Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Teri Gibson
Board Chair

True North – Cedar Rapids, IA

Teri Gibson radiates enthusiasm and positive energy, something she vows to bring to the Board of Directors. She grew up in Washington, Iowa and remembers when straight line winds ripped through her community and she watched her dad and granddad shed tears over the loss of trees after the storm. Teri has spent 30+ years as a benefit advisor and is currently a partner with TrueNorth Companies. Teri attended Kirkwood Community College and Mount Mercy University and has held leadership positions on many nonprofit boards.

Chuck Spencer
Board Vice Chair

Growmark – Bloomington, IL

Chuck is the director of government affairs for GROWMARK. He previously worked in the area of legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Chuck has also chaired the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) governmental affairs committee and served on its conservation and environment subcommittee.

Shannon Ramsay

Founder & Trustee
Trees Forever – Marion, IA

Shannon founded Trees Forever as a volunteer in 1989, and served as President & CEO until 2021. Recognized both nationally and locally for her leadership, Shannon is the 2021 recipient of the Lifetime Stewardship Award from the Arbor Day Foundation and the Nonprofit Leader of the Year from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Ms. Ramsay is leading the ReLeaf Cedar Rapids planning team and is a Trustee of the Trees Forever Foundation.  

Tom Hadden

City Manager – West Des Moines, IA

Tom Hadden has served as the West Des Moines City Manager since 2014. From 1996 until 2014, Tom was the Executive Director of the Metro Waste Authority.  Under his leadership, Metro Waste provided environmentally sound and cost-effective services for 16 cities and Polk County. Tom is a believer in regional services and cooperation, which allows limited financial and human resources to be maximized.  Tom has advanced solid waste management by developing and implementing the Environmental Management Systems across the state, including central Iowa. He has also served in leadership roles on numerous Boards and committees during his career including: Southeast Polk School Board, Watershed Planning Advisory Committee, Governor’s Water Quality Task Force, Wastewater Reclamation Authority, Iowa Environmental Council and the Altoona Area Campus.  Tom received a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, a BS in Biology, both from Iowa State University, and an MBA from the University of Iowa.  He is married to Tina Mowry Hadden and has two sons, Jeffrey and Caleb.

Christine Hensley
Des Moines, IA

Probably best known in her role with the Des Moines City Council, Christine Hensley served six terms and was the longest-serving member. She helped lead recent renovations of downtown Des Moines and was co-chair of the Lauridsens Skate Park project. Ms. Hensley has been active on numerous boards, serving as president of the Iowa Student Loan board, the Neighborhood Finance Corporation, Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Des Moines Symphony, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), the Iowa League of Cities (inducted into the Iowa League of Cities Hall of Fame), the YWCA and Rebuilding Together. She has also served on the boards of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation, Midwest Housing Equity Group, Junior Achievement, the Des Moines Art Center, the Iowa Bankers Association, Lutheran Hospital, the Des Moines Social Club, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Des Moines Civic Center.

Scott Packard
Wright Service Corp – Des Moines, IA

Scott Packard joined Wright Service Corp. in July 1998. Three years later, John R. Wright appointed Scott to president and COO. In October 2002, Scott took on the position of chairman and CEO of Wright Service Corp.
Scott began his career after graduating from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor of science in accounting. Since then, he has held a number of executive positions prior to joining the executive leadership team at Wright Service Corp. He served on the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Board of Directors from 2003-2009 and as Chair in 2009. In September 2016, Scott became the first recipient of the Management Action Programs (MAP) Disciplined Leader Award. This award was conceived to recognize select leaders who have consistently exhibited the qualities of a disciplined leader. Scott is also a past chairman of Area 4 Iowa Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and presently serves as Vice-Chair.

Tracy Peterson
Finance and Performance Metrics Committee Chair & Treasurer – Grimes, IA

Tracy is the former Vice-President of Iowa Operations for Black Hills Energy, the sponsor of the Trees Forever Power of Trees program. He has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas industry. Tracy lives in Adel, where he is very active in his community, ranging from Assistant Boy Scout Master to volunteer firefighter. He enjoys getting outdoors kayaking, biking and especially horseback riding on trails.

Lori Tomasek
Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust – Cedar Rapids, IA

Lori Tomasek is a First Vice President of Private Banking, for Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust. She has spent over 25 years in banking and financial services in the Cedar Rapids metro area, and values the relationships built with clients. Lori is very involved in the community, most recently serving on the Executive Leadership Team for Go Red for Women, American Heart Association Circle of Red Chair, and a board member for Friends of Czech Village. She graduated from Waldorf and Morningside Colleges. Raised on a farm close to Pilot Knob State Park in Winnebago County, she remembers when her family planted hundreds of trees on the rolling hills of their farms over the years. She and her husband chose their current Cedar Rapids home because of the treescape in their neighborhood. Sadly, most of it was destroyed during the August 10th Derecho. She looks forward to helping Trees Forever fulfill its mission.

