Who We Are
Matt is another director with ties to the namesake, growing up with brother Chris on their family’s farm, before moving on to bigger things. Matt wishes to help relieve the strain on those working to put themselves through school. Currently the Manager of Engineering and Chairman of the Board for KLM Engineering, Matt also serves as Command Sergeant Major for the 682d Eng. Bn. He has been with the Minnesota Army National Guard for about 20 years.
Samantha Fischer started with the board in March of 2015. She works as Staff Accountant for Mayer, Porter & Nelson, LTD. Samantha is also with the Jaycees, and has served as treasurer of Crew and as a member and coordinator of Alternative Break Experience. She said she was interested in board service due to her belief that everyone should graduate with as little debt as possible. “I understand the additional stress having a job creates,” she said. “I feel that ‘workhorse’ scholars do not get recognized enough for their hard work and think a scholarship is a great way to recognize them for their commitment to getting an education.”
Paul has been with the Erickson Merkel Foundation since its launch, serving as a board member and the organization’s volunteer finance director. Paul lives with his wife Jessica and two children in Maplewood, Minnesota. He enjoys running, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Paul graduated with honors from Saint Cloud State University with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. In addition, he graduated from the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence in Fort Huachuca, Ariziona, where he studied analysis of strategic and tactical intelligence.
Eric is the founder, executive director, and an active board member of the Erickson Merkel Foundation. As volunteer executive director, he focuses on promoting the organization’s mission and advancing strategy and organizational development efforts. After earning a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Cloud State University, Eric went on to study marketing and digital and social strategy as an executive education participant at Harvard Business School. His career includes 15 years of branding, marketing, and design consulting for small and medium-sized businesses and 20 years of public relations work for the U.S. military. Eric is an investor, asset manager, and principal for multiple real estate investment and property management companies.
Hannah has been with the board since the EMF was founded. She provides tours and top-notch guest experiences at New Belgium Brewing and works closely with their donations and grants team. As the volunteer scholarship director, Hannah coordinates the application and review process.
Andrew joined the Erickson Merkel Foundation board in December of 2021. He is a recent graduate of the University of Jamestown, receiving degrees in Accounting and Wealth Management. Andrew brings a fresh perspective to the board on the challenges that workhorse scholars face. His recent college experience opened his eyes to students “working in silence,” sacrificing educational opportunities and recognition to support themselves and their families. Andrew is passionate about providing those students with a clearer path to financial security, and he is focused on expanding the foundation’s mission to reach future generations.
In a similar vein, Andrew is a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, where his passion for providing financial security extends to his clients. Outside of work, Andrew enjoys fitness & athletics of all kinds, traveling, and the occasional karaoke outing.
Brendan joined the Erickson Merkel Foundation board in January 2020 and is excited to be part of the mission. He currently owns and operates Tailor Made Barber Studio and Skill Cutz Barber College in Fargo, North Dakota. Coming from an entrepreneurial background, as well as being a father of five, Brendan understands the importance of both hard work and education. He believes that anyone can achieve great things by working hard in the right direction.
Sean has been with the board since its first meeting in October of 2014, although in spirit he’s been with the foundation even longer. He currently serves with the National Fire Sprinkler Association, the National Fire Protection Association, and the The Breakfast Club of Minneapolis. Previously, Sean has served as the treasurer of the Uptown Hamel Business Group, and prior to that as the community service chair/chancellor of Delta Sigma PI, Professional Business Fraternity. Sean is both excited and hopeful that his prior experience in fundraising will help bring opportunities to the leaders of tomorrow.
AJ joined the foundation in 2014 He works as the vice president of recruiting for Hirenomics. AJ respects hard work and want to reward kids that have the same values as himself but may not be as fortunate. He is looking forward to being part of the foundation and finding ways to give back to the community both personally and professionally. AJ received his BA in Business Administration from Metropolitan State University. He’s also been associated with the Beacon Bank as a personal banker, and has served as an assistant coach with the Wayzata Youth Hockey.
Aaron joined the Erickson Merkel Foundation board October of 2014. He works aat the American Heritage National Bank as the Assistant Vice President – Loan Mortgage Officer. He previously worked as a Home Mortgage Consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage where he worked with and closed loans with over 900 clients during his time as a Mortgage Consultant with Wells Fargo. Aaron is was in at the beginning of the foundation, he is greatly looking forward to the whole experience, specifically helping the students who are applying themselves full time to better themselves and their future.
Nate joined the Erickson Merkel Foundation board in January 2020. He works full time as a sales director for AGCO, a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of sustainable agriculture solutions. With a construction and real estate background, including degrees from St. Cloud Technical College and Everglades University, Nate recently completed a three-year term as the City of Spicer’s vice chairman for planning and zoning. He brings unique leadership experience and a track record of hard work to the foundation.