Lynn Hunt (Board Chair) is a 15-year entrepreneurial veteran managing high tech companies. Wearing hats that cover most managerial issues, and also technology issues Lynn helped grow a start-up company to almost 200 employees. The company gathered many awards in both technology and fast growth. Ernst and Young honored Lynn as a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year competition for 2004.
Having finished her MBA at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota she is preparing to grow companies to help the world. Some areas that Hunt Utilities Group, LLC (HUG) is focusing on are alternative energy, ecological housing and sustainable living and micro-farming. With her husband Paul's creative abilities and downright stubbornness to get materials to do what he wants them to, it might be possible to create a house out of local/indigenous materials that creates a large footprint in comfort, but a small environmental footprint.
There are more ideas for companies floating around in Lynn’s head than can ever be handled by one Woman, but she is going to try and build a few more companies before her great grandchildren arrive and she is too busy to build anymore.
Paul Hunt (Vice-Chair) During the day, this mild mannered techno-nerd with white hair and a slight stammer barely attends his regular job as a HUG engineering guru. When the phones stop ringing and the moon comes out, Paul then gets a chance to retreat into the secret lair of his own mind and becomes…Ta-Da... SUPER INVENTOR!!!
Faster than a train of thought! Able to reap tall buildings from simple ground! While occupying his special world, he can bend reality to fit his super plans. He can make electrons dance at his bidding. His X-ray vision can peer deeply under the laws of physics, allowing him to see things as they could be instead of how they are.
Several hours after the daylight returns, our super hero sluggishly dons the clothing of his alter ego, Paul. He slowly gets pulled back into the consciousness of the popular world (the one that most of us call reality). On very special occasions he manages to bring a new gadget into this reality that helps make the world a better place.
Ryan Hunt (Secretary/Treasurer) was born and raised in Brainerd, Minnesota. After skipping through junior high and taking advantage of the post secondary enrollment option, he graduated from Brainerd Community College at age 16, one day after receiving his high school diploma. He then attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where he earned a double degree in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the age of 20. After school, Ryan moved up to Pequot Lakes to help his parents with their rapidly growing company Hunt Technologies, Inc. At Hunt Technologies, he learned a great deal about the electric power industry and how we all use it in our homes. From there, he followed his folks when and their interests turned to energy conservation and efficient buildings and they founded Hunt Utilities Group LLC (HUG). At HUG, he has explored technologies to help us all live in a more sustainable manner on our planet. Some of those include natural building materials, solar heating, solar and wind power, and renewable fuels.
Bob McLean (Executive Director) has worked with the founders of Happy Dancing Turtle, Paul & Lynn Hunt, since 1998. First as head of Hunt Technologies Sales and Marketing and now as Chief Operating Officer of Hunt Utilities Group LLC. Nearly 30 years ago he started his career at West Publishing serving in a variety of roles and progressing to Director of Market Development for their national online system, WESTLAW. A healthy vibrant community is important to Bob and he actively volunteers with numerous committees and boards including the Resilient Region Initiative, Rotary International, Essentia Health, and various Community & Business Advisory Boards
An advocate of life long learning, he has organized and/or participated in numerous forums on Business and Finance. Academically, his undergraduate degree is in Business from St. John’s University and his MBA is from The University of St. Thomas. Bob, his wife and four boys enjoy the lake region of Minnesota and its wonderful quality of life.
Poston was born in Minneapolis and raised there and in Aitkin. He first worked for Payless Cashways, where he started working while in college. He became assistant manager and then manager. He was a retail executive for Sall Beauty Holdings for the last 20 years of his career. He looked after the international business and lived in England for 10 years.
After retiring in 2008, Poston and his wife Sue settle in their home on Lake Margaret. Poston opened Kids Against Hunger Brainerd Lakes Area in 2012, a nonprofit where nutritious meals are packed and sent to countries in need. He's been volunteering with MN Teen Challenge. Poston is also an owner of the Three Cheers Hospitality restaurant business, which owns Prairie Bay Restaurant, Prairie Bay Catering, Sherwood Forest, and also runs the cafeteria at Central Lakes College.
When he has free time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, and golfing.
Amy McLain is a business catalyst for Resilient Properties Management on the HUG Campus. She has been on the board of Happy Dancing Turtle since its inception and enjoyed helping to shape the direction it should go. With her large family and other time commitments she tries to keep them based in the practicality of dealing with real people in busy lives. She grew up in the Brainerd Lakes Area, graduating from Pequot Lakes. She followed this up with a degree in massage therapy, a rare autoimmune disease, and a couple kidney transplants. Since all that she has owned/managed a hobby gaming shop, adopted 3 children, and run a large house of 9 people who are slowly taking on more ecological practices.
Cheryal Lee Hills, Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission, provides program development, program implementation, organizational planning, financial planning and oversight, communication to Commission and the five counties served by Region Five Development Commission, and staff supervision. Cheryal is a key leader and spokesperson for the nationally recognized Resilient Region initiative. Cheryal serves on numerous state and national economic development advisory boards. Previously, Cheryal held the position of Executive Director of the Mid-Minnesota Builders Association; was a small business owner; and has experience in marketing, sales, and business consulting.
Cheryal's credentials include Licensed Practical Nurse performing Hospice work and has held a MN Contractors and a MN Realtor license. Cheryal is an approved MN Dept. of Commerce and MN Dept. of Labor continuing education coordinator.
Bernie Roberts was born and raised in St. Peter, a small farming community in southern Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a sociology major and an economics minor, he moved back to his hometown and worked in a community bank for 1.5 years. He moved to the Brainerd Lakes Area in January of 1985.
Bernie is a certified financial planner (CFP) and has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments for the past 25 years. He has volunteered with the Central Minnesota Boy Scouts and the finance councils of both St. Andrews and St. Christopher's Churches; coached youth hockey and baseball; and served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Brainerd. He has also served on the boards of: The Confidence Learning Center, R.S.V.P. Advisory Board, and the Brainerd School Board for 13 years. He was the co-founder and original board member of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation, and recently finished a 2-year term on the Brainerd Lakes Health Board.
Bernie and his wife Linda live at their lake home near Nisswa and have three adult children.
Molly Zins serves as the executive director for the University of Minnesota Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (CRSDP). In this role, Molly works with the community University Board, businesses, organizations, and agencies to convene and identify issues and opportunities to improve the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the region. Prior to joining the CRSDP, Molly worked in the field of water resources protection for several years.
Molly earned her Master's from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a research focus on Sustainable Communities: Understanding Access and Support which investigated local food systems and the foundations of a sustainable community. Her experience in community outreach and conservation stems from working with the St. Croix Chippewa Tribe, teaching in Belize, and leading wilderness education courses. Molly lives in Pequot Lakes with her husband, two young sons, and their Golden Retriever. They spend all of their free time enjoying the woods, waters, and wildlife in our region.
Erika Bailey-Johnson is finishing up her seventh year as the first Sustainability Director at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota. She works in the Ganawendakamigaawigamig (Office of Earth-Caretaking or Sustainability Office). She completed her BA in Biology from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 1998 and her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from BSU in 2006. Her background is in science teaching, and Erika and her husband taught for two years in Mexico and three years in Kuwait before returning home to Northern Minnesota. In 2014, Erika was named one of the top 40 under 40 business professionals in the region. Erika is currently on the board for Happy Dancing Turtle in Pine River and is a core member of the City of Bemidji Sustainability Committee. Erika maintains an active schedule with two young boys and a passion to make the Bemidji community a healthier and more sustainable place.