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Northwest Board of Directors

Mark Askegaard
Term 2012-2014
Mark Askegaard is the organic farmer. He is currently living in Moorhead, MN. He has a B.S. in Agricultural Economics in North Dakota State University. He hopes that NW RSDP can effectively change the attitudes and actions of the people in NW Minnesota and its regions in a positive way on how we can live more sustainably. He hopes NW RSDP show how sustainable development can be done by being a conduit for the information, sharing it with others, and providing real-life hands on models of sustainability-in-actions in our communities.

Bob Backman

Term July 2014 - June 2017
Bob thinks most of the problems humans face are intertwined and connected. He believes we spend too much energy on fixing symptoms instead of the root problems. He has worked in the nonprofit arena most of his working career with positions in communication, health promotion, PR, marketing and most recently as Executive Director of a river advocacy group. Along with his wife they also owned and operated an urban feed store specializing in bird feeding. Through well designed education and hands on experiences he feels we can help our youth to grow up and not make the same mistakes of the current generation. When in Moorhead he volunteers for a community garden, River Keepers and a homeless shelter. Half of his time he spends in the woods of Becker County where he has just added a ground source heat pump system to his cabin. He is a licensed Coast Guard Master (captain) and has a BA in Sociology from Moorhead State University Minnesota and a MS in Education from Indiana University.

David DeMuth
Term 2012-2014
Associate Professor David DeMuth, Jr. has taught physics, math, and software engineering courses at the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus since 1997, all the while recognizing the unique high-impact learning opportunities that research offers undergraduates, and the influence interdisciplinary teams has on progress. Presently his undergraduate team is focused on developing quality control software to track the installation of the NOvA detector at Ash River, MN, and continues to support software systems associated with the River Watch, Local Foods, CERTs, and RSDP programs. David earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.S. in Physics from University of Louisville, KY. His Ph.D. work was in High Energy Particle Physics at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.

Kristin Eggerling
Term 2013-2015
Kristin works as a freelance writer from her home in Hallock. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Augsburg College and a M.A. in Sociology from the University of Manitoba. Kristin serves on the Conservation Minnesota Voter Center Board and writes a blog for its website. She has worked in the public health field and has been involved with watershed education work in the Red River Valley. She formerly worked at the Minnesota Senate as the administrator of the Environment and Natural Resources and Agriculture Budget Committee. She has also served on the Citizen's Advisory Committee of the LCMR (Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources) and is the chair of the Hallock Library Board, in addition to sitting on the Northwest Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors.

Ruth Anne Franke
Thief River Falls
Term 2012-2014
Ruth Anne Franke has worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources since 2001. She is the Natural Resources Technician for the Crookston wildlife area office. Together with the area wildlife manager and assistant manager, they are responsible for State Wildlife Management Areas in Polk and Red Lake Counties. She has seen first-hand the "on the ground" accomplishments that occur through partnerships between a public agency and private individuals, nonprofits, and other public agencies. She is enthusiastic about being a part of the NW RSDP and its local partners to promote healthy, sustainable communities in the Northwest. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Auburn University and a M.S. in Wildlife Science in South Dakota State University.

Abby Gold

Abby Gold
Term 2013-2015
Abby Gold is currently the Nutrition and Wellness Extension Specialist at the University of Minnesota Extension and the North Dakota State University Extension Service. She has a B.S. in Human Nutrition from University of Massachusetts, a M.P.H in Nutrition from University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Communication from North Dakota State University. Abby thinks NWRSDP makes a difference because it pursues issues and topics of sustainability that cover all aspects of our civil society from water to air to land to food to health. NWRSDP is indeed a learning and outreach organization that engages the community in action by infusing resources, knowledge, and ideas in the pursuit of building a more sustainable society.

Barbara Muesing
Term 2013-2015
Barbara Muesing and her husband Chuck Casey live north of Lengby Mn in the log home that her parents build from oak trees off their land. The home is adjacent to the home place where Barbara grew up and graduated from Fosston High School.

After college, Barbara worked for many years with the University of Minnesota Extension Service, including as district director in NW Mn. In 1994, she was part of the task force to establish the NW Mn Initiative Fund, now the NW Mn Foundation, and she served as a Charter Board member. She also served on the committee to develop and launch the Emerging Leadership Program in NW MN.

Volunteer service is important to Barbara. In addition to serving on the NW Regional Sustainable Development Board, she serves on the Boards of Essentia Health Fosston, the Hospital Foundation, Fosston Area Community Fund, Polk-Norman-Mahnomen Community Health. She is past President of the Mn Rural Health Association and Health Care Auxiliary of Mn.

Joanne Kellner
Term 2013-2015
Joanne Kellner is a Non-Profit Resource Specialist and a grant writer. Joanne has a B.S. in Marketing from University of Minnesota and a M.A. in Management from College of St. Scholastica. Joanne hopes that the NW RSDP can facilitate a partnership in the region, bringing together the local resources and talents in collaboration with the resources and talents of the Univ. of Minnesota. Taking the "big picture" perspective as opposed to local parochialism can create community based solutions which can be disseminated on a broader scale.

Mike Moore
Mentor Term 2012-2014
Mike grew up in Grafton North Dakota graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1974 with a B.S. in Education, and currently lives in Maple Lake, near Mentor, MN. He taught school in Fertile-Beltrami High School, worked for the City of Fertile, the Northwest Regional Development Commission, the Office of Rural Health at the UND School of Medicine, owned and operated the Fertile Journal, and created a firm called MASCOM MARKETING. He earned his M.S. from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 2002. Following that he served as the EDA Director for the City of Ada and City Administrator for the City of Fisher and was Executive Director of Polk County Central Cities - holding those positions simultaneously. He joined the staff at the City of Thief River Falls in the spring of 2003. For fun he serves as the Secretary Manager of the Polk County Fair, own the Kittson County Enterprise and serves on several regional boards, including the Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and the Clean Energy Resource Team.

Michele Schermann
St Paul
Term 2013-2015
Michele Schermann, a public health nurse researcher and educator, works at the intersection of human health, agricultural safety and natural resource management, with a special focus on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and preparing growers for food safety audits. Skilled in qualitative research methods, Michele translates her research findings into innovative, targeted health communication for a variety of audiences. Michele's research interests include the agricultural practices of new American immigrants; disease prevention and control; and the creation of multilingual health education media. She has been described as "an excellent connector of people, communities, ideas, and resources" and has extensive project management experience over a 15-year career at the University of Minnesota.

Michael Triplett
White Earth
Term 2014-2016
Michael Triplett has 37 years of community and economic development experience working for tribal governments, municipalities, regional development organizations in the Southwest and Upper Midwest. Currently, he is an economic development planner with the White Earth Nation based in White Earth, Minnesota and most recently has been guiding the tribal efforts in renewable energy ventures - in wind, solar, biomass. He was one of the original members of the NW (MN) Clean Energy Resource Team. He has a B.S. from Colorado State University in Social Sciences and completed graduate coursework from Iowa State University in Urban and Regional Planning.

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