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“What a stunning experience! Not a single other house is visible - it's just you and the mountains.” - Jenna, Chicago, Ill.

May 18, 2016

Board of Directors

MT_GUESTHOUSE8Board of Directors:

Kathryn Nordberg

Founder and CEO, Erik's Ranch, Inc.

VP, Administration, Heritage of Edina, Inc.

Kathryn Nordberg has held executive positions with organizations in technology, packaged goods and health care. She is recognized for innovative solutions to long-standing operational challenges and her ability to create positive outcomes for long-term projects with multimillion-dollar budgets. She has leadership experience in strategic and organizational planning, management, marketing, partnership development and alliances, sales, new product development and communications.

For more than a decade, Nordberg has assisted her family in running the largest privately held assisted living facility in Minnesota, in business since 1960, with more than 50 years operational experience. This background makes her knowledgeable in running a care facility for individuals with special needs.

Nordberg also has an adult son with autism. She became the founding chairperson of Families for Early Autism Treatment in 1995 when no funding or early intervention programs were available in Minnesota. In 1997, she participated in bringing behavioral therapist Ivar Lovaas to Minnesota to share his Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for early intervention with children with autism. She also challenged the Minneapolis public school system status quo, creating awareness about the lack of efficacy of its program for children with autism, laying the groundwork for the assistance available for families desiring ABA.

With Nordberg’s experience as the foundation for Erik’s Retreat, we understand the need for individual choices and how to support that. Through professionally trained staff, careful planning and communication with residents and families, and the employment of innovation in everything we do, we believe that living a life of promise is within everyone’s reach. “I believe that if I can imagine it, we can achieve it.”

Karen King

President & CEO, Spawn Ideas

Karen King graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism. She began her career as a public relations professional in Minneapolis, and went on to work in the sales promotion, sports and entertainment marketing and advertising disciplines for clients such as Coca-Cola USA, Kraft Foods and Pillsbury, and with entertainment organizations such as Warner Bros. television, the NFL and major league baseball. Moving to Alaska in 1997, King started her own marketing consultancy with clients in Minneapolis and Alaska. She later joined the Nerland Agency in Anchorage where she is presently the organization’s president. Among the agency’s clients are BP Alaska, McDonald’s Alaska, Walgreens, Midas and the University of Alaska. King serves on the boards of the United Way of Anchorage and the Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club, as well as Erik’s Ranch & Retreats. She also sits on the board of advisors of the Anchorage Cyrano’s Theatre Company and the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Eric V. Larsson, Ph.D., L.P., B.C.B.A.

Executive Director, Clinical Services Lovaas Institute Midwest

Dr. Larsson received his doctoral degree in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas, under the guidance of Drs. R. Vance Hall and Donald M. Baer. While receiving his degree, he coordinated a Handicapped Children's Model Program for the U.S. Office of Special Education, developing the comprehensive special education program for public schools on Indian reservations. In addition, he has coordinated a community development project for preventing family violence in high-risk communities. At Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center in Rochester, Minn., he provided psychological services for a variety of needs, including intensive early intervention. He served as the director of community services at the May Institute, an internationally recognized treatment program that provides services to individuals with severe behavior disorders in New England. There he implemented a replication of the UCLA intensive early intervention model. He served as director of behavior therapy services for REM Health. He has served on more than 20 community and civic boards including the West Hennepin Human Services Planning Board, the Olmsted County Evaluation Subcommittee, the Autism Behavior Therapy Alliance, FEAT of Minnesota, and has served as chair of Parents Anonymous of Minnesota. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Association for Behavior Analysis, ARC, Autism Society of America, and Autism National Committee.

