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Jim Topie, RS/REHS

Food Inspector III; Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Dairy and Food Inspection Division

Duluth, MN 55812


Jim Topie is a Food Inspector III and has 26 years of experience with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Dairy and Food Inspection Division. He is the liaison to the City of Minneapolis for the MDA/FDA Food Safety Rapid Response Team. Topie has a BA in Environmental Studies and is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist. Topie states, “To have an effective public health policy, we must all be proactive.” To further this topic, Topie’s family takes part in community-supported agriculture (CSA). He is a steering committee member of the Minnesota Food Safety Partnership. Topie continues to work in partnership with the City of Minneapolis and has been sharing lessons learned to others within the state and region. Jim carries over what he has learned from EPHLI into his volunteer activities as a community activist with the City of Duluth, MN. He promotes healthy lifestyle in getting the public and especially the youth out exercising. Under his leaderships as the president of the parks and recreation commission in Duluth, he’s succeeded in building three disc golf courses and a skate park, as well as expanding bike and walking trails.


Leadership Development Opportunities

Participating in EPHLI has allowed me to become a more effective leader. I have had the opportunity to utilize what I have learned to enhance my personal strategic visioning and direction-setting skills. My fellow team member, Curt Fernandez, has been invaluable in demonstrating to me on how we all should provide positive customer service in our efforts to protect public health. Our mentor Kendra Kauppi, our “Home Cooked Team” of EPHLI 2010 – 2011 fellows, Ric Encarnacion, Christine Applewhite and Kelly Monahan; and the staff and consultants of EPHLI have all coached me on how to use critical thinking and analysis systems thinking. An outcome is that I have become a better reflective practitioner and action learner. From what I have learned at EPHLI, I’m now a better leader. I have been able to enhance my networking capabilities and become a true collaborator. There is a greater understanding of the importance of building a strong long term relationship between the staff of a city (Minneapolis) and the state (Minnesota). Together we have made change.