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Regional Economic Indicators Forum (R.E.I.F.)

View October 27, 2015 Agenda and Speakers »

National Bank of Commerce, in cooperation with the College of St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Superior, has initiated a long-term study of our area’s economic indicators. The research will be ongoing and focusing on trends for a territory that covers 15 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Participating sponsors of the study are NE MN Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and UW-Superior Small Business Development Center, the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County, APEX, BusinessNorth and the Development Association.

The Goals of the project are to:

  • Support business owners in their business decisions by gathering key local economic indicators and trend information
  • Develop specific economic indicators for this region that are not readily available to decision makers
  • Develop tools to assess our progress in economic growth. Prepare baseline measures that will allow comparison with other regions and measure future progress of the region
  • Track the region’s participation in the “new economy” and development in the high tech arena
  • Bring professionals together with business owners for discussion about the local economy and related critical issues in a collaborative, non-political environment
  • Create a business recruitment and retention tool by publishing the information

The REIF Region is a 15-county area that covers Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The 8 counties of Minnesota include the Arrowhead Region — Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties — along with Pine County. The 7 counties of Wisconsin include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer, and Washburn.

The R.E.I.F. is governed by a steering/advisory committee comprised of representative(s) from:

  • National Bank of Commerce
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • SBDC – MN
  • SBDC – WI
  • UMD
  • UWS
  • Resources such as APEX and the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County will be utilized as needed.

Meet the Regional Economics Faculty Research Staff.

Q: The skills gap exists. Yes or No?

Find out the facts about the achievement gap at the upcoming Regional Indicators Economic Forum breakfast. 



Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 

Presentations: 7-9 am
DECC Harborside Ballroom

Breakout Session: 9-10 am
DECC Meeting Room 202


The October 2015 R.E.I.F. will take an in-depth look at the skills gap and discuss its implications for our regional economy. To further explore this topic, we’ve added a breakout session featuring HR professionals providing real-life, actionable advice for attendees. There is no additional cost to attend the session, but interested guests should register for both to reserve a seat. 

We hope you’ll join us for breakfast and an insightful program.

  Register »  


mari-kay-nabozny.jpgMari Kay-Nabozny

Mari Kay-Nabozny is the chief executive officer of the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Inc. (NWWIB). As part of this organization, Mari oversees and carries out the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 10 Northwest Wisconsin counties. She is also a member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association Board of Directors and serves as a board member of the Visions Northwest Regional Economic Development organization. Mari has over 15 years of experience working in economic and workforce development in Wisconsin. She also understands the small business perspective as she owns and operates Ignite Fitness Studio in Ashland, WI.

trent-janezich.jpgTrent Janezich

Trent Janezich is the executive director of Advanced Minnesota for the Northeast Higher Education District (NHED). Previously, Trent served as the director of Arrowhead University Consortium for NHED, where he launched and implemented the Iron Range Engineering program. He holds a BA in political science from the University of St. Thomas, an MA in education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his work in higher education, Trent is the secretary-treasurer of the Northland Foundation Board of Trustees, president of the Range Center Board of Directors, and a member of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  

andrea-chartier.jpgAndrea Chartier

Andrea Chartier is a career counselor for The College of St. Scholastica, where she assists and supports college students as they explore and pursue their career paths. Prior to this role, Andrea was responsible for building and developing community resources for jobs and internships through TwinPortsConnex and the NORTHFORCE initiative. Andrea holds an MA in higher education administration and a BA in integrated studies, with an emphasis in art, psychology and adventure education from the University of Redlands in California. A boomerang Duluthian on the edge of the millennial generation, Andrea specializes in the recruitment and retention of young professionals in this region.

Breakout Session HR Professionals

judy-aspling.jpgJudy Aspling

Judy Aspling is a human resources professional with Charter NEX films. She has been with the plastic film manufacturer since it was a small start-up in 1998. Over the years, Judy has done everything from manufacturing and loading trucks to packaging, customer service and office administration. In 2006, Judy moved into human resources, where she continues today. Judy is also active in the Northland Human Resource Association, most recently moving from a three-year stint as president into the position of treasurer.

laura-sieger.jpgLaura Sieger

Laura Sieger is associate vice president of communications & engagement at maurices. In this role, Laura develops strategic corporate communications for internal and external audiences, leads cross-functional teams and manages charitable and community relations activities. Laura has over 20 years of experience in facilitating and leading groups, and developing and implementing strategic communication plans. She also has served on many community boards including the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and APEX Strategic Resources Group.

To view the full R.E.I.F report presented at the breakfast forum on March 31, please click here:

March 2015 Presentation
October 2014 Full Report
October 2014 Presentation 
March 2014 Full Report

The next breakfast forum event will take place:

Date: October 27, 2015
Time: 7:00 am - 9:00 am
Location: DECC Harborside Ballroom