Executive Committee


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Louis Alemayehu

Louis is a writer, educator, activist, poet, father, grandfather of African and Native American heritage. He facilitates workshops on racism, culture, environmental justice and community building, and his writing has appeared in national and international publications. Louis has been recognized with awards from the Headwaters Foundation and Minnesota Spoken Word Association. He works with the North American Water Office, Ce Tempoxcalli, AfroEco, and the Women’s Environmental Institute, and is currently an associate of Embody Deep Democracy and Executive Director of the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota.


Jason Bender .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jason Bender — Secretary

Jason is a third-year Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, focusing on two areas: hypersonic aerodynamics and biofuel combustion chemistry.  From 2006 to 2010, he worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he helped design the Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” rover, currently exploring the surface of Mars. An avid backpacker and canoeist, he became involved with the North Star Chapter in 2010, joining the Campus Beyond Coal student group and leading its Research Committee. Jason believes in the vital role scientists play in public discourse on the environment, and on urgent challenges like climate change.


Marty Cobenais .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Marty Cobenais

Marty Cobenais (Red Lake Ojibwe) is the Pipeline Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). He is a leader on pipeline safety issues, having lead resistance to Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper pipeline, and is currently fighting TranCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline, and Exxon/ Imperial Oil’s Heavy Haul in Montana and Idaho. Mr. Cobenais has worked with several tribal governments, grassroots tribal members and non-native environmental groups and individuals in the process. Mr. Cobenais lives in Bemidji, MN and has 2 teenage children. In his free time he likes to enjoy his time in the outdoors doing an array of activities including hunting and fishing.

C. Scott Cooper .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

C. Scott Cooper — Executive Committee Chair

C. Scott Cooper has 18 years of experience serving on nonprofit boards, managing progressive political nonprofit organizations, and running successful issue campaigns. For seven years, he served as the Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action, and in 2006 led MAPA through a successful merger with long-time ally Progressive Minnesota to form TakeAction Minnesota. He recently earned a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.


Luther Dale .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Luther Dale

Luther Dale has been involved in environmental issues for over 30 years, most recently as a member of the Club’s Shoreview Green Community and Building Environmental Communities Steering Committee. He is an avid hiker, biker and canoeist and is currently a pastor at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview.


John Doberstein .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

John Doberstein

John Doberstein is a member of the North Star Chapter’s Mining Committee and an active volunteer with the Blue Green Alliance.  He’s a Real Estate Agent certified as an EcoBroker®, helping home buyers and sellers to make sense of environmental and energy-related issues.  He’s also an Energy Outreach Contractor with Community Action Duluth, in partnership with Minnesota Power, which entails conducting energy audits at low-income multi-unit buildings in the Arrowhead Region.  For the last 3 years, John has acted as the Project Coordinator and Canvass Director for Community Action Duluth’s Green Canvass Program, which employs low-income workers and is designed to conduct community outreach in Duluth regarding energy efficiency in homes.  John helps to represent the Sierra Club in the northeast region of the state through a variety of public education efforts.


Katie Eukel .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Katie Eukel — Executive Committee Vice Chair, Communications Co-Chair

Katie Eukel joined the Executive Committee in 2010, and also chairs the communications committee. Katie is the President and CEO of Fourth Sector Consulting, a national consulting firm that uses strategic communications to work across sectors and advance social change. She was previously the communications director at Transit for Livable Communities, where she worked closely with the North Star Chapter to advocate for a stronger regional transit system. A graduate of Macalester College with a B.A. in Communication & Media Studies, Katie has also worked as a philanthropic communications consultant, partnering with national foundations and nonprofit organizations seeking to change America’s food system.


