Bruce C. McKnight, Paradise Valley - Board Chair
Bruce and Claire McKnight moved to Park County in 2004. Bruce worked for the Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) for 17 years before retiring in 2014 as managing director and chief operations officer. He continues to serve on the HNRG board and several affiliated company boards. He received his BS in Forest Engineering and an MBA from the University of Maine, along with an AAS in Architecture from Vermont Technical College. Bruce chairs the Board of Directors and also serves as a board member of Community Health Partners.
Annie Beaver, Clyde Park - Vice Chair/Treasurer
Annie’s professional and educational backgrounds reflect an interest in strengthening communities. She earned an MBA from the University of Denver with emphasis in marketing and socially responsible business. Her early career centered around nonprofit development work for Common Cause in Washington, D.C., the March of Dimes in Minneapolis, and Carroll College in Helena, MT. She currently works as an associate financial advisor with D.A. Davidson in Livingston, where she is a Certified Wealth Strategist®. Her husband, Neil Sexton, is also a financial advisor at D.A. Davidson in Livingston.
Bob Hove, Paradise Valley - Secretary
Bob and Sue Hove moved to Paradise Valley in 2009. After spending nearly 15 years visiting nearly every part of western Montana during every month of the year, they decided Park County was the ideal community in which to build a home and lay down roots. A graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Bob worked for Deere & Company (John Deere) for 31 years before retiring in 2008 as senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for the Commercial and Consumer Products Division. Sue taught fifth grade for more than 15 years. Both Bob and Sue are actively involved in community programs and enjoy all the activities and beauty that Park County has to offer.
Sky Anderson, Shields Valley
Long-time Shields Valley rancher Sky Anderson lends his extensive knowledge of Park County history and land use issues -- as well as his lively sense of humor -- to the Park County Community Foundation board of directors. He has a long record of public service including service on the Shields Valley School Board for 15 years, the Bank of the Rockies board for 20 years. He’s also served on the boards of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation. He ranches with his brother, Shiell, who was a founding member of the Foundation in 2006. Park County is developing faster than some other rural counties in the state and because of this, Sky says he sees a real need for the Community Foundation’s work. Community Foundation programs and grants can contribute to making living in our county viable for everyone and encourage positive development, he adds.
Michael P. Atkinson, Shields Valley
Mike brings advocacy skills to the Community Foundation Board of Directors. He currently serves as president of the Tulsa, Okla., law firm, of Atkinson, Haskins, Nellis, Brittingham, Gladd & Fiasco. During his career, he has served as state chair for the American College of Trial Lawyers and as President of the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Mike and his wife Melissa have two children, both of whom live in Brooklyn, New York. Mike and Melissa have admired the work of so many of their friends in Park County over the past 16 years and are committed to giving back to their adopted community.
Ken Cochrane, Paradise Valley
Ken Cochrane brings extensive legal and nonprofit experience to the Community Foundation board. The avid fly fisherman was looking for a place to settle for retirement when he bought property in Mill Creek in 2008. “I landed here with my daughter and said, ‘I’m not leaving until I buy a piece of dirt. Over the 10 years I’ve lived here, I’ve become more involved in the community and in environmental issues,” he said. “I felt the need to broaden the scope of my involvement. (The Community Foundation) pitched me for a donation and I pitched them for a seat on the board.” Major issues in Park County that Cochrane hopes to work on include housing, jobs and getting better internet service, which would drive economic and educational growth, he said. Ken has practiced family law in California for 48 years, many of them at McCormick Barstow LLP. He now works for the firm remotely from his home in Mill Creek. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis and graduated from the Hastings College of Law at the University of California. Ken lives with his partner Jane, who hails from a cattle ranching family. His son Collin lives in California while his daughter Carrie lives in Colorado.
