The bid of the United States enjoys enthusiastic and widespread support. Our effort has earned the support of President’s Obama, Trump and Biden and enjoys strong bi-partisan support in Congress. More than 47 American mayors have joined the effort as have businesses, unions, and cultural and philanthropic organizations. Here are just a small list of people that are working night and day to bring a World’s Fair back to American shores for the first time in 38 years.
Senior Advisor and Principal Architect
President & CEO
Before launching his consulting firm, the KBO Group, Justin Buoen served as the national campaign manager for Senator Amy Klobuchar during her 2020 Presidential run.
Buoen’s first major project at the KBO Group was to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Democratic National Committee, helping elect President Joe Biden in battleground states. Before leading Klobuchar’s campaign, Buoen helped open and lead the Midwest division of New Partners Consulting, a national political and corporate consulting firm. As a consultant, he worked with various clients outside the realm of politics, including Xcel Energy, the Miami Dolphins, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — which annually hosts the Oscars — and Green Minneapolis. He was also a member of the 2018 Super Bowl Bid Committee that successfully obtained hosting rights for Minneapolis.
His past Minnesota clients include Governor Tim Walz and Governor Mark Dayton. Buoen currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Hennepin Theater Trust, the Advisory Board for the Sanneh Foundation, and the M Health Fairview Foundation Philanthropic.
Before founding Norden Strategies, Ted Johnson spent 17 years with the Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx organizations. Among other roles, he worked as Chief Marketing officer for nine years and Chief Strategy Officer for five years. Johnson also served as a Governor in the G-League and led the organization’s effort to establish and run the two newest franchises; The Iowa Wolves (G-League) and T-Wolves Gaming (NBA2K League). He was responsible for leading most of the organization’s highest-profile initiatives during his tenure.
Notable efforts include spearheading the development of an award-winning training center at Mayo Clinic Square and overseeing the $140 million Target Center renovation. He also led the bid to secure the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game, the Timberwolves’ participation in the China Global Games, and the two-year effort to rebrand all four franchises. Before joining the Timberwolves, Johnson spent more than a decade managing dynamic, multifaceted campaigns for clients, policy issues, and political candidates like Congressman Jim Oberstar, MN Attorney General Skip Humphrey, and President Bill Clinton.
He’s currently on the Minnesota State Fair Foundation and Serving Our Troops Board. He has previously served on the Boards of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce (Board Chair), Minneapolis Downtown Council, Warehouse Business District, Sports Minneapolis, NuLoop Partners, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Athletes Committed to Educating Students (ACES.) He is also active in Twin Cities Dunkers and Norway House.
Senior Advisor and Principal Architect | Vice President & Principal, DLR Group
David Loehr is Vice President and Principal of DLR Group (one of the world’s largest, premier architectural and engineering firms). He is the Chief Architect for the Mall of America and leads the firm’s regional mixed-use practice. For the past decade, Loehr contributed to Minnesota’s efforts to host an Expo in several capacities, including as a Senior Advisor, Chief Architect, and Board Member.
His projects have won numerous awards for their design statements, contributions to the community, innovative use of materials, depth of environmental stewardship, and collaborative processes. Licensed in 30 states, Loehr has successfully implemented domestic and international projects. He is a board member of the Minnesota Architectural Foundation as well.
Based in Washington, D.C., Megan Nashban Kenney founded and launched the High Rise Group, a boutique consulting firm focused on helping clients turn ideas into action, actions into results, and results into change. She did so in January of 2017.
Since its inception, the High Rise Group has worked for clients such as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Captain Mark Kelly’s Americans for Responsible Solutions, Tom Steyer, Latino Victory Fund, Emily’s List, the Jewish Labor Committee, and the John Lewis Bridge Project.
Before her firm’s launch, Nashban-Kenney served as the Grassroots Fundraising Manager at Hillary for America. She designed and spearheaded the launch of the national grassroots fundraising program, a first-of-its-kind program raising over $3.73 million from over 20,000 donors in less than four months. Nashban Kenney has also held senior positions at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and with Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD-01).
