APEX News - December 2019
Happy Holidays from APEX

Winter is here, but that doesn’t slow down the hard-working people of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. In the wake of the region’s first major snowstorm of the year, the APEX team would like to thank you for your support and all that you do to promote the growth of our region. We wish you safe travels, a wonderful holiday season, and a prosperous new year!

APEX Team (left to right) Sandy Johnson, Manager, Member Relations & Administration, Ian Vincent, Senior Business Developer, Bailey Plemel, Operations Specialist, Brian Hanson, President & CEO, Haley Rinzel, Business Development Intern, Matt Shermoen, Business Developer

2019 Year In Review

As we near the end of another year, we’d like to take a moment to recognize some of our internal accomplishments in driving economic development in the APEX region in 2019.
  • Engaged 116 members and partners in a series of input sessions and an online survey to collect their thoughts about the future of APEX and opportunities in the region. Using this input, the APEX staff, Executive Committee and Board crafted a new strategic plan. Pathfinder research helps us identify high-value opportunities for growth in the APEX region and the following initiatives have been identified as focuses for 2020:
    1. Identifying new medical services to support our growing regional healthcare industry, for both providers and patients;
    2. Leveraging existing strengths in professional technical services to drive growth;
    3. Capitalizing on regional transportation assets to spur cargo-oriented development; and
    4. Building the entrepreneurial support ecosystem by identifying effective innovation accelerator models and supporting partner implementation of successful models in the APEX region.
  • Met our goal of conducting 45 business retention visits within the APEX region, including 30 with APEX investor-members. These visits are essential in assessing trends and identifying companies in need of regional economic development resources.
  • Managed a robust deal sheet with more than 35 projects at various stages of completion. Five of these projects met major milestones in 2019:
    1. APEX was able to successfully provide the assistance needed to cover some unexpected costs by a local consumer service operation from our network of angel investors.
    2. Our staff worked with a regional firm who develops and sells physical therapy modification systems to identify a local light manufacturer to produce their physical units.
    3. We provided assistance with strategy, market assessment and site selection to a Minnesota-based professional technical service organization to expand into northeast Minnesota.
    4. APEX made the connection for a high-end wood manufacturer with regional funding partners that financed the purchase of new equipment for their company.
    5. Our team assisted in procuring funding for strategic plan development at a local golf course.
  • Completed a comprehensive economic study to understand Minnesota’s capacity for mass timber manufacturing. Study results and Minnesota’s potential to support the industry were well received at the International Mass Timber Conference in Portland, Oregon.
  • Completed, analyzed and shared the results of the Talent Forecast study, which lead to the development of a regional workforce strategy. After conducting over 400 interviews with 110 organizations in 12 industries in 9 communities, the Talent Forecast team identified 12 strategies that are essential to complimenting, growing and filling in gaps of existing workforce efforts.
  • Recruited and welcomed 6 new APEX investor-members: Adolfson & Peterson Construction, Benson Electric Company, HDR, Jeff Foster Trucking, Inc, Kraus-Anderson Construction, Rachel Contracting.  We are excited to have these organizations as part of our APEX family of businesses!

Save The Date

APEX 2020 Annual Meeting and Reception

Thursday, January 30, 2020
3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Pier B Resort, Duluth, MN

Guest Speaker: Barbara K. Philibert
President & CEO, Pettibone, LLC

Formal invites will be mailed in January

Honoring an APEX Champion

The APEX family was saddened when Kelvin R. (Kelly) Herstad passed away this past June. Throughout his career, Kelly was a champion for regional economic development. He owned and operated United Truck Body in Hermantown for over 50 years and his political activism helped move our region forward.

Kelly was an APEX Charter member when our organization began in 2004 under P & K Properties and remained an active APEX supporter throughout the remainder of his life. APEX founding CEO & President, Rob West, shared “There were always 3 things you could expect of Kelly: 1) He would ask good and often times the tough questions that needed to be asked; 2) He shared his experiences and insights that were often very helpful; and 3) He was extremely engaged.” 

We at APEX will always remember and be grateful for Kelly’s passion for the betterment of our region and community. He would often times contact our office informing us of a potential business attraction or expansion lead way before we learned of it otherwise. Brian Hanson, APEX's current CEO & President, stated "Kelly was a business leader who was always generous with sharing his time, skills and knowledge with the APEX family. His contributions live on in a successful family-owned business."

Kelly impacted our economy and made a difference. He was a fierce advocate, a great person and a dedicated business owner. He is and will continue to be missed.
Copyright © 2019 APEX, All rights reserved.

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