APEX News - February/March 2019

APEX Annual Meeting Keynote Featured Cleveland Cliffs’ President and CEO

On January 15, APEX hosted the organization’s Annual Meeting at the Kitchi Gammi Club. The crux of the meeting centered around the important connection between industry and the Duluth economy. 
APEX was pleased to welcome Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. (Cliffs) as the featured guest speaker. Goncalves shared insights and opportunities for clean steel manufacturing and how Minnesota plays an important role in this effort, both nationally and globally.

Left to Right: Brian Hanson with APEX, Brian Maki with Lakehead Constructors, Inc., Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. and Brian Thun with maurices
Cliffs has long been a global leader in the production of environmentally friendly iron ore pellets and produces high-grade customized pellets which are fed directly into blast furnaces by their steel customers. The mining and processing of iron ore ensures American steel will continue to be made with American iron feedstock. The American Iron and Steel Institute reports that in 2017, the iron and steel industry generated more than $520 billion in total economic output and nearly two million American jobs paying over $131 billion in wages and benefits.
“Cleveland-Cliffs’ iron ore pellets, made right here in Minnesota, enable production of the most environmentally compliant steel in the world,” said Goncalves. “We hold ourselves to a high standard because we mine responsibly and safely. We are committed to being good stewards of Minnesota’s natural resources and the environment.”
Clean manufacturing starts at the source, with sustainable iron-ore mining practices. Nowhere is the iron ore mining process more streamlined, more regulated and more perfected than it is in northern Minnesota. Our state’s high standards and unwavering regulatory compliance set an incredibly high bar for the rest of the world.

Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President 
and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc.
“In Minnesota, we believe that responsible mining can and does coexist with protecting our environment,” said Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. “We’ve worked tirelessly to grow our industrial economy smartly and responsibly. Successful iron ore operations like Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite and Northshore Mine have paved the way for new opportunities to mine safely in Minnesota.”


2019 APEX Executive Committee

At the APEX Annual Meeting, the APEX Board of Directors elected the 2019 Executive Committee members.
APEX 2019 Executive Committee Officers and At-Large Members
Chair: Steve Burgess, National Bank of Commerce
Vice Chair: Lisa Bodine, Giant Voices
Immediate Past Chair and Interim Treasurer: Brian Thun, maurices
Secretary: Brad Beard, Essentia Health
At-Large: Chancellor Lendley Black, University of Minnesota Duluth
At-Large: Deb DeLuca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority
At-Large: Frank Frederickson, MN Power, an ALLETE Company
At-Large: Brian Maki, Lakehead Constructors, Inc.
At-Large: John Swanson, Enbridge Energy Company, Inc.
What does your organization/company do?
Blandin Foundation is a private foundation based in Grand Rapids, MN working to strengthen rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.

How long have you been a member of APEX?
Since 2006

What do you value about APEX?
The economic research and education that helps quantify and communicate opportunities to diversify the regional economy.
What do you want fellow members to know?
Nothing truly worthwhile is ever easy. What we’ve learned is that real communities are built on 1) hard work of leadership, genuine inclusion, reaching across boundaries and building lasting connections; 2) commitments of families and organizations facing hardship together and individuals prepared to take a stand when it matters most; and 3) belonging - that indelible sense of place that all residents can call home. That’s the fertile soil in which healthy communities grow. That is what the Blandin Foundation is all about. Minnesotans imagining, leading and growing vibrant, resilient, inclusive communities. Communities that work for every resident.
What does your organization/company do?
Cirrus Aircraft designs and manufactures innovative, high-quality personal aircraft in Duluth, MN.

How long have you been a member of APEX?
2003 – Cirrus Aircraft was one of the founding APEX investor-members.

What do you value about APEX?
APEX builds relationships that allow members to play an active role in regional economic development, which is invaluable to all investor-members. Through APEX, we are able to help shape the sustainable environment that enables our own businesses to grow. No matter what industry investor-members represent, we’re all part of a team that generates jobs, increases our tax base and strengthens our economic environment.
What do you want fellow members to know?
The power that makes the APEX model so successful is great leadership. It’s Brian. It’s Sandy. It’s Ian. It’s their entire team of people putting in the day to day work that helps drive all of our success. Cirrus would like to recognize the efforts of the APEX team in generating the energy that fuels our region’s economic development. APEX creates opportunities for all of us and we’re stronger because they’ve brought us together.

