To be expert navigators, transforming ideas into accomplishments.
President & CEO
Elissa Hansen leads Northspan with more than 20 years of experience in business, community, organizational, and economic development across Minnesota and Wisconsin. She invests her time creatively advancing others’ capabilities. In Elissa’s role at Northspan, she engages with and elevates every client by facilitating tough conversations and moving organizations forward with action-oriented strategic methods. She works to create a setting for meaningful communications that respects diverse perspectives, creates joint resolve, and inspires individual and group action.
A Typical Week
President & CEO
Elissa Hansen invests her time creatively advancing others' capabilities. Recently, she has facilitated strategic planning processes for numerous public, private, and nonprofit organizations in the Upper Midwest. She also spearheaded the creation of the Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative and has worked to expand and enhance Northspan’s programs. She leads Northspan with over 20 years of experience in business and economic development across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Bob Palmquist provides technical and financial assistance to large and small businesses, financial institutions, local units of government, and development organizations. He also provides professional services in the area of succession planning facilitation and valuations to businesses in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. He spent 17 years in commercial lending prior to joining Northspan in 1991.
Research Director & Senior Consultant
Karl Schuettler manages the Northland Connection program, provides support services to local communities, and researches and analyzes economic trends. In the past year, Karl’s work has included numerous economic analyses, reports on business visit programs, and staffing support for several regional partnerships. He holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Minnesota.
Associate Consultant & Operations Manager
Amanda Vuicich provides technical and financial assistance for business development clients, supports strategic planning work, and oversees administrative operations for the Northspan team. Over the past year, she conducted numerous business visits, assisted with Northspan’s programs, and assisted clients who use loan fund programs administered by Northspan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Ashley Luna assists in administrative operations for the Northspan team and provides logistical support for regional partnerships. She also works on Northspan powered programs such as Northland Connection, NORTHFORCE, and the Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative.
Northspan is set to host the first annual virtual Northeast Minnesota Equity Summit in partnership with regional and statewide collaborators. The Equity Summit is an opportunity for community leaders, businesses, educators, creatives, workforce and economic development, government, health care, philanthropy, and YOU to engage around themes related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and forge a…
Why Child Care Matters: Northeast Minnesota Summit Join us November 10th for this virtual event: REGISTER HERE Date: Wednesday, November 10th Time: 9:00AM – 11:00AM Free of charge, but please register in advance. Northland communities continue to face a big challenge: enough quality care for our young children. It affects families, employers, and regional productivity.…
A flurry of Small Business Administration (SBA) activity this year has kept lenders, businesses, and other stakeholders busy with following the nuances of fast-paced changes related to COVID-19 regulations and legislation. In a new development, this September 30 we saw the expiration of many enhancements that have gone into effect since the onset of the…