Hanson to leave APEX for job at Involta

After serving a decade as CEO and president of the economic and business development organization, he is ready for a new challenge.

Brian Hanson
Brian Hanson
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DULUTH — Brian Hanson's last day on the job as president and CEO of APEX is Thursday, June 2, and the regional economic and business development organization has begun its search for new leadership.

Hanson said he is leaving to take a position as vice president of corporate development for Involta, a hybrid IT, cloud computing and data services company based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. With nationwide operations, including a presence in Duluth, Involta will continue to employ Hanson locally, but he expects to do a lot of traveling in his new role, which will involve site selection for the growing company.

"Basically, I'm going to be on the other side of the table from where I've been for the last 25 years," he said. Hanson served as director of economic development for the city of Duluth before going to work for APEX.

Hanson said he believes he's leaving APEX in a healthy state as an organization.

"We're in a strong financial position. We have an excellent deal sheet of projects that we're working on. We have consistently met our internal performance goals. And I think we're in a good position as of June to do that again this year," he said.


Hanson predicts his successor will have the opportunity to build on those successes and do even more.

" I'm excited to see what the next person will do," he said.

Hanson said that after a decade at APEX, he's ready for a new challenge, and he feels the organization he leaves behind will benefit from new leadership, as well.

"Ten years is a long time for any person in any position. So, when something came along that was a good fit, it made sense to me," he said.

"What the new position entails is really starting off working with economic developers in communities. And I have a vast network of economic developers that I've worked with all across the country — people I've worked with, learned with and attended conferences or trade shows with. Many of them have become friends," Hanson said.

"The next part of it is really understanding the landscape of incentives and how communities provide sites that are appropriate for a data center expansion," he said.

The future of Ikonics and its 83 employees looks uncertain, as its new owners seek to sell the business.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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