Our Team Hero

Our Team

The people behind the data

We’re dedicated. We’re smart. We love our work. 

Get to know us.

We’re dedicated. We’re smart. We love our work. 

Get to know us.

Abby Laib

Abby Laib

Senior Evaluator II

Curious Collaborator and Data Storyteller

Abby is a public health evaluator that contributes to multiple projects at PDA. She enjoys working collaboratively with partners to answer meaningful questions that ensure results drive decisions and learning.

Abby has a master’s degree in applied psychology, with concentrations in program evaluation and health psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both from the University of Wisconsin – Stout.

“I am an outdoors enthusiast, music lover, and gardening experimenter – my heart is happiest when I’m hiking, at a concert, playing in the water or dirt!”

Amy Kerr

Amy Kerr

Director of Evaluation

Thoughtful investigator and data enthusiast

Amy designs, implements, and leads multiple public health evaluation projects. She oversees staff evaluators and manages the broader direction and activities of the evaluation division.

Amy has her doctorate in social psychology with fellowship training in evaluation from Loyola University Chicago.

"I love the Kentucky Derby! Growing up around Louisville made me a devotee of the most exciting two minutes in sports."

Andy Raddatz

Andy Raddatz

Director of Software Development

Creative technologist putting bits and bytes together in the best ways

Andy contributes to the design and implementation of PDA’s software projects through technical leadership, architecture planning, and software craftsmanship. Andy is a full stack developer with primary strengths in .NET MVC applications.

"I love all things music including learning about and discussing the history, theory, composition, engineering, and synthesis of sound."

Andy Hajrovic

Andy Hajrovic

Senior Quality Assurance Analyst I

Software tester, assures end users have a smooth experience

Andy's main responsibilities are to ensure PDA's development projects work as intended and meet the end user's needs.

Andy has a bachelor of arts in computer information systems.

"Music, tech, and old man's gymnastics are my passions."

Angie Ficek

Angie Ficek

Senior Evaluator II

Data Viz Whiz

Angie’s main role is managing the evaluation of a community grants initiative in Hawai‘i that provides in-person tobacco cessation counseling to priority populations. She also leads our data visualization efforts by inspiring, training, and creating tools for her colleagues.

Angie holds a master’s in public health (community health education) from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s in psychology from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

"Group fitness classes are my jam, my therapy, my LIFE. Boot camp, spin, yoga – you name it, I’ll do it! But only in the morning."

Anne Schwalbe

Anne Schwalbe

Senior Evaluator I

Purveyor of nuanced data stories

Anne manages and supports multiple evaluation and strategic planning projects for state and national public health initiatives. She strives to balance inclusivity and consensus with efficiency and action through thoughtful stakeholder engagement and intentional use of data to move projects forward.

Anne holds a master degree in program evaluation from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor degree in English and German literature from the University of Richmond. Anne is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

"I love lifting heavy things: kettlebells, Crossfit, powerlifting, anything with weights! I was the first-ever Scott County Fair Strongman Women’s Champion in 2015."

Ashley White

Ashley White

Senior Evaluator II

Makes data make sense

Ashley is a public health evaluator and works on a variety of projects at PDA mostly focused on tobacco use cessation. She has worked in public health for over 20 years, specializing in chronic disease epidemiology, survey design and implementation, and program evaluation. She enjoys working with partners to help them better understand and utilize data to make informed decisions.

Ashley has a master of public health degree in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as well as a bachelor of science degree in environmental health sciences.

“I love America’s National parks! One of my bucket list goals is to visit all 62 parks. I have been to 10 so far. Luckily, my husband and daughter are happy to come along.”

Belle Federman

Belle Federman

Principal Researcher

Detail-oriented thinker and data advocate

Belle contributes to the design and implementation of multiple statewide evaluation initiatives in tobacco and chronic disease. With a background in public health research and practice, she is passionate about finding ways to make evaluation data and findings usable for stakeholders.

Belle holds a doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health with an emphasis in psychiatric and substance use epidemiology and a bachelor's degree in psychology and English literature from Swarthmore College.

"I love competitive Boggle games with my family and planning trips (managing logistics, finding bargains, and researching off the beaten path gems)."

Calvin Knickerbocker

Calvin Knickerbocker

Quality Assurance Analyst II

Detail oriented and ensures users have the best experience

Calvin works with our clients and users and communicates their needs with our development team through open lines of dialogue and technical requirement writing.

