Rachel Johnson is the President and CEO of the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion (APEX) with a mission to leverage private sector resources to drive investment throughout the region. Rachel has been building relationships with community stakeholders throughout the region for over 20 years, educating and informing the public on our industrial economy, the importance of energy infrastructure and promoting workforce opportunities in the trades. Her ability to bring people together to drive impactful change is a powerful catalyst for climate solutions and economic growth.
Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management from the College of St. Scholastica and brings a diverse background with experience in commercial real estate, property management and corporate development. Throughout her career, Rachel has held numerous leadership positions at a variety of organizations, with the common thread being public relations and the energy industry. Rachel volunteers on several other boards including the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and Duluth Area Family YMCA and resides in Duluth, MN. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys running and biking with her friends and doodle.
Virginia, MN High School
Lisa is an experienced science teacher with a demonstrated history of working in the primary, secondary, and college education industries. She is skilled in classroom management, lesson planning, science, educational technology, community outreach, and curriculum development.
Lisa is a vetted education professional with a Bachelor of Science focused in Biology, Education from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and a Master’s of Science in secondary Science Education with an emphasis in Chemistry and Physics, Education from Bemidji State University.
Interested in helping kids become the best version of themselves, and connecting young adults to meaningful and relevant opportunities regionally in order to sustainably develop the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota.
Northeast Technical Services
A native of Ely, Minnesota and BIOBY’s first Board Chair, Kurt Doran has over a decade of experience working in the field of environmental permit compliance.
He is a project manager responsible for overseeing NPDES/SDS-permit, water appropriations permit and U.S Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 wetland permit applications, permit compliance and agency reporting for industrial operations in northeast Minnesota.
Kurt also manages baseline environmental studies to support Environmental Impact Statements and major permit applications. Licensed as a wastewater operator, his work includes wastewater treatment and management. He has training and experience in stream assessments and morphology as well as designing and implementing biological studies to evaluate ecological responses in receiving systems.
IUOE Local 49
Dan is a 32-year member of IUOE Local 49 and is currently a public sector business representative covering northeast Minnesota and all of the Arrowhead region. Local 49 represents over 14,000 operating engineers in many fields of work from highways/bridges, oil and gas pipelines, housing/high rise development, sand and gravel as well as contract work in Iron Range mines. In addition to being strong advocates for a career with great pay and benefits, Local 49 is at the forefront of introducing our industry into the high school classroom through it’s Workforce Development Program.
Dan also serves as board chair on ISD 2142 School Board and is also the Vice Chair on St. Louis County Planning and Zoning Commission. Dan was a long-time high school baseball and softball coach in Cook and has spent many years coaching youth sports in his hometown of Cook, Minnesota.
Kirk Ilenda is the Director of Business Development with Lakehead Constructors. His primary role is to oversee company-wide efforts for sales, marketing and client relationships. As one of Lakehead Constructors’ core executive level leaders, he also supports strategic planning, employee mentoring and company culture.
Kirk is a life-long resident of the Duluth/Superior area, and knows the history, industries and local economics of the entire region of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. He has been an advocate for area industry and workforce development; speaking at public hearings in support of the Nemadji Trail Energy Center and Husky Energy, submitting letters of support to public agencies and rolling up his sleeves to talk to high school students about careers in the trades.
Jeff is a lifelong resident of the Iron Range. He was born and raised in Hibbing, MN, and is a graduate of Hibbing Community College with a degree in Electrical Maintenance.
Jeff has worked in the mining industry for nearly 20 years, kickstarting his career at the Minorca Mine as a Shift Operations Supervisor and a Plant Maintenance Supervisor. For the past 10 years, he has focused on sales management. Jeff is currently the Regional Sales Manager-US East for ME Elecmetal, where he is responsible for sales and service of mining wear solutions in the Eastern United States.
Jeff is a passionate outdoors enthusiast who enjoys spending time with his family at their cabin in northern Minnesota. Jeff and his wife, Juli, have two daughters attending Hibbing High School. He enjoys fishing, hunting, and anything outdoor-related in his spare time.
Lake Country Power
Mark is the general manager of Lake Country Power (LCP), an electric distribution cooperative serving parts of 8 counties in northeastern Minnesota. LCP provides electric service to more than 50,000 homes and business throughout the region. Since joining LCP in 2008, and prior to being named general manager in January 2021, Mark has held various positions within the finance and administrative area of the cooperative, most recently CFO.
Mark is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Mark is a life-long resident of northeastern Minnesota, having grown up in the Lake Vermilion area. He is an advocate for our rural communities and our rural, resource-based, way of life. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota Rural Electric Trust, a workers’ compensation insurance provider to many of Minnesota’s rural electric cooperatives and is a past Board member and past Board President of the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota.
Hunt Electric Corporation
Todd Lyden is Vice President of Industrial, North Division for Hunt Electric Corporation. He has spent most of his career in industrial and electrical related positions.
Lyden holds a BSEE degree and worked in design, estimating, project management, sales and marketing for several companies prior to joining APi Electric (now Hunt Electric Corporation) in 2000.
Focusing efforts on the industrial market since 1990, Lyden has worked with key customers in mining, petrochemical, pulp and paper, and power generation to achieve common goals. He is overseeing numerous alternative energy projects and initiatives.
Lyden enjoys living in Northern Minnesota. An outdoor enthusiast; he likes to golf, bike, travel and spend time off-roading.
Park State Bank
Marci Knight is the Chief Marketing Officer / Business Development for Park State Bank, one of the larger independently owned community banks located in Northern Minnesota, the North Shore and the Twin Cities, with over one billion dollars in assets and a history committed to serving clients and small businesses in Minnesota for over one hundred years. In her role at Park State Bank she is the driving force in modernizing Park State Bank’s brand and integrated marketing strategy, deepening the banks connections with clients and the communities they serve. As an executive leader for the bank she works on and supports strategic planning, core values, client service standards and company culture.
Marci has been an advocate for our area since relocating to the Iron Range in 2002. She currently serves on the Board of the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota where she has been Board President and currently sits on their Executive Board. She has been on the Board of the Iron Mining Association, chairing their Public Relations Committee, has been Board President of both the Hibbing Chamber of Commerce and the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce. She currently is a member of the government affairs committee for the Laurentian Chamber. Throughout her years she has been involved with many organizations either serving on their boards or volunteering of her time to support our communities. In her spare time she loves to golf, take a side by side ride in with her husband Chris and dog Vinnie and enjoy the all that Northeastern Minnesota has to offer.