H2O For Life Staff

Doug Niemela

Executive Director
Starting in 2008 with his work to pass the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment in Minnesota, Doug has over a decade of leadership with environmental nonprofits. For the last 6 years, Doug has served as an executive director taking on issues from climate change to renewable energy to playing a lead role in the fight to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from sulfide ore copper mining. Through this work he gained valuable insight in communications, marketing, and narrative-based motivation from partnerships with for-profit enterprises like Patagonia, Columbia, and many others in the Outdoor Industry. He is excited to bring cutting edge exploratory leadership and design thinking skills to H2O for Life.

Fun Fact: After having to scrap his initial honeymoon plans due to COVID-19, Doug and his partner Melissa went on a four day, five night dog sledding expedition in the Boundary Waters to celebrate their union!

Yura Fora

Director of Development & Marketing
Yura Fora brings a wealth of knowledge in design and marketing with over 10 years of work in the humanitarian industry. Yura graduated from Minneapolis College with an A.S in Graphic and Web Design. His experiences growing up in Kenya, Japan, and Minnesota exposed him to many unique cultures and has given him a unique view of design and marketing. When not behind the computer, Yura spends some time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and four boys. Yura also volunteers as a youth worker/activist with local mosques and community centers.

Fun Fact: From time to time, Yura nerds out watching TV commercials and contemplating the marketing strategies behind them.

Steve Hall

Director of Global Partnerships & Operations
Steve joined H2O for Life in 2008 as a volunteer and became the first full-time employee for the organization in 2009. He manages relationships with our US and International school service-learning program. In addition, he acts as the liaison between H2O for Life and our many Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) partners around the world who implement our water, sanitation and hygiene education (WASH) projects at schools in need around the globe. Steve provides updates to our participants on the status of the WASH in Schools projects our program supports. 

Fun Fact: In 2013 Steve climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Summit on the Summit, a group of global influencers, to raise awareness and funds for the global water crisis.

Mitchell LeGrand

Educational Programs Manager
Mitchell joined H2O for Life in 2019 after moving from the Global Programs at the University of Minnesota. His role is to manage new relationships with educators and organizations interested in implementing H2O's programming. Mitchell has worked in a variety of roles related to developing teaching tools across disciplines for nonprofits and he is always willing to find a way to give opportunity to students to better themselves and the world around them. In his spare time, Mitchell enjoys playing and writing music with his friends, training for races, and finding ways to be involved in his community.

Fun Fact: Mitchell has run his own local music festival for young musicians.

Judy Onufer

Education Project Manager
Judy is a career science educator with more than 30 years of experience that include high school environmental science and physics, university level elementary science education for pre-service teachers and director of education at a nature museum.  She holds multiple degrees in Botany, Science Education, and Physical Science and is passionate about sharing her science knowledge through curriculum development, teacher training and community outreach.

Fun Fact: Judy raises tarantulas!

H2O For Life Board

Fred A. Anderson, Jr

Board Member
Fred earned a Master of Public Health in Environmental and Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. He worked as an infectious disease epidemiologist for Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment for nearly 32 years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fred has been assisting numerous nonprofits and community-of-faith organizations in their response to the pandemic.

Over his career, he served on several boards and committees, including the Lakeview Hospital Infection Control Committee, The American Red Cross Minnesota Region board and St Croix Valley Red Cross board, and currently serves on the board of directors for Community Thread and H2O for Life. 

His international volunteer experience includes four community health and potable water supply services trips to rural Tanzania in 2006, 2007, 2014 and 2016. 

Fred and his wife have lived in the Stillwater area for over 35 years. They have two grown daughters. He is an avid sea kayaker and outdoors person.

A.J. Austerman

Board Member
A.J. has over 19 years of Commercial Banking experience, and is currently a SVP-Commercial Banking Manager for MidCountry Bank.   He has been an advocate of H2O for Life since its inception in 2007, and is passionate about water and volunteerism.   He also serves on the Boards for MN DARE and Minnetonka Boys Basketball, and in his free time he enjoys spending time coaching, traveling, and racing around town with his 3 young boys.

Aaron Bloomer

Board Member
Aaron is a Vice President of Financial Planning and Analytics at Baxter where he serves as key advisor to the CEO and CFO.  Prior to this role, Aaron spent his career with 3M serving in a variety of positions including Corporate Auditor, Finance leadership roles across 3M’s business segments including two international CFO assignments based out of Tokyo and Shanghai, and most recently serving as Senior Vice President of FP&A.  Aaron holds a bachelors in Finance and a Masters of Business Administration.  He recently moved to Chicago with his wife and two children, is an avid MN sports fan, and is thrilled to be a part of H2O for Life and the wonderful work being done to help with the global water crisis.

Kate Booth

Board Chair/President
Kate is a part-time Nurse Practitioner at the University of St. Thomas Health Services. She is active in the Harriet Tubman Northstar Youth Outreach Center, Project Home through Interfaith Action and the St. Paul Garden Club. Kate dabbles in both indoor and outdoor sports and has ventured out on mission-related trips including a visit to H2O for Life project sites in Uganda. Kate and her husband, John have raised two daughters and are happy grandparents. 

Patty Hall

Board Member
Patty was a middle level educator at Highview Middle School where H2O for Life began as a service-learning program. Patty is a co-founder and has volunteered with H2O for Life since its inception in 2007. She is married, has 3 adult children, 6 grandchildren — all of whom are amazing water advocates. In her spare time Patty enjoys reading, travel, outdoor activities and is passionate about the global water crisis. 

Nicole Kettwick

Board Member
Nicole is a Partner at Brandt Criminal Defense. As a criminal defense attorney, she has committed her career to helping those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. In addition to her law practice, she also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and volunteers with local bar associations and committees. Nicole and her husband, Treye, have two young boys and reside in North Oaks. 

Jim Rathburn

Board Member
As a member of White Bear Rotary in Minnesota, Jim is committed to community service in his hometown, but also mindful of the broader service mission globally. He volunteers for the White Bear Food Shelf, Second Harvest, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In addition to his work with H2O for Life, Jim enjoys golf, reading, films, and the arts. He is a big sports fan and proudly owns stock in the Green Bay Packers. 

Simon Sikulu

Board Member
After spending seven years working for Barclays Africa, Simon has spent the past decade with Wells Fargo and is currently a Business Relationship Manager. Simon is a native Kenyan from the village of Bungoma, and has personal experience with water scarcity issues.

Fun Fact: Simon is known to prepare traditional Kenyan meals including githeri, ugali, sukuma wiki, and chapati.

Terri Williams

Vice President
Terri Williams is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mains’l Services, Inc., a national company offering services to people and families who need assistance to live full and purpose filled lives in their home communities. As a lifelong entrepreneur, Terri is passionate about creating sustainable collaborations and partnerships improving the lives of others both locally and globally. For over thirty years she has held leadership positions in business and philanthropic organizations offering services to people of all ages and abilities.