Board of Directors

Dr. Eric V. Larsson, Ph.D., L.P., B.C.B.A.

Executive Director, Clinical Services Lovaas Institute Midwest
Dr. Larsson received his doctoral degree in developmental and child psychology from the University of Kansas, under the guidance of Drs. R. Vance Hall and Donald M. Baer. While receiving his degree, he coordinated a Handicapped Children's Model Program for the U.S. Office of Special Education, developing the comprehensive special education program for public schools on Indian reservations. In addition, he has coordinated a community development project for preventing family violence in high-risk communities. At Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center in Rochester, Minn., he provided psychological services for a variety of needs, including intensive early intervention. He served as the director of community services at the May Institute, an internationally recognized treatment program that provides services to individuals with severe behavior disorders in New England. There he implemented a replication of the UCLA intensive early intervention model. He served as director of behavior therapy services for REM Health. He has served on more than 20 community and civic boards including the West Hennepin Human Services Planning Board, the Olmsted County Evaluation Subcommittee, the Autism Behavior Therapy Alliance, FEAT of Minnesota, and has served as chair of Parents Anonymous of Minnesota. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Association for Behavior Analysis, ARC, Autism Society of America, and Autism National Committee.

Dr. Larsson is recognized as an expert in early intervention, inclusive communities, severe behavior disorders, multiple handicaps, autism, the rights of individuals with disabilities, nonaversive treatment, Applied Behavior Analysis, and self-injurious behavior. He has been providing intensive early intervention services since 1976, and has supervised such services since 1983. He has consulted with more than 200 programs including: social service agencies, schools, vocational programs, residential programs, advocacy agencies, and government agencies worldwide, including the University of Chicago, St. Amant Centre in Winnipeg, Canada, Young Autism Project of Pittsburgh and New Jersey Intensive Early Intervention Institute. He serves as associate research director of the NIMH Multisite Replication Study of the UCLA Young Autism Project. He has published papers on such topics as functional communication, autism, social skills, parenting and human rights. He has given more than 60 presentations at the national and international level in such locations as Geilo, Norway; Granada, Spain; Boston; San Francisco; Orlando, Fla.; New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Sacramento, Calif.; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montreal, Canada; and Los Angeles. He has also done 50 workshops on topics such as intensive early intervention, parenting, curriculum management, community leadership, behavior management, staff training, quality assurance, family violence, social skills, inclusive communities, autism, and consultation. He is affiliated with several major universities, including St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Kansas. He has received 11 state, private and federal grants for a total of $927,106. He served on the editorial board of the Consulting Psychology Journal, and is currently on the Autism Advisory Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Dr. Larsson is currently the executive director of clinical services at the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention Midwest, where he implements a program of intensive early intervention services for families of children who suffer from severe behavior disorders. This program serves numerous children in eight states. It also provides follow-along consultation to older children with similar needs. Dr. Larsson is a licensed psychologist and board-certified behavior analyst.

Partial List of Publications:

Peterson, G. B., Larsson, E. V. & Riedesel, K. L. (2003). A conceptual toolkit for intensive early behavioral intervention teachers. Journal of Behavioral Education. 12, 131-146.

Larsson, E. V. (2002). Involving parents in therapy. In O. I. Lovaas., Teaching children with developmental disabilities. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Dyer, K. & Larsson, E. V. (1997). Developing functional communication skills: Alternatives to aberrant behavior. In E. Cipani & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Practical approaches to the treatment of severe behavior problems. Sycamore, IL: Sycamore.

Larsson, E. V., Luce, S. C., Anderson, S. R., & Christian, W. P.
(1992). Autism. In M. D. Levine, W. B. Carey, & A. C. Crocker (Eds.), Developmental-behavioral pediatrics (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Larsson, E. V., & Christian, W. P. (1992). Legal issues. In M. D. Levine, W. B. Carey, & A. C. Crocker (Eds.), Developmental-behavioral pediatrics (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Luce, S. C., Christian, W. P., Anderson, S. R., Troy, P. J., & Larsson, E. V. (1992). Development of a continm of services for children and adults with autism and other severe behavior disorders. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 13, 9-25.

Christian, W. P., Luce, S. C., & Larsson, E. V. (1992). Peer review and human rights committees. In J. K. Luiselli, J. L. Matson, & N. N. Singh (Eds.), Assessment, analysis and treatment of self-injury. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc.