President & CEO
John Stanoch is a retired Hennepin County District Court Judge who has served on the Medical Board of Directors since 2014. Previously, he served as President of Qwest Communications in Minnesota and North Dakota — as Minnesota’s Chief Deputy Attorney General and as a Hennepin County District Court Judge. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Rudy Perpich. Before that, he was in private law practice.
After a career in business and the public sector, he held executive leadership positions in the civic sector, serving as President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Upper Midwest, Interim President of the Science Museum of Minnesota, and Interim CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Bob Clark started Clayco in 1984 and turned it into the leading design-build company in the United States. Clayco has offices and projects across the entire country. The company consistently ranks among the top builders in America and specializes in real estate development, engineering, architecture, and construction in Industrial, Corporate, Institutional and Residential markets in communities across North America. As Executive Chairman, Clark spearheads the company’s growth strategy, vision, and recruiting.
Before establishing Clayco, Clark was a Machine Maintenance and Equipment Company (MMECO) partner. Under Clark’s stewardship, MMECO became the leading Midwest distributor for Ingersoll Rand and Gardner Denver products. Before MMECO, Clark served as Project Director at Clark Painting Company, one of the nation’s largest industrial painting contractors founded by his father.
Clark served as the Commissioner-General for the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, where he was the senior U.S. government representative and head of the delegation to the event. Now, he’s a Minnesota Expo 2027 co-chair.
Marc Lore is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Wonder Group, a company reinventing the at-home dining experience. Wonder is led by a team of proven entrepreneurs, some of the world’s greatest chefs and culinary experts, talented innovators from every area of the business, and backed by top-tier venture capitalists.
Lore is also the newest NBA owner, having purchased the Timberwolves and Lynx in 2021 with his friend and business partner, Alex Rodriguez.
Lore is the lead, and largest investor in Archer, an aerospace company building an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft focused on improving mobility in cities. He is also a Co-Founder and investor of Wizard, a company transforming e-commerce with conversational AI and Mojo. In this sports stock market, fans can use their knowledge to invest in sports like never before.
Telosa is Lore’s legacy project – a city he is building from scratch to test a new model for society called Equitism. The town will eventually house five million residents and plans to set the global standard for urban living and expand human potential by becoming a blueprint for future generations.
Before this, Lore started and sold four companies, most recently, Jet.com, which Walmart acquired in 2016 for $3.3 billion. Until 2021, Lore served as the president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce. Lore was also the co-founder and CEO of Quidsi, the parent company of e-commerce websites Diapers.com, Soap.com, Wag.com, and more. The company was sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million.
He graduated from Bucknell University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in business management and economics.
As co-founder of Chronister Strategies Ltd. and previously as partner at Templeton Laird, Mark Chronister devotes his time to bridging business, education and nonprofit service. At PricewaterhouseCoopers, he provided expertise to financial services and higher education institutions for more than 30 years. Known for his leadership and strategic contributions, he chaired several boards such as the Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis Downtown Council, University of Nebraska Foundation and St. Catherine University. As the 2016 College of Business Master, he shared how optimism and resilience are keys to finding one’s way in business and life.
Bonnie has been with the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau for 24 years of service and has made significant contributions to the state’s travel industry. Carlson has been at the forefront of the hospitality industry crafting and supporting policies and initiatives promoting the industry at every level – local, state, national and international. She has been active in several other tourism organizations including the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, the Executive Committee of the United States Travel Association, Destination Marketing Association International and the Minnesota Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus.
Roger Dow was the former president and CEO of U.S. Travel Association, the Washington, D.C.-based organization representing all segments of travel in America. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
After 17 years of nothing but the cold, fishery land of Minnesota, Belinda took the first steps out into the travel world to China, Laos and Thailand on a study aboard trip. Entering a world of exotic people, fascinating cultures and intriguing comfort food, this young woman caught the bug—the travel bug, that is. Going above and beyond is one of Belinda’s many talents. Being an open-minded, optimistic and caring person makes it easy to befriend many people from all walks of life.
After participating and leading several study abroad programs, she’s currently working to assist college students on their experience of going abroad.
Terry Mattson is the President & CEO of Visit St. Paul and the RiverCentre Authority. He is recognized as a primary driver in Minnesota travel and tourism. Before arriving in St. Paul in search of new challenges, he worked for more than two decades, transforming Duluth’s brand from a rust belt city into a top destination. Visit Saint Paul’s mission is to generate economic growth for the capital city by effectively marketing the RiverCentre campus and the region as a destination. Ramsey County tourism accounts for nearly $3 billion in annual direct impact while employing more than 30,000 people.