Dr. Larsson is recognized as an expert in early intervention, inclusive communities, severe behavior disorders, multiple handicaps, autism, the rights of individuals with disabilities, nonaversive treatment, Applied Behavior Analysis, and self-injurious behavior. He has been providing intensive early intervention services since 1976, and has supervised such services since 1983. He has consulted with more than 200 programs including: social service agencies, schools, vocational programs, residential programs, advocacy agencies, and government agencies worldwide, including the University of Chicago, St. Amant Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, Young Autism Project of Pittsburgh and New Jersey Intensive Early Intervention Institute. He serves as associate research director of the NIMH Multisite Replication Study of the UCLA Young Autism Project. He has published papers on such topics as functional communication, autism, social skills, parenting and human rights. He has given more than 60 presentations at the national and international level in such locations as Geilo, Norway; Granada, Spain; Boston; San Francisco; Orlando, Fla.; New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Sacramento, Calif.; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montreal, Canada; and Los Angeles. He has also done 50 workshops on topics such as intensive early intervention, parenting, curriculum management, community leadership, behavior management, staff training, quality assurance, family violence, social skills, inclusive communities, autism, and consultation. He is affiliated with several major universities, including St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Kansas. He has received 11 state, private and federal grants for a total of $927,106. He served on the editorial board of the Consulting Psychology Journal, and is currently on the Autism Advisory Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Dr. Larsson is currently the executive director of clinical services at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention Midwest, where he implements a program of intensive early intervention services for families of children who suffer from severe behavior disorders. This program serves numerous children in eight states. It also provides follow-along consultation to older children with similar needs. Dr. Larsson is a licensed psychologist and board-certified behavior analyst.

Partial List of Publications:

Peterson, G. B., Larsson, E. V. & Riedesel, K. L. (2003). A conceptual toolkit for intensive early behavioral intervention teachers. Journal of Behavioral Education. 12, 131-146.

Larsson, E. V. (2002). Involving parents in therapy. In O. I. Lovaas., Teaching children with developmental disabilities. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Dyer, K. & Larsson, E. V. (1997). Developing functional communication skills: Alternatives to aberrant behavior. In E. Cipani & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Practical approaches to the treatment of severe behavior problems. Sycamore, IL: Sycamore.

Larsson, E. V., Luce, S. C., Anderson, S. R., & Christian, W. P. (1992). Autism. In M. D. Levine, W. B. Carey, & A. C. Crocker (Eds.), Developmental-behavioral pediatrics (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Larsson, E. V., & Christian, W. P. (1992). Legal issues. In M. D. Levine, W. B. Carey, & A. C. Crocker (Eds.), Developmental-behavioral pediatrics (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Luce, S. C., Christian, W. P., Anderson, S. R., Troy, P. J., & Larsson, E. V. (1992). Development of a continm of services for children and adults with autism and other severe behavior disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 13, 9-25.

Christian, W. P., Luce, S. C., & Larsson, E. V. (1992). Peer review and human rights committees. In J. K. Luiselli, J. L. Matson, & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Assessment, analysis and treatment of self-injury. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc.

Luce, S. C., & Larsson, E. V. (1989). The collaborative work of Juniper Gardens Children's Project and The May Institute. Education and Treatment of Children, 12, 416-418.

Bergsgaard, M. O., & Larsson, E. V. (1984). Increasing social interaction between an isolate first-grader and cross-cultural peers. Psychology in the Schools, 21, 244-251.

Larsson, D. G., & Larsson, E. V. (1983). Manipulating peer presence to program the generalization of verbal compliance from one-to-one to group instruction. Education and Treatment of Children, 6, 109-122.


Medical Advisory Board:

Erik's Ranch & Retreats has professional support among some of the most well known leaders in the field of autism. The methods developed by Dr. Lovaas and Dr. Larsson, in particular, are touted at autism treatment centers throughout the world.

Ann Garfinkle, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Montana University, Missoula, Mont.

Ann Garfinkle earned her PhD in special education from the University of Washington.  Since then, she has been heavily involved in research, teaching and service in the field of autism. Dr. Garfinkle has given numerous local, state and national presentations on her work, as well as published scholarly and practitioner-focused articles. Currently she works as an associate professor at the University of Montana on a variety of projects. One currently funded project, in collaboration with the State Department of Public Health and Human Services, provides technical assistance and professional development for the Montana Childhood Autism Waiver. Dr. Garfinkle's work on this project has received recognition from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. She is committed to "improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities and ensuring that recommended practice is usual practice."

O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D. (2007-2010)

Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department University of California, Los Angeles

Perhaps the most well-known psychologist in the field of autism, Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1958 from the University of Washington. Dr. Lovaas began working with older children with autism in the same decade that Burrhus Frederic "B. F." Skinner wrote his now famous, Science and Human Behavior text in 1953. Lovaas began to apply the experimental behavior analysis developed by Skinner to people with autism. In 1961, he started at UCLA and held a full professorship from 1967-2010. In 1995, he founded the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention, which is a provider of early intervention treatment for young children diagnosed with autism. He has received many honors for his work in the field, including the Edgar Doll Award, a Distinguished Research Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the California Senate Award, an honorary doctorate, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Champion of Mental Health Award from Psychology Today. He has been interviewed on national television networks such as CBS, CNN and the BBC. He has given presentations across the United States and the world, including Sweden, Germany, Poland, China and New Zealand.

