The Regional Business Climate
APEX investor-members are focused on growth. Their successes and achievements have a positive impact on the region. Browse recent headlines to get a sense of how investor-members are impacting, and demonstrating their commitment, to the region.
Northland Foundation awards $885,000 in grants
Wednesday, August 05, 2020
The Northland Foundation awarded 140 grants totaling $885,000 from April through June to nonprofit organizations, school districts, and Tribal Nations to help support programming aligned with Northland’s strategic focus areas.
All but a dozen grants were made in response to the health and economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last quarter $123,000 in grants were awarded to help sustain child care during the pandemic. The majority of grant dollars – $673,000 – were made in support of basic needs such as food access, shelter, and safety for those most impacted by the COVID crisis. Numerous awards target foo...
Hodnik joins Minnesota Business Hall of Fame
Tuesday, August 04, 2020
Al Hodnik, ALLETE (NYSE:ALE) executive chairman and former president and CEO, is among this year’s inductees to the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame.
Each year the magazine honors five influential business leaders in Minnesota, recognizing them for their leadership and accomplishments in their respective industries, as well as their contributions to the business community. Hodnik joins more than 100 leaders inducted during the past 21 years.
Bethany Owen, who succeeded Hodnik as ALLETE president and CEO, said Hodnik’s leadership and vision have played a key role in the company’s success.
“As a company and as individuals, we have all benefited tremendously from Al’s passion for people...
Attorneys at Fryberger Law Firm Named Minnesota Super Lawyers
Friday, July 31, 2020
Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick, P.A. is proud to announce seven attorneys: Stephanie A. Ball, Robert R. Kanuit, Paul B. Kilgore, Paul A. Loraas, Daniel D. Maddy and James H. Stewart were named 2020 Minnesota Super Lawyers. Only 5% of Minnesota lawyers are awarded this honor each year.
To read about each of the recipients please visit Duluth News Tribune.
Essentia Health receives Health Care Hero award
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Essentia Health has received the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Trailblazer Award for its efforts to improve access to virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis encouraged Essentia Health teams to provide an opportunity for patients to receive care from their health care provider virtually by using a phone, tablet, laptop or personal computer, and to do so from the comfort of their home. Prompted by a need to keep patients and staff safe from the virus, virtual visits were unveiled March 18 — a full month ahead of a planned launch.
To read the full article visit Business North.
Kraus-Anderson completes new adult and pediatric therapy center for Essentia
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Duluth office of Kraus-Anderson has completed a new adult and pediatric therapy facility for Essentia Health, located on the second floor of the former Younkers department store at Miller Hill Health Plaza in Duluth.
Designed by LHB Architects, Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center expands Essentia’s treatments and services for patients with neurological conditions and developmental diagnoses and will offer new equipment and new spaces designed for the latest treatment approaches and therapies for children and adults.
To read the full news release please visit Business North.
National award recognizes St. Luke's advanced wound care and hyperbaric center
Monday, June 22, 2020
St. Luke’s Advanced Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center has been recognized with the President’s Circle award from Healogics for the third consecutive year. It earned the award by hitting high benchmarks, achieving exceptional clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a minimum wound healing rate of at least 91 percent within 28 median days to heal. The award is only given to a Center of Distinction with outstanding performance. There were 635 Centers eligible for the President’s Circle award, but only a select few achieved the honor.
To read the full article please visi...
Minnesota Power energizes hydropower line
Friday, June 19, 2020
Minnesota Power has energized its Great Northern Transmission Line, which delivers 250 megawatts of carbon-free hydropower from Manitoba to Minnesota Power customers.
Completed in February, the 224-mile line runs from the Canadian border in Roseau County to a substation near Grand Rapids. It consists of 800 tower structures that were fabricated in the United States and used 10,000 tons of North American steel. About 2,200 miles of wire were required to install the line’s conductors. Property taxes are paid to local communities along the route.
“This is such an incredible achievement for Minnesota Power,” which is a division of Duluth-based ALLETE, sai...
LSC Foundation to award over $30,000 in Workforce Development Scholarships
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
The Lake Superior College Foundation announced another round of Workforce Development Scholarships is now available. Eligible students can apply for one of at least twelve $2,500 scholarships which will be applied to fall semester 2020. The scholarships were made possible by a $7 million appropriation from the Legislature after a successful pilot program stemming from the 2017 legislative session that initially awarded $1 million in scholarships in the 2018-2019 academic year.