Calvin graduated from St. Olaf college with a bachelor of arts while double majoring in economics and dance w/ a minor in statistics.

"Everything needs a spreadsheet. From budgeting to trip planning to just playing video games. I need everything organized and planned out in a color-coded spreadsheet."

Cat Jones

Cat Jones

Evaluator I

Passionate about using data to inform decision making

Cat assists with the evaluation of statewide tobacco prevention and cessation projects. She is passionate about using evaluation to identify and address health inequities.

Cat holds a master of public health degree with a concentration in biostatistics from Indiana University. She also holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology with a certificate in clinical psychological science and a minor in criminal justice.

"I spend my free time watching comedy series, reading, and thinking about Garfield."

Cece Tran

Cece Tran

Operations Manager

Coordinates all office-related matters

Cece takes care of the physical space and helps with various tasks to keep the office running smoothly.

Cece has a bachelor’s degree in social work with a minor in gerontology and a certificate in child welfare from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

“I love trying out different things, like knitting, drawing, learning languages, etc. My current hobbies are growing houseplants and editing Wikipedia articles.”

Emily Groebner

Emily Groebner

Evaluator II

Strategic thinker and communicator of data

Emily supports statewide evaluation projects in chronic disease such as cancer and asthma. She is excited about incorporating equity principles into every aspect of her work, as well as communicating complex data through effective visualizations and summary reports.

Emily holds a master of public health in epidemiology with a minor in biostatistics from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of science degree in biology of global health with a minor is science, medicine, and society from the University of St. Thomas.

"I love tacos – whether it’s going out to eat or making it from scratch, I’m always excited to try new taco variations."

Emily Subialka Nowariak

Emily Subialka Nowariak

Associate Director of Evaluation

Adept project manager, information synthesizer, and problem solver

Joining PDA in 2007, Emily leads multiple large-scale evaluation projects. She adeptly manages projects and is a master at conveying complex information in a clear and friendly way. With a passion for accessibility and use, Emily rolls out innovative strategies for data collection, stakeholder engagement, and dissemination of findings.

Emily has a master’s degree in organizational leadership, policy and development (evaluation studies) with a minor in quantitative methods in education, and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with a management minor, both from the University of Minnesota.

"I am a board game nut. The longer and more complex, the better."

Gabriel Anderson

Gabriel Anderson

Evaluator II

Brilliance in brainstorming

At PDA, Gabriel contributes to evaluation and strategic planning initiatives for public health and wellness-based programs. He strives to align activities with purposefulness and utility and to foster a culture of learning and reflection with clients and partners.

Gabriel holds advanced degrees from the University of Iowa (M.F.A), University of Minnesota (M.P.H) and his certification to teach yoga.

"I love running outdoors, especially in the wintertime. There’s just something really satisfying with leaving shoeprints in freshly fallen snow."

Harlan Luxenberg

Harlan Luxenberg

President & CEO

Problem solver in chief

Harlan leads and contributes to many projects in evaluation and software development. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep his clients and staff happy and prides himself on making the impossible possible.

Harlan received his master’s degree in evaluation studies with a focus on quantitative methods from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree in educational policy and educational psychology from the University of Wisconsin.

"I am passionate about supporting local and organic farms, cooking slow food meals, and leading PDA’s green initiatives."

Heather Zook

Heather Zook

Senior Evaluator I

Advocate for equity and data viz

Since joining PDA in 2015, Heather has led multiple evaluations of statewide and community-level programs in tobacco control, chronic disease, and behavioral health. She has a special interest in programs that promote equity.

Heather has a master of arts degree in evaluation studies from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology with a Spanish minor from Taylor University.

"My latest hobby is houseplants - researching, propagating, and slowly turning my home into a jungle. In my free time, you can find me at a greenhouse or garden center."

Jake Headley

Jake Headley

Senior Network Administrator

Keeps everything turned on and running smoothly

Jake supports, monitors, and manages all aspects of PDA’s IT infrastructure.

Jake has an associate degree from Minnesota State University and numerous IT certificates.

"I am an avid board and card gamer. I love figuring out how to best navigate complex systems."

Jen Pelletier

Jen Pelletier

Principal Evaluator

Big picture thinker who isn’t afraid of the details

Jen evaluates state and local health promotion initiatives with a focus on active transportation, healthy food access, and chronic disease prevention. She helps clients clarify their goals and ask the right questions to better understand their impact.

Jen holds a doctorate in social and behavioral epidemiology and a master of public health in community health promotion, both from the University of Minnesota.

