End of the business beat

After 25 years at the Pioneer Press business columnist Dave Beal is retiring. Beal's twice-weekly columns are distinguished by their accessibility and impeccable reporting. In recent weeks he's chronicled the stock option shenanigans at UnitedHealth Group and the St. Paul business community's concerns about new mayor Chris Coleman. He'll remain as an occasional contributor to the newspaper. Here's the note that business editor Doug Iverson sent out to staff earlier this week:

Dave Beal's role with the Pioneer Press will be changing. Technically, he has decided to retire. While that requires some paper work and means we won't be seeing his column on a regular basis after June 30, Dave has agreed to remain with us in a more limited role as an occasional contributor. Dave has been a franchise player for the Pioneer Press for 25 years. He came here as business editor and moved into more reputable work as a full-time columnist. He has taken big players down a few pegs when they deserved it and lauded folks when they got it right, winning numerous awards and a wide following along the way. He also managed to find time to write a book, represent the paper at scores of events and--every three or four years--even take a stab at cleaning his desk. Dave's service to the craft continues to inspire. Most recently, he played a key role in helping to organize the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' national conference. The event drew hundreds of journalists to the Twin Cities earlier this month, and Dave's hard work paid off in recognition for the Pioneer Press. Dave will be continuing his service to the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, where he is a director. Although he clings to scratch-pad spreadsheets and more than once nearly crippled the World Wide Web with an unexplained series of computer keystrokes, Dave always eagerly tackled new challenges. Please join me in wishing Dave the best with this next one.

Doug Iverson Business editor