Executive Mentors Experiential Learning Opportunities

Our Executive Mentors are irreplaceable volunteers who shape the Executive Mentorship program into an incredible real-world learning experience for all Paseka School of Business students. Shown in the profiles below are samples of the many mentors that are available to be matched to students participating in the Executive Mentorship class.

Students and mentors are matched by Paseka School of Business faculty through a multi-phased process which determines mutual career interests and scheduling availability. All Paskea School of Business majors are eligible to be matched because there are a variety of mentors who come from a range of backgrounds and are able to relate to Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing students.

Richard Kasper
Richard Kasper
Executive Vice President & CFO, Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative

Richard J. Kasper joined Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative as its Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in December 2011, which included responsibilities as the Chief Operating Officer of Minn-Dak Yeast Company until it was sold in 2017. Prior to joining Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, Richard J. Kasper was the President and Chief Operating Officer of Global Electric Motorcars. Prior to joining GEM in 1999, Mr. Kasper was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Los Angeles Daily News with the Jack Kent Cooke organization. He is currently the President of the MSUM Foundation Board and, for many years served on the Board of the MSUM Paseka School of Business, including as Chairman in 2014. He served as an Executive Board Member of the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead, and as a Coach for the NDSU Research and Technology Park Incubator. Mr. Kasper received his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at Minnesota State University – Moorhead. He was named the MSUM Business and Industry Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2002. In 2016 was selected as the MSUM Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter Honoree and was the recipient of the MSUM L.B. Hartz Professional Achievement Award in 2018.

Jeffrey Haarstick - Executive Mentor
Jeffrey Haarstick, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, Horn Plastics, Inc.

Jeffrey Haarstick is CFO at Horn Plastics Inc. where he directs accounting, finance, human resources, and information technology. Jeffrey graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Since graduating, Jeffrey has earned his certifications as a Certified Public Accounting and Senior Professional in Human Resources. In 2014, he graduated from University of Mary with a Master of Business Administration in Management.

Lisa Giese - Executive Mentor
Lisa Giese
Director of Finance – New Ventures, Marvin

Lisa is the Director of Finance-New Ventures for the Marvin companies and supports the New Ventures teams to ensure projects have viability and maximize the company’s return on investment. Lisa also leads the Tecton accounting team and is the financial leader for the Infinity Windows of Ohio retail stores. Lisa provides support for business decision making with a focus on profitability and improving the company’s financial results. Lisa creates pro forma financial information and interprets data to provide insights to management. Lisa assists management in identifying opportunities and finding solutions to problems to bring long term financial success to the business.

Before launching into private industry, Lisa worked for 15 years at Eide Bailly LLP, serving as an audit partner for the large regional accounting firm. Having experience in both public and private industry allows Lisa to share her experiences with students from both perspectives. Lisa holds the Certified Public Accountant (CPA)and Certified Managerial Accountant (CMA) certifications. Lisa received an undergraduate degree in accounting from MSUM in 1999.

Eric Piela - Executive Mentor
Eric Piela
Vice President of Marketing, Peak Engagement

Graduating Summa Cum Laude from MSUM in 2000, Eric leveraged his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications to build a successful career in marketing, training, and public speaking. In his current role as VP of Marketing, Eric focuses on advocating Peak Engagement's transformative nonprofit technology solutions, while internally developing initiatives that inspire employee engagement and cultivate corporate culture.

That entrepreneurial desire to educate served as a primary catalyst to spearhead the inaugural FargoConnect, a marketing technology conference in 2014. Now an annual collaboration, the regional event celebrates and shines a spotlight on thought leadership in our surrounding community. Additionally, Eric serves as a steward of the Fargo/Moorhead area as a campaign cabinet member for United Way of Cass Clay and sits on the MSUM Paseka School of Business Advisory Council. Prior to his role at Summit Group Software, Eric held positions at Flint Group, Microsoft and Silverpop (an IBM Company). He attended graduate school at North Dakota State University, perusing a Master Degree in Organizational Communication, and is a distinguished graduate of Dale Carnegie.

John Machacek - Executive Mentor
John Machacek
Chief Innovation Officer, Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation

John Machacek is the Chief Innovation Officer for Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation with a focus on the business development needs of primary-sector entrepreneurial companies and individuals, as well as supporting the regional innovation ecosystem. His #1 priority in life is appreciating every day and any time with his wife and two kids. As a Fargo resident of 30 years with a knack for knowing things and knowing people, his job at GFMEDC suits him well as he enjoys educating and connecting others to help them succeed in business and life. In his career, he has also worked in accounting, banking, and food service management.

