Leadership Bios

Tim Eissinger

Chief Executive Officer

Tim started with Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch – then called Dakota Boys Ranch – as a live-in house manager in 1983. He worked his way up the organization to Vice President of Programming and played an integral role in the development of co-ed programming and Ranch services throughout the Red River Valley.

He will provide the leadership, management and vision necessary to help grow the organization and ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. Eissinger has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical counseling from NDSU.

Stephanie Nelson

Chief Operations Officer

As the Director of the Ideation Center, Stephanie leads the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Anne Carlsen Center’s training and professional development programs and consultative services. Other key responsibilities include planning and coordinating new programs and projects through internal and external collaborative efforts. Charged with generating new ideas and services, the Ideation Center works to meet the ever-changing needs of individuals and their families, as well as sharing knowledge with other professionals, families, organizations and schools.

Following studies at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN, Stephanie received her undergraduate degree in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences from Minnesota State University-Moorhead and her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2013, Steph received a Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology from the Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Currently, Steph is pursuing a Master of Arts in Leadership from the University of Jamestown.

Nelson is a licensed speech language pathologist and RESNA certified Assistive Technology Professional. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), including Special Interest Division 12-Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Steph has held many positions at Anne Carlsen since 2001, exempting two years from 2006 – 2008 when she and her family relocated to Aberdeen, South Dakota. Stephanie transitioned from a staff speech language pathologist to the Ideation Center team in early 2012 and became the Director in 2014.

Jody Vigness

Senior Director of Community Based Services

Jody has been the director of our Community Based Services in the Grand Forks area since 2012. Her vast experience and tireless dedication have made her extremely effective as a leader. Jody has 35 years of experience, working in a variety of roles to empower individuals to reach their full potential. Prior to coming to work for the Anne Carlsen Center in 2012, Jody was the program director for a residential services provider in Thief River Falls, Minn. She also has worked as a special education teacher and an elementary teacher. Jody and her husband, Jim, reside in Grand Forks and have been married for 26 years. Jim is a retired detective with the Grand Forks Police Department. They will continue to reside in Grand Forks, with Jody traveling as needed to the various ACC locations across the state.


Eric Wilkie

Chief Development Officer

Eric Wilkie holds a bachelors of science degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership from the University of Mary. Prior to coming to Anne Carlsen, Eric worked as the Chief Advancement Officer for Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo. He holds the credential of Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since March of 2017. He is an active member of the Moorhead Rotary Club and makes his home in Dilworth, MN with his wife and four children.

Kresha Wiest

Director of Management Systems

Kresha Wiest joined Anne Carlsen in 2013 as Director of Management Systems. Kresha oversees all aspects of business analysis and internal reporting and directs Payroll operations. Kresha also serves as Anne Carlsen’s Project Manager, reassuring that all projects meet business objectives and goals.

Her extensive background includes more than 15 years of leadership experience in systems and management, most recently at the Wyndham Hotel Group, where her role included serving as the Manager of Finance, Planning, and Analysis. Kresha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Business Administration and a Masters of Business Administration. Kresha has earned a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) credential and a Six Sigma Yellow Belt.

Sam Brownell

Director of Information & Technology

Sam joined the Anne Carlsen Center in 2010 as the Director of Information and Technology. Brownell will help support the Center’s Jamestown Campus, the Community Services offices in Grand Forks and Fargo as well as the KIDS Infant Development Programs in Devils Lake, Fargo, Grand Forks and Jamestown.

Brownell joined the Center following 10 years as Technology Director and Manager of IT Services with Alternative Billing Solutions of Jamestown. His career has also included working with the Video Update Corporation of St. Paul, Minn., (Help Desk Manager); BusinessWare Solutions of Chanhasen, Minn., (Service Technician); and the Minot Air Force Base (Helpdesk Technician/LAN Administrator). He is a Filebound Certified Server Engineer in Document Imaging and has Citrix Certified Administrator Training and is also certified in Airman Leadership School, Air Base Ground Defense, Security Police Journeyman courses and Security Police Technical School.