Team

Headwaters Economics staff listing, with bio and contact info.

Headwaters-staff-Ray-Rasker

Ray Rasker, Ph.D., Executive Director

Ray enjoys working with people in rural communities who are passionate about their place. He grew up in Mexico City in a Dutch household and came to the U.S. as a student. After obtaining B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Washington and Master’s in Agriculture from Colorado State University, he went on to study economics, earning a Ph.D. from the College of Forestry, Oregon State University. Ray has worked as a wildlife biologist and in the dairy industry. Ray’s multicultural background and diverse education and experiences allow him to appreciate many different viewpoints. He has written widely on rural development and the role of environmental quality in economic prosperity, and is well known in policy circles in the U.S. and Canada.

Patricia Gude, Associate Director

Patty's interest in community development and equity started in the rural West and now includes communities across the country. Together with Ray Rasker, Patty founded Headwaters Economics with a compassion for people and landscapes born from a childhood of escaping from urban Miami into the wild ocean as often as possible. Patty’s favorite work is measuring socioeconomic trends and helping people understand their implications in terms of quality of life and prosperity. With a Master's degree in Ecology, Patty brings a commitment to rigorous research and a deep dedication to helping communities thrive in a changing world. When she’s not at work, Patty can be found dancing salsa and teaching Spanish.

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Mark Haggerty

Mark moved to Bozeman, Montana in 1993 and has worked across the state and the West as a researcher, teacher, community organizer, and facilitator. At Headwaters Economics for the past 10 years, Mark has worked to understand why some communities do better than others, and to communicate key lessons and policy ideas to people working to make their own states, counties, and towns more livable and sustainable. Mark's expertise is in fiscal policy, rural economic development, and community planning. He’s served on local planning boards, worked with county commissioners and state legislators across the West, and testified in Congress at the request of both Republicans and Democrats. Mark holds a B.A. in Economics and M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado.

Headwaters-staff-Megan-Lawson

Megan Lawson, Ph.D.

Megan uses economic and demographic analysis to better understand the issues communities face, particularly related to land use, outdoor recreation, sustaining a diverse economy, and changing demographic and income trends. Megan holds a Ph.D. and Masters in Economics from the University of Colorado, and has a B.A. in Biology from Williams College.

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Kimiko Barrett, Ph.D.

Kimi has a deep interest in rural landscapes and the people who live there. Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, she appreciates the outdoors and the intimate connections people have with the land. After obtaining undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Japanese, Kimi completed a Master’s in Geography from Montana State University and a Ph.D. in Forestry from University of Montana. Her doctorate research focused on climate change impacts in high mountain ecosystems and took her to remote places in the western Himalayas. Kimi enjoys engaging with people on complex issues such as community resilience, adaptation, and vulnerability. When she’s not working, Kimi enjoys traveling, downhill skiing, backpacking, interpreting maps, and picking huckleberries.

Scott Story

Scott applies his skills with GIS and databases to gathering, manipulating, analyzing, and mapping socioeconomic data for Headwaters Economics. After moving to Montana from Sonoma County, CA, to conduct field research and go to graduate school, he realized that his true calling was the mountains, people, and wide-open spaces of the Rocky Mountain West. With an interest in biology and a knack for technology, Scott collected data on Ponderosa pine forests in central Idaho, mapped prairie dog communities, and examined the effects of fire on bird communities. At Headwaters he uses his experience with data technologies and tools to elucidate socioeconomic issues. Scott loves to hike, bike, and ski in the western landscapes whenever he has free time. He holds a M.S. in Biology from Montana State University.

Kelly Pohl

Kelly provides research and policy support to communities on issues related to land use planning, wildfire, trails, and outdoor recreation. She enjoys translating and distilling complex socioeconomic information into practical tools for people and places. Before joining Headwaters, Kelly spent a decade as Associate Director of the Gallatin Valley Land Trust leading community trail and conservation projects. She previously worked as a fire ecologist for The Nature Conservancy and a naturalist for Colorado State Parks. She holds a B.S. in Geography from Montana State University and a M.S. in Geography from Portland State University. When not working, Kelly can be found enjoying the trails with her husband and two young daughters around her hometown of Bozeman, Montana.

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Chris Mehl

Chris has extensive communications and public policy experience on issues facing towns, cities, and counties across the country. In addition to being the Policy Director at Headwaters Economics, Chris also serves as the elected Deputy Mayor of Bozeman. He previously worked as Press Secretary for several Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Chris holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and greatly enjoys the hiking, cross country skiing, and outdoor opportunities available in the northern Rockies.

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Janet Clark

Janet has worked on natural resource issues with government agencies, tribes, universities, and nonprofits throughout the West and enjoys the challenge of navigating bureaucracies with patience and grace. She handles administration and staff support at Headwaters Economics. As a former reporter, grant writer, communications specialist, program director, and editor, she is adamant about equity, the environment, and dangling participles. Other interests include botany, indigenous rights, and adorable grandchildren. Janet holds a B.A. from Penn State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Montana State University.

Bill Daigle

Bill is a software developer passionate about building tools that empower users. Originally from a small town in northern Maine, he is no stranger to the plight of rural communities. Early in his career, Bill studied salmon and lamprey in the Columbia River Basin, but quickly realized he had a knack for developing and applying solutions to technical problems. As a GIS analyst and computer programmer for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, he disseminated large datasets for biologists, and developed tools to help managers and conservation planners make better decisions. He holds a M.S. in Biology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. When not working, Bill can be found building furniture and volunteering at the local makerspace or exploring Montana’s wilderness with his family.

Headwaters-staff-Deb-Grebenc

Debbie Muir Grebenc

Deb develops software solutions that transform unmanageable mountains of data into useful information. A graduate of St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a B.A. in Mathematics, she taught computer classes for 10 years before moving into software development, so she is intimately familiar with the importance of intuitive design in applications. Deb also owned her own computer consulting business for 12 years and worked with many industries including mining, construction, and transportation. Deb grew up in Napa, CA, escaped back to to Minnesota and extended family for college, and migrated with her husband, an avid hunter & fisherman, to Montana in 1992. When she’s not at work, Deb can be found swimming in Montana’s lakes and baking gluten-free treats for her family.