He helped create the popular tall ships festivals as the visionary and executive producer, drawing crowds of 250,000 people from 50 states. Mattson was recognized as Minnesota’s Outstanding Individual in Tourism in 2012. He was also a recipient of Minnesota tourism’s lifetime achievement award. In addition, Mattson served on the Minnesota Governor’s Tourism Council and the Minnesota Tourism Growth Coalition and was part of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
Leni Moore’s career has included over 20 years as an investment banker in New York City. While in New York, she served as Treasurer of the Board of the Women’s Refugee Commission and their representative to the United Nations, where she was elected to the Executive Committee of NGOs affiliated with the Department of Public Information. She served as Treasurer and then President of the Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
In Minneapolis, Moore is a past Chair of the Board of Global Minnesota, Minnesota’s World Affairs Council, where she is now an Honorary Trustee. In addition to Minnesota USA Expo 2027, Moore is currently on the Board of Trustees for the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Minneapolis Foundation. She previously served on the Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Zoo Foundation, Graywolf Press, and the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum of Natural History Advisory Board.
Mark Ritchie serves as President of Global Minnesota and the state’s World Affairs Council. He’s also a leader in the effort to bring Minnesota a World’s Fair focused on health and wellness. This World Expo will be integrated into the Global Goals Campaign designed to reach or exceed the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, under the theme “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.”
Ritchie was Minnesota’s elected Secretary of State from 2007 to 2015 and serves as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army from Minnesota.
Jonathan Weinhagen was named President and CEO of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber by the organization’s board of directors in 2016.
He was elected to the Mounds View School Board in 2014 and serves as Chair. He is a Past-President of the Mounds View Schools Education Foundation and Center for Economic Inclusion and is engaged in various other non-profit board and committee roles, including Tubman, the United Hospital Foundation, and the Family Housing Fund
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility
Cid Wilson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR). Wilson leverages more than 30 years of corporate finance and Wall Street equity research experience to work closely with corporations, their CEOs and board directors, and chief diversity officers to increase the representation of Hispanics at all levels in corporate America.
As the leader of the organization, Wilson promotes The Power of Hispanic Inclusion™ through direct corporate advocacy, thought leadership engagements, traditional media, and outreach to organizations, employee resource groups, and diversity leaders who share HACR’s mission.
Wilson serves on the governing steering committee of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, the largest corporate CEO initiative in the world focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a youth empowerment advocate, he also serves on the national board of directors for Junior Achievement USA.
As a proud Dominican American, Wilson has served the community through prominent nonprofit boards with leading advocacy groups, including Latino Justice PRLDEF, Unidos US and Dominicans on Wall Street (DOWS). He is the former national president of the Dominican American National Roundtable (DANR).
Wilson graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in economics. In 2021, Wilson was inducted into The Ohio State University’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion Hall of Fame for his lifetime of accomplishments and service to his alma mater.
Jamie Verbrugge is the city manager for the city of Bloomington, Minnesota. As the chief administrative officer, the city manager oversees a staff of more than 650 employees and a total budget of nearly $200 million.
He’s the current President of the Bloomington Noon Rotary Club; ex-officio board member for the Bloomington-based arts organization Artistry; current board member with Global Synergy Group, a Minnesota non-profit that promotes international exchanges and learning; past member of the American Red Cross – Minnesota Region Board of Directors; past member of the Board of Directors for the North Hennepin Community College Foundation; past member of the advisory council for the Senior Executive Institute at the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service; past member and Chair of the School Advisory Board at Annunciation Catholic School in South Minneapolis; and past president of the Minnesota City/County Management Association.
Senior VP/CFO, American Public Media Group
Barry Gisser is the Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of American Public Media Group (AMPG), the largest station-based public radio organization in the U.S. He is responsible for supporting APMG’s digital transformation and overseeing the financial operations of American Public Media Group, the parent company of Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media and Southern California Public Radio. Gisser leads the finance team to ensure effective collaboration and alignment with APMG’s strategic objectives and champions financial transparency and data-informed decision-making to build the organization’s financial acumen and a culture of financial stewardship and accountability.
