Stay in the Loop

Meet The Nominees For The North Loop Board

In a sign of how engaged and passionate people in the North Loop are about their community, a whopping 20 nominees have put their names in the running for 7 volunteer positions on the board of the North Loop Neighborhood Association. They include four incumbents: Tim Bildsoe, Diane Merrifield, Scott Woller and Francesco Parisi.

North Loop residents and business representatives will get to vote on the board positions at the NLNA’s annual meeting on Wednesday, January 29th, 7:00 pm at the Muse Event Center.

To help you make your decision, each candidate has submitted brief remarks about their interests below (listed alphabetically).

Frances Bakke (Renter/North Loop Employee)

Throughout my time as a North Loop resident, I’ve come to recognize a certain sense of NL pride in myself and my neighbors. We take ownership of our community and are eager to share it with others. The NLNA is comprised of people who take great care in planning and executing events to engage the community is a way that is lighthearted, safe, and promotes togetherness. North Loop’s business owners do the same. This community knows that neighborhood engagement is a force that multiplies exponentially. And not only do homeowners, renters, and business owners get to experience this vibrancy, but so do our visitors. NL is a community that structures itself around bringing people into the fold.

I’ve grown to love the energy of this neighborhood as a resident, and I am confident that my professional experience as a corporate strategic marketer and volunteer experience as a program and event planner would make me an excellent fit for the NLNA. I am equipped to manage the marketing and communications strategy for the area and have a passion for connecting people through inclusive community events and around common values. As someone who both lives and works in the North Loop/Downtown area, I have a vested interest in using strategy to make this community a place where it’s easy to put down roots and find community. I’m eager for the opportunity to bolster community life for our fellow North Loopers as well, through a role in community engagement or communications management on the NLNA.

Paul Begich (Renter/North Loop Employee)

Three years ago I had no idea the North Loop existed. I lived in a little bubble within the realm of the group fitness community and was in a TOUGH place financially. I wasn’t sure where to turn and frankly my outlook on the future was bleak.

Cue Joe Grunnet from Downtown Resource Group! Joe provided me with an opportunity to become an agent at Downtown Resource Group and in my short time at DRG not only have I risen to ranks of a top producing agent but I’ve become completely enthralled with the North Loop community. I even deemed it necessary to move next door to DRG into Harvester Lofts!

I’m eternally grateful for the opportunities the neighborhood and Downtown Resource Group have given me and nothing would make me happier than to give back in a small way to a community that has done so much for me.

Tim Bildsoe (Owner)

We moved to the North Loop in 2015 from the city of Plymouth and have thoroughly enjoyed our new home in the heart of Minneapolis! It’s been an honor serving on the board of the NLNA over the last 4 years and I’m asking for the chance to continue my service to the neighborhood. During my time on the board I’ve worked diligently to advance projects and initiatives that have contributed to a higher quality of life for all folks living and working in the North Loop.

One of the things I enjoy most about serving on our board is having the opportunity to bring excitement and a can-do approach to great ideas and projects. We’ve done so much over the last few years and there’s so much more to do as we engage residents and create a safe and fun place to live and raise our families.

Thank you in advance for your consideration!

Troy Brandt (Business Owner)

I am the owner of Eleven Design Co, a lifestyle Marketing Agency in the Tractorworks Building, and we work with several businesses in the North Loop and could offer some valuable assistance with marketing direction/content for social and online visibility. We work closely with DRG, we recently started managing the marketing for TMBR, doing some SEM for Sable and have created content (photo, video, virtual tours, etc) for restaurants and real estate in the north loop.

Monica Breidenbach (Owner)

As a Minneapolis transplant and North Loop resident for the past 4 years, I’m proud of our neighborhood and want to be part of what keeps it great. As with all things, keeping something great requires stewardship and good management and that’s why I would like to serve. In my personal life I am the first one to know about all of the things happening in our neighborhood and enjoy keeping my friends and neighbors informed. We’ve seen incredible change and growth over the years here in the NL and I’d like to be part of the team that represents and guides our neighborhood into the next phase. I think that Community Engagement is an essential aspect of keeping the area clean and safe as we grow and welcome even more neighbors and visitors. Although NLNA has a successful social media presence, I’d like to help the group think of new ways to keep people informed and engaged. Thanks and I look forward to the opportunity.

Jenn Brewington (Business Owner)

I would like to express my interest in becoming a board member with the North Loop Neighborhood Association. I am currently the Economic Development Specialist for the City of Shakopee where I am responsible for planning, designing, and implementing economic development strategies, as well as acting as a key liaison between public and private sectors and the community. I have a master’s degree in public administration, and I have served on multiple boards supporting community and economic development and workforce readiness initiatives throughout central Minnesota.

