Class Notes

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Class Notes

Breaking news of those breaking new ground

This is where we celebrate noteworthy achievements from fellow Bulldogs.
Here you can stay in touch, stay informed and announce your own class note by submitting your story.


1960's | 1970's | 1980's | 1990's | 2000's | 2010's


Leta Powell Drake, Lincoln, NE, a former Duluthian is being recognized by the Nebraska History Museum. Her 60-year television career is the focus of the exhibit "Kalamity Kate & The George Churley Puppets," which is on display through June.


Grant Standbrook, Bangor, ME, earned the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native a spot in the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted on Sept. 8, when the 1993 NCAA championship team will also be among the inductees.


Les Maki, After graduation from UMD, Les received his Master's Degree in Geography and ABD in the Doctorate program at the University of Minnesota. This is where he became very active in the early development of Geographic Information System (GIS) programs at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State Planning Agency and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource.


Karl D. Everett, Duluth, MN, was hired by AMI Consulting Engineers as the assistant manager environmental engineering in Superior.

Terese Tomanek, Duluth, MN, ran her own chiropractic clinic for 10 years and now returns to Duluth to serve on the News Tribune board with a wealth of community involvement and political insight.


Christine Frank, Saint Paul, MN, joined CommunityGiving as new operations and human resources manager. She has experience in the retail and healthcare industries, specifically operations, finance, public relations, staff development, and management.

Jeff Lynott, Rhinelander, WI, named Director of Exploration and will be responsible for the continuing technical evaluation of the Back Forty Project as well as offsite mineral exploration and property acquisition.

Doug Anderson, Lakeville, MN, took the Oath of office in January 2017 and was given the honor and privilege to serve as the Mayor of Lakeville, MN, after four years serving on the City Council.


Eloise (Withrow) Hockett, Newberg, OR, recently promoted to Professor of Education at George Fox University and published her first book on her educational work in Kenya.

Lori Trygg, Saint Paul, MN, shared leadership lessons and wisdom from the boardroom as a featured panelist at the Women’s Leadership Network fall event in Brainerd. Trygg has more than 25 years of experience in insurance and financial services.


Eric Johnson, MEd ’87, Finlayson, MN, has served as a School Counselor for the East Central School District in Askov/Finlayson, MN for over 30 years.


Randy Lee, Duluth MN, was nominated by your colleagues and selected by the Awards Committee at Minnesota Music Educators Association Educator of the Year. This award recognizes your contributions to music education in Minnesota.


Donald Goenner, Wahkon, MN, was hired as a special education teacher for both the St. Johns elementary and high school.


Roni Salo, Duluth, MN, announced as a board member of the St. Luke’s Foundation.

Mark Stensaas, Wrenshall MN., is putting together funding for a movie on boreal birds. Working with a head naturalist, Clinton Nienhaus, on a curriculum to go with it.


Jean Gustafson, received the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association's Greater Minnesota Fellowship Award for advocacy work he has done in the area of LGBT education. Gustafson was just named the Diversity Liason for the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Jim Morrow, Eden Prairie, MN, retires from his lieutenant position at the Eden Prairie Police Department after serving for 28 years. Morrow graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a criminal justice degree.


Rev. Jeanine Alexander, Maple Grove, MN, attended the University of Minnesota Duluth to study psychology and philosophy. While at UMD, she served as the youth director at Lester Park United Methodist. She has served churches in the Twin Cities since attending seminary at Bethel University.

John M. Pletcher, Grand Rapids, MN, has been selected for promotion to the rank of major general in the Air Force.


Jay Gilbertson, Brookings, SD,  named 2017 Friend of Big Sioux River. A Minnesota native, he came to South Dakota in 1984 after earning a Master’s degree in geology at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Tim Smith, Saint Paul, MN, has been promoted from credit analyst to commercial banker for National Bank of Commerce. He will work out of NBC's Superior main branch.

Heather M Wright, Pine Island, MN, is the owner at Tulips & Truffles Florist, Pine Island, MN, exhibiting a revolving chalk mural wall. Recently exhibiting work at Rochester Art Center and the Mothersbaugh Studio 2091 in the Akron, OH area.


Christopher Strandlie, Walker, MN, Cass County Attorney, was appointed to fill a Ninth Judicial District judgeship that will be chambered in Brainerd.


Kari Smith, Duluth, MN, has been hired as a sales agent at The Cartier Agency. She holds a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow designation and is pursuing her Certified Insurance Counselor designation.


Mark Kronforst, Rockville, MD, is the Chief Accountant of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance and has served 13 years in the public service with the investor protection agency.


