Amber Daugs

CEO & Founder

Grow It Forward’s CEO and Founder, Amber Daugs, has worked diligently over the last five years to connect community partners and has laid a framework for Grow It Forward to serve as a local food hub within the City of Manitowoc.

She is extensively involved and is a leader in the local food movement. For two years, she participated in the development of Clipper City Co-op (a member-owned grocery), served as an AmeriCorps Farm to School Community Outreach Coordinator, is a member of Healthiest Manitowoc County's Activity & Nutrition coalition, is Manitowoc’s Farmer’s Market Manager, and is also the Minority Advisor for Manitowoc and Calumet County's Farm Service Agency.

Amber’s professional and educational experience includes urban agriculture, non-profit management, public and business administration, finance, business and project management.

Amber has earned many educational and professional accolades. She was inducted into two honor societies-Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Beta Delta, graduated with highest honors-Summa Cum Lade and achieved a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Franklin University of Ohio, and has earned certificates from:

• Victory Garden Initiative of Milwaukee Food Leader program, and now serves as mentor for this program over the past 2 years,

•  Growing Power’s Commercial Urban Agriculture program,

•  Community GroundWorks Growing Minds: Garden-Based Learning From the Ground Up program.


Her hobbies and interests include: agriculture and the local food movement, life-long learning, grass roots organizing, sustainability, art, music, civic involvement and social advocacy, gardening and growing delicious produce, canning, preserving, fermenting, cooking and baking.

growitforward.wi@gmail.com

Ryan O'Toole

President

Eli Steimle

Treasurer

Eli was born and raised in Manitowoc as the youngest of 6 children. After high school, Eli attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he earned his BBA in Accounting in 2016 and his Masters of Accountancy with an Emphasis in Taxation in 2017. Eli was an active volunteer throughout his time in Madison as a Badger Volunteer. Eli took pride in volunteering at food pantries and tutoring in elementary after-school programs.


Upon graduation, Eli moved to Minneapolis to work at a public accounting firm before returning to Manitowoc. It was in Minneapolis that Eli’s passion for health and wellness started to flourish. Understanding the impact that our community has on our lifestyle and overall health and wellness, Eli moved back to Manitowoc in October 2018 with the goal of having a positive impact on the community that he grew up in.


Eli is currently a Business Banking Analyst a Bank First. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Wisconsin and is pursuing his MBA in Finance. He is also pursuing his certificate to be a Transformational Nutrition Coach to inspire clients and help them understand the importance nutrition as a foundation of overall happiness and quality of life.


Outside of work and school, Eli loves to be active. He grew up playing hockey, baseball and football and continues to play as much as possible. Eli is a regular at the YMCA, but he also enjoys spending as much time outside as possible!

Brittany Schuh-VanderWeele

Board Member

Jason Prigge

Board Member

Jason is a local businessman who loves our community. Together, with his wife and partner, he spearheaded the #coolestcoast movement. Jason is passionate about creating positive self-talk within the community and contributing to an overall positive community dialogue. His business is Vagabond Creative Studio where they design creative content for clients with the goal of making them look good, including print, digital and video. 

 

As an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, he produces a weekly Business Minute video for the Chamber showcasing area businesses. Since many other small businesses might benefit from using video and social media in the promotion of their businesses, Jason regularly teaches learning sessions introducing participants to the basics of creating and sharing digital content. A rising tide raises all boats. 

 

Jason's deep dedication to the community includes active involvement on the boards of: 

Lighthouse Community Recovery Center

Grow It Forward

 

Jason is committed to making a difference. 

Malia Xiong

Board Member

Hello! Nyob zoo!

My name is Malia Xiong and I am a first generation Hmong-American woman passionate about food and helping out in the community. I earned my Bachelors of Science in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Food plays a large role in defining my heritage and its influence on me has fueled my passion to pursue my dreams and goals. One of my dreams is to build a cafe that focuses on community engagement, sustainability, and a positive work environment. Another goal of mine is to build community gardens and cooking workshops to connect the Hmong and American community while preventing lifestyle diseases. Being a part of Grow It Forward’s team will give me an opportunity to bridge the gap between the Hmong and American community!  Outside from my passion, I enjoy scrapbooking, gardening, and cooking. I am a curious learner who is continuously learning how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Autumn Linsmeier

Board Member

Autumn was born and raised in Manitowoc. After high school, she attended UW-Manitowoc for a year and then transferred to UW-Madison, where she obtained her Bachelors Degree in Political Science. While attending college, Autumn held many internships with nonprofits and in government. When Grow It Forward was starting up, Autumn was interning in the Mayor of Manitowoc's Office, so she was able to see this nonprofit start from the ground up. After Grow It Forward was established, she became an intern for a summer to assist with marketing and fundraising.

 

After graduating with her Bachelors, she worked at various nonprofits and for the State of Wisconsin and eventually found herself back in Northeastern Wisconsin working for the City of Kewaunee as their Community and Economic Development Planner and Grant Writer. Recently, she graduated from UW-Oshkosh with her Masters in Public Administration.

 

Autumn is excited to be able to use her skills and knowledge to help Grow It Forward thrive into the future. In her free time, Autumn enjoys reading, traveling, taking pictures, and going to baseball games.

Patrick Neuennfeldt

Board Member

Chris Able

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