News and Events
The elected 2013 APEX Executive Committee Officers include:
• Chair, Peter Hedstrom, US Bank
• Vice Chair, Dan Markham, Capstan Corporation
• Immediate Past Chair, Al Hodnik, ALLETE, Inc
• Secretary, Nancy Norr, Minnesota Power
• Treasurer, John Strange, St. Luke’s
• At Large, Jim Bendas, Genesis Attachments
• At Large, Mark Emmel, Labovitz Enterprises
• At Large, Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, Essentia Health
• At Large, Andrea Schokker, University of Minnesota Duluth
Hodnik thanked both Dr. Michael Lalich (Natural Resources Research Institute) and George Goldfarb (maurices) for their commitment and dedication to the APEX Executive Committee for the past several years. Dr. Lalich served on the APEX Executive Committee since 2007 as Member at Large. Goldfarb served since 2009 and held various roles including Chair, Immediate Past Chair and Member at Large.
The feedback provided to the APEX team followed two major strategic directions:
• Entrepreneurial business development is the key to APEX success
• Lead targeted efforts to address systemic regional business
Leverage private sector resources to drive investment throughout the region.
APEX prepares the compelling business case required for senior management to cost-justify the decision to locate, expand or stay in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
As APEX continues to perform as a regional economic development engine in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, priorities for the organization will center on an entrepreneurial approach to business development, being a team player, and leveraging the strength of APEX investor-members. APEX will continue to make equity connections, recruit talent and host pro-business, pro-growth events for investor-members and partners.
Long-standing APEX partner, Northspan Group, delivers high quality, professional business development and community development consulting services to clients in the Upper Midwest. Northspan works cooperatively with economic development and community development partners throughout the region to leverage resources for measurable, sustainable results. The private, nonprofit consulting firm works quietly and confidentially to move projects forward on time and on budget
CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. CenturyLink provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber-optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers.
Global pump manufacturer and distributor, GPM, Inc., provides engineered solutions and OEM products to the power generation, mining, refining and heavy industry sectors.
A.W. Kuettel & Sons
Industrial services, metal fabrication, mechanical and roofing contractor, A.W. Kuettel & Sons, has been in operation since 1924. The company’s reputation, experience, and philosophy of service and growth has allowed A.W. Kuettel & Sons to work for industries including: mining, forest products, grain handling, paper, manufacturing, and power generation.
President and COO of AAR CORP.
APEX investor-members had the privilege of hearing from Tim Romenesko, AAR CORP.’s President and Chief Operating Officer as the guest speaker at the annual meeting. Mr. Romenesko joined AAR CORP. (AAR) in 1981, is currently a member of the AAR Board of Directors, and has held various roles within the organization including Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Today he is responsible for maximizing the performance of AAR operating units and implementing strategies for growth.
Romenesko kicked off his comments to APEX membership by stating how, “excited AAR is to be in Duluth” and that the “company is off to a great start.” He reminisced about the first encounter he had with Duluth - a conversation with Congressman Jim Oberstar in 2007-2008 at an aviation event in Washington, DC. He also noted how APEX and the City of Duluth had continued this conversation at the 2011 Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Tradeshow, where Brian Hanson and Rob West approached AAR with the story of the Duluth facility.
The rationale for locating in Duluth, Romenesko explained, included “The available state-of-the-art maintenance facility, the significant local workforce still intact, an attractive incentive package and the warm reception from public, private and government partners.” Romenesko complimented the efforts of APEX as an integral partner in the company’s expansion to the region.
AAR is a $2.3 billion, publically held (NYSE:AIR) provider of products and value-added services to the worldwide aerospace and defense industry. Today the Company employs approximately 7,000 people across the globe, with maintenance facilities in Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Hot Springs, Miami and Duluth. Romenesko indicated that the company chooses strategic locations based on their customers. With blue-chip customers including the U.S. Government, Airbus, Boeing and Southwest Airlines, Romenesko stated that AAR “offers a broad range of diverse capabilities and integrated solutions; that our job in life is to improve efficiency and reduce costs for customers.”
AAR signed a lease for the former Northwest Maintenance facility with DEDA in June of 2012. The Duluth facility employs over 120 employees today and will grow to an over 225 employees at full capacity. In addition to boosting the region’s aviation sector, AAR will contribute a total of $2.5 million to the local and state tax base. AAR recently commissioned an economic impact study to quantify the value of their work in Minnesota, the jobs the expansion will support and the overall impact on the State’s economy of $47 million annually.
Highlights of the IMPLAN study include**:
• Direct AAR spending of $25 million.
• Indirect/induced impacts (AAR employee spending, their households and suppliers) of $22 million.
• AAR’s overall annual economic impact in St. Louis County will be $39 million ($25 million direct).
• $1 of every $215 in the St. Louis County economy will be attributable to AAR’s operations in the County.
Creating and Sustaining Jobs
• AAR will employ 244 people in Minnesota. Each new AAR job will support an additional 1.7 jobs in the State.
