Vahid is a licensed project engineer at Rani Engineering, a minority/woman-owned firm that specializes in civil engineering, land surveying, and systems engineering. He works on large infrastructure projects where his responsibilities include project management, client relationships and design. Vahid has been a track designer for the Southwest Light Rail for the past 3 years. Additionally, he has worked on large Minneapolis water resource projects related to transportation, performed studies and designed high speed rail for MnDOT, re-designed the K-12 campus in Becker, MN, and performed site design for Target.
Vahid has more than 5 years of engineering experience and received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. He chairs the Emerging Professionals Committee of the American Council of Engineering Companies, mentors future professionals from the University of Minnesota, and volunteers at the Ronald McDonald house weekly as a member of the Red Shoe Society. Vahid has a vision of developing a mentorship program in North Minneapolis to connect young students with professional engineers. His goal is to pair up park design efforts with students to act as a catalyst for the program and further enlighten students on STEM careers.
Marcus Owens – Co-chair Marcus is President of the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON). As President, Marcus’ primary responsibilities include general management and fiscal leadership, strategic plan implementation, partnership development, agency promotion, board and staff development, and implementation of some direct training and technical assistance activities.
Marcus has 15+ years of managerial experience and expertise in the areas of financial management, human resource management, diversity and inclusion, sales and marketing.
Most recently, Marcus served as an Employ
ee and Labor Relations Consultant at Target Corporation. He obtained a degree in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University and is pursuing an MBA at the University of St. Thomas.
Nicole Knuckles – Treasurer
Nicole is the Regional Diverse Segments Manager and Charitable Giving Manager at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She is responsible for developing strategic plans to help the home lending organization provide financing opportunities for ethnic minority, low-to-moderate income households, and first-time homebuyer customers.
As Charitable Giving Manager, she manages the Homeownership Grant Program for nonprofit organizations, which provides financial resources to local nonprofit housing organizations to create sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-to moderate-income people.
Becca Bracket Design committee. Elizabeth (Becca) Brackett is a retired family physician who has lived on the Northside for over 35 years. She is the Gardener maintaining the Lincoln Peace garden at 12th and Penn Ave N. She has been the Gardening Ambassador for the 2016 Lincoln Playground Pop-ups. She rides a recumbent tricycle and enjoys creating quilts.
Makeda Zulu-Gillespie Outreach committee. Make works with community to establish, maintain and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with the University of Minnesota at the Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach- Engagement Center. She coordinates the University-Northside Partnership’s Community Affairs Committee, co-facilitates the Josie Johnson Dissertation Fellows program and manages engagement processes to surface community wisdom while connecting with university knowledge. A native of North Minneapolis, former community organizer, civically engaged married mother of two, Makeda has worked with area youth, families, and community for more than 25 years. She is currently a student at the University of Minnesota’s Master of Public Affairs Program.
George Roberts George has lived and worked in North Minneapolis since 1970. For thirty-two years he taught literature and writing at North Community High School. In 1999 he, with his wife Beverly, opened Homewood Studios in an abandoned commercial building at the corner of Plymouth Avenue and Russell Avenue North. The space is home to eight local working artists and a gallery which shows the work of Northside and Twin Cities artists. Former students of George’s regularly teach sewing and drawing to local children. A Tai Chi group has been meeting there every Saturday since 2001 and the NorthSide Writers Group has met monthly in the gallery since 2003.
George maintains a studio in the building where he practices the time-honored arts of letterpress printing, paper making and book binding.
George is a founding member of Northside Arts Leadership Group, a gathering of ten or twelve
arts organizations working to identify and overcome obstacles which keep everyone on the Northside – children, young adults, older adults – from having access to and participating in the arts.
John Munger John is a former attorney, has a masters degree in teaching, is an experienced non-profit executive, has created dozens of successful partnerships, and is a proven entrepreneur. Mr. Munger lives in North Minneapolis with his wife, Diana, and their two school age children, Ellie and Lauren.
John is a graduate of Minneapolis South High School. He attended Cornell University, and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics and a masters degree in teaching. He went on to run the family’s motel and restaurant facility in Duluth after college, where he honed his management and entrepreneurial skills. He went on to law school at the University of Minnesota. Upon graduating John clerked for the Honorable Thomas Kalitowski at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He went on to a legal career at Meagher Geer and Smith Parker, where he specialized in public sector and malpractice litigation.
In 2002, after R.T. Rybak came into office and called for a focus on “silent sports,” John started the Loppet Foundation, the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, and the outdoor-oriented programming that forms the core of the non-profit organization. He left his law practice in 2005 in order to lead the organization as its first executive director. The Foundation now hosts four major annual events, with 15,000 participants per year. It has hosted national and international events and with John’s leadership the organization ha
s led the effort to revitalize Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. More than 10,000 youth, including more than 8,400 from North Minneapolis, have learned to ski, mountain bike, paddle and generally enjoy the outdoors through Loppet programming. With John’s leadership, the Foundation gets support from a wide array of corporate and philanthropic partners and is now a $2.5 million operation, with 1,900 members, over 1,000 volunteers, and eleven full-time and 30-40 part-time staff members. For the past three years the Foundation’s Loppet Nordic Racing wing has won national championships as the highest ranked club in the country.
Kelly leads the Penn Avenue community works program which, a partnership between Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and Metro Transit dedicated to stimulating economic development, beautification, livability and job creation along the Penn Avenue corridor in North Minneapolis. The program seeks to leverage the planned C Line, the bus rapid transit line planned for 2018.
From 2008-2012, Kelly managed economic development projects and business support programs in North Minneapolis for the City of Minneapolis and then worked for a couple years in Property Development at Target. Prior to moving to Minneapolis from Pittsburgh, she worked for a community based organization, supporting business development and real estate development.
Kelly has a Master of Public Administration and a BA in Human Services. Kelly is a proud PCYC board member and volunteers at HCMC on the weekends.
She lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband Dan and dog Shelby.