APEX News - November 2017

In This Issue

APEX Welcomes New Investors

Greg Follmer Commercial Real Estate
Greg Follmer Commercial Real Estate is a performance-based provider of commercial real estate services in Duluth and northeastern Minnesota.

With specialties in commercial brokerage, site acquisition and assemblage for owners, users, developers, investors and tenants, Greg Follmer Commercial Real Estate has been dedicated to assisting clients in accomplishing their unique business goals and aspirations for the last 15 years.

JR Jensen Construction
JR Jensen Construction is a full-service contractor with their own fleet of equipment and a full team of skilled field laborers located in Superior, WI. JR Jensen has the capabilities to complete any size project on time and budget.

Their commitment to delivering personalized service and expertise ensures the job is done right the first time. With projects spanning from new industrial construction to hydro excavation, JR Jensen has been a reliable source with over 130 years of combined management experience.

North Shore Bank of Commerce
North Shore Bank of Commerce has been a locally owned and managed, independent, community bank for over 100 years.

At the heart of North Shore Bank of Commerce’s business philosophy is a commitment to providing education and support, so customers can make informed decisions about their financial futures. North Shore Bank of Commerce has products and services for traditional personal banking, business banking products and mortgage services as well as a full selection of trust and investment services with their North Shore Investments and Trust division.

Obermiller Nelson Engineering, Inc. (ONE), operates with a mission to enrich the lives of their employees and exceed the expectations of their clients. The innovative team at ONE provides professional mechanical, electrical and civil design and coordination for building systems.

With office locations in Fargo, Grand Forks and Bismarck, North Dakota; Alexandria, Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ONE has a large footprint and a long history of quality, service and industry leadership.

Parsons Electric         
Parsons Electric has grown to become one of North America’s premier electrical and technology providers. Since 1927, they have established an enduring reputation of providing quality design, construction, service and maintenance to their customers.
They offer an expansive range of services across their electrical construction, electrical services and technologies divisions to ensure customers are receiving the latest technology, expertise and proven dedication.  

In Case You Missed It: September Board Meeting Recap

On September 7, 2017, APEX hosted the Board of Directors and investor-member meeting at the Kitchi Gammi Club. Several guests were in attendance, including Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.
After general Board business was conducted, Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO, introduced Mayor Larson and Jim Benning from the City of Duluth. The two discussed the details of the City’s proposed Street Improvement Program (SIP) set for a referendum vote on November 7, 2017. The crux of the proposal is a ½ percent sales tax increase, dedicated to street and sidewalk improvement for up to the next 25 years.
Mayor Larson indicated while all solutions are truly imperfect and unglamorous, this solution is clear, transparent and more equitable. More information is available on the City’s website regarding the SIP.  

Following Mayor Larson’s presentation, Vanta Coda II, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and Jonathan Lamb, President of Lake Superior Warehousing, presented the benefits of their partnership in the Duluth Cargo Connect.
Brian Thun with maurices and APEX Chair, Brian Hanson with APEX, Vanta Coda II with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and Jonathan Lamb with Lake Superior Warehousing at the September Board of Directors meeting

Duluth Cargo Connect is Regional Economic Asset

On September 7, 2017, Vanta Coda II, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and Jonathan Lamb, President of Lake Superior Warehousing, presented the benefits of their 25-year partnership to APEX investor-members. The relationship, traditionally an operational partnership, was formally branded in 2016 as Duluth Cargo Connect (DCC). In addition to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Lake Superior Warehousing, Canadian National Railway (CN) is also an integral part of the organization.
A snapshot of the infrastructure DCC customers now have access to with the intermodal services.
Duluth Cargo Connect provides seamless cargo handling, storage, distribution and transportation logistics services for breakbulk, heavy lift and other project cargoes moving in and out of the region. Leveraging the Canadian National Railway, Duluth Cargo Connect customers have access to three coasts – the East, West and Gulf. In addition, customers have access to three Class I railroads – the Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific and BNSF.

Sappi Receives Recognition from Governor Dayton

In late September, Sappi North America (Sappi), a leading producer and supplier of diversified paper and packaging products received an award for its investment in the state of Minnesota. Nominated by APEX, Sappi received the award from the Minnesota Office of Foreign Direct Investment, under the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The award highlighted the company’s contributions to the economic vitality of local communities, and its commitment to keeping Minnesota a world-leading business destination.
Elected officials and economic development partners pose with the leadership from Sappi.
Mark Gardner, President and CEO of Sappi, received the award at the Cloquet Mill. “We are honored and delighted to receive this award from the Governor’s office for our contributions to the great state of Minnesota,” stated Gardner. “Through the investments made under Sappi’s 2020 Vision strategy, we’re ensuring that our Cloquet facility will continue to operate at this high standard for many years to come.”