Donald B. Gimbel, Paradise Valley
Don grew up in a family where both his parents were active in philanthropy and taught their children the importance of sharing. Early in his business career he became involved with the Jaycees, which began his volunteer community involvement that actively continued over the ensuing 50 years while he and his family moved from Tennessee to Connecticut to Montana. Don has volunteered with Kiwanis, Adult Day Care, Kids in Crisis and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), National CASA, Vision Livingston, and the Blue Slipper Theater. Don’s goal has been to help make his community a better place for all its citizens. Giving in both time and finance is, he advocates, what being a good citizen is all about. He is a graduate of the Foreign Service School at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he majored in foreign trade with emphasis on economics and history. After 48 years of marriage, Don’s wife Ellen passed away in 2014. He has two grown daughters and four grandchildren.
Signe Lahren, Mission Creek
As a real estate broker, Signe Lahren has a unique ability to bridge the gaps between groups in Park County as a member of the Community Foundation board of directors. Lahren grew up in Livingston and lived in Washington State and California before she and her husband moved home in 2001. Lahren works as the managing broker for Berkshire Hathaway MT Properties in Livingston. In her role as a real estate broker, she’s helped people from elsewhere buy their dream homes in Montana and also has seen the struggle of local people to afford homes. Lahren cares deeply about all aspects of Park County, but said sensible economic growth and development is of particular interest to her. “I love this community and I want to see it grow in a sustainable way,” Lahren said. “I want to make sure the local voice doesn’t die, but change is coming.” Lahren has worked in real estate and real estate law for more than 20 years. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Montana School of Law. She and her husband Charley Caplis have two sons ages 11 and 13; he owns Montana Auto Traders.
Vicki Regula, Gardiner
Vicki is a natural resource compliance specialist with the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park. She works to ensure park projects adhere to applicable state and Federal laws to protect the park’s natural and cultural resources. She grew up in the flat lands of eastern Nebraska. A trip to Yellowstone in the mid-90’s captivated her to the Yellowstone and surrounding area landscape. She earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from University of Nebraska in Lincoln and a master’s degree in rangeland ecology from University of Wyoming. Vicki and her husband Joe enjoy living in Gardiner where they share their yard with deer, elk, bison, and bighorn sheep.She loves trail running, hiking, camping, helping homeless pets finding their forever home, and spending time doting on her rescue dogs and cats. Vicki brings her experience in communications, working with others, and organizing to Park County Community Foundation.
Debra Swandal, Wilsall
Debra is a registered nurse at Livingston Healthcare. She has worked for LHC for the past 32 years. Debra has served on various community boards in Livingston and Park County, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Livingston Soccer Association, and Livingston Baseball Association. She has volunteered as a leader for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, and 4-H. She has taught Sunday School, Candy Stripers and Babysitting for Teens, and currently teaches Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support through Livingston Health Care. She has been the volunteer nurse for both Boy Scout camps and Girl Scout camps. She is currently the chairperson of the Wilsall Scholarship Committee and serves on the Ough Charitable Trust through Livingston Healthcare. She is also a member of Women of Wilsall and PEO. She has been married to Nels Swandal since 1979 and lives on the Swandal ranch, north of Wilsall.
Jennifer Vermillion, Shields Valley
Sixteen years ago, Jen was transplanted from a small farming community in California to Livingston by her husband Pat. She has a master’s degree in Land Rehabilitation and Restoration and worked for a short time as a consultant before motherhood, ranch management, and the fly fishing and tourism industry took over her life. For the last five years she has been a council member for the Montana Noxious Weed Trust Fund as well as a board member for a family foundation.
Jeff Welch, Shields Valley
Jeff’s skills in marketing and entrepreneurship got their Montana beginnings in 1997 when he founded Bozeman-based MercuryCSC, one of the leading creative agencies in the Northern Rockies. His triple-bottom- line approach to doing business, widely awarded creative work and emphasis on employee culture landed MercuryCSC in Outside Magazine’s “Best Places to Work” five consecutive years. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Jeff and his family moved to Park County in 2010 where they have a small farm in the lower Shields Valley.