About

Northspan specializes in creative thinking, enterprising strategies, and systematic approaches to help businesses, communities, regions, and organizations prosper in a global economy. Our professional staff work cooperatively with economic and community development partners to leverage resources for measurable, sustainable results. As a private, nonprofit consulting firm, we work quietly and confidentially to move projects forward on time and on budget by providing critical, gap capacity support that exceeds client expectations.

Vision

Engage & Elevate

Mission

To improve the economic well-being of our clients by delivering workable, creative solutions that enhance their effectiveness.

CORE Values

Inclusive: We facilitate intentional engagement of stakeholders and seek common solutions to community, business, and organizational challenges.

Trustworthy: We earn the loyalty of our clients by operating ethically, reliably, confidentially, and with integrity.

Stewards: We carefully manage the resources entrusted to us and focus on the long-term well-being of our clients and programmatic service areas.

Adaptable: We offer a broad range of expertise which enables us to seize new opportunities and tailor our offerings to meet our clients’ needs.

Diligent: We provide satisfaction to our clients by delivering excellent customer service and clear results.

History

Northspan has been a behind-the-scenes force for economic development for more than 30 years. It was born in 1985 as a private, nonprofit organization to offer professional business and community development services. At the time, northeast Minnesota was reeling from a recession, record high unemployment, and a shrinking tax base.

Northspan’s founders chose its name to reflect its broad mission across the Upper Midwest and formed it as a private, nonprofit fee-for-service consulting group to nimbly address issues while remaining committed to its mission.

Northspan then built a team of professionals with broad capabilities that worked without limits imposed by geography or any professional field. Since its inception, Northspan has spearheaded regional partnerships, lent a fresh perspective, and built deep relationships in the communities it serves.

1980s

1990s

2000s

  • Aitkin Iron Works Infrastructure federal EDA application (2000)
  • LTV Steel Crisis Response, Hoyt Lakes, MN (2001)
  • Cirrus Expansion EDA Application (2002)
  • Blandin Paper Company Crisis Response, Grand Rapids, MN (2003)
  • Minnesota Community Capital Fund Relationship Begins (2003)
  • City of Sandstone Technical Assistance Begins (2003)
  • Duluth Seaway Port Authority Airpark Expansion EDA Application (2003)
  • APEX Start-Up Staffing Assistance (2004)
  • Arrowhead Business Connection Rebrand as Northland Connection & Website Launch (2005)
  • Midtown Global Market EDA Application, Minneapolis, MN (2005)
  • Duluth Defense Base Realignment and Closure Adjustment Planning EDA Application (2005)
  • Cloquet Business Park Infrastructure EDA Application (2006)
  • Arrowhead Growth Alliance Relationship Begins (2007)
  • Range Readiness Initiative Facilitation (2007)
  • Cohasset Technology and Innovation Center Building EDA Application (2007)
  • Duluth Heritage Sports Center EDA Application (2008)

2010s

  • ARDC RLF Recapitalization (2010)
  • Addition of Valuation and Succession Services (2010)
  • Itasca Eco-Industrial Park Infrastructure EDA Application (2010)
  • Essar Site Infrastructure EDA Application, Nashwauk, MN (2010)
  • Northern Heights Business Park, EDA Application, Virginia, MN (2010)
  • Facilitation of Minnesota Power Community Advisory Panels Begins (2011)
  • Go Cook County Facilitation Begins (2012)
  • Boise Crisis Response, International Falls, MN (2013)
  • NORTHFORCE Created (2014)
  • Sandstone Business Park EDA Application (2015)

Present

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Jennifer Wainionpaa

American Bank of the North

CHAIR

Janelle Greschner

Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation

VICE CHAIR

Arik Forsman

Minnesota Power

TREASURER

Anna Tanski

Visit Duluth

SECRETARY

Members at Large

Steve Burggraf

Burggraf’s Ace Hardware & Paint

Mike Larson

Cascade Vacation Rentals

Tony Sertich

Northland Foundation

Jeff Borling

Great River Energy

Kiera Wilson

The Lake Bank

Bill Maki

Northeast Higher Education District

Jamie Adams

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa