Advisory Board Minnesota

Cheryl works as an independent policy consultant on conservation issues, focusing primarily on conservation budgets and funding. Since 2003, she has provided research and analysis to a variety of conservation organizations, including the Minnesota Campaign for Conservation which supported passage of Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment in 2008.

Daniel Avchen, FAIA, is the Executive Director of Strategic Growth at HGA Architects and Engineers in Minneapolis, where he also served the past 19 years as CEO.

Ms. Birkeland was a partner in the commercial real estate practice at Faegre & Benson until 1995. From 1995 until 1998 she was an Associate General Counsel at the University of Minnesota overseeing large construction projects.

Andrew Brown is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, where he is chair of the Regulatory Affairs Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

Elected by the voters of District 4 on March 15, 2005, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter is committed to efficient and effective county services, eliminating disparities in outcomes for diverse populations, and raising grassroots awareness of county decision-making processes and systems. 

Page Knudsen Cowles was an investment professional in the financial services industry during the 1980's. She has been an active volunteer in the Twin Cities for many years,

Paul Durkee, Vice President of Antea Group, also currently serves as the Inogen Environmental Alliance President and CEO. He previously served as Managing Director for Delta-Simons Environmental Consultants Limited in Lincoln, England for four years.

Thomas Fisher is a Professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture, the Dayton Hudson Chair in Urban Design at the University of Minnesota, and the Director of the Minnesota Design Center at the College of Design.

Re-joining MAB, Peter Gove retired from the private sector in 2005 after 25 years in executive positions with St. Jude Medical and Control Data Corporation. In his public sector career, he served as Governor Wendell R. Anderson's environmental assistant, executive director of the MN Pollution Control Agency, founding member of the Environmental Quality Board, legislative director on Anderson's U.S. Senate staff and chief of legislation for the National Park Service.

Susan Haigh has led Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity (TCHFH) as its President and CEO since 2005. TCHFH is one of the most successful Habitat affiliates in the United States serving the entire seven county Twin Cities region. In addition to her leadership at Habitat, Haigh was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton as the Chair of the Metropolitan Council from 2011-2015.

John is a partner in the real estate and product liability and environmental groups of Faegre Baker Daniels of Minneapolis.

Lisa Hondros cofounded Friends of the Riverfront, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect and preserve the cultural and natural resources of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park. Since 2005, Friends of the Riverfront has advocated for riverfront parks, often in partnership with other nonprofits such as Friends of the Mississippi River and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Doug Kelley is a well-respected trial attorney who has been involved in several high-profile cases.

Landscape Structures Co-founder Steve King, who serves as chairman of the board, is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FASLA), a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI), and a founding member and past president of IPEMA (International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association).

Mary graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She spent over 30 years working as a professional in the field of parks and recreation in different program and service delivery capacities including Superintendent of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. During her career, Mary volunteered at the state and national level on Boards dedicated to Parks and Recreation. Her trademark, “Playing for Life”, reflects her belief that park and recreation services bring “life” to communities, neighborhoods, families and individuals. Mary served again as Interim Superintendent MPRB in 2018. In 2018 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters Building was renamed the Mary Merrill - Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Headquarters Building.  After a long MPRB career, Mary was asked to serve as Interim Executive Director, Sabathani Community Center, Minneapolis in 2019. She completed her Interim as Executive Director at Sabathani in September 2020.

Steve W. Meyer is a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP (formerly Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP).

Tim is a Sr. Director of Regulatory Affairs for Ecolab, Inc. In his nearly 10 years at Ecolab Tim has held numerous leadership roles in regulatory affairs; including most recently a 3-year expat assignment in Germany leading two separate chemical compliance programs.

Andrew has significant non-profit consulting experience with clients such as The Network for Better Futures, Twin Cities RISE!, and the International School of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he spent four years living as an expatriate with his family.

Don is CEO of MicroGrants, which awards modest grants to low-income people of potential, to start a business or career.

John Shepard (MA Anthropology, Indiana University) is an associate professor and assistant director at Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education (CGEE) and president of Cascade Communications, Inc. For more than 30 years he has worked as a media producer, writer, editor, and educator. At CGEE he directs the Center’s extensive media productions, many of which concern watershed and river education.

Julia Silvis, of McKinsey & Company, is manager of the Itasca Project. The Itasca Project is a virtual roundtable of CEOs, non-profit, and civic leaders, which aims to increase the economic competitiveness of the greater Minneapolis-St Paul region.

Marnie is the CEO of Camp Fire Minnesota. Under her leadership, Camp Fire launched its first-ever capital campaign and camp property master plan. Previous to becoming CEO of Camp Fire Minnesota, in 2006 Marnie was appointed by Mayor Chris Coleman to lead and create St. Paul’s first ever system-wide initiative linking the learning that occurs during the school day to the non-school hours.

Jim is a co-founder of the firm Tonka Building Supplies. He worked in the building products industry for 30 years before his retirement in 2007.