Northspan Welcomes Five New Board Members, Thanks Three Departing Members 

Northspan has added five members to its board beginning in 2021. They bring a diverse range of backgrounds while maintaining Northspan’s commitment to the Northland. The Northspan board selected its new members through an open application process that attracted many qualified applicants with unique backgrounds. The new board members are: 

David Copp 

David is a Transitions Program Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Corrections at its Togo facility. He brings a unique perspective to the Northspan board with his background in innovative partnerships and workforce development efforts through award-winning transitions programming. A Chisholm resident, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Lakeland University in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and is currently pursuing an Addiction Studies certificate from Mesabi Range College. 


Christopher J. LaFleur, MSN, APRN, CRNA 

Chris is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and self-described “serial entrepreneur” who owns several business entities, primarily in Duluth and Aitkin. His current ventures include anesthesiology, a whitewater rafting company, an indoor golf and entertainment venue, and film production. He resides primarily in Aitkin County and has been active in the community through Grandma’s Marathon Racecourse Services, the National Ski Patrol, and the AAD Shriners. Chris is married with four children and has been a lifelong resident of the Northland with brief forays of living in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Michigan.  


Tamara Lowney 

Tamara has been the President of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation since January 2019 and previously worked for APEX, another frequent Northspan partner. In her career she has worked throughout the US and internationally and led hospitality organizations in Alaska, Ohio, and California, including executive leadership roles in providing food services to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 Asian Games, and 2012 London Olympics. She lives in Hill City with her family and is currently pursuing her MBA through Bemidji State University. 


Katterine Payer 

Katterine currently works as a Client Success Strategist at Navis; helping Hotels, Resorts and Vacation Rental Companies across the US identify areas of opportunities, drive strategies and maximize revenue opportunities. She also works as a business consultant and brings a Cook County voice to the Northspan board. She has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, including ten years in management roles with major North Shore businesses such as Lutsen Lodging Company and Cascade Vacation Rentals. She holds a bachelor’s degree in tourism and hospitality from Inca Garcilaso de la Vega University in Lima, Peru, and has completed continuing education with the University of Minnesota Duluth and the Anderson Center in St. Cloud.


Tom Werner 

Tom has been with the Duluth Airport Authority for 20 years and Executive Director since 2012.  Prior to his appointment as Executive Director, Werner held several different positions within the Duluth Airport Authority most recently as Operations Director. During his tenure as the Operations Director, he oversaw the final construction phase of the $80-million-dollar passenger terminal. Since becoming Executive Director, the Duluth Airport had its 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best passenger years ever in its history and oversaw the $38-million-dollar reconstruction of the airport’s 60-year-old main runway. Mr. Werner is a retired 20-year member of the Army Reserve as well as a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his most recent deployment, he was recognized for his leadership with the Bronze Star Medal. He is active in the community on various community boards. Tom and his wife Tiffany spend their free time cheering on both of their children in a variety of Proctor High School sports. 


Outgoing Board Members 

Three members of the Northspan board are cycling off after completing two three-year terms. Those members include: 

Tony Sertich, Northland Foundation 

Mike Larson, Cascade Vacation Rentals 

Steve BurggrafBurggraf’s Ace Hardware & Paint