Northspan Staff, Engaged and Elevating

Over the course of the past year, Northspan staff members have jumped into a variety of new opportunities to serve communities and grow professionally. Here is a sampling of what we’ve been up to:

President & CEO Elissa Hansen joined the Board of Directors of the Duluth Airport Authority (DAA). The Duluth Airport Authority guides the Duluth International Airport as it makes strategic decisions for future growth and services. She will serve a 3-year term as one of seven board members who work with DAA Director Tom Werner.

Elissa also currently serves as a member of the APEX Board of Directors. She is one of six members who represent APEX’s Contributing Level investor-members and is in the second year of a two-year term spanning 2019 and 2020.



Vice President Bob Palmquist joined the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (MBFC) in late 2019. MBFC is a nonprofit certified development company (CDC) dedicated to assisting small businesses with their financing needs, including origination of SBA 504 loans. It has provided specialized business financial solutions for a variety of needs for over 35 years.



Karl Schuettler


Research Director & Consultant Karl Schuettler was selected to the 2020-2021 cohort of the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program (MYALP). The program is a collaboration between the Itasca Project (a Twin Cities-based civic alliance), University of Minnesota Center for Integrative Leadership, and Harvard Business School. The Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX) took applications for the 12-member Duluth cohort, who will go through the program in coordination with groups from the Twin Cities and Mankato.



Operations Manager & Associate Consultant Amanda Vuicich was admitted to the Leadership Duluth Class of 2021. Leadership Duluth, a long-running program of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, identifies and develops a network of emerging leaders and inspires them to take an active role in ensuring the health and prosperity of the Duluth area. The yearlong course provides educational opportunities across a variety of sectors and tasks participants with a community service project. Northspan’s Elissa Hansen and Karl Schuettler are past program graduates.


Laura Nilsen


Operations Specialist Laura Nilsen joined the Board of Directors of the Carlton Area Chamber of Commerce. As a Carlton area resident, Laura is well-connected in the community and is working to build stronger ties between Northspan and businesses in the area. The chamber is currently exploring new ways to showcase businesses and supporting them through Covid-19-related challenges.


This is just a sampling of the work Northspan staff members have undertaken to advance their professional development and contribute to the communities and networks we serve. Reach out to anyone on our staff to learn more about what we’re up to!