Recharging the Range

Thursday, June 30, 2016

mark phillips

Keynote speaker, Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).

During the May Board meeting, APEX investor-members and guests heard keynote speaker, Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), present economic development strategies included in the IRRRB’sRecharging the Range efforts.

Commissioner Phillips returned to the IRRRB in January 2015, after more than 25 years in leadership positions in a variety of organizations. He most recently served as Director of Business Development at Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.

“Steel is being consumed at high levels and our steel industry is competitive on a global level. There’s no reason for this recent economic downturn on the Iron Range,” stated Commissioner Phillips. Nearly 7,000 people have been laid off due to illegal dumping activities, which has had an incredible impact on the Range.

Commissioner Phillips informed the Board that the IRRRB receives a lot of funding and much of that funding has been put into public identities to upgrade waste water, drinking water, infrastructure, etc.  due to other resources not being available on the Range to handle these needs. Yet, citizens want jobs and diversification in industries which is needed to boost the regional economy. Commissioner Phillips decided regional planning was necessary to incorporate economic development in their region. He wanted input from both the public and private sector as well as business leaders and the community as a whole. Thus, Recharge the Range was born. There have been three Recharge the Range forums to date with 350 people having participated and hundreds of ideas generated. Things began happening by just gathering people together, i.e. an art commission has been formed, planning for a mountain bike trail and a downtown clean-up team created.

The fourth Recharge the Range event was held on June 6, 2016, at the Discovery Center in Chisholm to prioritize the ideas previously presented. The event was open to the public and APEX investor-members were encouraged to attend.

“We are all keenly aware of the issues impacting the Iron Range today,” stated Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. “The IRRRB’s work with Recharging the Range has resulted in great conversations among key thought leaders, and more importantly, it has put projects in motion. It won’t be easy to change the trajectory of the Range’s economy, but we’re on the right path.”

Category: Economic Development