Luce, S. C., & Larsson, E. V. (1989). The collaborative work of Juniper Gardens Children's Project and The May Institute. Education and Treatment of Children, 12, 416-418.

Bergsgaard, M. O., & Larsson, E. V. (1984). Increasing social interaction between an isolate first-grader and cross-cultural peers. Psychology in the Schools, 21, 244-251.

Larsson, D. G., & Larsson, E. V. (1983). Manipulating peer presence to program the generalization of verbal compliance from one-to-one to group instruction. Education and Treatment of Children, 6, 109-122.

Kathryn Nordberg

Founder and CEO, Erik's Ranch, Inc.
Kathryn Nordberg has held executive positions with organizations in technology, packaged goods and health care. She is recognized for innovative solutions to long-standing operational challenges and her ability to create positive outcomes for long-term projects with multimillion-dollar budgets. She has leadership experience in strategic and organizational planning, management, marketing, partnership development and alliances, sales, new product development and communications.

Nordberg also has an adult son with autism. She became the founding chairperson of Families for Early Autism Treatment in 1995 when no funding or early intervention programs were available in Minnesota. In 1997, she participated in bringing behavioral therapist Ivar Lovaas to Minnesota to share his Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for early intervention with children with autism. She also challenged the Minneapolis public school system status quo, creating awareness about the lack of efficacy of its program for children with autism, laying the groundwork for the assistance available for families desiring ABA.

With Nordberg’s experience as the foundation for Erik’s Retreat, we understand the need for individual choices and how to support that. Through professionally trained staff, careful planning and communication with residents, members, and families, and the employment of innovation in everything we do, we believe that living a life of promise is within everyone’s reach. “I believe that if I can imagine it, we can achieve it.”

Satoru (San) Asato

President and Financial Advisor at McNellis & Asato, Ltd.
Satoru (San) Asato is President and Financial Advisor at McNellis & Asato, Ltd. in Bloomington. His professional background includes institutional money management experience in London, Tokyo and Minneapolis. He is a graduate of Colby College and a Certified Financial Planner from Minnesota State University, Mankato. San is a member of the Rotary Club of Edina. San, wife Sheila, and youngest son, Sachi, with autism, live in the Braemer Hills neighborhood of Edina. Sheila is an artist, teacher and a Dream researcher. Sachi is concluding his transition program at Richfield South Education Center. Their oldest son, Hiroshi, is an Emergency/Crisis Management Specialist, man or nature made, a Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class in the U.S. Navy (Reserves), and he, his wife and son live in Chicago.

Medical Advisory Board:

Erik’s Ranch & Retreats has professional support among some of the most well known leaders in the field of autism. The methods developed by Dr. Lovaas and Dr. Larsson, in particular, are touted at autism treatment centers throughout the world.

Eric Rudrud, Ph.D., LP

Professor, Dept. of Community Psychology, St. Cloud State University
Assistant Dean, College of Education, St. Cloud State University, MN

B.S. 1972 Colorado State University Psychology

M.S. 1974 Utah State University Counseling / School Psychology

Ph.D. 1978 Utah State University Psychology / Applied Behavior Analysis

Professional Experience:

- Professor, Department of Community Psychology, St. Cloud State University 1989 - present
- Assistant Dean, College of Education, St. Cloud State University 1985 - 1988
- Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, 1985 – 1989, St. Cloud State University
- Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, 1982 - 1985 St. Cloud State University
- Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, 1980 – 1982, J.F.K. Child
- Development Center (UAP), University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado
- Director of Training, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1980 University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
- Coordinator of Resource Development, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1978
- 1980 , University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
- Assistant Professor, Health Services Administration, 1978 - 1980 Allied Health Science, University of South Dakota
- Staff Training Specialist, Center for the Developmentally Disabled (UAP), 1977 -1978 University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
- Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, 1977 - 1978 Clinical Training Program, University of South Dakota

Professional/Community Affiliations:

- Consulting Editor/Associate Editor, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability 1980 - present
- Editorial Board, Rural Special Education Quarterly, 1990 – 1993
- Chair of Institutional Review Board, St. Cloud State University, 1991- present, member 1988 – present
- District 742 (St. Cloud) Planning, Evaluation, and Review Committee, 1989 - present Chair (1989 - 1991)
- Licensed Consulting Psychologist, Board of Psychology, Minnesota, 1983 – present Publications:

2 Books
40 Publications Presentations at State, Regional, National Conferences - 103

Dr. Rudrud has worked in the field of community integration of persons with disabilities for 40 years. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology/Behavioral Analysis in 1978 from Utah State University and is currently a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Community at St. Cloud State University. In addition to his current post, Dr. Rudrud has worked for the University of South Dakota at the Center for Developmental Disabilities and the J.F.K. Child Development Center at the University of Colorado.

