Hanson takes lead at APEXAl Hodnik, Chairman, president and chief executive officer of ALLETE, Inc. and chairman of the board of directors of the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX), announced Brian Hanson, executive director of the Duluth Economic Development Authority and the director of Business & Community Development for the city of Duluth, has been selected to succeed Rob West as the new president and CEO of APEX.
Al Hodnik, Chairman, president and chief executive officer of ALLETE, Inc. and chairman of the board of directors of the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX), announced Brian Hanson, executive director of the Duluth Economic Development Authority and the director of Business & Community Development for the city of Duluth, has been selected to succeed Rob West as the new president and CEO of APEX.
In making the announcement, Hodnik said the decision to hire Hanson culminates a 10-month recruitment effort that began in July and included retention of a national search firm and the work of a nine-member APEX Succession Committee to find a replacement for West.
APEX has grown from a fledgling startup organization in 2004 with 37 members, to an effective regional economic and business development engine with over 60 members and an operating budget that has nearly tripled since its inception. As a privately funded corporation, APEX has been engaged in attraction, expansion and retention of businesses throughout northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. APEX has partnered with a number of public and private organizations to create or retain well over 2,000 jobs and millions of dollars in wages. The Succession Committee felt that conducting a national search was essential, given that APEX is engaged with regional, national and international business development activity.
“Rob West was an excellent choice to start APEX in May of 2004,” Hodnik said. “His creativity, high energy and successful entrepreneurial experiences brought the right formula needed to build an effective business and economic development organization.
“APEX is indeed fortunate to have found Brian Hanson here in Duluth to fill this position — a fact which speaks volumes to the talent and capabilities we have right here in our region. He can leverage the foundation of a well-established brand, while bringing in his own private and public sector experiences to APEX — both of which will serve as valuable assets in continuing to move the organization forward,” Hodnik said
Hanson comes to APEX after working for the city of Duluth for more than two years in Mayor Don Ness’ administration, as executive director of DEDA and in the city’s Community and Business Development department. Prior to joining the city’s senior staff, Hanson worked for ALLETE, Inc. in the company’s business development group from 2005 to 2009, identifying and screening acquisition prospects. Hanson has also worked in business development for the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board in Eveleth.
“I am honored to have been chosen from among a wide range of qualified candidates to serve as president and CEO of APEX,” Hanson said. “I have had the pleasure to work with Rob West and the APEX staff for several years. I value the organization’s capabilities and have embraced its mission to drive economic growth throughout the region of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Rob West has done an outstanding job of building a strong staff and positioning APEX to compete on a national and global level. I am confident in the organization’s ability to drive continued growth through its attraction, retention and expansion strategies. I look forward to leading APEX through its next phase of success.”
Hanson will assume his new duties on June 1 pending final approval at the May meeting of the APEX Board of Directors.