Mark J. Oyaas is a principal in Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., a public affairs consulting company. His work includes advising clients on business opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors. Mr. Oyaas’ primary areas of expertise are in state and local government relations, grass roots lobbying, issues management and media relations. In addition he is founder of the firm’s creative communications subsidiary, Germ of an Idea, Inc.
Mr. Oyaas is a preferred public affairs consultant to several Twin Cities-based public relations firms. Through these alliances Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., can bring the capacity of some of the nation’s premier communications firms to bear on behalf of clients in the Twin Cities market and around the world.
Mr. Oyaas has also managed several projects on behalf of local governments and nonprofits including funding the successful expansion of the Minneapolis Convention Center and forging a successful partnership between the city of Minneapolis and the Walker Art Center in forwarding the Walker’s $90 million expansion project. Recently he coordinated private and public sector efforts to communicate the special taxing districts associated with the Nicollet Mall renovation in Minneapolis.
Along with Charles Neerland, Mr. Oyaas was the co-founder of New Ballpark, Inc. (NBI), a grassroots organization comprised of business, labor, and civic leaders whose goal is to forward a politically-realistic solution to the potential loss of Minnesota’s Major League Baseball team. He has served as NBI’s primary spokesman in the media and before various government bodies.
Before founding Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., Mr. Oyaas worked as a sole practitioner managing several public/private initiatives. These include Hennepin County’s groundbreaking and award-winning battery recycling program and a successful strategic marketing plan for People Unlimited, Inc., a nonprofit assembly company that hires traditionally hard-to-employ individuals from the urban core.
Mr. Oyaas has extensive experience in local government. He was principal assistant to a Hennepin County commissioner and worked on a variety of projects including waste-to-energy, transit, and affordable housing. Mr. Oyaas also worked for the majority leader of the Minneapolis City Council as a council aide.
Mr. Oyaas began his professional career at Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis (now Wells Fargo) in the government affairs department. He was responsible for coordination of the bank’s first Community Reinvestment Act report.
Mr. Oyaas is active in a number of Twin Cities nonprofit organizations and was a past president of People for Parks, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. He was a charter member of the the City of Minneapolis Independent Internal Audit Committee, serving two terms, the maximum allowed. Mr. Oyaas is also active in the Democratic Farmer-Labor party and has managed a number of political campaigns. He was co-director of the Clinton/Gore re-election effort in Minnesota from the precinct caucus process through the Democratic National Convention.
Mr. Oyaas has written and produced a number of Twin Cities cable television projects and is an occasional co-host on “Talk of the Twin Cities,” a general-interest program produced by the Metro Cable Network.
Mr. Oyaas is a 1980 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he majored in political science. He delayed his college education to serve in the United States Army as a fire direction specialist and was stationed in Europe. He was honorably discharged in 1977.