Dr. Rudrud’s major interests include extensive research and clinical application in the areas of behavioral analysis, vocational programming and community integration of persons with disabilities. With this expertise, he has served as a consultant to the South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. He has focused on developing programs to meet the needs of under-served individuals with disabilities who reside in rural and remote locations.

Dr. Rudrud has served as a principle investigator on three federally funded programs to increase services to individuals with disabilities who reside in rural western South Dakota (Life Skills Coaching, Co-Worker Mentoring, and Dakota Data Works, which provides the creation of data entry jobs using the Internet). In addition, Dr. Rudrud has served on two other federally funded employment programs. He maintains an active clinical and research practice devoted to developing natural supports to promote inclusion of persons with disabilities.

O. Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D. (2007-2010)

Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department University of California, Los Angeles
Perhaps the most well-known psychologist in the field of autism, Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1958 from the University of Washington. Dr. Lovaas began working with older children with autism in the same decade that Burrhus Frederic "B. F." Skinner wrote his now famous, Science and Human Behavior text in 1953. Lovaas began to apply the experimental behavior analysis developed by Skinner to people with autism. In 1961, he started at UCLA and held a full professorship from 1967-2010. In 1995, he founded the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention, which is a provider of early intervention treatment for young children diagnosed with autism. He has received many honors for his work in the field, including the Edgar Doll Award, a Distinguished Research Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the California Senate Award, an honorary doctorate, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Champion of Mental Health Award from Psychology Today. He has been interviewed on national television networks such as CBS, CNN and the BBC. He has given presentations across the United States and the world, including Sweden, Germany, Poland, China and New Zealand.

The pioneering work of Dr. Lovaas has helped to revolutionize the treatment of autism in children. He developed an early, intensive behavior therapy approach that emphasizes the power of positive reinforcement to develop life skills in children with autism, and in some cases, has practically eradicated the debilitating symptoms. The majority of children in his later studies maintained their gains into adolescence and were indistinguishable from children with no history of autism. His methods are now used at treatment centers and clinics throughout the world. Lovaas' work was fueled by his strong, passionate belief in the potential of the individual to grow, learn and heal. Most recently Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles, Lovaas has published more than 120 papers and several books on his research. Dr. Lovaas died in early 2010.

Business Advisory Board

Brenda Fischer

Brenda Fischer has provided financial services in a variety of industries (public accounting, public utilities, airlines & nonprofit) for nearly 30 years. After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a BS in Accounting, she began her career with Deloitte Haskins & Sells. In 1998, she began providing financial consulting services with her most recent focus in the nonprofit sector.

Since 2011, Brenda has focused her efforts toward philanthropic endeavors. In addition to serving in various volunteer positions, she has served on the Advisory Board for Applause Community Theatre; the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation Finance Committee; and in various roles and committees for Christus Victor Lutheran Church, including Council President & Treasurer.

In addition to volunteering and spending time with family, Brenda enjoys gardening, cooking, Gophers football and MN professional sports, and traveling with her husband Paul. She and Paul have two adult children, Sara (husband Kevin) & Sam. In February 2014, Sam was the initial member to move into an apartment at Erik’s Retreat in Edina.

Brian Yolitz

Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at the system office of Minnesota State
Brian Yolitz is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at the system office of Minnesota State, a system of public colleges and universities. He is responsible for overseeing facilities policies, planning and programming, design and construction, and operations and maintenance for the system’s 54 campuses with more than 28 million square feet of facility space serving more the 350,000 students across Minnesota. He also oversees policy and guidance for college and university environmental and safety compliance, campus security, and emergency planning and management programs.