Gisser has more than 30 years of leadership experience in non-profit, private, public, and investment organizations. At The Science Museum of Minnesota, he led the Finance & Accounting, Technology & Digital, Building Operations, and Risk Management teams in advancing the Science Museum’s mission to inspire learning, inform policy, and improve lives. Gisser successfully helped the Museum through two pandemic-driven closures by focusing on public and private fundraising, increasing new earned income revenue streams, and delivering strategic operating efficiencies. Prior to the Science Museum, Gisser held senior financial leadership roles at Procter & Gamble, ConAgra Foods, and Ecolab. Gisser’s areas of expertise include finance and accounting, enterprise growth strategies, general management, organizational development and change management.
Gisser serves on the Board of Directors for Twin Cities in Motion, the Mary T. and James J. Hill Foundation, as a judge for MN Cup, and as a mentor in the Techstars Farm to Fork Program.
As a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Financial Manager (CFM), and CSCA-certified from the Institute of Management Accountants, Gisser earned a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, an MBA from The Kenan Flagler School at The University of North Carolina, and is currently pursuing a law degree at The Rogers College of Law at The University of Arizona.
Risk Management and Transformation Lead, Cargill
Sean Lindstrom is a Risk Management and Transformation Lead as well as the Quality and Operations Director for the corporate audit function at Cargill, Inc. Lindstrom is responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring audit strategy, processes and tools. In this function, he owns oversight of the continuous risk assessment, audit plan development, project execution, and issue management processes. Lindstrom is also responsible for measuring and reporting on corporate audit performance and capabilities.
Prior to joining Cargill, Lindstrom spent 13 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers providing internal audit, enterprise risk management, and corporate compliance consulting services to global clients in a variety of industries.
Lindstrom is on the Rakhma Board of Directors, a home-based assisted living for those with dementia & Alzheimer’s.
Lindstrom earned his BA in Economics and Finance from the University of St. Thomas.
VP Audit and Internal Controls, General Mills
Chrissie Weyenberg is the current Vice President, Audit and Internal Controls at General Mills. Prior to her current role, she spent several years as an Audit Senior for Deloitte.
Weyenberg serves on the Board of Directors for Achieve Twin Cities, a non-profit working to rally community support and delivers best-in-class programs to inspire and equip young people in Minneapolis and Saint Paul for careers, college, and life
Weyenberg earned her BS in Accounting and Science from the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University.
Vice President Marketing, Hazelden Betty Ford
Melissa Fors joined Hazelden Betty Ford in 2013 where she leads the strategic marketing functions, which include brand strategy, digital strategy, thought leadership, marketing operations, and customer relationship management. She is known for designing and executing multiple strategies that improve performance, market penetration, revenue, and profitability.
In 2019 Melissa was named Nonprofit Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association. The award, which recognizes one national nonprofit marketer annually for extraordinary leadership and achievement, is the highest honor bestowed on nonprofit marketing professionals by the AMA and its Foundation. In 2020, Melissa was the recipient of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST Award. The TRUST Awards celebrate Minnesota women and companies that are helping the healthcare industry advance boldly into the future.
Prior to joining Hazelden Betty Ford, Melissa was at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum in a number of marketing leadership roles for five years.
Melissa has an MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a BA from the University of Minnesota. Melissa is a board member of the American Lung Association in Minnesota and Asbury Communities based in Maryland.
Holmen became CentraCare’s president and CEO in January 2014, overseeing more than $1 billion in operating revenue and 13,000 employees. He is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for CentraCare and its employees, and for the establishment, maintenance, and enhancement of quality health services in accordance with the mission, philosophy, and values of the organization.
For ten years prior, Holmen had been a vice president with Bloomington, Minnesota-based HealthPartners, and Chief Medical Officer at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Holmen has been an anesthesiologist since 1983 and was CEO of his practice from 1996-2004.
In 2004, Holmen joined HealthPartners in 2004 and also became Chief Medical Officer at Regions Hospital. He currently has active privileges at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Brainerd.
He spent many years practicing anesthesiology and served as CEO of his medical practice.
