The Year in Review: 2022

The Year 2022 at a Glance

Under the guidance of President & CEO Elissa Hansen, the past year saw the Northspan team expand with the addition of three full-time consultants and one intern: 

    • Ali Bilden Camps manages the NORTHFORCE program and provides community and organizational development 
    • Zack Filipovich provides community, organizational, and business development, including business valuation and project financing 
    • Miriam Kero manages the Northland Connection program and provides community and organizational development 
    • Olivia Niska completed a three-month Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion internship 

Karl Schuettler was promoted to vice president in advance of the retirement of Bob Palmquist. Two other internal promotions also went into effect January 1, 2023: Miriam Kero as senior consultant and Northland Connection program manager, and Zack Filipovich as consultant and finance manager.  

Additionally, Amber Lewis continued a two-year fellowship through Lead for Minnesota/Americorps, conducting research and coordinating the Welcoming Community program.   

Event Highlights 

  • EDAM Summer Conference: The Northspan team presented two sessions: “It Takes A Village,” which explored how welcoming efforts are supporting economic growth in the Northland; and “Building Back Better,” a panel which discussed the triumphs and challenges of rural economic development in northeast Minnesota. 
  • Discover Healthcare: NORTHFORCE helped coordinate this first-of-its-kind, hands-on experiential learning event and open house to connect students and the community with high-demand careers in health care. Future events based on this new model are in planning for spring 2023.
  • Equity Summit: Over 100 participants gathered in person to explore the topic of “Belonging in Northeast Minnesota” and forge a more inclusive future in the region.  

Program Highlights 

  • Northland Connection conducted 33 visits across the region from June to December and responded to 50 data inquiries. ARDC returned as a funding partner and Aitkin County joined to support the program as a new funder. With 376 visitors and 1,372 page views per month on average, the Northland Connection website provided data, development resources, property features, and more. 
  • NORTHFORCE engaged with hundreds of regional employers and candidates interested in working in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin through Business Meet & Greets, Student Connect programming, and other initiatives. In 2022 alone, 385 new candidates signed up, 110 new employers signed up, and employers posted 2,585 job openings. (formerly rebranded and expanded with resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the area.    

More Highlights from 2022    

We look forward to working with you in 2023! You can also view a map showing where Northspan’s clients were located in 2022, and read more on the Northspan blog