Shirley Welte
Black Hills Energy – Grimes, IA

Shirley Welte is Vice-President of Iowa Operations for Black Hills Energy. She has more than 25 years of experience in electric and natural gas utilities. An Illinois native, Shirley relocated back to Iowa in 2019 after five years with Black Hills Energy in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She has served on numerous non-profit boards including education, economic development, and youth activities. Shirley currently resides in Johnston, Iowa, and is part owner in a family farm raising hardwoods, among other agricultural interests. Shirley earned degrees from Highland Community College, Aurora University and Benedictine University.

Trees Forever Staff Representatives to the Board of Directors

Elected by the staff to serve annual terms

Debbie Fluegel
Field Coordinator, Illinois

Debbie has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Maine. She manages Trees Forever’s Illinois Buffer Partnership and it Pollinator Habitat Conservation programs for both Iowa and Illinois. Debbie’s favorite part of her job? “Meeting new people and visiting a lot of unique areas in Illinois that most people don’t have the opportunity to visit.” Debbie is a member of the Environmental Education Association of Illinois, the Illinois Forestry Association, the Soil & Water Conservation Society and the Association for Temperate Agroforestry.

Lisa Williams
Director of Development

Hailing from the longleaf pines of north Louisiana, Lisa has a diverse background in fundraising, nonprofit administration and environmental protection. She earned an M.S. from The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources and a B.S. in business administration from Northwestern State University. Lisa loves local foods, spring migration and fig trees. She and her husband live in Cedar Rapids.

Board Members At Large

Dave Blankenship
Transamerica, retired – Cedar Rapids, IA

David was a senior vice president at Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, coordinating business strategies and initiatives across the company’s Global Funds Group. Prior to retiring, he was also a president of the AEGON/Transamerica Foundation. He is active on the executive board of the Boy Scouts and in many non-profits that work with young people, and is a strong believer in teaching mentoring skills.

Doug Boe
US Bank – Marion, IA

Doug Boe hopes to bring his love of the outdoors and financial experience to Trees Forever. As a Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at US Bank in Cedar Rapids, he travels across Northeast and North Central Iowa as a banking relationship manager responsible for all aspects of his client’s lending, depository, treasury management and international banking needs. A Minnesota native, Doug attended St. Thomas College in St. Paul.

Lynn Manternach
MindFire Communications, retired – Le Claire, IA

Dr. Lynn Manternach co-founded MindFire Communications in 2007. She spent more than 13 years helping companies understand the most impactful aspects of their brand through stakeholder research. Lynn retired from MindFire at the end of 2020. Prior to MindFire, Lynn worked as a research analyst for an international media and research company, where she focused on understanding how consumers view brands. Lynn also worked in the television news industry, serving as news director at WOI-TV in Des Moines, and news program producer at KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. Lynn holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from Iowa State University and a B.A. from the University of Iowa. She also serves as the president of the Professional Advisory Board for the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Lynn and her husband are busy with travel and making plans to see as many 80s and 90s bands as possible in the next few years. They have seen more than 425 concerts since 1981.

Robin Sempf
Alliant Energy – Cedar Rapids, IA

Robin Sempf is the Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy at Alliant Energy. She is responsible for managing the company’s brand and leads the marketing, creative, digital and social media efforts for the organization. In addition, she is the producer of the company’s educational PowerHouse television show. Where she has worked closely with Trees Forever to educate homeowners on planting with safety and energy efficiency in mind. Robin has worked in marketing and communications field for over 20 years with experience in a variety of areas including corporate communications, media relations, social media and creative strategy. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Northwest Missouri State University and completed her MBA at the University of Dubuque in 2019.

Margo Underwood
Underwood Consulting – Clear Lake, IA

Margo is president of Underwood Consulting, a business that provides resource management and public relations services to communities, businesses and non-profits. She has over 20 years of experience working with communities to help them develop solid waste plans. A resident of Clear Lake, Margo chairs the Iowa Natural Resource Commission and is the Keep Iowa Beautiful Hometown Pride Community Coach for communities in Pocahontas County.

Foundation Trustees

Nancy Lowenberg
US Bank – Cedar Rapids, IA
Former Chair, Board of Directors and Trustee

Nancy is the vice president of commercial banking at US Bank. She is also the president of the Area Substance Abuse Council Board. Since 1998, she has contributed many hours of service to the Trees Forever Board of Directors and Foundation.  Nancy and her husband Randy always make gifts to the Trees Forever Foundation in lieu of sending flowers as a way to memorialize friends and family members–they see their contributions as a fund that will literally grow forever.

