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Meet the TV Staff

Bob Dambach, director of television, began his Prairie Public career as program manager in 1985. In 1991 he became the manager of programming and production and was promoted to the director of television in 1996. He has a communications degree from the University of Dayton and a Masters degree in radio, television and film from the University of Iowa. Bob’s wife Virginia was Prairie Public development director from the mid ’80s to the mid ’90s. They have two grown daughters who live in the Fargo area. Bob provides the male voice that you hear at the end of on-air promotions and has appeared on screen in more than 100 Prairie Public television membership drives. Some of Bob’s award winning productions include “The Germans From Russia,” “Schmeckfest,” “Pyramids on the Prairie,” “Nature in the Balance” and “The Old Red Trail.”

Production

Executive Producer Kim Stenehjem is an Air Force brat who settled temporarily in North Dakota 35 years ago and hasn’t left since. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English education from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Masters in management (marketing) from the University of Mary. She first joined Prairie Public in 1995 as director of its fledgling online service Prairie Online and built Prairie Public’s first web site (four whole pages with graphics!). She soon moved on to the television department to produce documentaries and studio programs. Kim said the most difficult part of a producer’s job is explaining what a producer does. Outside the television studio, Kim creates art quilts and one-of-a-kind handmade purses. Her vast extended family includes one husband, two children, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren in addition to hundreds of nieces, nephews, siblings, in-laws, and cousins scattered across the country.

Production Manager Barbara Gravel was born in Pittsburgh, PA and was raised in Poland, Ohio. She began her career at Prairie Public as a director in the production department from 1990 until 1998. She took an eight-year break to be a stay at home mom, but returned to Prairie Public in 2006 as production manager. Barbara received her Bachelor of Arts degree in television production from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Master of Arts degree in public relations from North Dakota State University. Barbara taught television production at North Dakota State University (1992-1996).  Her short time away from Prairie Public only strengthened her passion for award winning television production, specifically directing and producing. She lives in West Fargo with her husband Tom and their three young children. Her hobbies include practicing yoga and traveling.

Television producer Matt Olien was born in Great Falls, Montana. Since joining Prairie Public in 1998, he has produced many documentaries, appeared on air in pledge drives, interviewed newsmakers, and currently serves as producer of Prairie Public’s weekly interview show “Prairie Pulse.” The most fun Matt had working on a project was producing the Emmy nominated “One Shining Moment: The History of the North Dakota State ‘B’” chronicling the history of small town, high school basketball in North Dakota. In addition to his television responsibilities, Matt review films each Friday on Prairie Public’s radio program “Hear it Now.” Movies are one of Matt’s big passions, so he also serves as an adjunct professor in film studies at Minnesota State University. Moorhead. Prior to coming to Prairie Public in 1998, Matt worked as a news reporter for KXJB TV, Fargo-Grand Forks. Matt is married and has two children.

David Geck came to Prairie Public as a videographer/editor in 1989 after spending four years in commercial television as a news shooter. His career at Prairie Public has taken him all over the world, but his favorite place is still the prairie of North Dakota.  He has been a part of many award-winning documentaries at Prairie Public.  He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters and his spare time is spent at his home near Glen Ullin on the ranch where he grew up.

David Grant grew up in beautiful Enderlin, ND. After attending Moorhead State University as a Fine Arts Major he worked into a full time videographer position at KTHI-TV now known as Valley News Live and stayed for 34 years. Over the years he was honored with over 160 news achievement awards from various broadcast organizations. He now enjoys working on longer format documentaries for Prairie Public Broadcasting. Dave also enjoys cabinetry, carving, landscaping and gardening. Dave is married to his beautiful and talented wife Debbie, the love of his life, and has three grown sons.

Heidi Nelson grew up in the small farming community of Page, North Dakota.  She came to Prairie Public in 2005 after receiving degrees in communications/mass media and English writing from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.  She spent her last year of college honing her skills at the BBC in London where she was worked on stories and projects for television, radio and the web.  As an editor/director/videographer at Prairie Public, she enjoys the variety of projects she is able to work on.  She also appreciates the fact that she is able to meet so many fascinating people throughout the region and learn about so many different and interesting subjects.  When she is not watching documentaries or movies she enjoys reading, baking and traveling with her husband.