The scholarships are for students pursuing careers within advanced manufacturing, agriculture, health care services, information technology, early childhood education, and transportation at any of the 30 state colleges of Minnesot...
Northland Foundation assists region's small businesses to access interest-free financing
Friday, May 29, 2020
Soon after Governor Walz issued Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08affecting restaurants, bars and pubs, beauty salons, gyms, and others, the State of Minnesota responded by establishing the Small Business Emergency Loans Program, administered through the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The five-year, no-interest loans range from $2,500 to $35,000 with the first payment deferred for six months.
The Northland Foundation, selected as a certified lender for the program, received $1.3 million in state funding designated for northeastern Minnesota borrowers. As of April 30, two dozen loans totaling $687,500 had been finalized to small businesses in the region.
To view which small businesses are recipients o...
National Bank of Commerce provides $20,000 to Head of the Lakes United Way
Thursday, May 28, 2020
National Bank of Commerce (NBC), is the area’s largest, locally-owned, full-service community bank. It’s important for NBC to give back to the communities in which they serve. In the midst of COVID-19 it is vital to support the small businesses and nonprofits in our community.
Through the partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, NBC was able to award $20,000 to the Head of the Lakes United Way. The organization’s mission is to unite caring people and mobilize resources to empower individuals and strengthen communities. To learn more about the United Way you can visit their website, hlunitedway.org.
To read th...
Duluth International Airport recognized for snow, ice control
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Duluth International Airport (DLH) was awarded the Honorable Mention Balchen/Post Award for excellence in snow and ice control. The awards will be presented at the 54th Annual International Aviation Snow Symposium (IASS) on October 5th, 2020, in Buffalo, NY.
The award is recognizing DLH’s Airside Operations Team for their efforts in maintaining the airport in safe and operational status during the 2019 – 2020 winter season. DLH received the Honorable Mention in the category of Small Commercial Airport (Less than 100,000 operations per year).
To read the full article please visit Business North.
Lake Country Power lines up summer construction projects
Thursday, May 21, 2020
In spite of the national economic downturn, Lake Country Power in 2020 is moving ahead with a series of construction projects to improve electrical service to its members.
“We will be completing power quality and required road projects,” said Derek Howe, Lake Country Power chief operating officer. “But we are concerned about the impact (of the downturn) and are curtailing some of our age-related construction.”
The rural electric cooperative is going ahead with a power quality project at its Cohasset substation. It will increase the substation’s capacity and reliability for customers in the Cohasset area.
The co-op’s Gunn substation east of Grand Rapid...
Duluth International Airport to receive nearly $1.5 million for improvement projects
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
The Federal Aviation Administration will award nearly $1.5 million to the Duluth International Airport in airport safety and infrastructure grants.
The funding comes from the FAA's airport improvement program. The Duluth International Airport will use the money toward acquiring snow removal equipment, sealing taxiway pavement surface and pavement joints as well as expanding the airport's apron, which is the area where airplanes are parked for refueling and maintenance services.
The projects have been planned for some time, Tom Werner, said executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority, adding that the grant money will help the airport infuse activity into the economy wit...
Port of Duluth-Superior lands record 17th Pacesetter honor
Thursday, May 14, 2020
The port of Duluth-Superior earned its second consecutive Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. on Wednesday. The honor acknowledged an increase in international cargo tonnage during the 2019 shipping season.
The port of Duluth-Superior was one of five ports in the United States to earn the distinction. It was the record 17th Pacesetter for the local port since the awards started in 1992.
Four of Duluth-Superior’s six cargo categories posted season-over-season tonnage increases in 2019. General cargo, comprised of project cargoes, breakbulk and heavy-lift industrial pieces, led the way with a tenfold tonnage increase.
To read the full article pleas...
JR Jensen Construction aids the Twin Ports community with PPE donation and contribution towards two area food shelves
Friday, May 08, 2020
Since the beginning of Governor Evers “Safer at Home” orders, JR Jensen has been fortunate to continue the majority of their operations as an essential business in the construction trades. In late March, JR Jensen was able to assist emergency responders and other healthcare professionals throughout the twin ports by donating their supply of much needed personal protective equipment item, N95 masks. Understanding the need and forecasted shortage of these masks across all healthcare networks, JR Jensen team quickly took an inventory of the highly regarded masks and prioritized with the given shortage that their supplies should be donated t...
