Ken Powell is the former chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills, where he served in a variety of positions since 1979. Powell spent more than a third of his career overseas. He serves on the boards of directors for Medtronic, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping start-up food companies in Africa. Powell received a bachelor of arts degree in biology from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford University. He lives in Golden Valley, and his wife and two adult daughters all are proud to have degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Joe Laresca is a young entrepreneur from New York City. He founded NOISE, a tech-enabled entertainment marketing company that works with influencers, artists, celebrities, and companies to rapidly grow their brand. Some of his clients include The Chainsmokers, Halsey, John Mayer, and Diplo. Joe also co-founded Serhant Meda Group (SMG) with a celebrity real estate agent, Ryan Serhant. Joe is head of social media marketing for Ryan and has grown his Instagram account to well over a million followers. Joe also doubles as marketing manager and executive producer for Ryan’s YouTube channel, which now has over 500,000 subscribers.
Emily Vikre is a local female entrepreneur, Co-Founder, and President of Vikre Distillery. Vikre Distillery opened in 2013 incorporating lake superior water, culinary creativity, and a passionate stewardship of resources to create spirits. Emily provides leadership and strategic direction, leads product development, public relations, and brand management. Emily holds a Ph.D. in food policy and behavioral theory from Tufts University. While at Tufts University Emily was an adjunct professor in Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Her first book, Camp Cocktails will be coming out in February of 2020. Emily was a regular columnist for the James Beard award-winning site Food52 for four years and has contributed to a variety of publications including Lucky Peach, Minnesota Public Radio and Norwegian American Weekly.
Tim White was educated as an engineer and worked for Kohler Co. for over 12 years. While at Kohler, Tim built and managed an intrapreneurial business within Kohler that aspired to bring water filtration, sanitation, and hygiene to the 1.8 billion people worldwide that are affected by unsafe drinking water. Though Tim has since stepped away from his Kohler business, he still maintains an entrepreneurial spirit. He currently works as the Business Development and Intellectual Property Manager at the NRRI where he is the entrepreneurial lead. He also started Crud Cloth LLC, which he operates with the help of his daughters. In total, Tim has managed 6 startups throughout his career.
Dr. Stephen Betz
Dr. Betz has dedicated his career to the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals. He is Co-Founder and Vice President of Biology of Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, a small molecule pharmaceutical company in San Diego that focuses on the discovery and clinical development of novel therapeutics for patients with rare endocrine diseases and endocrine-related cancers. Since its inception in 2009 with four people, Crinetics has grown from supporting itself on grants, to raising venture capital, to becoming a fully-integrated, pipeline-driven, clinical-stage company with over 60 employees. Crinetics completed a $117 million IPO in July 2018 and trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol CRNX.
Local Brewery Panel
The Northeastern Minnesota community is known for its award-winning microbreweries, which often use the clean waters of Lake Superior for brewing beers. In a panel format, founders and brewers from Bent Paddle, Castle Danger, Hoops, and Ursa Minor will discuss their experiences in the competitive craft beer business.
Jamie MacFarlane - Castle Danger - Brewery Panel
Jamie MacFarlane is the Chief Financial Manager with Castle Danger Brewery. She and her husband Clint started their brewery in 2011 at their resort, Castle Haven Cabins, in Castle Danger, MN. They operated the brewery at its original location for 3 years until opening the current downtown Two Harbors facility in 2014. Jamie focuses on many aspects of the business-side of the brewery that include all things accounting, government compliance and licensing. She received a BA in Accounting from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2003. Jamie and Clint are both Two Harbors natives and are proud to be a part in revitalizing Two Harbors and making it the destination it should be.
Ben Hugus - Ursa Minor Brewery - Brewery Panel
Ben Hugus is a father, entrepreneur, craft beer lover, and outdoor enthusiast. Prior to opening Ursa Minor Brewing in 2018, Ben attended Northern Michigan University and upon graduation was a high school chemistry teacher and taught abroad with his wife, Sarah, in Bangladesh and Ecuador. Ben now acts as CEO for Ursa Minor Brewing where he has helped guide the company to double the size of its operation in just 12 months. Ursa Minor Brewing has also already been recognized for local, regional, and national awards for outstanding beer and top-notch taproom experience.
Dave Hoops - Hoops Brewing - Brewery Panel
Dave Hoops was born in Duluth, attended UMD and throughout his life of travels ultimately ended up back here. You just can’t beat all that is Duluth: the beauty, lake, community and lifestyle.
Hoops started brewing in his kitchen in San Francisco in 1992. Living in the Bay Area at that time he witnessed the Craft Brewing revolution take hold. Talk about inspiring! With influences like Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada and countless more, Hoops immersed himself in the world of craft beer. He decided to pursue his passion for making good beer and attended Siebel Institute in Chicago and apprenticed at Goose Island.
After returning to San Francisco, Hoops worked at Pyramid’s hallmark brewery in Berkeley until deciding to head back to his roots in Duluth, family in tow. In 1999, he started working at Fitger’s Brewhouse (taking over from his brother Mike—now acclaimed head brewer of Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis) where he developed the unique style of North Shore Style Ales. He and his brewing crews have won many awards for their brews around the country. He’s also worked with and trained several of the area’s leading brewers. Hoops has judged countless festivals and has been a judge at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for 13 years. For his first 10 years at the GABF, he was the only professional brewer from Minnesota to hold that honor. He’s a founding member of the Minnesota Brewers Guild, Master Brewer, Consultant, Beer Columnist and, of course, a lover of the age-old artisan craftsmanship of brewing the beer.
Laura (Salyards-Fryberger) Mullen - Bent Paddle - Brewery Panel
Laura (Salyards-Fryberger) Mullen, is one of the four co-founders/owners of the Bent Paddle Brewing Co. of Duluth, MN and acts as the Vice President of Marketing & Outreach for the company. She focuses on the brewery’s marketing, media and community relations, event coordination, sustainability initiatives, and charitable efforts. Laura is married to fellow Bent Paddle Brewing Co. co-founder/owner Colin Mullen. Laura has a long history of volunteerism and board leadership primarily in the areas of environmental stewardship, progressive reproductive healthcare, the arts and small business associations and was notably the first female board President of the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild.
Prior to opening the brewery in 2013 Laura was the owner and primary event designer of Laura Mullen Event Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she also acted as Guild Coordinator for her largest client, the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild. Laura was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. She completed her BA in Behavioral Science & Law from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2001 and worked as an event planner in Savanna, Georgia and Minneapolis, Minnesota before starting her event design company at the age of 25 in 2004. Laura has a long history of volunteerism and board leadership primarily in the areas of environmental stewardship, progressive reproductive healthcare, the arts and small business associations and was notably the first female board President of the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild.