On January 29, 2015, the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX) hosted their annual Board of Directors meeting at the Kitchi Gammi Club. More than 100 regional, public and private sector leaders were in attendance for the annual meeting and to hear guest speaker, Cathy Wurzer, host and anchor of MPR News’ Morning Edition, author of Tales of the Road: Highway 61, and Emmy-winning co-host of Twin Cities Public Television’s Almanac.
During the business meeting, Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO, reviewed the organization’s accomplishments and the region’s business growth in 2014.
The aviation and energy sectors are thriving. AAR completed its 100th airplane delivery and signed a five-year contract with Air Canada. Ikonics announced a second manufacturing facility. Northstar Aerospace continues to grow. Cirrus Aircraft is prepared to launch the Cirrus Vision SF50 (the world’s first “personal jet”). Lake Superior College’s Center for Advanced Aviation added Hangar 103 to its facility. Energy sector growth was led in large part by the growth of Enbridge, which filtered an increase of business to Lake Superior Consulting, LHB, Barr Engineering, Krech Ojard and Associates, and others. Additionally, APEX has been managing an impressive list of LNG (liquefied natural gas) developers with interest in our region.
Growth is occurring across a variety of other industries as well. The new headquarters of women’s clothing retailer maurices is under construction, managed by general contractor McGough Construction Company. Expanding digital startup Tryon Media, serving the fashion entertainment industry, has attracted local and international capital, including from APEX angel investors. And APEX continues to advocate for projects like non-ferrous mining and the Enbridge pipeline expansion.
Guest speaker, Cathy Wurzer, spoke to APEX investor-members and partners regarding the tradition of entrepreneurship in the region and how businesses are inextricably entwined into the fabric of the history and future. Wurzer challenged regional leaders to do more to transform outdated perceptions of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. “You have the power to change the narrative of this region by building upon your history and promoting the beautiful North Shore, the cool cultural scene in Duluth, craft beers, outdoor activities and more,” stated Wurzer.
At the annual meeting, APEX membership elected the 2015 Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.
APEX 2015 Executive Committee Officers:
- Chair, Nancy Norr, Minnesota Power
- Vice Chair, Brian Thun, maurices
- Immediate Past Chair, Mark Emmel, Labovitz Enterprises
- Secretary, Andrea Schokker, UMD
- Treasurer, John Strange, St. Luke’s
- At Large, Steve Burgess, National Bank of Commerce
- At Large, Julianne Hanson, Foth Infrastructure & Environment
- At Large, Mark Hubbard, Lakehead Constructors, Inc.
- At Large, Dr. Daniel Nikcevich, Essentia Health