Dr. Holmen holds an MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist.
Public Health Administrator, City of Bloomington
Dr. Kelley is the assistant public health administrator for the City of Bloomington, MN. In his role, he works to reduce the direct and associated effects of public health threats, through rigorous analysis, integrative leadership, and the implementation of evidence-based practices.
Prior to joining the City of Bloomington in 2015, Dr. Kelley served as a research associate at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. He primarily worked to support exercises and public health preparedness in the BioWatch program.
In the spring of 2012, Dr. Kelley was selected as a Fellow in the 2012 class of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative at the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC. He also served as the assistant project director on the CIDRAP Comprehensive Influenza Vaccine Initiative.
Dr. Kelley earned a BA in Biology at Luther College, a Masters of Science, and a PhD in Environmental Health with an emphasis in Environmental Infectious Diseases from the University of Minnesota.
CEO, Galileo Health
Thomas Lee MD, is an internist and pioneering innovator who is the CEO and visionary behind Galileo, a next-generation health care delivery model designed for the future. Using innovative technology and human-centered design, Galileo improves clinical outcomes while reducing the total cost of care across broad, complex, and diverse populations.
Prior to Galileo, Dr. Lee helped build One Medical, the national leader in tech-enabled primary care, and also created the breakthrough medical reference app Epocrates, serving as the Chief Medical Officer and lead designer.
Dr. Lee is board-certified in internal medicine and is focused on improving the quality of care through team-based decision-making. His care philosophy includes evidence-based medicine and biologic plausibility.
Dr. Lee is a board-certified internist who completed training at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He received his BS from Yale University, MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Former Dean, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Sciences
Allen Levine is immediate past Vice President of Research at the University of Minnesota and Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Nutrition. Prior to this, he served as Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, inaugural Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and Head of the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. He was the Associate Director of Research and a Senior Career Scientist at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center for 26 years. He also founded the NIDDK-funded Minnesota Obesity Center and was its director for 20 years (1995-2015).
Dr. Levine’s research focus for 40 years has been on the neural regulation of food intake, particularly related to the opioid peptides, oxytocin, and Neuropeptide Y. He and his colleagues have published extensively on the brain circuitry involved in the rewarding properties of foods. He has published 315 scientific papers and over 100 review articles, editorials, and book reviews. His current career H index is 93 (google scholar). He has received major awards for his research efforts: one from the then American Institute of Nutrition (Mead Johnson Award), one from the American College of Nutrition (Grace A. Goldsmith Award), and one from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow). He is also a fellow in the Obesity Society, the American Psychological Association, and the American Society for Nutrition.
Dr. Levine has also been president or executive director of six non-profit organizations. Most recently he was president of the Obesity Society and served on its executive committee for four years. He was also president of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior and also served as its treasurer. While at the VA Medical Center he was involved in the establishment of the Minneapolis non-profit VA Research Association and served as its executive director. In his private life, he served as executive director of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, the president of the Jewish Community Center of Greater St. Paul, and the president of the St. Paul Jewish Federation. He is currently in his 6th year on the board of the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.
Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Health
Jan Malcolm was appointed in January 2018 as commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health, the state’s lead public health agency, responsible for protecting, maintaining, and improving the health of all Minnesotans. The Department has over 1,500 employees and a budget of over $600 million.
Prior to being appointed commissioner, Malcolm was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, where she co-directed a national research and leadership development program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Earlier she also helped develop initiatives to strengthen the nation’s public health system as a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Malcolm previously served as CEO of the Courage Center and as President of the Courage Kenny Foundation following the merger of Courage Center and the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. She has also worked as Vice President of Public Affairs and Philanthropy at Allina Health. From 1999 to 2003, Malcolm served as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. Throughout her career, Malcolm has been active in state and national health care, public health associations, and government commissions on health care access and quality.
Malcolm is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
Chief Strategy Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota
AJ McDougall serves as chief strategy officer and senior vice president of marketing, communications and customer experience for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross). In this role, McDougall oversees multiple teams that are accountable for accelerating and advancing transformation within health care and delivering value-add information and experiences to multiple external stakeholder groups. Areas that report directly to McDougall include strategy, business & corporate development, marketing, communications, and customer experience.
