July Board Meeting Highlights

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The APEX Board of Directors meeting was held on Thursday,

July 7, 2016 at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Duluth. APEX Chair, Nancy Norr, welcomed investor-members and recognized members in the news. In John Strange’s absence, Jesse Frye presented the May financials, indicating a strong financial position year-to-date.

Chair Norr also recognized investor-members who were joined by interns. APEX has been an advocate of hiring and promoting interns within the organization for nearly 10 years. To show support of investor-member efforts and to introduce interns to the broader business community, for the third year, APEX invited investor-members to bring their organizations’ interns to the Board meeting. Interns were introduced and welcomed from APEX and investor-members AlleteAltec HiLineBendTecThe Boldt CompanyBarr EngineeringFlint GroupGiant VoicesHanft FrideThe Jamar CompanymauricesMcGoughNational Bank of Commerce and SISU Healthcare IT Solutions.

Investor-members welcomed keynote speaker Bill Van Sant, Executive Chairman of Builtrite™ Handlers and Attachments (formerly Northshore Manufacturing). The cornerstone of Van Sant’s presentation, “Helping Small Manufacturing Businesses Prepare to Succeed,” included his approach to, and experience with, successful strategic planning. 

The entirety of Van Sant’s career has been in manufacturing. The first 50 years of his career was with large, international companies, including 27 years at John Deere; the remainder of his experience has been in small to mid-size private companies. Van Sant highlighted the past fifteen years, stating, “Small to mid-size businesses are not only a key economic growth sector in our Country, but they are also filled with brilliant entrepreneurs.”

Van Sant’s presentation focused on the key components of a successful strategic plan, including:

  • Define entity’s purpose
  • Establish the strategy statement with measureable attributes
  • Set strategic goals and objectives
  • Develop tactical plans lined to strategy
  • Engage all associates via strategy flow-down process
  • Practice accountability across the entity
  • Manage by data, not by opinion

Van Sant described how he has deployed this strategy throughout his career, helping propel the growth of several companies including Warn Industries and Paladin Brands.

To help during the planning and execution phase of the strategic plan, Van Sant also outlined several “Toolbox” factors, including:

  • Acknowledge the time-performance relationship during change
  • Develop seamless high performance team based organization
  • Practice the phenomena of diminishing performance expectations
  • Plan the work and work the plan (indicating importance of 90% allocated to planning and 10% to execution)
  • Conduct regular status updates with employees – results vs. plan

Van Sant further elaborated on the importance of employee accountability, “Establish a hard line of site between the strategy statement and tactical plan – this is the crux of the plan.”

Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO, received an outpouring of positive feedback from investor-members after Van Sant’s presentation, “Bill’s advice and presentation style resonated well with our investor-members. To say the strategic planning experience he brings to the region’s manufacturing industry from both an international and entrepreneurial perspective is impressive is an understatement.”

For a copy of Van Sant’s PowerPoint presentation, contact Sandy Johnson at 218-740-3667.

The APEX Board of Directors meeting concluded with a brief update of the APEX annual dashboard and deal sheet progress from Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. APEX currently has a total of 22 expansion or attraction projects in the pipeline spanning five industries. For more specific information, contact Brian at 218-740-3667.

Category: Board Meetings