March 2017   
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F.Y.I. is an electronic publication of The Northspan Group, Inc.

In this issue
Business Succession and Valuation
Access to Capital
New Board Members
Outgoing Board Members
Business Succession and Valuation: An Emerging Need for Area Businesses

Bob Palmquist - (218) 529-7562 -

The latest national statistics estimate that over 50% of the nation's small businesses are owned by owners age 50 or older. For these small business owners, one of the greatest emerging concerns is over how they will exit their businesses within the next few years. Questions about what their business is worth, how it can be sold, and who will run it are at the forefront of their thinking as they look toward retirement. Northspan's succession services can help give these business owners some peace of mind.
Significant thought and planning should occur well before a business owner anticipates actually leaving the business. Succession planning involves taking the time to determine who is best suited to run a business in its next phase, time to teach others the intricacies of the operation, and the time and effort to instill the values and mission of the company in the successors. Business succession planning is meant to address those concerns, and to improve the chances of businesses successfully transitioning to new ownership. These businesses thereby continue to generate wealth, and create and retain jobs within the region.
Northspan's business succession services involve utilizing a team of advisors and experienced business succession professionals including accountants, attorneys, business appraisers, and consultants. With the support of a business succession team, Northspan facilitates the business succession planning process. Succession planning provides business owners with a roadmap to help guide them in preparation for all aspects of retirement, from addressing personal needs and aspirations to evaluating financial and legal issues. With Northspan's support, these business owners receive the assistance they need.

Contact Bob Palmquist at Northspan to discuss your business valuation and succession planning needs at (218) 529-7562 or

Northspan Seeks to Expand Regional Access to Capital

Bob Palmquist - (218) 529-7562 -

In January, the Arrowhead Growth Alliance initiated an Access to Capital effort in which Northspan Senior Business Developer Bob Palmquist and Northspan Business Developer/Analyst Justin Riemer participated, and Northspan President Randy Lasky facilitated. The Access to Capital meeting was convened to get input from the region's business developers and lenders to identify what we have in the financing toolbox today; how are the region's banks engaged; what challenges and gaps exist; what can we do to enhance deal flow and leverage the resources we have in play today; and what else is needed to support startups, second stage companies, retail growth, and other types of businesses.
Following the Access to Capital meeting, Bob Palmquist was one of three members of the group who volunteered to share an overview of the discussion and highlighted potential actions and recommendations from the work session. Palmquist presented at the January 31 Arrowhead Growth Alliance (AGA) meeting. AGA members' areas of interest moving forward were:
  • Identifying underutilized capital in the communities in the region and exploring ways to make this capital available and better utilized for business development purposes.
  • Bringing back an ideas event or competition events such as the MN CUP and Business Plan competitions.
  • Exploring crowdfunding and how the state's new regulations treat this form of business investment.
  • Updating angel and equity investor lists and the process to connect with them through the region's investment gatekeepers.
The Access to Capital volunteers agreed to take responsibility for organizing a follow-up meeting after the Arrowhead Growth Alliance meeting with the Region's business developers and lenders. These volunteers will share the outcomes and make it the first meeting of an Access to Capital group as an ongoing effort to maintain focus on regional needs and challenges.

Northspan Board Welcomes Forsman and Tanski, Bids Farewell to Norr and Wiberg

The start of 2017 brings two new faces to The Northspan Group's Board of Directors. Arik Forsman, a Regional Development Representative with Minnesota Power, and Anna Tanski, President and CEO of Visit Duluth, both join the board for six-year terms. The Northspan Board approved both new members at its annual meeting on February 16. Brief biographies of both board members follow:

Anna Tanski
President and CEO, Visit Duluth
Anna Tanski 
A lifelong resident of the Twin Ports, born and raised in Superior, Anna graduated from UW-Superior with a degree in Communications. Her professional career began at WDIO-TV, where she served as the morning producer of the first local newscast in the Northland. Her hospitality marketing career began at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center when she joined the convention sales effort in August 1991. Anna took the position as Director of Sales for Visit Duluth in 2005, where she was responsible for leading the city's convention sales initiatives totaling $35 million annually. 

In February 2014, Anna was named President/CEO of Visit Duluth, the official destination marketing organization for the City of Duluth. She is responsible for overseeing Duluth's marketing, branding and promotion, which draws 6.7 million visitors to the city each year.

Anna is married to her husband Jason, a Sergeant in the Duluth Police Department, and has two children; Allison, 22, and Steven, 16. Even though she resides in Hermantown, she remains a steadfast Green Bay Packers fan.

Tourism is Duluth's third largest industry, supporting 16,000 jobs and generating more than $957 million. Anna's community involvement includes serving on the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Duluth Police Foundation Board of Directors, the Duluth Workforce Development Board of Directors, the Mayor's Economic Development Coalition, the Duluth Airport Authority Board of Directors, and the NorShor Theater Marketing Committee.

Arik Forsman
Arik Forsman
Regional Development Representative, Minnesota Power

Arik Forsman currently serves as a Regional Development Representative at Minnesota Power, where he works with local economic development partners throughout the Northspan service area to help grow our regional economy. He holds a Bachelor's of Business Administration from UMD and previously spent seven years in the human resources field. Arik is the Past President of the Northland Human Resource Association, a St. Louis County Civil Service Commissioner, and a member of the City of Duluth's Earned Sick and Safe Time Task Force. A native Iron Ranger, Arik resides in Duluth, MN with his wife and daughter.

Northspan also wishes a fond farewell to Nancy Norr, Director of Regional Development at Minnesota Power, and Chris Wiberg, Manager of Biomass Energy Services at Timber Products Inspection. Both have completed six-year terms on the Board, and served as officers on the board over the course of their respective tenures. Matt Sjoberg, Director of Business Development at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, has also completed a six-year term, but will remain on the Board for an additional year to fulfill the role of Immediate Past Chair. Northspan thanks them for their years of dedication and service to the organization and to economic development across the entire region .
Left to right: Randy Lasky, Nancy Norr, Matt Sjoberg, Chris Wiberg

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