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EXECUTIVE BOARD

The Executive Board is comprised of professionals and residents from the Duluth community with years of experience in hospitality, legal counsel, finance, promotions, and the nonprofit sector.  Their main responsibilities are to fundraise and oversee all major decisions, with a goal of improving the experience for every visitor, year after year. 

Nathan Bentley – Executive Director

Nathan was born, raised and resides in Northern Minnesota with his wife and 4 children. In his leisure time he enjoys domestic and international travel to Southeast Asia, spending time outdoors, boating and playing with his 3 dogs.  He is the President of Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing in Duluth.   In 2001, Nathan began putting up holiday lights at his home in Esko, MN. His personality of going over the top with things has grown from a weekend obsession of holiday lights to overseeing and putting on Bentleyville Tour of Lights that is now hosted at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth with a yearly attendance of 200,000 people.

 

 

Kristi Stokes – Past Chair

Kristi Stokes has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Downtown Council of Duluth, MN since 2000.  Stokes has more than 18 years of management experience in the private and non-profit sectors.  Prior to assuming her current position, she served as a News Director/Anchor at six radio stations, including the local CBS affiliate. 

She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Duluth Area Family YMCA and the International Downtown Association. Stokes was featured as one of Duluth’s 10 “Movers & Shakers” in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal and was named to the Duluth News Tribune’s inaugural “Top 20 under 40” list of young community leaders. She and her husband, Dave, are also business owners and they have a 7-year-old son, Tanner. 

 

Tony Bronson – Chair

Regional Manager for the Grandma’s Restaurant Company. A life-long resident of this area, Tony has served on a number of local boards and has been active with many non-profit and youth activity groups. As a Past Chair of the Visit Duluth Board of Directors, and present member of the Bentleyville Board, Tony has a great deal of pride in this area and a desire to see it continue to be a wonderful place for visitors and residents alike.

 

Amy Norris – Vice Chair

On a summer day in 2009, Amy Norris called Nathan Bentley asking if he could meet with Mayor Don Ness and her. At that meeting, Bentleyville found a new home, “Bayfront Festival Park”, the rest is history. Recently retired, Amy serves as the City of Duluth Staff Liaison to Bentleyville. She was the Public Information Coordinator for the City of Duluth and a native Duluthian. She spends her time now volunteering, hunting, fishing, boating and enjoying her home on the lake. Amy absolutely loves Christmas, and everything it has to offer, which makes her the perfect fit for the Bentleyville Board of Directors.

 

Adrienne Sobczak – Treasurer

Adrienne is the Treasurer of Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”, Treasurer of Red Lake Co-op, and has been the Office Manager at Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing since 2006. She is originally from Saginaw and is a graduate of Hermantown. Adrienne is married and is a proud mother of 3 children. During her free time, Adrienne enjoys reading, spending time at her cabin, and being out on the lake catching trophy walleyes. Adrienne’s favorite part of Bentleyville is seeing the excitement in the children’s eyes when they experience the magic of Bentleyville’s lights.

 

 

Jon Luikart – Secretary 

Jon Luikart is a retired food manufacturing executive who has served on a wide variety of boards. Upon retirement, Jon and his wife, Beth, made the North Shore their permanent home. The Tour of Lights has become a holiday tradition for their three children and seven grandkids, as it has for so many other families.

After working as a volunteer at Bentleyville, Jon was elected to the Bentleyville Executive Board in 2014. He enjoys being around volunteers and visitors as they share the spirit of the holidays at a family-friendly event. He believes Bentleyville creates a positive impression of this place we call home, which is a great asset to the community.

 

Ken Butler – Director

Kenneth D. Butler is an attorney and Owner/President of Kenneth D. Butler, Ltd., which is located in the Tech Village in Downtown Duluth. Ken grew up in Cloquet, MN, graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1968, served in the United States Army from 1968-70, and graduated from St. Louis Law School in 1973. Ken is a current and past Board member of Goodwill Industries of Duluth, the Volunteer Attorney Program and is active in his church where he sits on the Finance Committee. Ken enjoys cross-country skiing, biking and hiking as his favorite outdoor activities.

 

Patrick Fairchild – Director

Pat owns and operates Fairchild Health & Life Insurance and has been in the insurance industry for 25 years. Pat grew up in the Morgan Park neighborhood, graduating from Morgan Park High School in 1966 and UMD in 1971. He is married with 4 children and 8 grandchildren. Pat served on the Board for Minnesota Selects Hockey for 20 years and was instrumental in the organization and development of the Northern Wings hockey teams. An avid golfer, he serves on the Board at Northland Country Club. Pat has officiated high school official football for 45 years.

 

Joel Brekken – Director

Joel, a resident of Duluth for the past 27 years, is engaged to his fiance Ashley and together they are raising five children, Quinton, Katie, Jackson, Walker and Paxton. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth, Joel started the Joel Brekken Agency in Duluth's lakeside neighborhood. He provides Insurance and retirement services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota. Joel is the Assistant Head Coach of the Duluth East football team, which he has held for the past 24 years, serves on the state and northland division boards for the March of Dimes, and has served on several other local boards.

 

Regina Fodness – Director

Regina has been in the hospitality industry for 11 years. She has been the Director of Sales at the Canal Park Lodge since its opening in 2007.

She also serves as the President of the Canal Park Business Association and serves on the Greater Downtown Council Board.

Regina was born and raised in Duluth, is married and has two children.

 

 

Leanne Joynes – Director

Leanne Joynes, Regional Vice President of Sales & Marketing for ZMC Hotels has 23 years in the hospitality industry in Duluth.  Leanne has served as General Manager of a number of ZMC properties in Duluth and was instrumental in building the Edgewater, Hotel and Waterpark and the Inn on Lake Superior. Selling Duluth and reasons why people should visit Duluth are second nature to her.  The opportunity to work with Bentleyville and bring people to see all that it offers is an honor and a privilege. Leanne is married with 4 children and enjoys life in the Northland!

Leanne serves on the Woodland Hills Board of Directors, the Heritage Sports Center Board of Directors, and the March of Dimes Board of Directors as well as Bentleyville and enjoys giving back to the community.  Bentleyville is such a magical event that touches the lives of so many.

 

 

Tracy Vargason – Director

Tracy works as an Auditor with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development., Tracy and her husband Cory live in Cloquet with their two boys Jacob and Justin.   A life-long resident of Cloquet, Tracy has served as president of the Churchill Schools Partners in Education program and on the organizing committee for the Cloquet River Run. Tracy started volunteering at Bentleyville in 2010 with her Mother Barb.  During her free time she enjoys golfing, camping and spending time with family and friends.

 

 

Craig Vanneste – Director

Craig Vanneste has been a Graphic Designer at Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing since 1997. He is married and has two children. Part time golfer and full time rock star, Craig enjoys spending his time teeing off at the Proctor Country Club while listening to his favorite rock band KISS.

Craig uses his graphic design experience to create breathtaking light displays, motifs for the buildings, and Bentleyville signs and banners. Being active on the Marketing Committee and being the liaison for the Operations Committee, Craig plays a large part in deciding on day-to-day operations and designing merchandise to be carried in the Bentleyville store. Besides being involved with Bentleyville, Craig also volunteers his time with March of Dimes.

 

Tim Rogentine – Event Coordinator

Tim Rogentine is an Administrative Assistant for Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing and Event Coordinator for Bentleyville. He is originally from Cloquet and is a 2012 business graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Superior, where he worked as a writing tutor and studied Business Administration and Chinese. He is married and is a proud father of a lively son, Milo. In his spare time, Tim enjoys camping, traveling, and keeping up with current events in Asia.