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The ability to truly understand issues in the public space comes only with real life experience. We know how and when to engage those who have the ability to impact the outcome – both critical to driving results. We know how to frame an issue so all stakeholders, the public, elected officials, employees, investors, board members, etc. can understand what is truly at stake. We will also help you leverage what you are already doing in the public space by understanding how, when and to who to communicate your initiatives.

With over sixty years of experience we have delivered public affairs results at the federal, state and local level on behalf of our clients in the private, public and not-for-profit secgtors.  Our method is simple; we have the knowledge and relationships to solve the most difficult public policy problems or leverage your opportunities. Whether a threat or an opportunity, we will put together a plan to deliver positive outcomes.

The Aurora team develops strategic plans to help our clients achieve their business and public policy goals, let us help you!


We are excited to see you here. Let us introduce ourselves.

  • Mike Erlandson
    Mike ErlandsonPrincipal

    Mike is an accomplished professional with a proven track record of driving results, creating enterprise value, managing people and developing best-in-class programs. He has excellent leadership, communication, planning, problem solving, negotiation, and cross-functional team building skills. And, he has vast experience leading teams in challenging, fast paced, and changing business and public climates.

    Mike served as Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and Vice President of Government Affairs at SUPERVALU (2007-2013), a $35B revenue retail company. He led a public affairs team of 42 with an $8 million annual budget overseeing government relations, internal and external communications, and community relations/foundation. He was a member of the leadership council, founded and chaired their federal political action committee (ValuPAC), and served on the enterprise environmental steering committee.

    Prior to joining SUPERVALU, Erlandson served as chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Martin Sabo (1993-2006) overseeing a team of 18 and a million dollar annual budget with offices in Washington and Minnesota. He was an invited participant in the Bi-Partisan Policy Center’s National Transportation Project. He was elected to three terms as State Chair of Minnesota’s Democratic Party (1999-2005), ran for Congress in 2006 finishing second in a multi-candidate primary and was publicly elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington, D.C. (1991-94). Erlandson has appeared on national television and radio shows including: NBC’s Today Show, Hardball, ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, CNN, C-SPAN, and NPR.

    Mike’s board service (past and current) includes: National Association of Business Political Action Committees, The Public Affairs Council, St. John’s University McCarthy Center for Public Policy & Civic Engagement, Minnesota Dance Theatre, advisory committee for the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute Policy Forum, steering committee for Minnesota’s Hennepin County Community Works, MN Department of Transportation’s Guidestar Program, and The Washington Literacy Council.

    Mike is a graduate of St. John’s University and Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Program for Senior Managers in Government.

  • Dawn Erlandson
    Dawn ErlandsonPresident

    Dawn Erlandson is the founder and president of Aurora Strategic Advisors. Dawn has over 25 years of public affairs, communications, and executive experience.

    Dawn leads comprehensive public affairs and marketing communications efforts for many national, state and local clients. Her creative and strategic work includes brand identity, community and grasstops outreach, public and media relations, broadcast advertising (e.g. television, radio, print, online, collateral, and outdoor), direct advocacy, coalition building, events, and strategic planning. In 2004, the American Association of Political Consultants recognized the campaign that Dawn devised and led for the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board as the Best Regional Public Affairs Campaign in the nation.

    Prior to founding ASA in 2005, Dawn ran the public affairs and political business for North Woods Advertising and was Senior Director at Himle Horner, a Minnesota public affairs and public relations firm.

    Dawn served as Market Mechanisms Coordinator for the President’s Council on Sustainable Development in the Clinton Administration and as Legislative Assistant for Tax and Social Security policy for U.S. Senator Don Riegle of Michigan, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. She also worked for Congressman Bruce Vento of Minnesota and Assistant Majority Leader Bill Luther in the Minnesota Senate. Dawn started her career as an economist with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells in Washington, D.C.

    As a young environmental lobbyist, Dawn conceived and got passed into law the first green tax package including tax credits for wind and solar, energy efficiency and transit as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 signed by President George H. W. Bush.

    In 2012, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Dawn to a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (7 universities and 24 2-year colleges). She currently serves as Immediate Past Board Chair of the Great Plains Institute. She also serves on the board of the Product Policy Institute based in Georgia and on the board of the 1006 Summit Ave. Society, the residence of the Governor of Minnesota.

    Dawn graduated from Hamline University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) with a B.A. in international business (Spanish), economics and sociology. She was named Outstanding Young Alumna in 1993 by Hamline.

    Dawn was selected as a University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute Fellow, a German Marshall Fund Fellow and has served on numerous national advisory panels (e.g. Aspen Institute, Keystone, Center for Strategic and International Studies) on environmental policy with Fortune 500 executives, labor union leaders, and federal, state and local government officials. Dawn has been invited to testify before Congress numerous times.


  • Jim Rettew
    Jim RettewConsultantHuman idea factory, media rainmaker, web designer, architect of change.
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