APEX Launches Virtual Reality Video

In late September, APEX debuted a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tour that provides prospective site selectors a full-immersion experience of the APEX region from anywhere in the world. The PlaceVR tour highlights existing industry and infrastructure, and drives home the region’s high quality of life.
“It’s one thing to see images or video of our region. It’s quite another to be fully immersed in the PlaceVR tour,” said Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. “This innovative approach showcases many elements of our region to engage site selectors and business owners looking to expand their business through relocation.”
Mike McParlan with APi Group Inc. checking out the virtual reality video at the New Member Reception.
Tom Lambrecht with Great River Energy experiencing virtual reality at the International Economic Development Coalition conference (IEDC).

North Star Expo Draws Crowd in Grand Rapids

In September, APEX participated in the Minnesota Timber Producers Association’s 64th annual North Star Expo. The event, held at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids, is the state’s largest logging, trucking and sawmill equipment show. The event showcases our region’s booming forest products industry. The widely-recognized event is attended and supported by Itasca Economic Development Corporation, local business owners, logging professionals, policy makers, including Congressman Rick Nolan, regional chambers of commerce, industry stakeholders, and more.

Tamara Lowney, APEX Senior Business Developer, addresses participants.
During the Expo, students learned about the nuances and importance of the forest industry to the local and national economy.

This year, Tamara Lowney, APEX Business Developer, played a leadership role in helping convene partners, organize participants, and execute the student portion of the event. The NORTHFORCE team also helped highlight career paths and opportunities for students and local community members. “Both APEX and NORTHFORCE are committed to building a bridge between industry and students. Participating in the Expo is one way to ensure we are helping to build the region’s next generation workforce,” stated Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO.

To participate in next year’s expo, contact Tamara Lowney.

Fall Events and Conferences

Fall is always a busy time for the APEX team, as they attend many important local, state and national conferences and events. These events are always excellent opportunities to showcase our region to a wide variety of industries. This year, the APEX team attended and made great connections at the following:

APEX Participates in Fall FAM Tour

In September, APEX and several partners were highlighted to national site selectors in a familiarization (FAM) tour held in the Twin Cities. This fall’s tour was coordinated and sponsored by the State of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), APEX and many APEX investor-members including: Minnesota Power, WSB & Associates, Great River Energy and many other public and private sector organizations that drive Minnesota’s economy.

Prominent site selectors from around the nation attended the three-day tour, where they were fully immersed in Minnesota’s business sector. Participants attended an EDAM Webinar, met with MN Marketing Partnership, networked at Xcel Energy, toured local businesses (SageGlass, Olympus, RMS, Cargill, Smiths Medical) and watched the Twins beat the Blue Jays at Target Field. Site selectors in attendance were:

  • Josh Beck, MarksNelson
  • Ross Benitz and Mike Eickhoff, Grant Thornton
  • Brad Elmer, Baker Tilly
  • John Evans, Tractus
  • Larry Moretti, LFM Corporate Location Solutions
  • Justin Pearson, BNSF Railway
  • Phil Schneider, Schneider Strategy Consulting, LLC

APEX Insider at Giant Voices

Giant VoicesOn September 19, 2017, Giant Voices hosted an APEX Insider event at the company’s new space in downtown Duluth. The strategic marketing and communication firm moved into the new location on Superior Street in May to accommodate increasing staff and client growth. Co-owners Pascha Apter, CEO, and Lisa Bodine, President, began orchestrating plans to relocate from Canal Park in 2015.
“Everything came together perfectly. We are beyond thrilled with our new space,” said Apter. “We were bursting at the seams in Canal Park, and the new office will enhance our capacity to serve our Giant Clients.”
Brian Hanson with APEX, Tamara Lowney with APEX, Brian Durand with McGough Construction, Lisa Bodine with Giant Voices, Pascha Apter with Giant Voices, Jim Frisell with McGough Construction, Sandy Johnson with APEX
APEX Insider Event on September 19, 2017

Meet APEX’s New Intern

Bettina Milosz is the new APEX Business Development Intern.
In September, APEX welcomed Bettina Milosz to the APEX team as a Business Development Intern. Her vast international internship positions have led Bettina to develop experience in commercial real estate, finance and business development in countries like Poland and China. Bettina speaks English, Polish and German and is working toward a Master of Business Administration with a focus on leadership and change at the College of St. Scholastica - she is on track to graduate next summer (2018).
We are happy to add Bettina’s skills and expertise to the APEX team and have her help drive more local and international business to the region. 
Upcoming Investor-Member Events
MPCA is proposing a new sulfide rule that will significantly impact industry in the APEX region.
Get the facts and send a letter by November 22!

   Staff Events

FabTech Expo
November 6-9, 2017
Chicago, IL           
Mid America Economic Development Council
December 3-5, 2017
Chicago, IL

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