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.


Engage & Elevate


To be expert navigators, transforming ideas into accomplishments.

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.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Janelle Greschner

Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation


Kiera Wilson

Park State Bank


Anna Tanski

Catalyst Film Institute


Jamie Adams

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa


Arik Forsman

Minnesota Power


Members at Large

Chris LaFleur

Serendipity Endeavors, Inc.

Tamara Lowney

Itasca Economic Development Corporation

Tom Werner

Duluth Airport Authority

Rebekkah Anderson

Wise Elephant Consulting

David Copp

State of Minnesota, Togo Correctional Facility

Katterine Payer


Meg Thoreson

Solon Springs Mercantile

Mark Jeffers

Aitkin County


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.




  • 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)
  • APEX Start-Up Staffing Assistance (2004)
  • Arrowhead Business Connection Rebrand as Northland Connection & Website Launch (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)
  • Duluth Heritage Sports Center EDA Application (2008)


  • ARDC RLF Recapitalization (2010)
  • Addition of Valuation and Succession Services (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)
  • Duluth 1200 Fund Technical Assistance Begins (2016)
  • Addition of SBA 7a Loan Guaranty Sales (2016)
  • GPS 45:93 Relationship Begins (2017)
  • UPM-Blandin Crisis Response, Grand Rapids, MN (2018)
  • East Range Joint Powers Board Relationship Begins (2018)
  • Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative Created (2019)