Elizabeth Daly
Bankers Trust, retired – Cedar Rapids, IA

A native of Beverly Farm, Massachusetts, Elizabeth has lived in Cedar Rapids for more than 25 years. Elizabeth began her career in the field of social and economic development, both in the U.S. and overseas, and moved into benefit planning when she moved to Cedar Rapids in 1988. She retired in 2011 as the Private Banking Manager at Bankers Trust. An active Rotarian, she is a member of the Day Break Rotary Club in Cedar Rapids where she has served on the International Committee for the past 18 years. She currently serves as the director of the Iowa Rotary Youth Exchange and as an Advisor to the Iowa Women’s Foundation.

Janis McFarland
Syngenta Crop Protection – Greensboro, NC

Janis is the director of regulatory affairs for North America for Syngenta Crop Protection. She is responsible for product registrations and the stewardship of Syngenta’s Crop Protection products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. She has lent her expertise to many boards including the Weed Science Society of America and several U. S. Department of Agriculture committees and panels. Janis has co-authored many publications and worked on research, stewardship and education programs involving university scientists, and agricultural and commodity groups. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Scott Peters
Peters Law Firm, retired – Council Bluffs, IA

Scott joined the Trees Forever Board of Directors in 1998.  He recently became a Trees Forever Foundation Trustee, helping us reach goals for our endowment.  He has provided challenge gifts for annual campaigns and hosted Legacy Society receptions.  Since touring the Bear Creek National Buffer Site north of Ames, Iowa, Scott has been an avid promoter of planting buffers for water quality and wildlife habitat.  A now-retired trial lawyer, Scott’s legal specialty was product liability. He considers serving on nonprofit and college boards his civic duty.  

Trustees Emeritus

Robert J. “Bob” Latham

Latham & Associates – Cedar Rapids, IA
Former Senior Vice President for Iowa Electric (now Alliant Energy), Founding Member and Former Chair, Board of Directors

Bob was a founding board member of Trees Forever and early on established a named Trees Forever Endowment Fund. Bob’s vision for a model tree-planting program resulted in the first Trees Forever community program. In 1990, Bob was a senior vice president for Iowa Electric (now Alliant Energy), and helped establish Trees Forever as the ideal partner organization for utility tree programs. Bob was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award winner in 2005.

Harry Stine
Stine Seed Company – Adel, IA

Harry is president of Stine Seed Company and a renowned plant geneticist, and has been a longtime friend to Trees Forever. For more than 20 years, Harry has served as a board member and/or foundation trustee. In 2016, Harry was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award Winner. 

Board Members/Trustees In Memorandum

Marty Andreas
Former Marketing/Development Chair
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) – Decatur, IL

Marty first helped Trees Forever launch the Illinois Buffer Partnership more than 15 years ago. Then a top executive with ADM, Marty brought enthusiasm and lots of time, resources and energy to Trees Forever. Marty served on the Trees Forever Board of Directors and Foundation for more than 15 years. After retiring, Marty moved back to his home on Lake Macbride in Iowa. Most recently, Marty made a major challenge gift to the Trees Forever Planting A Better Tomorrow Endowment Campaign.  In 2015, Marty was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award Winner. His family selected Trees Forever as a recipient of his memorial gifts.

Robert Stevenson
Former Finance Committee Chair
LMS North America

A resident of North Liberty, Iowa, Robert was incredibly passionate about the Trees Forever mission, serving as both a board member and trustee for 20 years. Professionally, he served as finance manager of LMS North America for 25 years. . Robert guided Trees Forever on financial matters by serving as the chair of the board of director’s finance committee, He also helped grow Trees Forever’s endowment while serving as a trustee and chair for the foundation. His family selected Trees Forever as the recipient of his memorial gifts.

Trees Forever Board of Advisors

Julia Badenhope, FASLA, Professor, Landscape Architecture and Director of Community Visioning, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

J.C. “Buz” Brenton, Founder, Brenton Arboretum, Des Moines, Iowa

Dr. Richard Deming, Oncologist and Founder, Above and Beyond Cancer, Des Moines, Iowa

Kathy Engelken, Service learning and civic engagement consultant, New Vienna, Iowa

Beth Hicks, Urban Community Concepts, Des Moines, Iowa

Mark Hirsch, Publisher and Author, That Tree, Platteville, Wisconsin

Andy Lennette, CFA and Forestry Consultant, Marion, Iowa

Brent Oleson, Linn County Board of Supervisors, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Dr. William Sullivan, Professor and Head of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana, Illinois

Dr. Jan Thompson, Morrill Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management (Urban Forestry), Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Karmen Wilhelm, Vice President of Marketing, Van Meter Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Dr. Kathy Wolf, Research Social Scientist University of Washington, College of the Environment and Associate, Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Seattle, Washington