I am a small business owner of Thigh Times Birdhouse in the North Loop, and I am looking forward to joining this growing and dynamic community. As a community and business leader, I am interested in participating with the community engagement, civic engagement, and business engagement committees. I have been involved with many community engagement activities including the creation of a citywide farmers market, Think Shakopee Business video series, Downtown Shakopee Mainstreet Program, Shakopee Holiday Fest, Rhythm on the Rails concert series, and Shakopee Career Expo. I believe community engagement can create more effective solutions by drawing on local knowledge from a diverse group while empowering and integrating people from different backgrounds.

In addition to my work, I am a board member for the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE), co-chair of the Scott County Educational Preparedness committee, committee member of the Scott County Live, Learn, Earn project team, and committee member for the Economic Development Association of Minnesota (EDAM). I feel that my professional experience and education places me in a positive position to contribute to the North Loop Neighborhood Association board and help the organization to achieve its mission and goals.

Kaitlyn Ludlow-Broback (Renter)

Plain and simple, I love the North Loop neighborhood. My husband and I moved into a warehouse apartment with amazing character in April 2019 and haven’t looked back. We intend to stay in the neighborhood as long as possible. It’s a special place – from walking to various local coffee shops, taking a morning walk by the river to embracing the historic characteristics of the neighborhood – we love it all! I have a vibrant and positive leadership style that I would bring to this volunteer position along with a commitment to service and philanthropy of all forms. I manage volunteers in my full time job as an Assistant Director of annual giving at Macalester College so I have experience cultivating a positive atmosphere among volunteers. As a young person, I would be honored to help the North Loop engage all ages and backgrounds of our community members. Thank you for this opportunity!

Marley Clark (Owner)

I fell in love with the North Loop when I moved to Minneapolis two years ago. When I decided it was time for me to purchase my first home, North Loop was where I knew I wanted to be because of its history, entertainment, culture, and safety. Anytime friends or family want to get together, I always suggest trying a new restaurant or an old favorite in this neighborhood. I want to be on the NLNA Board of Directors to support my community and the neighborhood I choose to make my permanent home.

Phylicia Flynn (Renter)

I’ve only lived here for 7 months but I absolutely fell in love with the North Loop the moment I set foot in this neighborhood. I moved here from out of state and there has not been a second that this hasn’t felt like home. I would love the opportunity to give back to the community that has been so welcoming of me.

I’ve been working as an Interior Designer at architecture firms for the last 5 years. I believe knowledge I’ve gained could be beneficial to the Board. I have also taken a step back and realized the reason I got into this industry was for my love of old buildings. With all my projects being new construction, I believe that being on the Board can help me fulfill that passion by providing a chance to give back to a historic neighborhood.

I moved here from a city that was going through a resurgence and gentrification. I’ve seen first hand how rapid development can effect the residents, especially the ones who stuck around during the hard times. When people ask me where I live and I say the North Loop, I always receive the same too reactions; “That neighborhood has changed so much in the last 5 years” and “I can’t believe they let them build that building.” This quick development gets me so excited because I love to see a neighborhood to come to life, but also makes me a little wary that over time the North Loop might start to lose its character.

In short, it would be an amazing opportunity to use my experience and knowledge to help this booming neighborhood.

Alan Hayes (Owner)

I moved to NL 20 years ago and have seen a lot of change. I’d like to offer my skills and my voice to help guide the rapid change that is happening now in the NL and help continue the great work of the past and current boards.

Bernadette Kenny (Renter)

I am concerned about the safety and livability of the community. I have lived in the North Loop for ten years and I consider it my home and I want everyone to enjoy it and feel safe working, playing and enjoying this great neighborhood.

Diane Merrifield (Owner)

I would very much like your support for election to a new term on the North Loop board where it’s been my honor to serve for the past 7 years.

A life-long Twin Cities resident, I have lived and worked in the North Loop for 15 years, having escaped the suburbs for the promise of a more dynamic, diverse community… something that has become an amazing reality. 

Other than serving as vice president of the board and active participation in all things North Loop, my one longstanding role has been the redesign, enhancements and day-to-day management of our website, www.northloop.org, and responding to our daily website inquiries. We hope you find it a valuable resource.

I would love the opportunity to continue working with our board and our community to make the North Loop neighborhood the very best it can be.

Thank you!

Andrew Morse (Owner)

The North Loop has been my family’s home for 25 years, and we have watched with wonder as scrubby surface lots and abandoned rail yards give way to tree-lined streets, handsome new developments blending with original warehouses, and a burgeoning business and social community.

The long blocks that make up the North Loop were designed for rail commerce, not for social and retail considerations. I strongly support the NLNA as it pushes for safer streets, green spaces, and new physical connections that encourage walking and community.

In the same spirit, I hope to use my professional skills – media, digital marketing, and photography – to help NLNA bring the neighborhood’s rich history to life and to build bridges between neighbors and businesses that help The North Loop community thrive.

Francesco Parisi (Owner)

Bigger is not always better. Especially when attempting to preserve and pay homage to one of the most charming, historic neighborhoods in the state of Minnesota.

