NORTHFORCE Announces Tech Team and Advisory Committee Updates



Duluth, Minnesota – {Tuesday, October 27, 2020}: NORTHFORCE, the Northland’s online talent portal serving job seekers and employers in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin, has made updates to the initiative’s Technical Team and Advisory Committee.

The community initiative powered by Northspan is led by partners in local and regional economic development, higher education, and the business community.

The NORTHFORCE Technical Team includes five members: 

  • Laura Nilsen, Northspan & NORTHFORCE Program Operations Specialist — Laura is the data expert for In addition to overseeing day-to-day management of the site, she is the first point of contact for candidates and employers in Minnesota’s Carlton and southern St. Louis counties, and the three NF counties in Wisconsin: Ashland, Bayfield, and Douglas. Reach out to Laura for help with posting and applying for jobs, as well as connecting with candidates or employers!
  • Desiree Yourczek, Greater Northeast Minnesota Strategy & Development Consultant — Based on the Iron Range, Desiree strengthens connections between businesses and candidates in the NF area, specializing in the Minnesota counties of Aitkin, Itasca, Koochiching, and northern St. Louis. If you are seeking a career or internship within Minnesota’s Iron Range, or looking to connect with candidates in the area, reach out to Desiree!
      • Desiree and Laura share duties and responsibilities to appropriately cover Lake and Cook counties.
  • Josie Strom, Communications Consultant — Since 2016, Josie has handled the NF blog, newsletters, and media relations. If you have a lead on a NF story — a new hire, a career move, or another event — let Josie know!
  • Ian Vincent, APEX Partner — Ian helped build NF from the ground up beginning in 2013 and continued to manage the initiative through 2018. Now a Senior Business Developer with APEX as well as the chairman of the Duluth Workforce Board, Ian provides NF oversight and critical connectivity to private business and workforce partners.
  • Elissa Hansen, Northspan President & CEO — Steering NF with strategic oversight brings Elissa’s career full circle: She launched NF as Director of Business Development at APEX in 2013. After roles with Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corporation and Steam Creative Consulting, in addition to serving as a member of the Duluth City Council and a commissioner on the Duluth Economic Development Authority, she’s now back at the helm of the NF program.

The NORTHFORCE Advisory Committee includes 30 participants. Working in tandem with the Tech Team, these individuals and representatives of area organizations:

  • Provide program oversight and strategic funding recommendations
  • Warm sales development with businesses and organizations
  • Connect with regional and statewide entities and share information
  • Guide and inform how the program fits into the broader workforce development system

For more information please contact Elissa Hansen, Northspan President & CEO at