Supporting a Local Culture of Entrepreneurship
A group of volunteer community members from a variety of backgrounds have been working behind the scenes over the last few months. Their work included planning, researching, and brainstorming, and has led them to the launch of “Two Rivers Entrepreneur Kinnection,” or “TREK,” a platform for local entrepreneurs to learn from and support one another. Each team member brings their life experiences and passion for entrepreneurship to the effort.
Mike Barry grew up in Thief River Falls and is a long-time resident of the community. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing, and spending time with his family and grandchildren. Mike recently sold his convenience stores after 27 years. Mike is a President of the Advance Thief River board and is active in many other community organizations.
Mike is a serial entrepreneur. He is a strong advocate for small business and is excited about TREK as a vehicle to support, connect and educate the community’s entrepreneurs.
Kelsey Brateng was born and raised as a Thief River Falls native. She and her husband Kelly have four children: Alexia, Tanner, Aubrielle, and Everly. She has worked as a professional photographer since 2005.
She recently started a business venture with her sister, focusing on social media marketing and web design for small businesses. She has a passion for our community and is excited to meet other entrepreneurs interested in connecting through TREK.
Brian Carlson is Executive Director of Sanford Thief River Falls Medical Center and Sanford Behavioral Health Center. He has 40 years of experience in rural healthcare, including a position as President of Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors, Minnesota, and serving as Vice President at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth Minnesota.
Brian lives in Thief River Falls and has four grown children, five grown step-children, and seven grandchildren. He is passionate about entrepreneurs as they are risk takers who challenge the status quo. He looks forward to encouraging our community’s entrepreneurs and seeing them grow through TREK.
Kendall DeHaan graduated from Lincoln High School and is currently pursuing a business administration degree through Northland while working full time in account management. She is passionate about leadership and has been involved in Women in Electronics as well as local volunteering opportunities.
Kendall is eager to meet those interested in entrepreneurship and supporting small businesses through TREK. Entrepreneurs bring a vibrant perspective, making our Northwest Minnesota community a special place to call home.
Michelle Landsverk graduated from Mahnomen High School and went on to Concordia College in Moorhead. She has been married to her husband, Ronn, for 31 years and they make their home in rural Fosston. Hobbies include musical theater, playing piano, reading, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
She has worked in business and economic development for the last 20 years. She loves small towns and rural life. She believes that economic gardening–nurturing local entrepreneurs–is an important economic development strategy. She is excited to be part of establishing TREK in the community.
Beth Nelson is a loan officer with Northern State Bank. She specializes in residential real estate lending. As a lifelong resident of Thief River Falls, she understands the important role our area’s entrepreneurial spirit has played in the community’s success.
Her hope in the launch of TREK is continuing this tradition by creating a dedicated space for relationship building among our current and emerging entrepreneurs.
John Syvertson is a Commercial Relationship Manager at Unity Bank. He has been in banking for 14 years. He serves on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and serves as President of the Thief River Falls Rotary club. Recently, John helped to establish Falls Under 40, a young professionals group.
He enjoys spending time with his wife, Tanya, and their two children, Jude and Nora. He is passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, as they are both key to a thriving local economy. John looks forward to collaborating with entrepreneurs through TREK.
Angie Westling was born and raised in Thief River Falls and is proud to call TRF her hometown. After finishing college and living in the Twin Cities for a few years, she decided to move back home so she could be closer to family and raise her children in the same amazing community that she grew up in.
She has been an entrepreneur for more than a year. Angie is excited to connect with, as well as to encourage, new entrepreneurs at TREK.