Jaci Nagle has been a technology worker since her employment with Koochiching County began in 1994. Initially employed as a clerk in the Auditor’s Office, her role included computer coordinator duties working primarily with mainframe hardware and software. In 2001, she was promoted to the position of Information Systems Manager for the newly formed technology department and began officially managing the extensive network that had grown and evolved. Jaci joined the KTI Steering Committee in 2018 after serving a resource for the group. Following her retirement in February, 2022, she enlisted in the AmeriCorps to serve a one year American Connection Corps fellowship under the Lead for America program with KTI as the host site, a service that will end in August, 2023. As a strong advocate for digital equity and inclusion, she embraces the opportunity to assist in helping build a connected Koochiching County for all residents.
Paul Nevanen has been involved in regional and local economic development since returning to his hometown of International Falls in 1993. He is the Director of the Koochiching Economic Development Authority (KEDA) since 2002. Paul served as Director of the Minnesota Cold Weather Resource Center from 1995-2001: a quasi-state agency created to further develop the low-temperature testing industry in Minnesota. Paul is an alum of the Blandin Leadership program and serves on a number of boards and organizations. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. in English education.
Todd Ojala is the Information Systems Administrator for the City of International Falls. He is an International Falls native who recently returned. He has worked in the software industry in the Twin Cities and Silicon Valley. He studied the social sciences at the University of Chicago, where he taught a course in the classics of political thought. He looks forward to helping make Koochiching County a place where those interested in technology can learn and thrive.
Jim has a passion for troubleshooting, thinking outside the box, discovering unappreciated opportunities and networking various stakeholders together for their mutual benefit. His bachelor’s degree in human factors engineering is all about adapting technology to people. While earning a master’s in ecological anthropology and a doctorate in land resources, Jim used Blandin-like skills to elicit solutions balancing conservation and development interests in a remote, semi-arid forest in Madagascar. He is president of the board of Icebox Radio Theater and is a founding board member of the Rainy Lake Property Owners Association.
Sonja Pelland is the Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer for the City of Littlefork. She has been working in city government for twenty years, serves as bookkeeper for her family business which has been in operation for over 30 years, and was a church secretary for 14 years prior to working for the city. She is also an alum of the Blandin Leadership Program. Her interest in serving on the steering committee is two-fold: She is excited that a group is formally taking on the task of ensuring good internet service for all and strives to represent Littlefork and the surrounding rural community in that endeavor. Personally, she is hoping to learn more about this fast changing technology through participating in this initiative as a “non-techie”.
Justin attended Saint John’s University and graduated in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After graduating Justin worked as an Information Technology Project Manager for several years in Minneapolis/St. Paul, as well as remotely after moving to International Falls in 2021. He then joined Koochiching County as the new Information Systems Director, following Jaci Nagle’s retirement. Justin also joined KTI as he entered the new role, seeing it as an opportunity to learn about and grow the community for which he now works. In his free time Justin enjoys hiking, swimming, golfing, playing cards and board games, and spending time with his family.