Meet MIC Staff

Ron Chicka, AICP

Director

PH: (218) 529-7506

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Ron has been with the MIC since 1995. The full range of the MIC’s transportation activities–from pedestrians and bike travel to train, truck and air travel to roadway planning–continues to be rewarding and stimulating.

Ron has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Kansas. He is a Certified Planner and also serves on a number of national transportation related committees. As MIC Director he is responsible for overall administrative functions and project oversight, including:
• Development of the MIC Work Program and budget
• Consultation with local, state and federal officials on transportation activities
• State and federal legislation review
• Progress reports to MIC and ARDC Boards, participation on project steering committees

Outside of work, he enjoys many outdoor activities including travel, golfing, biking, and cross-country skiing. A favorite pastime is competing in combined biking and running events (duathlons) throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota over the summer months.


Sheldon Johnson

MIC Deputy Director/NWRPC Executive Director

PH: (715) 635-2197

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Sheldon is the Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, and serves as the MIC’s Deputy Director, representing the Wisconsin side of the MIC planning area.

He has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Geography and in Urban Studies and an M.A. from Mankato State University in Urban and Regional Studies. He is member of the American Planning Association and is on the Board of Directors of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. Responsibilities with the MIC include:
• Coordination and development of the Superior Urbanized Area TIP
• Consultation with Wisconsin officials (local, state, and federal) on transportation issues


Chris Belden

Planner

PH: (218) 529-7502

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Chris Belden, of Floodwood, MN, began with the MIC in late 2015. He received a BA in Planning and Community Development from St. Cloud State University in 2013 and interned with the City of Duluth and WSB & Associates in Minneapolis.

Chris will take the lead role in the MIC's Safe Routes to School planning and will learn the ins and outs of managing the annual process for the Duluth area Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

In his free time he enjoys hiking the Superior Hiking Trail with his dog and exploring new places. He also likes to rehab old furniture and do woodworking.


James Gittemeier

Principal Planner

PH: (218) 529-7556

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James has worked at the MIC since 2004. He earned a B.A. in Urban Affairs from Saint Louis University and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Kansas.

His work is focused primarily on coordinating community efforts to address the bicycle and pedestrian issues that the face the Duluth-Superior region. He facilitates the MIC’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and contributes to various corridor plans and transportation studies.

Outside of work, James likes to travel to new cities to observe what makes them livable and unique. The next city on his list to visit is Bogota, Columbia. When not traveling, James likes to spend his free time walking all around this area exploring the neighborhoods and the urban wilderness areas.


Eric Miller

Senior GIS Specialist

PH: (218) 529-7515

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Eric hails from Appleton, WI, and began at the MIC in early 2013. Eric received his BA in Urban Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a GIS Certificate from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA with a master’s degree in forestry remote sensing.

In his spare time you can find him traveling, hiking, bicycling, playing basketball, experiencing live music or sporting events. Currently he’s adapting to the brisk Duluth winter after four years sporting shorts and sandals behind California’s redwood curtain.


Barb Peterson

Administrative Assistant

PH: (218) 529-7541

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Barb works part-time to coordinate policy board and advisory committee meetings and is responsible for writing the meeting summaries. She provides assistance to other staff members when the need arises, including learning to update the MIC website as well. She graduated from the University of St Thomas with a BA in Mathematics and also brings quite a varied background in customer service, office processes and procedures.

When not at work, she enjoys her gardens, making old things new, updating her home and keeping up kids and grandkids.


Rondi Watson

Planning Communications Coordinator

PH: (218) 529-7511

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Rondi began at the MIC in 1999 as Administrative Assistant. She studied English and Public Health at the University of Minnesota and worked for an interesting eight years in the Human Resources department at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

As the MIC’s Planning Communications Coordinator she manages the MIC’s organizational presence on its website and through social and traditional media networks. She develops communication pieces and partners with MIC planners to design and implement public involvement strategies for a wide range of plans and studies.

Now an enthusiastic Duluthian, she enjoys the year-round challenges and rewards of being able to walk, hike and bike to work. As a Duluth Transit Authority board member she advocates for bus riders and promotes the option of taking the bus. And don't get her started about the ways a battery-powered, torque-sensing e-bicycle can improve one's quality of life in a city of steep hills and strong winds!


Mike Wenholz

Senior Planner

PH: (218) 529-7573

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Mike began with the MIC in 2016. He has a BS in Water Resources – Aquatic Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a MS in Environmental Toxicology from Clemson University, and a MS in Urban and Regional Planning – Land Use Planning from the University of Wisconsin.

Mike has over 20 years of experience working on a variety of water-related, solid waste, recycling, composting, shoreland zoning, recreational trails, and brownfield redevelopment projects for numerous sectors with a wide variety and diversity of people. He looks forward to utilizing and expanding upon these past experiences in his role as a transportation planner.

Mike will be leading the coordination of the MIC’s Harbor Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC), and will be assisting with the Truck Route Study, the Long Range Transportation Plan, and other MIC work.

Mike enjoys paddling canoes and kayaks, especially while exploring wilderness areas or class 1-2 whitewater rivers. He has had many canoe camping trips to the BWCAW, as well as a 400 miler down an Alaskan arctic river. Mike also enjoys traveling and exploring the North Shore with his wife, backpacking, meeting people, and securing healthy local food via vegetable gardening, fishing, and deer hunting.


Ethan Claassen

MIC Intern

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