The pioneering work of Dr. Lovaas has helped to revolutionize the treatment of autism in children. He developed an early, intensive behavior therapy approach that emphasizes the power of positive reinforcement to develop life skills in children with autism, and in some cases, has practically eradicated the debilitating symptoms. The majority of children in his later studies maintained their gains into adolescence and were indistinguishable from children with no history of autism. His methods are now used at treatment centers and clinics throughout the world. Lovaas' work was fueled by his strong, passionate belief in the potential of the individual to grow, learn and heal. Most recently Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles, Lovaas has published more than 120 papers and several books on his research. Dr. Lovaas died in early 2010.

Eric Rudrud, Ph.D., LP

Professor, Dept. of Community Psychology, St. Cloud State University

Assistant Dean, College of Education, St. Cloud State University, MN

B.S. 1972 Colorado State University Psychology

M.S. 1974 Utah State University Counseling / School Psychology

Ph.D. 1978 Utah State University Psychology / Applied Behavior Analysis

Professional Experience:

  • Professor, Department of Community Psychology, St. Cloud State University 1989 - present
  • Assistant Dean, College of Education, St. Cloud State University 1985 - 1988
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, 1985 – 1989, St. Cloud State University
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, 1982 - 1985 St. Cloud State University
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, 1980 – 1982, J.F.K. Child Development Center (UAP), University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado
  • Director of Training, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1980 University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
  • Coordinator of Resource Development, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1978 - 1980 , University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
  • Assistant Professor, Health Services Administration, 1978 - 1980 Allied Health Science, University of South Dakota
  • Staff Training Specialist, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1977 -1978 University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, 1977 - 1978 Clinical Training Program, University of South Dakota

Professional/Community Affiliations:

  • Consulting Editor/Associate Editor, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability 1980 - present
  • Editorial Board, Rural Special Education Quarterly, 1990 – 1993
  • Chair of Institutional Review Board, St. Cloud State University, 1991- present, member 1988 – present
  • District 742 (St. Cloud) Planning, Evaluation, and Review Committee, 1989 - present Chair (1989 - 1991)
  • Licensed Consulting Psychologist, Board of Psychology, Minnesota, 1983 – present


2 Books

40 Publications

Presentations at State, Regional, National Conferences - 103

Dr. Rudrud has worked in the field of community integration of persons with disabilities for 40 years. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology/Behavioral Analysis in 1978 from Utah State University and is currently a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Community at St. Cloud State University. In addition to his current post, Dr. Rudrud has worked for the University of South Dakota at the Center for Developmental Disabilities and the J.F.K. Child Development Center at the University of Colorado.

Dr. Rudrud’s major interests include extensive research and clinical application in the areas of behavioral analysis, vocational programming and community integration of persons with disabilities. With this expertise, he has served as a consultant to the South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. He has focused on developing programs to meet the needs of underserved individuals with disabilities who reside in rural and remote locations.

Dr. Rudrud has served as a principle investigator on three federally funded programs to increase services to individuals with disabilities who reside in rural western South Dakota (Life Skills Coaching, Co-Worker Mentoring, and Dakota Data Works, which provides the creation of data entry jobs using the Internet). In addition, Dr. Rudrud has served on two other federally funded employment programs. He maintains an active clinical and research practice devoted to developing natural supports to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities.


Business Advisory Board:

Casey Anderson

Wildlife Naturalist, Animal Trainer, Actor

A fifth-generation Montanan and hailing from Paradise Valley, Mont., Casey (a.k.a. Grizzly Guy) is a wildlife naturalist, host and actor and has worked on numerous feature films, television wildlife documentaries and non-profit educational programs, most notably as the host and executive producer of the Nat Geo WILD Channel series "Expedition Wild" and "America the Wild." His best friend and companion is Brutus the Bear.

Satoru (San) Asato

President and Financial Advisor at McNellis & Asato, Ltd.