My mission on the Board will be that of amplifying the neighbors’ voice and quest for a respectful development of the North Loop. The charm of the North Loop is comparable to that of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. and Soho in New York City. We want the North Loop to remain and continue to grow as a livable, vibrant residential pocket within the urban core, embracing and respecting its unique architectural design and human scale.

It takes a lot of effort to preserve history, but it takes very little to destroy it. Financial interests are large and pressing, but let’s not give away one of the most beautiful pieces of history that the State of Minnesota!

I have served on the Board of Directors of the North Loop Neighborhood Association for the last 4 years, and I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Planning & Zoning Committee. Prior to joining the NLNA, I co-founded “Neighbors for North Loop Livability,” a Non-Profit Corp. which promotes historic preservation and responsible development of our dynamic neighborhood. As President of NNLL, I raised over $125k in private funds to subsidize greening and public art projects. Professionally, I am a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, I hold a law degree and a Ph.D. in economics.

Jackson Schwartz (Business Owner)

We are the most southern property in North Loop and I am leading an initiative to bring vision and energy to the area of North Loop near the Farmers Market. Currently there is not good representation for our area of North Loop which is comprised of approximately 30 acres of land. With the new Southwest LRT line stop in the neighborhood, now is the time to envision the future for this area and start creating a path to get there. Building better connection and relationships to residents and businesses in all of North Loop will help build a more cohesive and attractive community.

Hayden Selingo (Owner)

When introduced to the North Loop, I found a neighborhood that was clearly growing in the direction of community engagement through celebration of its art, history, and plans for its future. As I’ve had the privilege to become more familiar with the neighborhood, I’ve been excited to see the attention these events and conversations draw among residents, local businesses, and property owners alike. I feel that the sponsorship and innovation of these opportunities from city-wide events like Doors Open which offer the North Loop opportunity to reflect on and share its unique story, to smaller, neighborhood-oriented events is key to making the North Loop the dynamic and vibrant community which it is. I would feel privileged to help coordinate and promote these programs of historical, communal, and artistic significance by serving on the North Loop Neighborhood Association Board.

Ronald T. Sliwinski (Owner)

My wife and I moved to the North Loop two years ago when I retired to enjoy the vitality and accessibility of this unique neighborhood of Minneapolis. We enjoy the walkability, safety and diversity of business, living and social activities that are part of this community. We also appreciate that this could only happen as a result of many individuals working together with a long range view of what a community can be. Over the past 15 years, the North Loop has developed into one of the premier urban destinations in the nation through thoughtful planning and involved community participation at all levels.

As the retired CEO of the University of Wisconsin Health System, I have worked extensively with public/private partnerships and enjoy working with city and business leaders as well as community members in creating vibrant neighborhoods. I love the historic character of the North Loop and I hope that we can preserve and enhance that through well planned and managed development. I have seen first hand how the NLNA plays a key role as a voice for those of us that live here as well as a resource for the city and the businesses. I welcome the opportunity to join this dynamic group. Thank you for your consideration.

Kathleen Flanagan Stringfield (Owner)

I’m a lifetime resident of Minneapolis born and raised in South Mpls, I moved to the North Loop two years ago. I currently serve as the Treasurer on the Board of Director for Renaissance on the River Condo Association, but I believe I can contribute more to my community. My undergraduate degree is in Accounting and I have an MBA Degree is in Marketing; my experience is working with companies to enhance customer happiness and speed up revenue attainment. I’m also professionally trained to develop surveys, and I could thus help the NL Association gather impactful feedback from those we represent and serve. I believe my skills would provide support to the NLNA by helping decision makers listen to residents and businesses and support their goals with data and solid project management follow-through.

Pedro Wolcott (Owner)

I absolutely love our neighborhood and being a transplant from New Orleans, I believe the North Loop is the best neighborhood in the Midwest. I love the melting pot of cultures, food and entertainment the Loop offers to me and my family. That’s the reason we decided to become homeowners and permanent residents of this beautiful neighborhood.

I would love to make an impact on our neighborhood engagement since I love connecting people to what the neighborhood has to offer to its residents. I have experience planning and executing events from 25 people up to 500 people. I love meeting new people and hearing their unique stories which make the fabric of our neighborhood. As a minority in the community I love making all walks of life feel comfortable in their surroundings and welcomed in the community. I love watching the community make positive changes.

Scott Woller (Business Owner)

I have been so fortunate to serve on the North Loop Neighborhood Board for over a decade. My focus over the past year has been connecting our neighbors and neighborhood businesses with each other. A community is only as strong as its connections. These efforts have yielded the North Loop Candy Grab, Food Truck Fair, Earth Day Cleanup, Halloween party, Outdoor Holiday Movie and more. I have been honored to serve and would strive to continue to keep making our neighborhood a strong community if reelected again this year.