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.
Entrepreneurship opportunities can provide economic benefits, while opening space for individuals from diverse backgrounds to experience a sense of connection, belonging, and stability within our region. The ability to access the knowledge and resources to become a successful entrepreneur in Northeast Minnesota provides opportunities for underrepresented community members to find economic security and build wealth.…
Northspan President & CEO Elissa Hansen covered the ins and outs of strategic planning during the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ Bite-Sized Learning session “Ask Me Anything” on April 20, 2022. A recording of the event is available at this link for 60 days (use %=7jOu4? as the Zoom access passcode). The virtual session explored Northspan’s preferred…
Northspan contributed data to an April 7 Duluth News Tribune article that delved into the complexities of the regional child care shortage. The article focused on the shortage in Carlton County while exploring dynamics at work throughout the Northland. At present, every county in northeast Minnesota is facing deficits in child care slots, according to…