"I make oven and stovetop schedules for large holiday meals so everything is ready to serve at the same time. Family and friends may laugh, but I know deep down they appreciate it."

Kakul Joshi

Kakul Joshi

Senior Evaluator I

Strategizing measurement to drive impact

Kakul contributes to multiple statewide public health initiatives that promote chronic disease prevention and management, healthy food access, and tobacco control. She enjoys developing research designs to answer complex questions and visualizing data to provide meaningful insights to improve health promotion efforts.

Kakul holds a doctorate in epidemiology and biostatistics with a focus on food access and nutrition security and received a master of public health degree in health promotion and disease prevention, both from the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I love gardening and growing plants, both indoors and outdoors. I'm currently experimenting with hydroponics. One day I want to have my own little farm.”

Kate LaVelle

Kate LaVelle

Principal Evaluator

Connector of ideas and research design devotee

Kate contributes to multiple statewide public health initiatives at PDA. She strives to build evaluation capacity within organizations by working with stakeholders to create meaningful questions and help them use evaluation processes and findings. She enjoys developing research designs to effectively address stakeholders’ questions.

Kate holds doctorate in applied developmental psychology with an emphasis in program evaluation from Claremont Graduate University.

“Every weekend, I look forward to having a quiet moment in the morning when I can sit by the window with a cup of tea and read my New Yorker and Atlantic magazines.”

Kelly Laurel

Kelly Laurel

Director of Operations and Human Resources

Behind the scenes planner, organizer, and doer

Kelly leads the administrative team, contributes to human resources functions, and works to ensure that each individual has the tools and resources they need to be successful at PDA.

Kelly holds a master’s in business administration and a bachelor of science in business with a major in human resources and industrial relations, both from the University of Minnesota.

"Clean beauty is my jam. I read the ingredients on every cosmetic, lotion, shampoo — you name it — that comes into my house."

Kristopher Kapphahn

Kristopher Kapphahn

Principal Statistician

Now you have a friend in the stats business

Kristopher leads statistical consulting work, helps develop and streamline policies supporting consistency and reproducibility in PDA's data science efforts, and supports evaluation work. He enjoys conversations about scientific questions and study hypotheses. He strives to design and conduct DEI-conscious research based on empathy and respect.

Kristopher holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in biostatistics, both from the University of Minnesota.

"I love absurdist humor, cold brewed coffee, and obsessively learning about random topics for a few weeks at a time before moving on to the next thing."

Leigh Ann Ganzar

Leigh Ann Ganzar

Senior Evaluator I

Harnessing data for the greater good

Leigh Ann contributes to several state and local health initiatives that promote tobacco control and prevention, active living, and chronic disease prevention. She enjoys using and visualizing data to provide meaningful and impactful insights to improve health promotion efforts.

Leigh Ann holds a doctorate in health promotion and behavioral science from UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, with a focus on social and environmental influences on health and received a master of public health degree in community health from Baylor University.

"I am a former professional road cyclist and staunch believer in the power of bicycles (all kinds!) to empower individuals."

Lily Dunk

Lily Dunk

Associate Analyst II

Clean code and tidy data fanatic

Lily assists with data cleaning, processing, and analysis for evaluation and statistics projects at PDA.

Lily holds a bachelor of science in psychology and a bachelor of arts in computer science from the University of Minnesota.

"I'm constantly reading, usually at least a book a week. I love a good memoir or novel."

Maggie Sullivan

Maggie Sullivan

Evaluator I

Translating data into meaningful impact

Maggie supports multiple statewide evaluation initiatives in chronic disease prevention and tobacco cessation.

Maggie holds a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor of arts degree in environmental studies from Carleton College.

"I am an avid Food Network viewer and recipe-experimenter! Nothing beats sharing new recipes and old favorites with family and friends."

Melissa Chapman Haynes

Melissa Chapman Haynes

Director of Evaluation

Advocate of evaluation use, with a hint of fun

Joining PDA in 2011, Melissa contributes to the leadership of the evaluation division by managing projects and teams and supporting our business development efforts. Melissa is responsible for planning and implementing several large scale, multi-component projects.

Melissa holds a doctorate in psychological and quantitative foundations with an emphasis in evaluation from the University of Iowa.

"In college I majored in English and psychology, and I still pay close attention to the way literature depicts mental health, especially as compared to how fields like psychology discuss it."

Mengting Zhao

Mengting Zhao

Associate Analyst II

Cleaning data and digging SAS

Mengting assists with data cleaning and quantitative analysis for statistical projects at PDA.

Mengting earns a master of science in biostatistics from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She also holds dual bachelor of science degrees in actuarial science and statistics from the University of Minnesota.

"I enjoy traveling. My goal is to travel the world and my hobby is exploring the restaurants around me."

Mindy Krakow

Mindy Krakow

Senior Health Communications Researcher I

Evidence-based media researcher and evaluator

Mindy evaluates public health communication campaigns and researches strategies for reaching audiences across a complex media landscape.

Mindy earned her master of arts in radio and television at San Francisco State University, a doctorate in communication at the University of Utah (with an emphasis in health communication and quantitative research), and a master of public health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

"I’m always on the lookout for my next fun arts and crafts obsession! Most recent: modern calligraphy, concrete pottery, macrame, and 3D printing. "

Mitch Ellingson

Mitch Ellingson

Senior Developer I

Solver of complex problems with simple solutions

Mitch helps design and write software that supports our clients’ goals. He is a full stack developer with expertise in Microsoft technologies.

Mitch has a bachelor of science degree in computer science from North Dakota State University

"Music, photography, and the outdoors are my passions. If I have a guitar in my hands or I’m walking through the woods, I’m happy!"

Patrick McHale

Patrick McHale

Business Analyst II

Software designer and technology translator

Patrick contributes to the research, analysis, and design for PDA’s development projects. He works with stakeholders to translate their business needs into software requirements and specifications.

Patrick holds a bachelor of arts in physics and french from Grinnell College.

“I love making craft cocktails and cooking, especially seafood! When it’s warm out, you can find me grilling on my patio every night!”

Ronan Murray

Ronan Murray

Assistant Evaluator II

Using data for positive impact

Ronan supports various evaluation projects related to tobacco cessation and substance abuse prevention. He is a strong believer in the power of evaluation to create positive change.

Ronan holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology, with a concentration in race and ethnic studies, from St. Olaf College.

"I love cross stitching and hope to learn how to embroider. There’s something very satisfying about being able to watch yourself turn an empty canvas into an image or fun design!"

Stephanie Grace

Stephanie Grace

Evaluator I

Enthusiastic collaborator and lifelong learner

Stephanie contributes to the evaluation of several statewide initiatives related to chronic disease prevention and treatment, tobacco control, and other health behaviors.

Stephanie earned a PhD in kinesiology, with a focus on physical activity and health promotion, from the University of Minnesota in 2024.

“I think of myself as a collector of ‘low stakes’ hobbies… lately, I’ve attempted roller skating, learning Japanese, and cross stitching. My hobbies are almost always fun and almost never permanent!"

Steve Strand

Steve Strand

Chief Software Architect

Passionate developer of clean, efficient, and meaningful software

Steve is involved in all aspects of software architecture and development. He’s skilled in effective automated testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery.

Steve holds a bachelor of arts in information systems/computer science from Calvin College.

"My passions are Mozart and motorcycles. I’ve been actively playing the cello since I was a kid. My motorcycle provides fun in the warmer months."

Traci Capesius

Traci Capesius

Senior Evaluator II

Thoughtful planner, relationship builder and health equity advocate.

Traci has been involved in leading, designing, and implementing evaluations of single, multisite, and statewide health promotion and disease prevention initiatives for over 15 years.

Traci holds a bachelor's in psychology and a master's in public health from the University of Minnesota.

"I love camping, hiking, attending concerts, and dabbling in nature and macro photography."

Vincent Yoong

Vincent Yoong

Senior Project Manager II

Business technology translator and organizer

Vince works with stakeholders to understand their business needs and writes clear specifications for new features. He guides the software development team in planning and building software updates following his and team-members’ specifications.

Vince holds a bachelor of business administration in management information systems from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

"I’m a jack-of-all-trades and enjoy learning all about different hobbies and skills. My current focuses include woodworking and board games."

Walker Pedersen

Walker Pedersen

Senior Statistician I

Data Dabbler

Walker uses multiple programming languages to turn complex data into meaningful public health and research insights.

Walker studied the neuroscience of emotion while completing his doctorate in psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

"I can't stop thinking about Cixin Lui's "Three-Body Problem" book series."


Ready to Join Us?

We’re always looking for smart, dedicated people to join our growing team. We enjoy standing desks, co-woofers, and views of the Mississippi River from our office in Northeast Minneapolis. Will you be the next to join our team?

See Open Positions