is the liaison between DLI and Minnesota IT Services.
Swanson led the Financial Services unit at DLI since 2016 and has helped lead DLI initiatives, such as Work Comp Campus, building-renovation projects and agency sustainability efforts.
Prior to working at DLI, Swanson was a project manager for the Early Learning Scholarship program’s IT system at the Department of Education. Before that, she was an executive budget officer at Minnesota Management and Budget, focusing on education funding and project managing the development of the enterprise-wide budget system.
Swanson earned a master’s degree in public policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.