Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization

100 South 1st Street
P
O Box 580737
Minneapolis, MN 55458

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OFFICIAL PARTNERS

Copyright 2018 Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization (AAO) | Privacy 

DARTS
Official Checking Account
SPIRE Credit Union
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Inspiring Young Women to

Achieve Extraordinary Futures

Leadership

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Policy Board of Directors

Jim Ganger
Chair of the Board
Dave Recker
President
Sarah Schrader
Former President
Ann Bailey
Commodore
Terri Johnson
Treasurer
Eileen Hafften
Secretary
Sharolyn Carlson
Board Member
Sonja Weiler
Board Member
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Planning Divisions & Vice Commodores

Ambassadors
Gary Schaak
Candidates
Sonja Weiler
Communications
Kacey Gregerson
Finance
Terri Johnson
Hospitality
Karen George
Visiting Dignitaries
Jim Ganger
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Resources - Email Contacts

Leadership - Bios

 
 
 

Chairman 

Jim Ganger

Jim served as a 2017 Captain and is excited to continue volunteering with AAO.  He is deeply committed to community, having previously served as a United States Air Force Airman, during which he was awarded the prestigious honor of Superior Performer by the Inspector General United States Air Force.  Over the past 25 years in the credit union industry, Jim has worked as a financial advisor, national sales manager, and currently serves as Vice President of Member & Partner Development for Spire Credit Union.  Jim resides in St. Paul.

President

Dave Recker

Dave joined the AAO in 2013 as Commodore and served as President in 2014-2015.  Dave finds supporting the development of young Minnesota women via AAO very rewarding, and  asks that you reach out to our fantastic and friendly hard working volunteers and get to know them.  

Originally from a small, rural farming town, Dave enjoys meeting residents of the 60 communities that AAO visits.  Dave served on numerous non-profit boards including: Boy Scouts, Minneapolis Job Support Workshop, Veterans Job Support, and Jon Francis Foundation; he currently serves on the Anoka County Mediation and Restorative Services board.

 

Dave earned a construction engineering B.S. degree and a marketing MBA degree.  Dave has held management positions at several well- known MN firms, including: Onan Corporation, Toro Company, and Twin City Testing. He retired from Cummins, Inc. as global marketing director for power generation.  Dave also served 29 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Captain.

Dave and Sharon have resided in Coon Rapids for 48 years and raised four sons.  They enjoy time with their 8 grandchildren. Dave is an avid alpine skier and road bicyclist.

Past President

Sarah Schrader

Sarah served as a 2017 Captain for AAO and helped plan the inaugural AAO Women's Expo event.  Over the past 4 years Sarah volunteered in other capacities with AAO including Communications and events.  Sarah's other festival experience includes over 11 years with the Red Wing Royal Ambassador program where she served many roles including Chairperson and Pageant Director.  Sarah was an ambassador for the community of Red Wing in 1996 and an Aquatennial candidate in 1997.

 

Sarah received her Bachelor's degree from the University of St. Thomas and currently works as an Account Manager supporting local government agencies for Esri, the global leader in location-based visualization and spatial analytics software.  Sarah also created That Purple Book, a collection of career advice resources for women which includes articles, public speaking engagements and workshops.

Commodore

Ann Bailey

Ann Bailey is the President at DARTS, a non-profit committed to “creating connections that enrich aging.” Ann became familiar with DARTS when her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis began to take its toll on the family, and she received a referral. In caring for Dad, Ann became passionate about the need to help older adults age well. Believing deeply in the DARTS mission, she joined the nonprofit’s Board in 2010.  In 2015, Ann left her Target career (she was an IT leader) to lead DARTS as its President. She is honored that DARTS was recognized as the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit of the year in 2017.

Ann has provided board service for Fairview Hospitals Auxiliary, MN Chapter of Project Management Institute, and currently the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. She is an active member in the MN Leadership Council on Aging, Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, South Robert Street Business Association, Twin Cities Aging Network and is a certified Dementia Friend.

 

Ann graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus with Bachelor of Science in Business. She married her college sweetheart, Randy in 1991. They reside in Apple Valley where Randy demystified math and statistics for District 196 high school students, retiring after 25 years.The Baileys enjoy traveling, golfing, reading, and gathering friends together. Ann likes to cook, particularly when her little vegetable gardens are producing. She and Randy are aunt/uncle to six wonderful young people and honorary aunts/uncles to the neighborhood kids.