Satoru (San) Asato is President and Financial Advisor at McNellis & Asato, Ltd. in Bloomington. His professional background includes institutional money management experience in London, Tokyo and Minneapolis. He is a graduate of Colby College and a Certified Financial Planner from Minnesota State University, Mankato. San is a member of the Rotary Club of Edina. San, wife Sheila, and youngest son, Sachi, with autism, live in the Braemer Hills neighborhood of Edina. Sheila is an artist, teacher and a Dream researcher. Sachi is concluding his transition program at Richfield South Education Center. Their oldest son, Hiroshi, is an Emergency/Crisis Management Specialist, man or nature made, a Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class in the U.S. Navy (Reserves), and he, his wife and 20-month old son live in Chicago.

Austen S. Cargill, II, Ph.D.

Board of Directors, Cargill, Inc.

Quintessential fly-fisherman and world-traveler in search of big trout, Austen Cargill received his bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees from the University of Minnesota; Doctor of Philosophy, fisheries ecology, from Oregon State University.

A member of the Cargill Company since 1984, Dr. Cargill served in numerous capacities including leading the company’s research and development for business units in 60 countries, technical coordinator for the plant operations group, as well as executive supervisor of 13 Cargill business units worldwide.

While in the plant operations group, he co-founded the Cargill Worldwide Total Quality Program (currently the Business Excellence Group). In the 2000s, two Cargill Inc. business units received three Malcolm Baldrige Awards, the highest honor an American company can receive for excellence in business management.

As the first executive of food safety, he established Cargill as a recognized industry leader in food safety worldwide. He also co-founded the Cargill Health and Nutrition Business unit, providing healthful and low-calorie foods to companies throughout the world.

Dr. Cargill is currently a member of the board of directors of Cargill Co. Inc., serving on the governance, finance and human resource committees.

Karen  Earl

Consultant & Autism Advocate

Karen Earl spent 27 years in corporate America as a management consultant specializing in program management, IT strategy and governance oversight for large-scale online products and services launches, including working for NBC, Deloitte Consulting, CBS Marketwatch and as an owner of her freelance consulting business since 2001. Karen has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business but is most proud of her accomplishments in advocating for her son Jack who has autism and inspires her every day.

As one of our longest serving advisory board members, Ms. Earl has made significant impacts leading program strategy and execution, assisting with fundraising and development efforts and serving as sub-committee chairs since 2009 for both locations in Minnesota and Montana. Prior to her role with us, Karen launched a consultancy in 2005 to help families navigate their loved one’s autism diagnosis and sponsored a nature camp with the Dodge Nature Center for six years for children on the autism spectrum.  It is Karen’s hope that her lifelong advocacy experience for her son will help other families and young adults with autism around the world live happy and productive lives via innovative solutions like Erik’s Ranch & Retreats.


Brenda Fischer

Financial Projects Consultant & CPA (inactive)

Brenda Fischer has provided financial services in a variety of industries (public accounting, public utilities, airlines & nonprofit) for nearly 30 years. After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a BS in Accounting, she began her career with Deloitte Haskins & Sells. In 1998, she began providing financial consulting services with her most recent focus in the nonprofit sector.

Since 2011, Brenda has focused her efforts toward philanthropic endeavors. In addition to serving in various volunteer positions, she has served on the Advisory Board for Applause Community Theatre; the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation Finance Committee; and in various roles and committees for Christus Victor Lutheran Church, including Council President & Treasurer.

In addition to volunteering and spending time with family, Brenda enjoys gardening, cooking, Gophers football and MN professional sports, and traveling with her husband Paul. She and Paul have two adult children, Sara (husband Kevin) & Sam. In February 2014, Sam was the initial member to move into an apartment at Erik’s Retreat in Edina.

Jim Frome

COO, SPS Commerce

As Chief Operating Officer at SPS Commerce, Jim Frome oversees global strategy, sales, marketing and operations. Since joining SPS in 2000, Jim has helped retailers, suppliers, and logistics companies advance their trading partner relationships, with the industry’s most broadly adopted enterprise retail cloud service platform. He has been continually named a "Pro to Know" by Supply & Demand Chain, written numerous white papers, and is a frequent speaker at customer and industry events.

Jim has more than two decades of experience in technology marketing and management positions. Previously, he served as a divisional vice president of marketing at Sterling Software, and director of product management at Information Advantage.

Prior to Information Advantage, Jim held several marketing and product development positions in which he focused on building business partnerships and resellers for IBM's AS400 division. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science.