Ben Stommes started at Prairie Public as a production assistant in April 2008 and is now a Videographer/Editor.  He originally grew up in Fergus Falls and moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area to attend Minnesota State University Moorhead.  There, he majored in film studies and graphic communications and minored in computer science.  During his time as a student, he made many short films including “Buddies,” which won awards at the Fargo Film Festival and Rochester Film Festival.  At Prairie Public, he has particularly enjoyed working on “North Dakota Musicians,” for which he helped build and light the set, operate the camera, and edit.  Ben likes to create 3D animations and visual effects for films in his spare time.  He is also enthusiastic about Pixar movies and anime as well as other types of films.

Production Assistant Cassie Larson is a small town country girl from Herman, MN and started working with Prairie Public during pledge drives while attending Minnesota State University Moorhead.  After graduating with a major in film studies and minor in philosophy, she began working for Prairie Public as a production assistant.  With the tasks attributed with her position, she is grateful to have the opportunity to work with such an accomplished team.  Outside the studio, Cassie enjoys a wide range of different interests, including zumba and exercise, attending rodeos and county fairs, country music, cooking and baking and quilting.

Education Services

Beverly Pearson, education services manager, began her career in public television in June of 1991 as the coordinator of the instructional television service of Prairie Public and Lakeland Public Television. As education initiatives grew at Prairie Public, she was promoted to education services manager in 2002. A North Dakota product, Bev earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English, speech and drama, and library science education and has done graduate work at the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. Prior to joining Prairie Public, Bev taught English and communications for several years, was a high school media specialist, and co-owned and managed several small businesses including radio stations in North Dakota and Oregon. She continues her interest in local sports, including her recreational and instructional participation in curling.

Dan Anderson joined Prairie Public in February of 2010 as an education services associate.  After a 13 year career as an elementary teacher, Dan attended graduate school to obtain Masters and Specialist degrees in Educational Leadership.  He served as a principal at various PreK-12 grade levels in different schools for the past 18 years.  In a move back to his ‘home area’ Dan accepted a position here at Prairie Public.   Working in Education Services gives Dan the chance to draw from his diverse educational training and experiences to help improve teachers’ and parents’ use of digital media while improving children’s educational skills and knowledge.

DeAnn Hopfauf joined Prairie Public’s education services team in 2012 working primarily with the Ready To Learn and early childhood initiatives. Her background includes preschool teaching, work as a nanny, residential care of children with developmental delays, and raising her own children. She earned a BA in psychology from Minnesota State University-Moorhead in 2008 with an emphasis in developmental psychology. Originally from Mandan, ND, DeAnn currently lives in Moorhead, MN with her son, Spencer.

Lynette Burgan joined the Prairie Public Education Services staff in August of 2013. She holds a Master’s in Theatre from the University of North Dakota and has a background in children’s theatre and web marketing. She is excited to apply her skills in the Education Services department. She is active in theatre around the Fargo community, enjoys singing and writing, and lives in West Fargo with her husband and step-daughter.

Jessica Wayne joined the Prairie Public Education Services team in December of 2013. She is originally from Litchfield, MN and moved to Fargo, ND for college with her husband. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She always had in interest in children programing and grew up watching PBS. She is excited to be involved in the process of inspiring children through learning.

Programming and Traffic

Cheryl Heller was born in Fargo, ND and raised in Moorhead, MN.  She began working at Prairie Public on April 16, 1966 as a receptionist. After a stint in the secretarial pool, Cheryl then moved to the traffic department and is currently the operations and scheduling manager in the television department.  She is a graduate of Moorhead High School and Dakota Business College.  Her most important project is keeping on top of the technological and operational aspects of our interconnection with PBS where she interacts with engineers and master control operators on a daily basis so Prairie Public’s on-air look is flawless.  In 2006, Cheryl received a plaque of recognition from the Board of Directors in honor of her 40th anniversary.  She has an extensive 350 thimble collection and loves the Minnesota Twins and Vikings.

Program Manager Steve Wennblom was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He joined Prairie Public in 2000 as part of the “Riverwatch” team. Steve continues to serve as a documentary producer and team leader for television pledge. With more than 20 years broadcast news and public affairs experience, Wennblom has served as a producer and general assignment reporter in radio and television stations in Illinois, Oregon and North Dakota.  He served as part and full-time news assignment editor for a CBS affiliate in Fargo, ND.  Wennblom received a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication from the University of North Dakota.  Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter.  His hobbies include bicycling, gardening, sailing and hunting.

Programming Assistant Terri Greene was born and raised in Maddock, ND. After attending North Dakota State University, Terri lived in several parts of the United States and came back to North Dakota about four years ago. Terri came from a human resources background, so the television broadcasting industry was new to her, but she enjoys the challenge and looks forward to years at Prairie Public. Terri enjoy golfing, skiing, biking, reading, movies and theatre, and spending time with her family.



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