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.
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
Park State Bank
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Solon Springs Mercantile
Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation
Members at Large
Serendipity Endeavors, Inc.
Itasca Economic Development Corporation
Duluth Airport Authority
Wise Elephant Consulting
State of Minnesota, Togo Correctional Facility
National Bank of Commerce
The Plum Catalyst
Northland Learning Center
President & CEO
SENIOR CONSULTANT & NORTHLAND CONNECTION PROGRAM MANAGER
CONSULTANT & FINANCE MANAGER
ALI BILDEN CAMPS
CONSULTANT & NORTHFORCE PROGRAM MANAGER
WELCOMING COMMUNITY PROGRAM COORDINATOR | LEAD FOR AMERICA/AMERICORPS FELLOW SERVING NORTHSPAN
CAITLIN VANDER WAL
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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.
- Arrowhead Regional Development Commission Revolving Loan Fund Management Begins (1985)
- Northspan Offers Small Business Administration 7a Services (1985)
- Arrowhead Business Connection Created (1987)
- Minnesota Marketplace Created (late 80s)
- Upper Minnesota Film Office Created (1996)
- Carlton County Economic Development Committee Support Begins (1998)
- 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)
- Covid-19 Relief Fund Administration Begins (2020)
- Arrowhead Regional Development Commission Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Community Engagement Facilitation (2020)
- Mille Lacs Tribal Economy Business Incubator Facilitation (2021)
- Welcoming Community Programming Begins (2021)