Lake Superior College Waiving Application Fee In April
Thursday, May 07, 2020
Lake Superior College waived its application fee in April, and is now extending that through the end of June. This is part of an initiative to encourage prospective students to explore the 90-plus programs offered at LSC, as well as potentially help assist and support those employees who may be, or could become, displaced workers due to economic challenges with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Lake Superior College offers a wide variety of certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in career and technical fields, as well as pre-baccalaureate majors for students interested in saving thousands by completing their first two years at LSC and then transferring to a 4-yea...
Use of virtual care at Essentia Health soars during COVID-19 pandemic
Monday, May 04, 2020
Essentia Health ranks among industry leaders in its robust use of virtual visits, ensuring that its patients continue to receive high-quality care during the coronavirus crisis.
“We had been working toward this goal prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Rich Vetter, chief medical officer at Essentia. “The pandemic certainly accelerated our plans and moved the launch date forward.”
Essentia’s first virtual visit was conducted on March 16, 2020, and since then it has conducted about 76,000. More than 3,000 visits occur most days, and at any given moment there could be 100-plus visits happening simultaneously.
A virtual visit is a video appointmen...
Kraus-Anderson earns Governor’s Safety Award
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Kraus-Anderson (KA) has been awarded a Governor’s Safety Meritorious Award in recognition of excellence in injury prevention performance. KA has one of the best safety records in the construction industry, a performance that for 27 years has earned the company the Governor’s Safety Award, the company said in a news release.
“KA’s commitment to our people’s safety is reflected in the company’s outstanding record of receiving this award,” said Al Gerhardt, president and COO of Kraus-Anderson. “No other recognition gives us more gratification.”
Since 1934, the annual Governor’s Safety Awards have honored Minnesota employers with exceptional safety performance. Applicants are judged o...
ALLETE showed strong financial growth in 2019
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) reported earnings growth versus 2018 in its annual report, released Feb. 13.
Earnings in 2019 were $3.59 per share on net income of $185.6 million and operating revenue of $1.2 billion. Reported results from 2018 were $3.38 per share on net income of $174.1 million and operating revenue of $1.5 billion, the report said.
Net income in 2019 included a gain on the sale of U.S. Water Services of 26 cents per share, of which 4 cents per share was recognized in the fourth quarter of 2019 for the favorable settlement of a U.S. Water Services patent infringemen...
‘Record year of growth’ at Duluth’s Cirrus Aircraft
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Sales at Cirrus Aircraft climbed last year, marking a record year of growth.
Cirrus’ production increased by nearly 5% last year, with a total 465 aircraft sold. And the Duluth-based company’s Vision Jet, which sold 81 units, became the world’s bestselling jet in the general aviation industry, according to a news release from the company.
The Duluth-based company’s 2019 growth made it the fifth consecutive year that its airplane shipments increased.
Cirrus' growth comes as the rest of the industry also saw increases in sales of nearly all aircraft categories, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
To read the full article please visit th...
Essentia purchases former Sears store at Duluth mall
Monday, February 24, 2020
Essentia Health purchased the former Sears store in Duluth's Miller Hill Mall.
It will allow the health care system to offer a "variety of services to its patients at a convenient location," but exact plans haven't been finalized, according to a news release.
"Malls across America are redefining themselves as retailers close their stores. Essentia Health sees an opportunity to contribute to the redevelopment and vibrancy of the Duluth mall," the release read.
It’s the second Miller Hill space Essentia has purchased. The Miller Hill Health Plaza opened in the fall, and more services will be added to its second floor, according to th...
Designs enhance student success
Friday, February 21, 2020
TKDA has been awarded a contract to design a new residence hall and expanded dining hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth. It’s the fourth housing/dining project the company (and its predecessor firms) have prepared for the UM system.
The 10-story residence hall will be constructed on the north end of Griggs Hall and will complement the eight-story Ianni Hall to the south. In the long term, new facilities eventually will replace ones that are growing old, but it’s not an overnight process. Food and housing operations at the UM are required to support themselves. They finance construction through public bonds tha...
Labovitz School of Business and Economics Maintains Prestigious AACSB Business Accreditation
Thursday, February 20, 2020
The Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) at the University of Minnesota Duluthhas been reaccredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. LSBE, which was first accredited in 2000, has the distinction of being the only school in Northeastern Minnesota to have attained AACSB accreditation. Only 5% of business schools globally have earned AACSB accreditation.
AACSB is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network connecting students, educators, and businesses worldwide.
Achieving accreditation is a multiyear rigorous process for the school in aligning all of its many components with AACSB’s high accreditation standards...