• In total, AAR will directly and indirectly support more than 405 Minnesota jobs.
• In St. Louis County, AAR will sustain and support a total of 369 jobs (244 direct).
**Provided by AAR
To reach the full impact stated above, AAR must continue to expand the size of their workforce. Currently 100 employees staff two shifts; to be at full capacity, and to keep pace with growing demand, the staff would expand to a third and fourth shift, taking total employment to 225 and beyond. Once AAR’s skilled workforce reaches a critical mass of Airframe and Power Plant (A&P) mechanics, the company will begin building a local training program to grow their own talent. The Company continues to promote open positions for skilled workers with A&P certification.
Romenesko expressed his excitement about the new facility and indicated that AAR and the community have a great future together. APEX investor-members can help ensure the company’s success – if you know of A&P certified mechanics, or people trained in aviation, please refer them to submit an application at employment.aarcorp.com to Jennie Sage Jennie.Sage@aarcorp.com.
Closing out 2012 with a “strategic refresh,” was also considered a win for the organization. APEX investor-members had the opportunity to help shape 2013 and beyond through several roundtable meetings aimed at gathering insight and direction for the APEX team. The outcome of those sessions, the enhanced APEX business development model, is outlined under 2013 Strategic Plan.
The year 2012 marked notable changes for organizational operations. Brian Hanson joined the APEX team in June as President/CEO. Jeff Borling, who held various executive positions within APEX and IEDC over 6 years, joined investor-member, Duluth Seaway Port Authority as their Director of Industrial and Economic Development.
After three years in operation, and engagement with several regional companies and organizations, the APEX leadership and Strategic Resources Group (SRG) Board of Directors decided to discontinue operations of SRG. Management determined that all of the organization’s resources should be channeled into the core 2013 APEX mission: Leverage private sector resources to drive investment throughout the region. The organization is very appreciative of the efforts of Rob West, Peter Miller and Dave Steininger over the past several years.
APEX also would like to recognize the efforts of Zach Filipovich, who played an integral role as intern for the past six months. Zach recently graduated from UMD with a degree in Accounting and minors in Marketing and Political Science. Zack will be joining APEX investor-member, Eagle Accounting as a staff accountant.
Duluth, MN: On January 31, 2013 Timothy Romenesko, President and Chief Operating Officer of AAR CORP. (AAR), addressed the APEX Annual Board of Directors meeting at the Kitchi Gammi Club. Over 75 of the region’s private sector leaders gathered to hear from Mr. Romenesko and elect the 2013 Board of Directors.
AAR is a NYSE traded provider of products and value-added services to the worldwide aerospace and defense industry with approximately 7,000 employees across the globe.
They announced expansion to the former Northwest Maintenance facility last year. “AAR is a mid-sized company experiencing significant growth and we are eager to contribute to St. Louis County’s future development with our newest operation in Duluth,” Romenesko said, adding AAR would pay more than $2.5 million a year in state and local taxes and support an estimated 200 additional related jobs.
Mr. Romenesko joined AAR in 1981, is currently a member of the Board of Directors of AAR, and has held various roles within the organization including Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Romenesko is responsible for maximizing the performance of AAR operating units and implementing strategies for growth.
APEX and regional economic development partners developed and executed a sophisticated, targeted strategy to recruit the AAR expansion to the City of Duluth. “APEX is thrilled with the success of this initiative, having helped recruit a global leader in the aerospace industry. Assisting in their expansion efforts and ongoing recruitment of a qualified and talented workforce is part of our shared success,” added APEX President and CEO, Brian Hanson.
APEX is the private-sector led, business development engine for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. APEX member-investors represent some of the most influential companies in the region, with a collaborative approach to promoting sustainable economic growth throughout the Northland. APEX’s recent attraction successes include aviation, data centers, professional services and next generation forest products.
In 2012 APEX also worked with several regional partners on various expansion projects. Most notably DC Manufacturing in Grand Rapids and the new Corporate Tower in Duluth that AtWater and maurices are collaboratively building.
Since 2003, APEX has impacted over 3,050 jobs in the region, resulting in an annual regional payroll of over $110 million, contributing to over $12 million in State and local taxes annually.
In addition to hearing from the region’s newest employer, the APEX membership elected the 2013 Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
APEX 2013 Executive Committee Officers:
- Chair, Peter Hedstrom, US Bank
- Vice Chair, Dan Markham, Capstan Corporation
- Immediate Past Chair, Al Hodnik, ALLETE, Inc
- Secretary, Nancy Norr, Minnesota Power
- Treasurer, John Strange, St. Luke’s
- At Large, Jim Bendas, Genesis Attachments
- At Large, Mark Emmel, Labovitz Enterprises
- At Large, Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, Essentia
- At Large, Andrea Schokker, University of Minnesota Duluth
APEX 2013 Board of Directors:
- Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation
- Jim Bendas, Genesis Attachments
- William Bennett, LHB
- Scott Bradt, Wells Fargo
- Ken Browall, Duluth News Tribune
- Mark Emmel, Labovitz Enterprises/Lion Hotel Group
- George Goldfarb, maurices, inc.
