Meet Ian Vincent, Director of Business Development with the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion
Thursday, June 29, 2023
Meet Ian Vincent, Director of Business Development with the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion and Mid-America’s EDC’s Minnesota Representative since 2022.
How long have you been a member of Mid-America EDC?
Almost ten years! Mid-America EDC has always held a special place in my heart. It was a very welcoming and inclusive group as I began my career. The first presentation I ever gave on a national stage was at the 2016 Best Practices Summit in Columbus, OH. The topic covered was digital place marketing and talent matching. I was wildly nervous and didn’t sleep the night before, but I knocked the session out of the park.
Tell us about yourself! How long have you been on the Mid-America EDC board?
Just over six months, I was selected and voted on the board at the 2022 Competitiveness Conference this past December in Chicago. I’m proud and excited to be a part of an economic development board with such a strong presence of young folks. The Great River Energy ED Team, especially my fellow Minnesota Board Representative Erin Sparks, has been engaging and supportive as I start my first year in this leadership role.
Tell us about APEX and your role there.
APEX is an all-private industry funded 501c6 non-profit EDO focusing on attraction, expansion, and retention. We cover the massive ten-county region of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin (more extensive than the state of West Virginia!). “The APEX Region” centers around the international shipping port of Duluth, Minnesota.
As a private EDO, we can be nimble as we approach projects and initiatives. Not being tied to ridged bureaucratic processes allows us to be a valuable economic development partner to our states, counties, cities, utilities, academic institutions, etc.
As Director of Business Development, I lead primary research initiatives to develop a compelling business case to cost justify private investment in The APEX Region. Additionally, I support all aspects of our regional development strategy, like land readiness, BR&E, site marketing, significant project advocacy, etc.
What are your economic development specialties?
My industries of expertise include manufacturing, aerospace, transportation logistics, and workforce development. I take pride in my ability to lead research and initiatives that span numerous counties and two states. Finally, I am very proud of my work developing regional technical talent pathway programs. Coordinating K-12, higher-ed, and private industry partners is no small task.
What are your favorite places and things to do in your community? What are some hidden gems people might not know about?
I am deeply in love with the natural topography of my home in Duluth, especially the hundreds of miles of hiking trails with my dog surrounding the largest, coldest, and cleanest of the Great Lakes. At least once a week, I’m at the movies, and our local independent movie theatre, The Zinema 2, is a community asset and keeps me sane. Last but certainly not least, Duluth is home to Northern Waters Smokehaus, which produces the most incredible smoked fish in the country (world?).