Dr. Jeff Ross, Chaska MN, joined Miromatrix as vice president of product development. He has been working towards developing bioengineered organs.


Melissa Cox, Hibbing MN, has been named the new president and CEO of the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Wilkowske, Saint Paul, MN, is singing the role of Owen Hart in the opera “Dead Man Walking” with Minnesota Opera, singing the role of Dr. Malatesta in “Don Pasquale” with Fort Worth Opera, recently released a CD of the opera “Lucy” on New Focus Records.


Jon Carlo Gulbranson, Colleyville, TX, has been promoted to Vice President of Global Reservations. He will oversee American’s reservations operations, including its 21 locations across the globe.


Dr. Jeremy Solin, Bend, OR, recently was announced as one of the 2017 South Platte Forum Keynote Speakers. He has worked in the environmental and sustainability education fields for the past 20 years and has extensive experience in education and outreach program development and management.


Mandie Krueger, Aitkin, MN, joined the Aitkin Library’s staff the last week of August after a month of training in a number of ECRL branches and is named the new branch librarian.


Angie Lien, Superior WI, portrayed Queen Elsa in Disney on Ice's "Passport To Adventure" this past March.

Karen Hartung, Duluth, MN, named the director of speech therapy at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet. She has been a speech therapist at CMH for seven years, treating patients of all ages.

JoLissa Kowalik, South Range, WI, has been hired as a personal lines account manager at The Cartier Agency.

Jane Cahill Poole, Duluth, MN, has been named partner at The Andrew & Bransky law firm. She was named a "Rising Star" attorney in 2017 and practices in the area of labor law and employee benefits.

Dr. Erik Brodt, Portland, OR, is working on how to best recruit, retain, and graduate American Indian health professionals students. Brodt is the founder and president of We Are Healers, an initiative featuring stories of American Indian health professionals.

Brian Wells, Philadelphia PA, joined GeographIT, a division of EBA Engineering Inc., as a senior GIS analyst providing professional geospatial technology consulting services.


Dr. Megan Gladen, Pequot Lakes, MN, a family medicine physician, has joined the Essentia Health St. Joseph's-Pine River Clinic.

Andrew Hollatz, Madison, WI, has been welcomed as an anesthesiologist at St. Luke's.

Anthony Padrnos, Minneapolis, MN, was named the 2017 TIES Technology Leader of the Year for his dedicated work leading change through educational technology at Richfield Public Schools and was recently hired as the Executive Director of Technology for Osseo Area Schools.


Kevin Roble, Minneapolis, MN, accepted into a Ph.D. program at Florida Atlantic University.  Program of study: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education Leaders.

Matt Frakes, Saint Paul, MN, created a paddleboard called “the Loon” along with his partner Peter Mogck. The board is bamboo and has a sleek fiberglass finish and is making waves in Minnesota.

Jebeh Edmunds, Duluth, MN, made the Duluth News Tribune’s 2017 “20 Under 40” list, which is composed of 20 influential people under the age of 40.


Max Motley, Virginia, MN, will speak at SME Northern Nevada Section meeting on the power and importance of, “Near Miss Reporting Programs in Today’s Industry.”

Brian Fretschel, Richfield, MN, promoted to Manager of the Digital Customer Experience team where he helps establish a strategic digital initiative from Emerson’s global network.  

Pastor Jordan Gades, Wolverton, MN, ordained at First Lutheran Church as their new associate pastor.

Stacy Carolan, Duluth, MN, has been hired by Hamlin Music Academy as their new trumpet instructor. Carolan has been a professional musician for more than 25 years and enjoys performing a variety of music as well as teaching students of all ages and skill levels.

Ellen Johnson, Golden Valley, MN, married Jeremy Erickson on September 30, 2017, at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth, MN.


Brandon McCabe, Duluth, MN, recently hired as a personal banker at the National Bank of Commerce.


Brenda Quade, Duluth, MN, announced by JMR Financial Group as one of their new financial experts and a key member of the Quality and Strategy Team. With over 30 years experience in various accounting and management roles, she will focus her efforts on the reorganization of the accounting department.

Dr. Jordan Thompson, Duluth, MN, will be joining the Miller Creek Medical Clinic. Currently an ophthalmologist at St. Luke's, he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and his medical degree at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.

Andrew Radtke, Duluth, MN, joined CW Technology Team as a service desk technician.


Lindsay Morgan, Duluth, MN, recently hired at Duluth Health Center as a public health educator. She has worked in a mental health setting with children and teens to help them develop skills in coping, emotion regulation and social settings.

