Always Finding a Way Forward
Kyle’s childhood nickname “MacGyver” embodies his approach to life - there is always a way forward. He grew up in a small town in North Dakota (population 212), where his parents raised a small collection of farm animals. From his grandmother he found a love for nature and gardening.
Being from a small town, Kyle dreamed of exploring the world. Watching his divorced parents juggle 2-3 jobs at a time (dad was a construction worker, mom was a waitress, retail worker, and call center agent) and tackle debilitating health issues, he believed studying hard would make his dream come true. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, he had a successful career that took him across the world, and back.
Kyle was first in his immediate family to graduate with a four-year and graduate degrees. He attended the University of Minnesota as an undergrad where he met his now husband, Chris, together since their first date in 1999. Their first adventure saw Kyle moving to Denmark to pursue advanced degrees. He was awarded his doctorate in product design and innovation from the University of Southern Denmark, near the German border.
After several years in Denmark, Kyle and Chris returned to the Midwest to build their careers. They were looking to buy a cabin as a retreat from city life, but the pandemic sped up their plans to move and they made their home on a lake in northern Wisconsin. This was a return home for Chris as he grew up in the Northwoods.
Listening to Solve Problems
Kyle knows and respects the value of work through his many jobs over the years. His first summer job was a school janitor where he earned his first paycheck and love of cleaning things up. Professionally, he has been a web designer at a non-profit hospital where he learned how to take into account many voices to create better solutions, a researcher at IDEO (design and innovation consultancy) where he dove deep into how to design better products and services, a university professor of an experience design research group where he taught high caliber students how to create better experiences for people, a researcher at Medtronic (medical device manufacturer) where he brought to life collaborative ways of engaging patients and medical practitioners, and a principal design strategist (director level) at Target Corporation where he worked with business executives to bring innovative concepts and ideas to market.
Experience in Governing, not Politics
Kyle has a long history of being involved in governing, beginning as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota. He served as President of the Council of College Boards, an organization that supported student boards responsible for meaningful activities for the benefits of students.
Since then, Kyle has been a board member of local neighborhood groups in several places he's lived. Recently, he has volunteered for the Oneida County Tourism Diversity & Inclusion project, with a goal of understanding how to make Oneida County a welcoming and accessible place for residents and tourists, especially for aging guests and other stakeholders.
His experiences has enabled him to build a collaborative toolkit for problem solving. Whether it was conducting research in Ireland around aging in place for the elderly, or understanding gas station users in Texas, Italy, and Sweden, or even working with diabetic patients in India, Kyle excels in listening and observing to find the underlying values and motivations to fight for solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
He’s the leader for what comes next.