Q&A: Bob Palmquist, Northspan Vice President

Northspan Vice President Bob Palmquist provides technical and financial assistance to large and small businesses, financial institutions, local units of government, and development organizations. His extensive experience with Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs involves a long history of successfully structuring and packaging financing for business development projects within the region and the State of Minnesota.

How did you first join Northspan? 

I started at Northspan in July of 1991. My title back then was business development specialist. The title became senior business developer a few years later and became vice president in 2018. Prior to joining Northspan I worked for Norwest Bank and Republic Bank in Duluth. As a business lender I utilized the services and non-traditional lending sources that Northspan offered. With that relationship I became familiar with John Elden at Northspan. When John decided to join the Northeastern Minnesota Initiative Fund (now the Northland Foundation) he approached me to see if I was interested in the open Northspan position. I was and Randy Lasky (Northspan’s president at the time) hired me and I have been at Northspan since.

Do any highlights stand out in your mind from special projects or initiatives over the years? 

Some highlights that stand out are the formation of the Minnesota Community Capital Fund (MCCF loans), a membership-based private loan pool that was created in the early 2000’s and remained active until 2009. As the loan officer, I traveled statewide originating MCCF loans to member-sponsored projects and gaining statewide economic development relationships. 

Becoming an accredited business appraiser in 2010 was the start of offering business valuation and business succession services to businesses seeking to transition their business to new ownership. This work has now evolved and grown into the Northspan Preferred Valuation Acceleration Method (VAM). 

I was also involved in the administration of the ARDC Revolving Loan Fund for 28 years, until ARDC began directly staffing the RLF in 2020. I’ve been involved in successfully structuring and facilitating financing for numerous business development projects over the past 30 years that have given me great satisfaction.

Can you share a little about what you enjoy the most about working with Northspan? 

I have enjoyed the diverse work I have been able to be involved with over the years, the success and reputation that Northspan has earned, and the staff I have worked with at Northspan.

Learn more about Bob’s background and expertise here. You can also connect with Bob by phone at (218) 481-7737 or by email at bpalmquist@northspan.org.