Founder and Director of Program Development
M.S.W Clinical Social Work - University of Illinois at Chicago M.A. Psychology and Philosophy - Trinity College
“Small, beautiful events are what life is all about!” - Doctor Who
Phone: (406) 758-8146
Where did you grow up? I was born in Chicago and grew up in northern Indiana in the town of Valparaiso. I have fond memories of vacations with my family, Friday night football games, and summer days at the Indiana Sand Dunes. Orville Redenbacher (think popcorn) was our local celebrity, and Burger Chef across from the fair grounds made the best hamburgers in town.
Tell us about your family. I am the middle child, with an older brother and a younger sister. My family of origin comes from Swedish immigrants (my grandparents) who settled in Minnesota, where most of my extended family still live. We have always been a close family, and my parents are both in their 80s and are still very active socially. I met my wife Jan at a youth counseling agency in Illinois where we both worked, and we have been happily married now for 30 years. We have two daughters. Our older daughter is married and lives in Kalispell. Her husband is a chef at a popular local restaurant. She has one child, with another on the way. Our younger daughter is in her 20s and lives with us. She is autistic and loves crafts, Legos, puzzles, rock hunting, history, Special Olympics and family time.
Share something about yourself that might surprise people. The first airplane trip I ever took was to Egypt. During college my best friend (Alex) and I backpacked around Egypt.
Briefly describe your work experience. During graduate school I worked with mentally ill veterans at the VA, and following graduate school I initially worked as a clinical therapist with adolescents and their families. Next I became the clinical director for a mental health hospital, and was quickly promoted to be the administrator. I subsequently served as the administrator for a number of psychiatric hospitals in Illinois, New Mexico and Montana. Then together with my wife Jan and dear friends Alex Habib and Mark Hostetter, we founded Summit Preparatory School, which opened in 2003. Most recently I wrote a parenting book based on the model that I created for Summit Prep entitled “An Upward Spiral.”
If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?Sweden. I would love to track down both my wife’s and my family history. Hope there is a Viking or two in the mix!
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? Spending time with family, reading, hiking, rock hunting, watching obscure sci-fi, canoeing, snow shoeing, working around the house, fixing things (kind of a hobby), going with my daughter to Special Olympic practices and games, collecting religious and cultural items, and playing with my granddaughter.
What draws you most to this type of work? Everyone should have a good life, and helping folks attain that enriches my own life.