The UpTake Team


Peter Heege Peter worked as the Operations Manager at Llewellyn Publications for 16 years and served as CFO of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution for 17 years. Peter came to The UpTake after being the business manager at Intermedia Arts. Married to Nancy Heege-46 years. We met growing up in South Dakota but have been in the Twin Cities since 1965. Peter has two sons, one in The Cities and one in Seattle. And, five grandkids six to seventeen-three boys and two girls.

Michael McIntee Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »


Andy Birkey Andy Birkey is one of The UpTake’s Conflict Sensitive Video Journalism Fellows. The fellowship is dedicated to enhancing local journalists’ ability to report on the political, social, economic, and cultural conflict that impacts the civic well being of their communities through the unique power of video journalism.

Paige Elliott Paige is one of The UpTake’s Fall 2015 Conflict Sensitive Video Journalism Fellows. The fellowship is dedicated to enhancing local journalists’ ability to report on the political, social, economic, and cultural conflict that impacts the civic well being of their communities through the unique power of video journalism.

Benjamin Gross

Matt Johnson Matt Johnson is owner and principal consultant for MRJ Solutions Inc., a Minneapolis-based information technology company that specializes in media capture and management systems. He has degrees in electrical engineering and math and is skilled in video production for the internet, computer network installations, and data warehousing.

Kristin Larsen

Susan Maricle Susan has volunteered for The UpTake since our early beginnings. If you've read a debate transcript here, it's likely her fleet and nimble fingers transcribed it.

Cirien Saadeh

Bill Sorem Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

Board Members

Jeff Achen Jeff was a television, print, and digital reporter from 1999 until 2009. He has worked extensively in the nonprofit and journalism communities of the Twin Cities since 2006, serving as a digital strategist for Minnesota Philanthropy Partners and from 2010 until 2014. Jeff is an active video producer, photographer and owner of CallSign51, a creative services company specializing in video production and photography. He is a longstanding member of the Society of Professional Journalists and former Minnesota Pro Chapter board member. Additionally, he is a Navy veteran and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Nepal).

Cirien Saadeh


The UpTake Board of Directors & Founders

Tom Elko, Interim Board Chair

Tom Elko is the REAMP Media Center Director at Fresh Energy, a media relations agency that helps Upper Midwest nonprofit groups re-frame public discourse on energy in the hope of achieving an 80 percent reduction of global warming pollution. He was co-founder and director of digital media at, an innovative curated news site, and is a former fellow of the Center for Independent Media and the Knight School of Environmental Journalism’s Great Lakes Journalism Training Institute.


Art Hughes, Board Member

Art Hughes is the broadcast director for the Minnesota start-up He was initially lured to the Twin Cities by Minnesota Public Radio, where he reported on public scandals, organic farming, cold-case murders, unreasonable college tuition, manure pits, art installations and everything in between. He came to Minnesota from Seattle where he worked in public radio and learned about coffee, salmon and waterproof, breathable fabric. He is a diligent believer in mission-driven journalism and excellent, independent and ethical work.

[media-credit name="Anna Pratt" align="alignleft" width="150"]Anna Pratt- Board Member[/media-credit]

Anna Pratt, Board Member

As a staff reporter-turned-freelance journalist, Anna Pratt, who lives in Minneapolis, Minn., has ventured into garbage houses, spent the night in a homeless shelter and witnessed a fistfight in a church basement, all for various stories. Her byline has appeared in the Star Tribune, The Line, the Southwest Journal, the Minnesota Independent and several suburban and community papers, web publications and broadcast media in the Twin Cities. Pratt is active with the Society of Professional Journalists’ freelance community and she serves as the treasurer for the award-winning Minnesota Pro Chapter of SPJ.


Jason Barnett

Jason Barnett Founding Director, Co-Founder, Former Executive Director

One of the founders of The UpTake, Jason Barnett holds a degree in Fine Arts and was a professional sculptor before he brought his talents as a creative thinker with an interest in news, politics and technology to The UpTake.



Chuck Olsen, Co-Founder

Chuck Olsen is a co-founder of The UpTake, co-founder and CEO of Vid Tiger and the founder of Minnesota Stories, called one of the best video blogs by the New York Times and winner of two Vloggies Awards. He is the producer-director of Blogumentary, a documentary feature film about the rise of political and personal blogs.


Leif Utne, Advisory Board Member
Leif Utne is vice president of business development at Warecorp and Drupal Squad, providing mission-driven businesses, nonprofits and public agencies with high-quality, affordable web development and maintenance services. He lives on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle.
More about Leif Utne


Chris Dykstra, Co-Founder
Chris Dykstra, a co-founder of The UpTake and former chair of the board is a founding partner in Warecorp, a web and software services company that balances traditional web and software engagements against its mission of serving as an incubator for socially conscious technology start-ups and activism.