Brian joined Minnesota State in 2010 after serving for more than 27 years in the United States Air Force. His last assignment was as Director for Installations, Headquarters United States Air Forces Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, with responsibilities for air base planning and development, design and construction, operations, contracting, fire protection, emergency management, and explosive ordnance disposal throughout Southwest Asia. During his career he served assignments at the base level, major commands, headquarters United States Air Force and the Joint Staff. He commanded two civil engineer squadrons and a mission support group.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and Master of Science degrees in Engineering Management from the University of Alaska – Anchorage and National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and the National Defense University.

Casey Anderson

Wildlife Naturalist, Animal Trainer, Actor
A fifth-generation Montanan and hailing from Paradise Valley, Mont., Casey (a.k.a. Grizzly Guy) is a wildlife naturalist, host and actor and has worked on numerous feature films, television wildlife documentaries and non-profit educational programs, most notably as the host and executive producer of the Nat Geo WILD Channel series "Expedition Wild" and "America the Wild."

He has spent the last twenty-four years traveling the world, capturing nature and wildlife through the camera lens. Anderson spent his childhood exploring the vast wilderness that was his backyard and by the age of eighteen, Casey was guiding wildlife filmmakers into remote locations to track and film the most elusive wild animals.

At twenty-six, he adopted an orphaned baby grizzly bear, Brutus, which led him to co-found the Montana Grizzly Encounter, a sanctuary for grizzly bears saved from inhumane situations. Casey has made it his mission to bring his love of the wild to the hearts of the world, instilling a drive to conserve untamed and untouched wild places.

Grant Guess

Grant Guess is the Sales & Marketing Manager at Kentucky for Kentucky, a creative media company dedicated to promoting Kentucky’s people, places, and products. In 2014, he founded Project Kpalimé, a non-profit in the country of Togo on Africa’s west coast. Project Kpalimé is devoted to increasing the financial autonomy of Togo’s special education schools. The school’s children with special needs work alongside staff on the farm, providing them with a sense of empowerment and purpose. Revenues generated from livestock and produce sold at local markets and restaurants help fund the school. Grant continues to fulfill his passion for helping those with special needs as a board member at Erik’s Ranch & Retreats, and he spent time working at our Montana Ranch in the summer of 2020.

Jannie Wiseman

Relator, Keller Williams Montana Realty, Bozeman, MT
Jannie is a native Montanan, born and raised in Lewistown. After a brief stint singing across Europe, she received her degree in Music and came back to Montana. She settled in Bozeman and has made it her home for the past 30 + years.

Jannie worked in several areas of interior design before deciding real estate was her professional calling. She works frequently with HRDC and helps coach first-time buyers through the prequalification process and into the purchase of their own homes. She works directly with legislators and other realtors across the country to ensure property owner rights are secure.

Her love of all things outdoors keeps her busy. She enjoys running her dogs (the dogs run—she doesn’t), gardening and cooking, and big game hunting. She is determined to dust off her 12 gauge and hit the trap club in Logan this summer. And she loves introducing friends and clients to her part of Montana.

Jannie was honored with the 2019 REALTOR® of the Year Award from the Gallatin Association of REALTORS®, and also the CEO Award from the Montana Association of REALTORS®. These awards are high levels of recognition of her commitment and dedication to her industry and clients.

Jim Frome

Chief Operating Officer, SPS Commerce, Minneapolis, MN
As Chief Operating Officer at SPS Commerce, Jim Frome oversees global strategy, sales, marketing and operations. Since joining SPS in 2000, Jim has helped retailers, suppliers, and logistics companies advance their trading partner relationships, with the industry’s most broadly adopted enterprise retail cloud service platform. He has been continually named a "Pro to Know" by Supply & Demand Chain, written numerous white papers, and is a frequent speaker at customer and industry events.

Jim has more than two decades of experience in technology marketing and management positions. Previously, he served as a divisional vice president of marketing at Sterling Software, and director of product management at Information Advantage. Prior to Information Advantage, Jim held several marketing and product development positions in which he focused on building business partnerships and resellers for IBM's AS400 division. He graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science.

Jim and his wife, Michele, have a teenage son with autism. The Frome’s are very active in the Autism awareness community, and advocate for programs that help individuals of all ages.

Kevin Bennet

Chief of Staff, The Achievement Network, Boston, MA
Kevin Bennet currently serves as the Chief of Staff supporting strategic initiatives in the office of the CEO for the Achievement Network, a Boston-based nonprofit whose mission is to boost student learning in schools across the country. Kevin has an extensive background in the field of education and his experiences include serving as a senior executive consultant working in higher education with Greenwood Asher and Associates, serving as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education at Hamline University, serving as a senior district administrator in the area of fair and equitable practices, and serving as K-12 principal of an award-winning magnet school. Kevin was honored as the MetLife/NASSP National Finalist and Minnesota State Principal of the Year in 2013 and was named Teacher of Year while working in Chicago Public Schools.

Steve Green

Corporate Director, Revenue Generation – Managed Hotels, America

Todd Myers

President – Midwest Talent Advisors
Todd Myers is the company founder and President of Midwest Talent Advisors, a global career coaching business focused on providing interview skill advancement and professional job search guidance. He is also a licensed life insurance agent in Minnesota with Primerica Financial Services, helping families with their insurance needs since 2007.

Prior to founding Midwest Talent Advisors, Todd spent 15 years in executive search and corporate recruiting. He has successfully filled hundreds of career opportunities for Fortune 500, public and privately held corporations. His recruiting spans across multiple industry segments including Retail, Manufacturing, Consumer Packaged Goods, Medical Device, Healthcare, Private Equity, Real Estate and Telecommunications.

Todd holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communications from Minnesota State University - Mankato. He resides in Chanhassen, MN with his wife Lisa and two children.

Tony Farah

Realtor, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Plymouth, MN
Tony is a husband to a beautiful wife who is a world language teacher to Minneapolis School District. Together, they have two boys, Farah and Oliver. Farah has ASD and non verbal and is going on to 7th Grade. Oliver is neurotypical and is going on to 3rd Grade.

Tony has earned his 4 year degree from the University of St. Thomas in Marketing Management and went on to receive his Master degree of Arts in Business Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minneapolis.

Tony has spent 24 years in Retail Operations and Management. Having had the desire and passion to work with and around people, he decided to pursue a career in Real Estate and transfer those skills by helping more people reach their dream of homeownership. In addition to the traditional sales in real estate, Tony has created an additional entity to his business. His passion to Autism drove him to apply all his skills and create a niche. His slogan of “Find Your Missing Piece” was born and basically helping special needs families navigate the real estate where more providers and services are available. His drive and desire has helped three families relocate from out of state to MN for those specific purposes. His volunteer work speaks volume. He has served with Spero Academy, a charter school for special needs k-6 for three years where he was involved in a strategic marketing task committee as well as served as a board member. He has also served as a board member with his own neighborhood association to bring Autism awareness to his neighbors and community.

Currently, he is a board member with A Chance To Grow, a non profit that works with special needs children. He is also a board member with the Coldwell Banker Foundation where he is taking the level of Autism awareness to a highest level. He is excited to be joining Erik’s Ranch and Retreat and look forward to contribute to its short and long term success.

Zac Kellerman

Zac’s Montana Kitchen
Zac Kellerman, one of Montana's premier chefs, specializes in cooking on the range, that is, the wide-open range of the great American West. Ever since his first cooking job at age 15 when he was hooked by the excitement and pride of cooking well, Zac has felt most at home serving people his delicious food.

He studied chemistry at the University of Louisville in his hometown, and later at the University of Montana. In 1988, Zac met the renowned chef, Dean Fearing, from The Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. As a result of that fortunate encounter, Zac moved to the Lone Star State and worked four years at The Mansion under Dean's tutelage. When not at The Mansion, Zac worked as a "freelance special event chef" for a high-flying and elite Dallas clientele. He credits those years with teaching him the most about quality, skill and finesse in the kitchen, not to mention the art of hospitality. Yearning to return to the open space and lifestyle of Montana, he became head chef at the Murray Hotel in Livingston, Mont., and in 2005, opened his own enterprise, Zac's Montana Kitchen. He prepares custom feasts for those who appreciate food that is as honest and grand as the West. Zac's Montana Kitchen isn't bound by convention, but is certainly bound to please.

Zac has been involved with Erik’s Ranch & Retreats since 2016 catering events and personally mentoring one of our members. We are thrilled to welcome him to our board!