Operating as an Extension of Your Team

APEX works well with business because we understand business. Our leadership and staff are comprised of seasoned professionals and executives with extensive experience leading private sector organizations.


 

Brian Hanson
President & CEO

Economic Development

Brian Hanson became APEX’s President and CEO in June of 2012. During the 15 years prior to joining APEX, he was involved in business and community development in both the public and private sector, specializing in economic development finance, regional marketing, and executive-level prospect development...

Ian Vincent
Senior Business Developer

Economic Development

Vincent joined the APEX team in May of 2014. His key responsibilities include team leadership in manufacturing and workforce development. He played a managing role with NORTHFORCE.org from 2013-2018, and continues in an oversight capacity. He was also the team lead for the Talent Forecas...

Matt Shermoen
Business Developer

Economic Development

Matt joined the APEX team in 2019 as Business Developer.  Matt is responsible for attracting, expanding and retaining key strategic employers within the region, and leverages his sales expertise to build relationships with management personnel, demonstrating how expanding in or relocating to the APEX region lead...

Sandy Johnson
Manager, Member Relations & Administration

Economic Development

Sandy Johnson joined APEX in September of 2008. Her responsibilities include overseeing all administrative details required to support a dynamic, high-energy office environment, while further coordinating company events and assisting APEX investor-members in a variety of capacities. Sandy graduated from the University of Maryland in Colleg...

Bailey Plemel
Operations Specialist

Economic Development

Bailey Plemel joined APEX in June of 2019. As the Operations Specialist, Bailey utilizes her attention to detail and organizational skills to help the APEX team achieve their goals. She is responsible for general office administration, assisting with the hiring and training of interns, an...

Steve Burgess
Chair

Board

CEO National Bank of Commerce National Bank of Commerce CEO, Steve Burgess, has over 30 years of banking experience, joining NBC almost two years ago (June 2012 started at NBC), from State Bank Financial in La Crosse, Wisconsin, there he was president and CEO for 11 years. Steve...

Lisa Bodine
Vice Chair

Board

Co-Owner & President Giant Voices, Inc. Lisa Bodine is Co-Owner and President of Giant Voices, Inc., a Duluth-based strategic marketing and communication firm. Bodine spearheads business growth and dissects business issues with incisive strategic insight honed by 20 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, the Minnesot...

Brian Thun
Immediate Past Chair

Board

Senior Vice President/CFO maurices Brian Thun is the senior vice president and chief financial officer at maurices and has been with the company for more than 20 years.  Brian has been in his current role since 2012 after holding the position of vice president, controller for th...

Kevin Nokels
Treasurer

Board

President & CEO St. Luke’s Kevin Nokels became President & CEO of St. Luke’s on August 12, 2019. A native of Long Prairie, MN, and a graduate of Saint John's University with a Master of Business Administration from St. Cloud State, Nokels got his start in health car...

Staff Member Photo
Brad Beard
Secretary

Board

Chancellor Lendley Black
At-Large Member

Board

Chancellor University of Minnesota Duluth Lendley C. Black began his tenure as Chancellor of UMD on August 1, 2010.  Dr. Black came to UMD from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2002 until he was promoted i...

Deb DeLuca
At-Large Member

Board

Executive Director Duluth Seaway Port Authority President of Minnesota Ports Association Executive Committee Member of APEX Board Member of the Iron Mining Association Board Member of the Chamber of Marine Commerce Alternate Minnesota Commissioner to the Great Lakes Commission Deborah DeLuca is the Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority an...

Staff Member Photo
Frank Frederickson
At-Large Member

Board

Lorraine Little
At-Large Member

Board

Director, Community Engagement, U.S. PAC Enbridge   Lorraine Little, M.B.A., is the Director of Community Engagement (Midwest) at Enbridge. Lorraine and her team are responsible for building and maintaining relationships in the communities near Enbridge’s pipelines and facilities. Prior to joining the company in 2008, Lorraine worked i...

Andrea Schokker
Secretary

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs University of Minnesota Duluth Dr. Andrea J. Schokker, earned both BS and MS engineering degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, and holds a PhD in Structural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Schokker spent nearly a decad...

Bill Bennett
Secretary

CEO, LHB LBH Corp. Bill is a registered Professional Engineer and serves as the CEO for LHB, a 265 person Engineering, Architectural, and Planning firm with three offices in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. He has been actively engaged in economic development activities in Northern Minnesota an...

Dr. Daniel Nikcevich
At-Large Member

East Region President & Chief Medical Officer Essentia Health Dr. Nikcevich is a board-certified hematologist/oncologist who also continues a busy clinical practice. Dr. Nikcevich joined Essentia Health in 2002, after he completed his hematology/oncology fellowship and internal medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center.  A Chicago native...

John Strange
Treasurer

President & CEO St. Luke's Since 1996, John Strange has provided leadership at St. Luke’s in the role of President/CEO. He came to St. Luke’s in 1992 as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. Prior to joining St. Luke’s, Mr. Strange moved his way up th...

Nancy Aronson Norr
Immediate Past Chair

Director of Regional Development Minnesota Power Nancy Aronson Norr of Duluth, Minn. is Director, Regional Development at Minnesota Power, an ALLETE company. She has extensive experience in board governance, loan fund portfolio management, issues advocacy and community relations. Her leaderhsip responsibilities cover a broad array of economic development activities an...

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