Treasurer

Terri Johnson

Terri is a long-time volunteer for AAO including serving as a Vice Commodore in 1994 and 1995.  Over the years, Terri has served in many other capacities for AAO, including being in charge of membership and Alumni Relations the past few years. Terri has also helped with many other community festivals through the years. She loves being a part of the AAO because the people are like family and work hard to make the world a better place. She also volunteers as a "Wish Granter" for Make A Wish Minnesota and with Hope 4 Youth which provides programs and assistance for youth that are experiencing homelessness in our community.

 

Terri works as a Customer Service Specialist for Ostbye & Anderson.  In her free time, Terri enjoys photography, helping others realize their own gifts, and spending time with family and friends. Terri has two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and a lot of grand-animals. Terri resides in Brooklyn Park with her husband and their dog named, Rebel.

Secretary

Eileen Hafften

Former Vice Commodore Eileen Hafften first got involved with the Aquatennial in 1980 as a Parade Committee member where she served for 16 years.  She also served as an Ambassador Chaperone for 9 years and has served as AAO Board of Directors Secretary since 2015.  Eileen lives in Blaine, MN and is married to another longtime Aquatennial volunteer, Ken Hafften.  She is executive director of a non-profit, and loves bicycling and rollerskating.

Board Member

Sharolyn Carlson

Sharolyn Carlson is a graduate of St. Cloud State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and then earned her Master’s of Arts Degree in Instructional Leadership from Bethel University.

She is in her eighteenth year of teaching, Sharolyn is currently a Grade 5 Teacher in the Anoka-Hennepin School District at Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy for Math & Environmental Science, where she also serves on the building leadership team. Over the years, she has served on a variety of leadership teams including Grade 5 science curriculum writing, professional development delivery, and the K-2 science adoption committee. Additionally, she has been featured in several initiatives including content specialization for upper elementary, an inquiry specialist for the primary grades and most recently, was a featured teacher for a series the Minnesota Department of Education and Hamline University developed for extended online learning for teacher training in the area of upper elementary science education. Her service to her students has also included being the advisor for yearbook, school store, K-Kids, broadcast team, and math club.

Sharolyn’s commitment to students has extended into the larger community as well.  She served on Anoka Halloween, Inc. for twelve years, eleven of which were spent as an executive board member. For over a decade she led the Anoka Royal Ambassador Program as a co-coordinator with fellow Aquatennial Vice Commodore, Sonja Weiler. Together they created and provided leadership training for over 300 candidates and mentored 33 ambassadors. Sharolyn and Sonja’s team approach brought energy and life to the Anoka Royal Ambassador Program which was struggling to survive at the time they stepped into leadership. Together they now bring their love of empowering young women to the Minneapolis Aquatennial.

Sharolyn was born and raised in Anoka where she resides with her husband Justin and their children, Henry and Berit.

Board MemberTom LaSalle

Sonja Weiler

 

Sonja is in her 18th year of teaching Marketing/DECA at Elk River High School.  Throughout her tenure she has been actively involved Marketing Education and DECA at the district, state, and national levels.    Sonja received her BS in Marketing Education and MS in Career & Technical Education from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and is currently working on her Administrator’s license from St. Cloud State University.

 

Sonja has served on several MN Department of Education committees - most recently the Career Pathways Committees related to Marketing.  She has been an active member and district representative on the Oakland Partnership for Career and Technical Education and Perkins Funding, curriculum review committees, superintendent and leadership search committees, and Site Council Leadership. She has been a representative on the Minnesota DECA Board of Directors for the past fifteen years, serving as Board Secretary from 2009-2011 and Board Chair from 2012-2014. She is a DECA Inc. Certified Trainer and has trained and presented DECA’s program to advisors around the country.  She served on DECA’s Professional Development Task Force in 2008 and just completed her two-year term on DECA’s School Based Enterprise Advisory Board.  Sonja has been recognized as “Teacher of the Year” and received the “Outstanding Service” and “Lifetime Achievement” Awards from  Minnesota DECA and received the “Outstanding Teacher” award from MACTA (Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Administrators).

 

Prior to volunteering with AAO, Sonja was the Co-Coordinator for the Anoka Halloween Royal Ambassador Program and helped lead the change for that program from Queen and Princesses to equal ambassador roles.  Sonja served as AAO Captain in 2013.

 

Sonja lives in Elk River with her husband Rob and their son, Drew.

 

 

Vice Commodore - Ambassadors

Gary Schaak

Gary served as Captain for AAO in 2014 and again in 2015.  He works for Calabrio, Inc as the Innovation Center Manager.

Vice Commodore - Candidates

Sonja Weiler

Sonja is in her 18th year of teaching Marketing/DECA at Elk River High School.  Throughout her tenure she has been actively involved Marketing Education and DECA at the district, state, and national levels.    Sonja received her BS in Marketing Education and MS in Career & Technical Education from the University of Wisconsin - Stout and is currently working on her Administrator’s license from St. Cloud State University.

