APEX Received EDAM Award

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

APEX was recently recognized by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM) with an Excellence in Economic Development Award in the Innovation category, for the organization’s 360-degree virtual reality familiarization (360VR FAM) video tour of the APEX region.

“We’re honored to receive an EDAM Innovation Award for our 360VR FAM tour,” said Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. “It has allowed us to share the benefits of the entire APEX region. These real-time virtual visits are sparking many positive conversations with site selectors around the world.”

The EDAM Innovation Award is a new award category for 2020, recognizing a creative solution to an economic development challenge. It is awarded to a community, county, organization, or a collaborative team for any or all of the following:

  • Programs or initiatives that focus on business attraction, talent attraction or retention, business retention and expansion, financing, entrepreneurship, technology, or other economic development initiatives.
  • Successful partnerships that demonstrate the strength of working together as a collective whole.
  • Creativity, effective communication, and impeccable execution of an economic development marketing initiative.

APEX partnered with Golden Shovel Agency (GSA) to create the innovative 360VR FAM tour of the APEX region during the summer of 2017. The tour was designed with flexibility in mind and was updated in 2019 with new footage featuring all four seasons in the APEX region.

Members of APEX staff provide a guided familiarization tour of the APEX region to global sight selector Gregg Wassmansdorf from across the country.

Kim Lindquist (City of Rosemount - EDAM President) and Matt Brown (City of Coon Rapids - former EDAM President) presenting the EDAM Innovation Award to Ian Vincent (APEX - Senior Business Developer).


Through VR goggles, users anywhere in the world meet in a virtual space to view the APEX 360VR FAM tour in real-time together. Meeting participants have handheld controllers and are assigned avatars, which communicate with head motions and hand gestures. The host can pause the video tour, rewind, or fast forward to create customized presentations.

"The PlaceVR virtual tour was excellent, and this technology and service will keep getting better,” said global site selector Gregg Wassmansdorf of the Newmark Knight Frank consulting firm. “The virtual tour of the APEX region felt like I was actually visiting and provided a nice introduction to the community and its local assets."

This pioneering approach comprehensively highlights the area’s business advantages while making the APEX region more competitive in attracting industry. The intent is to bring in businesses, create new jobs, and enhance the regional tax base.

Category: APEX