Sam Grant .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Sam Grant

Sam Grant, MS⁄MA is a life–long organizer, who has constantly worked on the intersections of cultural, economic, and environmental justice. He co–founded AfroEco, Full Circle Community Institute, Organizing Apprenticeship Project, the Wendell Phillips Community Development Federal Credit Union, the Green Institute Eco-Industrial Park, Grassroots Public Policy Institute, among others. He has been on faculty at Metropolitan State University and at MCTC, and has trained thousands of social justice facilitators around the world. He is certified in Human Systems Dynamics and Permaculture Design, is Systems Facilitator at the Movement Center for Deep Democracy, and actively organizing food systems transformation and regenerative economics through AfroEco.


Mat Hollinshead .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Mat Hollinshead — Conservation Chair

Mat has been a member of the North Star Chapter ExCom since 2000, serving terms as Membership Chair, Treasurer and Legislative Chair. Since 1996, he has worked to establish light rail transit, commuter rail, and better transit funding for the Twin Cities. He has also served as the chapter’s contact regarding the Lower St. Croix National Scenic and Recreational Riverway bridge issue, working to protect the LSCNSRR from a proposed new Highway 36 bridge south of Stillwater and, most recently, to obtain a commitment for transit service to Wisconsin’s growing Twin Cities suburbs. In 2000, Mat spent a year traveling U.S. cities studying the relationship between community and transportation on a Leadership in Neighborhoods grant from The St. Paul Companies Foundation. Mat is a full-time transit user and, in season, bicyclist. In 2006 Mat received the first-ever “Loon of the Year” award from the chapter, recognizing his personal commitment to practicing mobility, as much as possible, without the automobile.


John Hottinger .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

John Hottinger

John Hottinger is a former Minnesota state senator and majority leader, representing constituents in Mankato. He brings a long history of public service and a deep interest in environment and conservation issues, particularly global warming, to the ExCom.


Joyce Icardo .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Joyce Icardo — Treasurer, Outings Chair

Joyce currently serves as Outings Chair for the Chapter and has dramatically grown the program since moving to Minnesota from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she was Chapter Chair and Outings Chair, along with other roles and volunteer activities. Born and raised in California, she works in the accounting profession. In Joyce’s words, “My passion and dedication have motivated me to be an activist and volunteer.  As I go forward, I become more devoted and committed. We need to save our planet for future generations, and recruit others to do the same!”


Javier Morillo-Alicea .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Javier Morillo-Alicea

Javier Morillo-Alicea is the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, which unites more than 5,000 property service workers in the Twin Cities metro area. Prior to being elected president of SEIU Local 26, he was a political organizer for the SEIU Minnesota State Council and served as State Director for the AFL-CIO’s Voter Protection Program. Morillo was previously a historian and anthropologist, teaching courses at Carleton and Macalester College. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Yale University.  He lives on the West Side of St. Paul with his partner of thirteen years.


Christy Newell .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Christy Newell

Christy is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, studying Sustainability Studies and Studio Arts.  Her adventures backpacking, biking, and exploring the outdoors have served as inspiration for her work. She is a leader in the youth climate movement, with experience engaging and empowering diverse groups. Christy also serves as the Undergraduate Representative on the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Sustainability Committee, President of the student group EcoWatch, and Policy Intern for the Will Steger Foundation.


Lois Norrgard .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Lois Norrgard — Forests & Wildlands Chair

Lois Norrgard has been volunteering with the North Star Chapter for many years and currently serves as the Chair of the Forests and Wildlands Committee. She has served on many non-profit boards and action committees and has been working full-time in the environment field for the last decade as lobbyist and grassroots organizer, presently working for Alaska Wilderness League. Prior to the environment field she was a small business Co-Owner/Partner and Manager of the Creative Department for a Presentation Graphics Service Bureau in Minneapolis.


Tom Thompson Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson moved to the Arrowhead of Minnesota in 2010 after a career in special education in Kansas. There he had been an active Sierra Club member for over 30 years,  serving on the Chapter Executive Committee as Vice-Chair, Political Chair, and as lobbyist in Topeka. He served as a member of the Kansas Legislature. Tom is active in the North Star Chapter’s mining and political committees and in the grassroots movement to fight sulfide-ore mining in Northeast Minnesota.


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