 

Sonja has served on several MN Department of Education committees - most recently the Career Pathways Committees related to Marketing.  She has been an active member and district representative on the Oakland Partnership for Career and Technical Education and Perkins Funding, curriculum review committees, superintendent and leadership search committees, and Site Council Leadership. She has been a representative on the Minnesota DECA Board of Directors for the past fifteen years, serving as Board Secretary from 2009-2011 and Board Chair from 2012-2014. She is a DECA Inc. Certified Trainer and has trained and presented DECA’s program to advisors around the country.  She served on DECA’s Professional Development Task Force in 2008 and just completed her two-year term on DECA’s School Based Enterprise Advisory Board.  Sonja has been recognized as “Teacher of the Year” and received the “Outstanding Service” and “Lifetime Achievement” Awards from  Minnesota DECA and received the “Outstanding Teacher” award from MACTA (Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Administrators).

 

Prior to volunteering with AAO, Sonja was the Co-Coordinator for the Anoka Halloween Royal Ambassador Program and helped lead the change for that program from Queen and Princesses to equal ambassador roles.  Sonja served as AAO Captain in 2013.

 

Sonja lives in Elk River with her husband Rob and their son, Drew.

Vice Commodore - Communications

Kacey Gregerson

Kacey Gregerson is the academic advisor in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. This includes managing the class schedule, organizing and awarding scholarships, and serving as the academic advisor for the approximately 400 students admitted to these programs.

Kacey was an ambassador for her hometown of Winthrop in 2001, and attended the Minneapolis Aquatennial as a visiting queen. She then returned as a candidate in 2002. She previously assisted with the coronation for the Winthrop Royalty. Kacey is thrilled to now be volunteering with the Aquatennial Ambassador Organization, as she sincerely believes in their mission: “Inspiring young women to achieve extraordinary futures,” and is eager to help the organization fulfill it.

 

Kacey lives in Maple Grove with her husband, Aaron; their daughter, Eliana; and their dog, Cooper. Kacey has completed two marathons, one being the Twin Cities Marathon, and is hoping to start training for a third.

Vice Commodore - Finance 

Terri Johnson

Terri is a long-time volunteer for AAO including serving as a Vice Commodore in 1994 and 1995.  Over the years, Terri has served in many other capacities for AAO, including being in charge of membership and Alumni Relations the past few years. Terri has also helped with many other community festivals through the years. She loves being a part of the AAO because the people are like family and work hard to make the world a better place. She also volunteers as a "Wish Granter" for Make A Wish Minnesota and with Hope 4 Youth which provides programs and assistance for youth that are experiencing homelessness in our community.

 

Terri works as a Customer Service Specialist for Ostbye & Anderson.  In her free time, Terri enjoys photography, helping others realize their own gifts, and spending time with family and friends. Terri has two grown daughters, a son-in-law, and a lot of grand-animals. Terri resides in Brooklyn Park with her husband and their dog named, Rebel.

Vice Commodore - Hospitality

Karen George

Karen George is a communications professional with thirty years’ experience. In her current leadership role at Quad Cities Community Television (QCTV) she is responsible for representing the cities of Andover, Anoka, Champlin, and Ramsey in telecommunications policy, programming seven cable channels, and managing a video production facility.

 

Karen grew up in Anoka and has fond memories of the Anoka Halloween Festival. She was an Anoka Ambassador and was the first former ambassador to serve as president of Anoka Halloween, Inc. Karen is honored to have served as an Aquatennial Captain for the 75th anniversary celebration and was recently named Vice Commodore of Hospitality. She has volunteered with the Aquatennial Fireworks event for many years and has been presented with three Aquatennial volunteerism awards including the most treasured – the 2011 Kenneth Walstad Volunteer of the Year.

 

She holds a B.A. degree in communications from Concordia College; a Masters of Business Communications graduate certificate from the University of St. Thomas; and, a Community Education Director license. Karen has held various leadership positions with professional associations and her work has been recognized with numerous state and national awards.

 

Karen is the proud aunt of Kristen (Steve) Jacobson and grand-niece Evelyn, Jim Snartland, Logan George, and Hailey George.

Vice Commodore - Visiting Dignitaries

Jim Ganger

Jim served as a 2017 Captain and is excited to continue volunteering with AAO.  He is deeply committed to community, having previously served as a United States Air Force Airman, during which he was awarded the prestigious honor of Superior Performer by the Inspector General United States Air Force.  Over the past 25 years in the credit union industry, Jim has worked as a financial advisor, national sales manager, and currently serves as Vice President of Member & Partner Development for Spire Credit Union.  Jim resides in St. Paul.