For more than 40 years, James Solem provided outstanding leadership and tireless work in real estate finance and public policy, supporting the development of rental and ownership housing for low and moderate income households. He was the executive director of the Minnesota State Planning Agency from 1970 to 1978, and served as commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency from 1978 to 1994 – a position he was appointed to five times by three Minnesota governors.
From 1994 to 2000, Solem was the regional administrator for the Metropolitan Council, leading the long-range planning for transit, wastewater, parks and community development in the seven-county metropolitan area. From 2000 – 2006, at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), he led a project to bring new ideas to the issues of affordable housing and regional growth.
Now retired from the Metropolitan Council, Solem is active with consulting and volunteer service. He is chairman of the board of the Community Reinvestment Fund and of the boards of Common Bond Housing Corporation and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. Throughout his career, Solem demonstrated an exceptional knowledge of operations and governmental polices, brought a high level of ethical standards to the real estate industry and championed those most in need.