EMERSON STAFF

Susan Denson-Guy

  • Executive Director

Susan has more than 20 years’ experience working with education and outreach programs at museums, art centers, schools and state education agencies. She has experience in administration; physical plant management; marketing; membership services; exhibit installation, maintenance and programming; working with nonprofit boards; event planning; fund raising; program evaluation; and writing successful grants. Community association and involvement in the arts and culture; student and child voice; and civic awareness have always been important in her life and work.

Renee Stephens

  • Director of Operations

Renee earned her BA in political science with an emphasis in public administration from the University of Montana. Her education and 17 years of large project management experience make her uniquely qualified to oversee the operations of this 100-year-old, 65,000 square-foot community landmark.

Alissa Popken

  • Education Curator

Alissa has six years’ experience planning and implementing enrichment programs for students of all ages. She earned her BA in fine arts with an emphasis in painting from Northwest Missouri State University. For the past year, Alissa has been revising the Emerson’s art education offerings to best meet the needs of our community.

Mike Weix

  • Theater Manager

Mike, who started with the Emerson in 2001, earned his BA in ceramics and sculpture from Montana State University and a BFA in inter-media from the University of California-San Diego. He has worked with the renowned performance artist Allan Kaprow. Mike oversees all Crawford Theater events and provides technical assistance for events in the Ballroom and Weaver Room. Mike also plans the music program for Lunch on the Lawn, now in its 17th year on the Emerson west lawn. His band, the Longhorns, is a local favorite.

Sonja Bahr

  • Director of Community Outreach

After obtaining a degree from the Art Institute of Seattle, Sonja worked in the design field in Seattle and Bozeman for over a decade before making the transition to the nonprofit sector several years ago. Sonja’s nonprofit experience includes fundraising, program development, event planning, grant writing, and communications. She is currently attending Montana State University part time to obtain a BA in liberal studies. The arts have always been an important part of her life and she is thrilled to advance the mission of the Emerson to the community.

Tamara Knappenberger

  • Events & Membership Manager

Passion for art and culture, life-long learning and community has led Tamara to the Emerson. She brings 20+ years of non-profit experience with many organizations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wyoming 4-H/Extension, and Museum of the Rockies. Tamara has a BA in Geography- GIS from the University of Wyoming and a BFA in Graphic Design from Montana State University. She is a fiber artist and has been an Artist in Residence at Longfellow Elementary School for the past 7 years.

Erik Hansen

  • Maintenance Technician

Erik has 21 years of experience in construction and renovation, which is a tremendous asset for this historic building. He earned his BA in fine arts with an emphasis in sculpture from Montana State University.

EMERSON BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Wynn Jessup

  • President

After an extensive career in the investment industry in leadership positions, including most recently as chairman and president of Chartwell Investment Partners and Rigel Capital, Wynn now serves on a number of boards as a director or president. He has been with the Emerson board since 2012.

Mike Drewiske

  • Vice President

Mike, retired after 38 years in Federal Civilian service with the US Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, specialized in commercial guaranteed loans, grants, agriculture and consumer loans, and economic development. Mike is currently employed by First Security Bank as Assistant Vice President with an emphasis in commercial and consumer loans. Mike was elected to the Emerson board in 2015.

Brook Merrow

  • Secretary

Brook, who initially pursued a career in public relations and advertising, is a former middle and high school English teacher. Currently a writing instructor at Gallatin College, Brook was named to the Emerson board in 2012.

Jim Runyan

  • Treasurer

A certified public accountant and owner of Runyan and Associates, Jim was an aeronautical engineer and later an internal auditor with The Boeing Company. He established his business in Bozeman in 1995 and was elected to the Emerson board in 2014.

Jessica Palmer

  • Director

An Emerson tenant artist on the board, Jessica has served on the board since 2012. Jessica experienced a successful career in investment banking where she served as a managing director with Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, previously Salomon Smith Barney/Salomon Brothers.

Alissa Banks

  • Director

A fifth-generation Montanan, Alissa returned to her hometown to follow her passion after attending art school in Arizona. She worked for a well-known gallery in Bozeman before opening A. Banks Gallery in June of 2013. A dedicated advocate of arts in the community, Alissa became a board member in 2013.

Maggie Hammett

  • Director

Maggie is the Assistant to the President at Montana State University, working as the scheduler, event coordinator, and community liaison for Dr. Waded Cruzado. Before moving to Bozeman in January 2013, Maggie worked in NYC as an Assistant Vice President at Deutsche Asset Management and in the CFO’s office at The Blackstone Group.