Jim and his wife, Michele, have a teenage son with autism. The Frome’s are very active in the autism awareness community, and advocate for programs that help individuals of all ages.

Steve Green

Corporate Director, Revenue Management, Managed Hotels - Americas

As the Corporate Director, Revenue Management for the Managed Hotels in the Americas, Steve brings nearly 20 years of hospitality experience to the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. His proven expertise in revenue management and sales enable him to lead a team of 8 revenue management professionals across 21 strategic assets. Steve is responsible for the overall strategies, tactics and technologies to support a diverse portfolio consisting of mid-scale and full-service properties.

Prior to joining Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Steve was the Director of Business Development, Americas for TSA Solutions – a Singapore-based consulting and training business that focuses on developing and implementing front desk upselling programs for luxury hotels. He was responsible for growing the overall footprint for the company in the North American region.

Steve has also served as Director of Product Marketing for IDeaS – A SAS COMPANY, a recognized leader in revenue management and pricing decision software for the worldwide hospitality market. During his tenure there, he was responsible for significantly increasing the company’s revenue performance, while successfully launching many new services and software solutions.

Throughout his successful career, Steve has held high-level sales, marketing and revenue management positions with some of the hospitality industry’s most recognized names, including Ecolab, Sofitel, Hyatt, Wyndham and Interstate Hotels.

Larry Jordan

Director of Special Events for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame

Famous for his involvement with horses and rodeos all over North America for more than 30 years, Larry Jordan is an inductee in the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (saddle bronco riding) and Montana State University-Billings Hall of Fame (football and rodeo). He makes things happen. He founded the American Canadian Quarter Horse Futurity, the newspaper, the North American Rodeo Commission and the Department of Public Relations for the National High School Rodeo Association, raising $1,000,000 from major sponsors for this last cause. He also established the Billings Night Rodeo, managing everything from concept and land acquisition to construction and marketing.

Jordan has a degree in education from Montana State University-Billings and still substitute teaches today. He has been active in ranch management in the Livingston area for more than a decade. He stands quarter horse stallions and has more than a dozen mares (quarter horse and paint). Many of his colts are active in racing all over the United States and Canada. Never one to rest on his laurels, Jordan has also developed his artistic side, capturing his love of the rodeo and the outdoors in dramatic Western and wildlife pieces for commission and sale.

Jordan has served on the board of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and is presently director of special events for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. He is also a trustee for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center.

Brian C. Stage

President of WEDGE Hotels Corporation, a privately held owner and operator of upscale hotels in the Northeastern U.S. and in Texas

Throughout his hospitality career, Brian Stage has held a variety of general management, sales and marketing positions including president of Radisson Hotels Worldwide and also as executive vice president of sales and distribution for Carlson’s five hotel brands. Prior to joining Carlson, Stage held the position of vice president, sales and marketing for Inn America Corporation and began his career with Sheraton Corporation, serving in various general management and sales leadership posts.

He also spent four years as an executive consultant for Radisson Edwardian Hotels, owner and operator of 13 upscale properties in greater London and Manchester, U.K.

Stage holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and has completed the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Minnesota Executive Program. He has been a regular guest lecturer for the Carlson School Executive Development Center Strategic Marketing Seminar as well as Hamline University Executive MBA Program and the Boston University School of Hospitality Administration.

Stage has been married for 33 years and he and his wife Debbie have one son.

Jannie Wiseman

Jannie Wiseman was born and raised in Montana. She started working at age 13 running her family’s gas station in Lewistown. Jannie graduated from the University of Montana with a Music Degree after spending some time singing and sampling beer across Europe. Settling in Bozeman after graduation, Jannie worked in the design industry focusing on interior furnishings and lighting design. Her love of Montana combined with her background in sales led to her current position as realtor with Keller Williams Montana Realty. With her concerns for the welfare of her community, Jannie serves on the Government Affairs Committee for the local board of realtors and is also the fundraising chair for the Realtor Political Action Committee. She has received the Culture Keeper award from her agency for the previous 2 years in recognition of her work in supporting local nonprofits.

Jannie met Kathryn Nordberg by happenstance. She was able to meet Erik personally and was immediately impressed with the support and love his family provides. Understanding that Erik’s days are very different than her own, she is devoted to helping develop Erik’s Ranch & Retreats in every aspect that she can.