McDougall came to Blue Cross from Best Buy Co., Inc., where her tenure included various leadership positions in strategic growth, product management, e-commerce, and business development. McDougall’s 13-year career at Best Buy culminated with her appointment as vice president of the Strategic Health Office, a position in which she co-founded Best Buy Health, architected the innovation process for developing new capabilities, products, and services; and established strategic partnerships that focused on payors, providers and service delivery.
McDougall holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in applied and computational mathematics/actuarial sciences, both from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Vice President Strategy & Marketing, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
Heidi McNeil is the current Vice President of Strategy and Marketing at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Previously, she led Corporate Strategy and Business Development at McKesson.
She is renowned for her advanced analytical abilities and talent for formulating sound strategic guidance.
McNeil received her BBA and MBA through the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
Vice President Global Food Safety and Public Health, Ecolab
Lisa R. Robinson is Vice President of Food Safety and Public Health for Ecolab Inc. and has 30 years of food industry experience. Robinson leads a global network of Ecolab food safety and public health resources and is responsible for the functional leadership of the company’s food safety and public health strategies. She also provides leadership, technical expertise, and consultation to internal and external customers on food safety and public health issues.
Robinson is a recognized industry expert in food safety and public health protocols and strategies. She joined Ecolab in 2019, following nine years at SunOpta, Inc., where she was Vice President of Food Safety and Quality Assurance. She previously held positions in operations, food safety, quality, and regulatory compliance at Target Corporation, Pepsi Bottling Group, General Mills, Inc., and Schreiber Foods, Inc.
Robinson has a Master’s Degree in Food Safety and a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science from Michigan State University.
Chief Health Officer, Delta
Henry Ting, M.D., M.B.A., joined Delta Air Lines in 2021 as the global brand’s chief health officer. Dr. Ting became familiar with Delta Air Lines as a primary COVID-19 advisor who has helped shape their response since the early days of the pandemic. Working collaboratively with groups across the airline, Dr. Ting leads Delta Air Lines in reimagining the approach to health and well-being, utilizing new technologies, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and innovative partnerships.
Before joining Delta Air Lines, Dr. Ting served as Mayo Clinic’s enterprise chief value officer, providing strategic leadership for quality of care, safety, experience, and affordability. He also held several other leadership roles at Mayo Clinic, including clinical chair of the Department of Cardiology and associate dean of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. Ting has also previously served as senior vice president and chief quality officer at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the university hospital for Columbia and Cornell.
In addition to his role at Delta, Dr. Ting serves as an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Emory University and Professor Emeritus at Mayo Clinic. He currently serves on the National Advisory Committee for Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Board of Directors for the National Quality Forum (NQF).
Dr. Ting’s academic focus includes health services research, outcomes research, and implementation science. He has lectured worldwide and authored more than 200 journal articles, book chapters, and publications. In addition, he has served on committees and boards for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Quality Forum, and U.S. News & World Report.
Dr. Ting received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cornell University and his doctorate of medicine from Harvard Medical School. He earned his MBA from the University of St. Thomas, his Health Care Executive certification from Harvard Business School, and his certification in Lean, Six Sigma, and Change Management.
Dean, University of Minnesota Medical School, Vice President for Clinical Affairs
Dr. Jakub Tolar is Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School and Vice President for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He serves as Board Chair for the University of Minnesota Physicians (M Physicians) and as the Campus Public Health Officer for the University of Minnesota College System.
Dr. Tolar is co-lead for the M Health Fairview, the third-largest academic health system in the country, with 2,456 beds, 34,000 employees, 80 clinics, 9 hospitals, and annual revenue of $6B.
Dr. Tolar is a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society. He is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and a member of the Rare Disease Research Hall of Fame.
Dr. Tolar received a MD from Charles University and PhD from the University of Minnesota Medical School.
EVP/Chief Comm. Officer Minnesota Vikings NFL Football
Jeff Anderson was recently named the Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for the Minnesota Vikings after nearly 20 seasons working with the team. He is responsible for leading the communications department and directing all internal and external communications functions, including football, corporate and internal communications, and serving on the Vikings executive leadership team. Prior to his current role, he was the Vice President of Strategic & Corporate Communications where he oversaw communications plans on non-football initiatives, served as a primary media contact for Vikings ownership, and provided media relations counsel for ownership, executives, coaches, and players.