John helps organize Startup Weekend Fargo and Startup Digest Fargo. John is currently on the boards for Fargo Theatre, MSUM Paseka School of Business, NDSU Dept. of Management & Marketing and Fargo Inc. magazine. He is a 1995 grad from MSUM, majoring in Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Management, and lives in Fargo with his wife and two children.

Jenni Huotari - Executive Mentor
Jenni Huotari, CPA
Partner, Eide Bailly, LLP

Jenni Huotari is a CPA and partner with Eide Bailly LLP (EB). She joined EB 17 years ago, after earning her BS in Accounting. Jenni’s current role is the Partner-in-Charge of Business Outsourcing & Strategy (the firm’s client accounting and advisory services practice), which brings timely, quality financial information to small and mid-sized businesses to help them grow and thrive. Prior to this role, Jenni spent nearly 15 years as an audit partner, including a 3-year rotation in the firm’s National Assurance Office, specializing in quality control and due diligence and integration of acquired assurance practices. Jenni has also had significant involvement in the firm’s women’s initiative (First Focus), including co-chairing the committee for 6 years. First Focus was formed with the vision to create a culture where women are as likely to succeed as are men.

Jenni also serves on the Boards of Directors for the MSUM Alumni Foundation, , Fargo Board of Trustees (Treasurer) of the Jeremiah Program, and Moorhead Youth Baseball Association. Jenni and her husband, Bryce, and their three children- Carter, Grady and Finley live in Moorhead.

Sarah West - Executive Mentor
Sarah West
CFO & Controller, Roers

Sarah West is currently the CFO and Controller at Roers, a real estate and construction firm based in Fargo. She earned her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead in Accounting and Finance and her Masters of Business Administration from North Dakota State University. She is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR). She has experience in multiple industries including banking, insurance, agriculture and real estate. She is an adjunct professor at NDSU and on the executive committee of the College of Business advisory board for MSUM.

She is passionate about developing the future generations and our community through her involvement with the Institute of Management Accountants, American Red Cross, United Way of Cass Clay, YWCA, Church’s United for the Homeless and her local church. Her purpose is to inspire people to action to improve their quality of life and be their best selves.

Ramona Johnson - Executive Mentor
Ramona Johnson
Tax Partner, Eide Bailly, LLP

Ramona is a 1981 graduate of MSUM, who graduated with an Accounting degree. As a partner with Eide Bailly LLP, Ramona provides fiduciary, estate/gift and individual taxation services, with a special emphasis in wealth transfer and estate planning. She works with high net worth individuals on estate planning and understands the nuances of current tax laws. She is a member of Eide Bailly’s National Tax Office team and is committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends. Ramona currently co-chairs Eide Bailly’s Wealth Transition Services team.

Dani Krolak - Executive Mentor
Dani Krolak
Marketing Coordinator, Sundog

Dani is a 2013 graduate of MSUM with a bachelor's degree in mass communications, emphasizing in integrated advertising and public relations. During her education, she was an active member of Ad Club and studied at Oxford University through MSUM's Eurospring program. Now, Dani works as a Marketing Coordinator for Sundog, a marketing and technology company based in Fargo, ND. She has been with the company since she started as a Social Media Intern in 2012.

Her current role contains a large variety of tasks, including: project management, culture initiatives, community involvement, email marketing campaigns, event planning, brand advocation, social media community management and intern advising. She is passionate about making daily tasks fun and finding the silver lining in any situation. Her interests include cooking, yoga, red wine and cuddling with her bunny, Nala.

Judd Graham - Executive Mentor
Judd Graham
Fargo Region CEO, Bremer Bank

Judd Graham is the Fargo Region CEO for Bremer Bank, a division of Bremer Financial Corporation. Bremer is a privately held $11 Billion regional financial services company jointly owned by the Otto Bremer Trust and Bremer employees.  In his capacity as Region CEO, he oversees 12 markets throughout North Dakota. Graham got his start in the financial services industry in 1986 after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Throughout his 30 year career, he served in a variety of leadership roles at banks in eastern North Dakota, primarily in the Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks regions. Graham has been active with the MSUM Paseka School of Business Advisory Council.