- Peter Hedstrom, US Bank
- Jo Ann Hoag, St. Luke’s Hospital
- Alan Hodnik, ALLETE
- Patrick Johns, Lake Superior College
- Andrea Schokker, University of Minnesota Duluth
- Steve LaFlamme, Oneida Realty Company
- Mike Lalich, UMD Natural Resources Research Institute
- Tom Lambrecht, Great River Energy
- Brian Maki, Lakehead Constructors
- Dan Markham, Capstan Corporation
- Robert Mars, Jr., W.P. & R.S. Mars Company
- Michael Metcalf, Essentia Health
- Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, Essentia Health
- Nancy Norr, Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Company
- Adolph Ojard, Duluth Seaway Port Authority
- Tom Renier, Northland Foundation
- David Ross, Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce
- John Strange, St. Luke’s Hospital
- Tom Werner, Duluth Airport Authority
APEX is the private-sector led business development engine for northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. APEX member-investors represent some of the most influential companies in the region, with a collaborative approach to promoting sustainable economic growth throughout the Northland. With a results-driven approach to business and economic development, APEX has the right people, the right resources and the right attitude to help grow business.
National Bank of Commerce (NBC) has signed a letter of intent to be a tenant in the $80 million retail/office tower planned for 425 W. Superior St. in downtown Duluth.
A portion of the Superior Street and skywalk levels will be occupied by NBC, said bank CEO Steve Burgess. Drive through service will be accessible via the parking ramp.
"National Bank of Commerce has been committed to this region since 1934, and that commitment just got stronger," said Burgess. "There's no better way to demonstrate our confidence in our customers and this community than to grow with them. We can't wait to move into this impressive new facility and begin offering our Duluth community the conveniences that will come with the new location."
NBC's current Duluth bank location at 1314 E. Superior St. will remain open after the 425 W. Superior St. bank opens.
"We have two bank locations in Superior that are 17 blocks apart on Tower Avenue, and they provide conveniences for our clients, depending on where they live and work," said Burgess. "We want to provide that same added convenience to our Duluth community, too."
NBC's current bank locations in Hermantown, Poplar and Solon Springs will remain open.
"As a locally-owned business, we're happy to be taking steps to grow with our community," Burgess said. "The future of the Twin Ports is bright, and National Bank of Commerce is committed to doing everything we can to grow with our friends and neighbors. We are thankful to our loyal customers who have helped make this possible."
National Bank of Commerce is the area's largest, locally-owned bank, with two banks in Superior and one each in Poplar, Solon Springs, Duluth and Hermantown.
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The TwinPortsConnex Young Entrepreneurs Network presents a panel discussion by area business people who have done it and who have achieved success. Admission is free to the event, which starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at Clyde Iron Works, 2920 W. Michigan St., Duluth.
The event is open to the public but designed especially for young entrepreneurs who are considering starting a business or who already operate a business locally. The panel participants and their companies are:
- Eric Faust, Duluth Coffee Co.
- Briana von Elbe, Pearson & von Elbe LLC, Footprint Promotional Advertising and Flossy Designs
- Mike Schraepfer, Schraepfer Properties, Lake Avenue Cafe and Lawn Care Express
- Amber Griffith, Cake Occasions
- Alex Giuliani, Clyde Iron Works
- Dave Orman, Raven & Associates Inc.
TwinPortsConnex is a non-profit program offering career development and networking resources to help 18- to 35-year-old rising stars find jobs and promotions locally, as well as start businesses of their own.
Resources are offered to job seekers and employers in person and through TwinPortsConnex.com. The College of St. Scholastica is incubating the program, with funding from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Managing Director, TwinPortsConnex
You're invited to the Tax Reform Open House for Business Leaders
Thursday January 17, 4-5:30pm
Department of Revenue
Skjegstad Room, #2000
600 North Robert Street
St. Paul, MN 55146
Click here for more information or call 651-296-3403.
The public is invited to tour the new, world-class passenger terminal before it opens for business. There will be self-guided tours; family-fun activities provided by the Duluth Children’s Museum; aviation displays, including an F-16 model plane; musical entertainment; giveaways and prizes, including airline vouchers; an appearance by Champ, UMD’s Mascot and much more. The first 300 people in the door will receive a complimentary goody bag from maurices. The events are made possible through the generous support of many sponsors.
The event is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in the airport’s short and long-term parking lots between 11:30 am and 4 pm on the day of event. Overflow parking is available in the Cirrus Parking Lot (located on Cirrus Drive, off Hwy 53, near Curtis Oil). The Duluth Transit Authority will provide complimentary shuttle service every 20 minutes between the hours of 11:30 am and 4:30 pm to and from overflow parking and the terminal.
This event is hosted by the Duluth Airport Authority.
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