Anderson has held a number of roles inside the organization since joining as a public relations intern in 2003. He worked closely on the organization’s internal stadium team in the quest to build a new home for Vikings football and oversaw communications efforts to drive local, national, and international media coverage of the design, construction, and opening of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Anderson earned his BA in Corporate Communication from Buena Vista University.
Lorcan Consulting, Principal (Former VP Climate National Audubon Society)
Matt Anderson supports non-profits, philanthropy, and businesses working on climate, clean energy, and equity. He is currently a Principal with Lorcan Consulting and previously served as the Director of Audubon’s Climate Initiative in September. He joined Audubon in the spring of 2013 as the Executive Director of Audubon Minnesota and, while serving, Matthew was one of the original members of the four-member work group that developed Audubon’s Climate Initiative.
While at Audubon Minnesota, Anderson led efforts to secure seven-figure conservation funding, expand the state staff’s technical capacity around prairie and forest restoration, and invest in greater development, outreach, and communications capacity. Matthew was able to solidify Audubon’s regional relationship with Aveda and then deepen the relationship and negotiate a cause-partnership between Audubon and Aveda around addressing climate.
Matthew has a rich background working with diverse communities on climate change issues with nearly a decade of experience working with the religious community in particular. Prior to working at Audubon, Matthew spent two and half years as executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE). Before joining NRPE, Matthew directed the Creation Care Fund, which provides financial and technical support to Christian environmental grassroots initiatives. His experience also includes serving as the Director of environmental and rural advocacy and education for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as executive director of Faith in the City, a multi-sector faith-based coalition in the Twin Cities.
Matthew graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bai n Environmental Studies and was awarded the Downy Family Prize.
Director of Communication Metropolitan Council
Terri Dresen is the current Director of Communication for the Metropolitan Council where she leads the Communications Department and advises the Council Chair and executives on matters of public interest. This includes managing interactions with media, coordinating outreach and engagement activities, producing Council publications, oversight of the Council’s social media accounts and web presence, and other public information and internal communications functions.
Prior to her current position, Dresen was the External Communications Manager for Allina Health and before that, spent time leading Media Relations at American Express.
Dresen earned her BA in Mass Communications and Political Science as well as her BA in Speech Communications from St. Cloud State University.
Hazelden Betty Ford, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Jeremiah Gardner has worked in communications and public affairs for more than 25 years, including the past nine with the non-profit Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, where his responsibilities include media relations, strategic communications, and public advocacy.
A former reporter and editor with The Associated Press, he has been published in newspapers nationwide and was once named outstanding graduate at The Fund for American Studies Institute on Political Journalism at Georgetown University. Gardner’s work history also includes several years in training and development at a Fortune 1000-size private company, which led to his co-authoring a leadership development book entitled Zero to Something (2014).
In addition to his role on the Board of Faces & Voices of Recovery, he serves on the Board of Dissonance, a Minnesota nonprofit that advocates for recovery and mental health through the arts.
As chief spokesperson at Hazelden Betty Ford, Jeremiah writes and speaks frequently about recovery and related topics, has testified before Congress, and served as a historical consultant on multiple documentary film projects.
Jeremiah earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Political Science from South Dakota State University and a Master’s Degree in Addiction Studies from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies.
VP/ Marketing & Partnerships Visit St. Paul
Jamiee Lucke Hendrickson is the current Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships at Visit St. Paul, the city’s official convention and visitors bureau with a mission to generate economic growth for St.Paul as a preferred convention and tourism destination.
Hendrickson is a Committee Member for the University of Minnesota Tourism Advisory Committee and has previously served as a Board Member for the District 16 Planning Council/Summit Hill Association and the Minnesota Festival and Event Association.
Hendrickson earned her BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as Visual Arts from the University of North Dakota. She also has a Certificate in Festival and Event Management from the University of Minnesota and has pursued Continuing Studies Courses at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
VP/Communications, Mall of America
Dan Jasper has served as the Vice President of Communications at Mall of America for 17 years and has more than 20 years of PR and communications experience prior to that.
