President & CEO
President & CEO
Brian Hanson became APEX’s President and CEO in June of 2012. During the fifteen years prior to joining APEX, Hanson was involved in business and community development in both the public and private sector, specializing in economic development finance, regional marketing, and executive-level prospect development. Hanson is accomplished in strategic industry research, strategic planning, and financial modeling in support of business expansion activities. His work has contributed to several significant regional business expansion, retention and attraction projects in industries including mining, engineering, manufacturing, heavy aircraft maintenance and data centers.
Mr. Hanson holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Prior to entering economic and business development, he spent seven years in the accounting field as an auditor and a cost analyst. Hanson has had the opportunity to perform economic development at the City of Duluth, the State of Minnesota (Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation) and Minnesota Power, an ALLETE Company. Hanson is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council. He has served on several regional development partnerships and nonprofit boards including the Iron Range Economic Alliance, the Arrowhead Growth Alliance, the Northspan Group and Junior Achievement of the Northland.
Sandy Johnson joined the APEX team in September of 2008. Her responsibilities include all administrative details required to support a dynamic, high energy office environment, while further coordinating company events, providing research for various projects and assisting APEX members in meeting their needs.
Sandy graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD with a B.A. in Performing Arts. After graduating, she performed professionally for many years in music theatre and cabaret shows, traveling from the East Coast to St. Louis and Chicago and later to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. After retiring as a performer, Sandy joined the marketing team at Universal Pictures in Burbank, CA, as an Administrative Assistant. One year later she was promoted to Special Projects Coordinator and was charged with producing movie premieres and other special events for the studio.
Sandy moved to the Minneapolis area in 1991 and married her husband, Todd. She worked as the Marketing and Project Coordinator for Kelleher Construction and Kelleher Environmental, where she developed and managed their emergency response program. In 1998, Sandy accepted a Sales Service Representative position working for North Star Steel (a Cargill Company) in Edina, MN. She was responsible for maintaining and managing many aspects of customer accounts, soliciting new business and serving on the Employee Advocacy Team. In 2000, the family moved to Duluth where she worked as an Administrative Assistant for the Duluth Head Start program for two and half years before joining the APEX team.
Ian Vincent joined the APEX team as a Business Developer in May of 2014 after ten months as the APEX Development Intern. His duties encompass all aspects of attracting, expanding, and retaining businesses in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, in support of the APEX mission and vision for private sector business development. To date, Ian has contributed significantly to the Heat Treating, Plating & Powder Coating business retention and expansion strategy and supported GROW Minnesota efforts. He also played an integral role in the development and launch of NORTHFORCE.org: Your Talent Community, for which he serves as the Community Manager.
Ian is a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth with a major in Accounting. Following his graduation from UMD, Ian spent a year studying and traveling in Europe, graduating with a Bachelor of International Business in Marketing from the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in Grenoble, France. After returning to Duluth, Ian landed his internship with APEX and immediately took a shine to economic development.
As a young professional with a non-profit background and strong family ties to the region, Ian has a passion for travel, the fine arts, and the great north woods. He looks forward to a rich and fast-paced career with the APEX team, serving his adopted community as a Business Developer.
Nick Larson joined the APEX team in May of 2014. His duties encompass all aspects of attracting, expanding, and retaining businesses in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, in support of the APEX mission and vision for private sector business development. Nick also works closely with the Itasca Economic Development Corporation in support of business attraction, retention and expansion in Itasca County.
A 2009 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, Nick holds bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Management. While at UMD, Nick also participated in the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Financial Markets Program, where he supported the research and management operations of the Bulldog Fund, LLC. After graduation, Nick spent five years in the Twin Cities where he gained valuable experience in the Financial Services Industry working for multiple private banks and a thriving hedge fund.
Nick’s passion for outdoor pursuits eventually led him back to the Northland where he sought out the opportunity with APEX. Nick is excited about leveraging his professional experience in Finance while he transitions his focus to economic development in support of the region he loves.