Dr. Kelsey Redland, Grand Rapids, MN, a family medicine physician, joined Essentia Health-Deer River Clinic in Deer River. She completed much of her medical training at Essentia Health. She earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth and Minneapolis.

Joe Nayquonabe Jr., Onamia, MN, appointed to the Initiative Foundation Board of Trustees. The Initiative Foundation provides business financing and technical assistance, awards nonprofit grants, hosts Partner Funds and leads a variety of leadership programs that enable citizens to build stronger communities.

Alyssa Schwanke, Two Harbors, MN, has been hired as the education-industry partnership coordinator for Lake Superior College's Customized Training and Community Education department.

Kari Zabinski, Minneapolis MN, was announced as a Certified Public Accountant and has been hired as a tax associate in the Private Sector group.


Elly Power, Duluth, MN, a News Tribune news clerk, will lead the Eastern Observer. She learned how to be a passionate journalist in Duluth and fell in love with it’s unique and quirky characteristics.

Emily Nygren, Duluth, MN, hired by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corp. as an assistant program officer. She oversees LISC's HUD Section 4 program and assists with grant writing, program management, and building community partnerships.

Kameron Perkins, Taylors Falls, MN, awarded a Community Outreach Scholarship Award from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC). The award, which has a potential value of $30,000, recognizes exceptional dedication to the community through volunteer work.

Dr. Kaitlyn Schoeck, Baxter, MN, joined Lakewood Health System's medical staff. Originally from International Falls, Schoeck completed her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota — Duluth and received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota.

Ryan Lane, Duluth, MN, began his Peace Corps work in Madagascar and wishes to continue his research as a graduate student after his term ends. Currently plans to spend time visiting schools in Toronto and Montreal.

Dr. Noah Retka, Glencoe, MN, recently opened his practice at Hutchinson Health Clinic. He chose family medicine for its breadth and variety and believes that an awareness of family relationships leads to more comprehensive care.

Julia Forberg, Red Wing, MN, hired as a physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing. In addition to primary care, she will provide prenatal and postnatal care for women.

Amanda Kelly, Red Wing, MN, married Bob Knudsen on June 10, 2017, at Hok-Si-La Park in Lake City.

Tim Smith, Superior, WI, has been promoted at the National Bank of Commerce from a Credit Analyst to a Commercial Banker at NBC’s main office in Superior, WI.


Erik Meixelsperger, Sarasota, FL, made his Dog Days debut in Double Indemnity and can also be seen in the Cook Theatre this fall as Kreon in Oedipus.

Ashley Zemler and Tyler Fuerstenberg, Wilmont, MN, announce their engagement. Fuerstenberg graduated with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and is employed as an automation engineer at Direct Automation, Sioux Falls.

Emily Henderson, Westbrook, MN, named new administrator at Westbrook Good Samaritan nursing home.

Savanna Ellena, Saginaw MN, joining Swim Creative’s digital team. Ellena is a specialist in social media and digital advertising.

Ronald Custer, Stanchfield, MN, was sworn into the Superior Police Department during a ceremony at the Government Center in Superior, WI.

Jessica Borden and Sean Podpeskar, Duluth, MN, are both UMD alumni and recently got married on December 23, 2017. They had wedding photos taken on the ice at Amsoil Arena. 


Mark Nahorniak, Wisconsin, WI, focuses on civil engineering and surveying projects within C&H Engineering.

Laura Hart, Duluth, MN, hired as a project engineer at McGough Construction in the Duluth office. She will assist with subcontract management, materials purchases, shop drawings, project meetings and all general items pertaining to successful project completion.

Tony Cameranesi, Minneapolis, MN, recently announced that he will sign a Standard Player Contract for the 2017-18 season for the Manchester Monarchs.

Ashleigh Titterton, Hudson, WI, was recently hired at Willow River Elementary as a K-5 EBD special education teacher.


Kelli Koetz, Winona, MN, has been hired as a 3rd-grade teacher at St. Mary’s.

Nevada Littlewolf, Virginia, MN, announced as a Board trustee by The Women's Foundation of Minnesota. She has more than 20 years of experience working across sectors of political leadership, public policy, community and the arts.

Ridge Primus, Little Falls, MN, recently joined Citon Computer Corp as a Network Operations Center engineer in Duluth. Working closely with traditional, hosted and managed service clients, Primus will help deliver technical support to end users.

Julie Ulmen, Hokah, MN, will soon be teaching 8th-grade algebra, 10th-grade geometry, and 11th-grade advanced algebra. Ulmen graduated in May with a B.A. major in teaching mathematics and a minor in deaf studies.

Jon Nowak, Duluth, MN, graduated with a mechanical engineering degree and was recently hired as a project engineer.