Jasper is a key member of the strategic interdisciplinary development team—working with business development, leasing, marketing, and operations—to identify, recruit and integrate new brand, tenant, and experience opportunities at the Mall. His additional responsibilities include the overall communications strategy for the Mall, crisis communications management, building strong national, regional and local media connections, and serving as the primary spokesperson.
During his tenure, the Mall has secured an extensive list of national coverage, including placements with news outlets such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg TV, Food Network, Bravo, PBS, TLC, History Channel, People, Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, USA Today, and more. The result is more than 2,500 hours of broadcast coverage, 3,000 print clips, and 5,000 online stories about Mall of America annually.
Jasper is on the Board of Directors for Airport Foundation MSP, which is dedicated to enhancing the experience and exceeding the expectations of travelers at MSP International Airport, as well as supporting the airport and broader aviation community.
Jasper received his Associate’s Degree from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, his BS and his MBA from Cardinal Stritch University.
Leslie Kupchella & Partners, Consultant
Leslie Kupchella is a strategic communications consultant advising C-suite, political leaders, and Boards of Directors focused on creating greater value for all stakeholders. She has extensive global experience supporting executives and brands in corporate, agency, and political communications and currently works with a variety of Fortune 100 companies across Healthcare, Travel and Tourism, Agriculture, and Medical Devices.
As a former Vice President, CEO/Executive Communications with Anthem, Inc., she managed CEO communications strategy and execution and led internal communications and employee engagement efforts and, in successive leadership roles at Optum (UnitedHealth Group), she led internal communications, served as Chief of Staff to a division CEO, and served as Vice President, of Public Affairs-Corporate Communications to help Optum live its mission and achieve business goals.
Kupchella earned a BA in Communications from Western Michigan University, a Masters of Business Communication from the University of St. Thomas and is a graduate of the Carlson School of Management’s Carlson Companies’ Executive Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota.
Chief of Staff, University of MN (Dr. Tolar)
Emily Lawrence currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the University of Minnesota for the Expo Board’s Health and Wellness Advisor, Dr. Jakob Tolar.
Prior to her current role, Lawrence was Associate to the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the President at the University of Minnesota as well as the Director of Public and Community Affairs for the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center. She also spent time as a Legislative Director for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lawrence received her BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.
Commissioner Corporate Affairs, Mille Lacs Band Ojibwe
Joseph Nayquonabe, Jr. has spent his career reimagining and reinventing how American Indian tribal economies grow and prosper. He serves as the chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors for Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures. He is responsible for analyzing new business opportunities and overseeing the Band’s existing 35+ businesses that are located both on and off the reservation, including Grand Casino Mille Lacs, Grand Casino Hinckley, a number of hotels and restaurants, a resort, three convenience stores, a grocery store, a movie theater, and several others.
Previously, Nayquonabe oversaw Grand Casinos’ entire marketing efforts as corporate vice president of marketing.
Nayquonabe has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from St. Cloud State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Tribal Administration and Governance from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Metropolitan Airports Commission, Vice President Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement (Former General Mills, St. Paul MN Found. Henn Theatre Trust)
Naomi Pesky is the vice president of Strategy and Stakeholder Engagement – a post she assumed in May 2018 to oversee all communications, marketing, community outreach, air service development, enterprise sustainability, and strategic planning for the MAC.
Pesky brings to the MAC a unique combination of corporate and nonprofit leadership experience. Most recently, Pesky served as Vice President, External Relations at Hennepin Theatre Trust, where she led the development, communications, and marketing teams. As a key member of the senior leadership team, Pesky steered many enterprise-wide initiatives for the Trust, such as guiding strategic planning and developing the vision and plans to transform a newly acquired property into a center for hospitality, performance, education, and staff offices. Under her leadership, the Trust achieved significant growth in fundraising revenue, ticket sales, and stakeholder engagement.
Earlier, Pesky was director of marketing and communications at The Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation. Pesky joined the Foundation after a decade at General Mills, where she held multiple marketing leadership roles. She began her career in Chicago at Morningstar, a leading provider of independent investment research.
Naomi is an active community volunteer leader and currently serves on GREATER MSP’s Make It. MSP Leadership Council.
Pesky has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Pesky was also a 2012-2013 policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.