Upcoming Investor-Member Events

Regional Economic Indicators Forum (R.E.I.F.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
7:00 am - 9:30 am (Program starts @ 8:00 am)
DECC - Harbor Side Ballroom
Keynote Speaker - Jen Ford Reedy
Register here

Talent Forecast Roll Out Session

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
DECC - French River Room
RSVP here
APEX Board & Investor-Member Meeting

Thursday, May 2, 2019
7:00 am - Optional networking
7:30 am - 9:00 am - Business Meeting
Holiday Inn & Suites
Downtown Duluth

Upcoming Staff Events

Site Selectors Guild Annual Conference

Monday, March 25 - Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Grand American Hotel
Salt Lake City, Utah

Members in the News

Please click the button below to read about recent announcements and acknowledgments amongst APEX Investor-Members.
Members In The News

New Study Shows Minnesota's Potential for Mass Timber Manufacturing

APEX recently commissioned a study conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and the Center of Economic Development (CED) at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). The study addressed three primary objectives:
  1. An analysis of building construction market demand growth and projections
  2. An estimate of the current and potential capacity of local lumber producers and wholesalers
  3. An economic impact analysis of the new industry in the region
Regional lumber produced today meets the specifications for the residential construction market, but recent changes to the International Building Code allow for mass timber construction up to 18 stories. The Midwest produces over 300 million board feet (MMBF) of softwood lumber annually and is ready to meet increased demand.

Surveyed sawmills reported capacity to increase production of softwood lumber that meets mass timber specifications (2x6 and 2x8 visually graded lumber No. 1 and No. 2, 1200f-1.2E MSR or higher).

The study also examined Minnesota’s capacity to build a mass timber manufacturing facility that focused on cross-laminated timber (CLT) production. Study results show that building a mid-sized CLT manufacturing facility in northern Minnesota would bring:
  • 50 new jobs
  • $11.7M in industry sales
  • $6.2M in labor income
  • Support of an additional 45 jobs in related industries
  • Total Output: $20.3M
We believe Minnesota has incredible potential to support a new CLT manufacturing firm and we are excited about the opportunities this could bring to our state. Our access to the softwood lumber resource, our highly skilled workforce and our transportation infrastructure makes our region a strong candidate for meeting the growing demand for mass timber.

Solution Summit Re-cap

In early February, more than 60 regional professionals representing all major local industries, academia and the non-profit sector participated in a full-day working session dedicated to prioritizing opportunities and challenges facing our region’s workforce environment.

The day’s conversation centered on data gathered from over 300 interviews with community members during the second half of 2018.
The following challenges were identified as the most pressing and requiring of the utmost attention to enable talent recruitment and retention:
  • Market wages for many jobs neither meet worker expectations nor offset the region’s relative cost to live.
  • The regional demand for a technologically advanced talent pool has begun to outpace supply.
  • The general population is not fully leveraging existing career and technical education and training programs.
  • Area demographic and population growth patterns do not support projected workforce demand.
  • Quality housing stock is limited and often unaffordable for workers and their families.
  • Quality childcare is often not available or affordable for workers and their families.
  • The workforce system could function more effectively with better cross-stakeholder and regional collaboration.

With these priority challenges, the contracted research team will analyze our regional resources and capabilities. From there, the local Talent Forecast research team, including the project management team and local workforce development authorities, will present action plans designed to help our communities tackle these issues. The Roll Out Session will be held Tuesday, April 9, 2019. See below for details.

Talent Forecast Roll Out Session

Plan to Attend the Talent Forecast Session
Talent Forecast Roll Out Session
Save the Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | 9am-1pm | Duluth, MN
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, French River Room 

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the Talent Forecast team will host a roll out session in Duluth. We will share results and roll out our carefully-designed action plans. For these action plans to take hold,
we need YOUR input and commitment.

Be Part of the Discussion


APEX Welcomes New Intern

APEX is pleased to announce that Alexandra Ulland joined our team as a Business Development Intern in January. Alexandra is currently a student at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Communications. She is on track to graduate in May 2019.
Alexandra brings with her valuable experience from three previous marketing internships, most recently as a Digital Marketing Intern at Thomson Reuters during summer 2018. In this role, Alexandra gained a deep understanding of the powerful role the digital experience plays in marketing. Additionally, Alexandra has filled a leadership position since 2017 in the University of Minnesota system as Vice Chair of student representatives to the Board of Regents.
We are thrilled to have Alexandra on the APEX team as she uses her talents and knowledge to help drive business connections.
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