Today’s story about a global wind energy company considering the Northland for its U.S. manufacturing expansion — and bringing with it up to 1,500 good paying jobs — provided the basic information.
But in order to tell the story as simply as possible, some information inevitably gets left out. So we’re sharing more of the story here.
Rob West is CEO of APEX, the non-profit corporation spearheading the effort to persuade a major European company to build its plants here. West pointed out that it’s not just about bringing new industry to the Northland. It’s not just about being able to provide them with what they need.
The enterprise also has to be right for the Northland.
“It has to make business sense for us,” West told the News Tribune. “It’s not just about winning. It’s about winning the right kind of business, businesses that are strong. We still have to do diligence. We have to look at their financial strengths, their competition, their future, to make sure we don’t set anyone up for failure. And if we can’t meet their needs, it ultimately will fail.”
West can’t yet reveal the name of this company that could build plants in Duluth, Superior and the Iron Range to make massive wind turbine systems for utility companies. But he will be part of the group from APEX who will travel to Atlanta next week to meet its representatives. The Northland is one of four sites in the running nationwide.
“We may win, we may lose, this is like getting to second base,” West said of the upcoming meeting.
APEX works with the public sector to attract businesses to our region and to help existing businesses survive and thrive.
“We find them, we get them, we grow them and we keep them,” West said.
In its 5½ years, APEX has “impacted” more than 1,800 jobs and a payroll of $73 million, West said. But if they are successful in convincing this global wind energy company to establish its plants here, it would be APEX’s biggest single achievement.
1,500 new jobs?
That would be huge, he says.