Welcome to Summer 2023!

Jun 8, 2023

Summer for the BBER includes new projects and new students!

Welcome to Summer 2023!

There is a lot to be excited about at LSBE’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) this summer. We’ve recently kicked off a few new projects looking into several different economic opportunities in Duluth and northeast Minnesota. These include an economic impact analysis for the Northland Reliability Project, a study on the age-friendly practices of businesses within Duluth and an economic feasibility study of a new wood product technology.

Also, we recently hired two new undergraduate research assistants—Mitchell Bakken and Avery Wendinger. They have joined the BBER for this summer, and we’ve asked them to share some things about themselves, which can be found below.

Wishing everyone a great summer!

Tell us about yourself.

A: I am from New Ulm, Minnesota, and am a senior double majoring in History and Economics. In my free time I like to be outside, whether that be fishing, hiking, or enjoying a nice bonfire. I am also a member of UMD’s Pep Band (Go Dogs!). I enjoy learning about new topics and about the external factors that affect things I enjoy, such as the economics and regulations pertaining to the outdoors industry.

M: I’m from Elk River and will be starting my senior year this fall as a Finance major. I am also looking into potentially getting my MBA. My main hobbies are skateboarding, snowboarding and baseball. Some unusual/other interests I have is I like playing bar/table games like pool, table tennis, foosball, darts, and more.

Avery and Mitchell
Avery and Mitchell began in May 2023

What inspired you to apply for the research assistant position?

A: I felt it would be a great learning opportunity and would lend well into what I have learned and will continue learning about in my coursework. I have done a fair amount of historical research but wanted to gain experience in economic research as well, and this position will be a great way to do that.

M: My professor, Monica Haynes, suggested I would be a good fit after success in a class that related to this position. Even though economics is not a major of mine, I felt sort of honored to be recommended, so I applied.

If you could research any local economic development topic, what would it be?

A: I would like to learn more about the impacts of outdoor recreation in Duluth and the surrounding area, such as what the multitude of parks, lakes, and trails bring to the area. I would also find it quite interesting to investigate Duluth’s economic history, such as how the Port of Duluth-Superior started and what has changed about it through Duluth’s history.

M: I think it would be interesting to investigate what may happen if Duluth’s tourism industry were to decline or grow. I read on the Duluth Economic Development Authority that Duluth attracts 6.7 million visitors a year and they collectively spend $316 million. That’s a lot of revenue each year, so seeing the impacts of growth and especially a hypothetical sudden decline would be interesting.

How do you see your position at the BBER helping you achieve your goals after college?

A: I am hoping to attend graduate school after I complete my undergraduate degree, and this position will allow me to develop research skills that I can apply in furthering my education and in my future career. This position also offers some real-world experience outside of the classroom, which I think will be very valuable.

M: Despite not being an economics major, this position will still help me in a finance-related career because projects, data analysis, and writing reports is something I will almost certainly be doing in the future.