LEADERSHIP

The Great River Passage Conservancy represents the next generation of civic and philanthropic leadership.

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D. (Board Chair)
President and CEO
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations

As President and CEO of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations, Dr. Jolly educates, elevates and gives voice to people in his communities. Managing $1.5 billion in assets and 2,000 charitable funds, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations also support the work of the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and Mardag Foundation.

Shelley Buck
President
Prairie Island Indian Community

President Shelley Buck is currently serving her fourth term on the Prairie Island Tribal Council and second term as the community’s president. Prior to being elected Tribal Council President, Buck held other positions within the Prairie Island Indian Community government, including Tribal Council Secretary and Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.

John I. Marshall
Director of Community Relations
Xcel Energy

John Marshall works for Xcel Energy as the Director of Community Relations. His team manages strategic relationships within roughly 700 Minnesota communities served by Xcel Energy, playing a critical role in areas of operations, energy policy, emergency response, economic development, and business retention and expansion.

Joe Nayquonabe Jr.
CEO
Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures

Joe Nayquonabe Jr. is an American Indian business professional who has spent his career reimagining and reinventing how American Indian tribal economies grow and prosper. He spent more than a decade as a marketing executive, growing the Grand Casino brand before ascending to CEO of the Mille Lacs Band’s Corporate Commission.

Jake Reint
Managing Director, Public Affairs
Koch Companies Public Sector/Flint Hills Resources

Jake Reint oversees communications and public affairs for Flint Hills Resources, a leading oil refinery, pipeline, biofuels and petrochemical company based in Wichita, Kansas. He specializes in strategic communications, crisis management, media relations, and political and issues advocacy.

EX OFFICIO

Mike Hahm
Director
City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

For the past 15 years, Mike Hahm has served on the senior Parks and Recreation management team holding a variety of positions including recreation services manager, special services manager and director of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. In 2008, Hahm was appointed to Director of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation by former Mayor Chris Coleman. He was reappointed to this role by Mayor Melvin Carter in December 2017.

Russ Stark
Chief Resilience Officer
City of Saint Paul

Russ Stark is the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Saint Paul, working in Mayor Melvin Carter’s office. Stark previously served for 10 years on the Saint Paul City Council, including three years as the Council’s president. Prior to his public service, he worked at nonprofits focused on community development, environmental advocacy, and transportation improvement, where he was involved in early planning for the present-day Green Line LRT. Stark has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College and a master’s of urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware.

ADVISOR

Jim Stolpestad
Founder and Senior Principal
Exeter Group LLC

Jim Stolpestad founded the Exeter Group real estate business in 1991 and is currently senior principal with the company and its legacy affiliates. Previously, Stolpestad was a commercial real estate attorney in private practice, with a national law firm based in the Twin Cities. Prior to his time in the private practice, Stolpestad was a special assistant to the Minnesota Attorney General and an attorney with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

STAFF

Mary deLaittre
Founding Executive Director

Mary deLaittre is the Founding Executive Director of the Great River Passage Conservancy and former Manager of the Great River Passage Initiative. Drawing on 25 years of community design experience, she conceives major city-building projects and develops sustainable organizational structures to ensure the long-term success of projects.

As founder and principal of Groundwork: The Foundation for City Building, she has focused on enhancing waterfront development. She led Wayzata’s Lake Effect Park Project, the transformation of the city’s Lake Minnetonka shoreline and the creation of the private fundraising entity for the park – the Lake Effect Conservancy. On behalf of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, she developed and managed RiverFirst, a revitalization effort along 5.5 miles of the Mississippi River. Finally, she co-founded and consulted for 2020 Partners, a public-private partnership that facilitated the transformation of a downtown Minneapolis industrial district into a new urban center.

Previously, deLaittre was the executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, where she galvanized the organization around a new mission of creating the Next Generation of Parks™. She received a bachelor of arts in art history from Brown University and a masters of architecture with a focus on urban design from the University of Minnesota.