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 development and community development partners throughout the region 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 foster respect through 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 always 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.
  • Delightful: We provide satisfaction and joy 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

  • ARDC RLF Management Begins (1985)
  • Northspan Offers SBA 7a Services (1985)
  • Arrowhead Business Connection Created (1987)
  • Minnesota Marketplace Created (late 80s)

1990s

  • UMFO Created (1996)
  • Carlton County Economic Development Committee Support Begins (1998)

2000s

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

2010s

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

Present

  • Duluth 1200 Fund Technical Assistance Begins (2016)
  • Addition of SBA 7a Loan Guaranty Sales (2016)
  • GPS 45:93 Relationship Begins (2017)
  • Blandin Crisis Response (2018)
  • Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative Created (2019)

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Jennifer Wainionpaa

American Bank of the North

CHAIR

Bill Maki

Northeast Higher Education District

VICE CHAIR

Janelle Greschner

IRRR

TREASURER / SECRETARY

Jeff Borling

Great River Energy

PAST CHAIR

Members at Large

Steve Burggraf

Burggraf’s Ace Hardware & Paint

Arik Forsman

Minnesota Power

Tony Sertich

Northland Foundation

Anna Tanski

Visit Duluth

Mike Larson

Cascade Vacation Rentals

Kiera Wilson - Member Elect

The Lake Bank

Jamie Adams - Member Elect

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa