ClearWay Minnesota(SM) Board Elects Officers, Welcomes New Member

Governing Board provides oversight, vision to tobacco control organization

Sep 19, 2012, 14:52 ET from ClearWay Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- At ClearWay Minnesota's Annual Meeting today, the Board of Directors elected officers, welcomed a new member and saluted a veteran member as his term expired. Longtime Board Member Vernae Hasbargen will continue as Board Chair. The full roster of officers is as follows:

  • Vernae Hasbargen, Board Chair – Hasbargen is the former executive director of the Minnesota Rural Education Association and former Vice Chair of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. Hasbargen was reelected as Chair at the Board Meeting in May of this year, and this will be her second year as Board Chair.
  • Cynthia Bemis Abrams, Vice Chair – Abrams is a public relations and leadership consultant.
  • James Deal, Treasurer – Deal is a Board Director for QBE/NAU Country Insurance Company and owner of PSD Holdings, LLC.
  • Joy Rikala, Secretary – Rikala is an independent consultant and former Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent and Minnetonka police chief.

All officers were elected to one-year terms.

At today's meeting, the Board also welcomed new member Russel Kuzel, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at UCare. Dr. Kuzel replaces Dr. David Klevan, who resigned from the Board earlier this year, and his term on the Board became effective this summer.

The Board also thanked departing member Dr. Ivan Dusek for his years of service to ClearWay Minnesota, noting his leadership on health initiatives among Minnesota's American Indian Nations, and accepted the resignation of longtime member the Honorable Sheryl Ramstad, whose service and leadership was also recognized.

ClearWay Minnesota's 19-member Board of Directors provides oversight and guidance for all the organization's activities, which include smoking cessation, research, policy, community development and outreach.

About ClearWay MinnesotaSM

ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.

For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota