November Board & Investor-Member Meeting Highlights

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November Board & Investor-Member Meeting Highlights

board meeting

At the APEX Board of Directors meeting held at the Inn on Lake Superior on November 7, 2019, Mark Schill, with Praxis Strategy Group, reviewed the outcomes of the organization’s strategic planning process. In August and September, APEX engaged its investor-members and partners in a series of face to face focus groups and an online survey to gather input as part of its strategic planning process. A total of 116 stakeholders participated, including about 70 identifying as investor-members and 34 as partners.

“I am pleased with the insights Praxis gleaned from the process. Our investor-members and partners were highly-engaged and provided the feedback needed to ensure our team continues to represent the APEX region effectively in business development, attraction and retention,” stated Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO.

Regional highlights from the process include:

  • Nearly 60% of participants feel the region’s economy has improved over the past few years and 6% feel that it is declining
  • Ultimately, 72% of participants feel that the region does a good job with economic development
  • Strong need for economic diversification remains to be a concern – specifically given the challenges of external economic influences
  • Difficulty accessing new workers remains a challenge most consistently mentioned among participants, followed by the view of an anti-business mentality in the public sector across the region
  • The primary goal for economic development in the region may be shifting away from simply “grow” to a more nuanced call for good jobs and raising incomes

APEX internal assessment highlights:

  • Perceptions of APEX are positive, with 97% agreeing that APEX is a trusted organization – with nearly three-quarters of participants viewing APEX as the leader of economic development in the region
  • APEX is viewed as a neutral, honest and effective broker of development deals and discussions of broader issues affecting economic development
  • Recognition of APEX’s work to bridge regional economic development gaps and improve partner organization relationships; tangible partnerships such as NORTHFORCE and Northland Connection, were cited as examples of positive projects
  • Members invest because they believe in the importance of the organization’s work, but many also expressed value in becoming a participant in APEX’s group of investor-member business leaders

APEX Executive Committee and staff are currently formulating a plan to rollout insights from the strategic planning process. The mission, vision, value propositions and key areas of focus were approved by the Board of Directors at the meeting and can be found on the APEX website.

Steve Burgess (Left), Mark Schill (center), and Brian Hanson (right) at November's meeting. APEX Chairman of the Board and CEO of National Bank of Commerce, Steve Burgess (left), pictured with Mark Schill, Vice President for Research at Praxis Strategy Group & Managing Editor of (middle), and  APEX CEO and President, Brian Hanson (right)

Category: APEX