Being Good Stewards
Good Steward Consulting is dedicated to the successful future of small town America and agricultural, as the backbone which supports feeding our world. We are passionate about renewable energy and other rural developments for environmental and economic reasons. Our founder spent the past nine years as a farm wife and mother living on the edge of a 120+ turbine wind farm. Although not a participating landowner in the project, she welcomed the development and the opportunities afforded to her township and neighbors. Wind turbines and solar panels are lifelines helping to secure the future of multi-generational farming operations and allowing for further income diversification during times of commodity price volatility. All while being the best energy option for America.
GRACE · GRIT · RESOLVE · ACCOUNTABLE · CREATIVE · ENERGETIC
Meet the Team
Mariah Lynne is the President/Owner of Good Steward Consulting. She established the firm in 2016 and narrowed the focus to renewable energy development communications in early 2017. Mariah is a seasoned businesswoman, agriculture/clean energy enthusiast, and mother. She spent nine years as a farm wife on a corn and soybean farm west of Hartland, Minnesota with her then-husband and their two children (John Paul, 12 and Camellia, 9). She awoke every morning to the beauty of wind turbines on her horizon, delivered seed/parts/meals to the farm crew via wind farm access roads every spring and fall, and hosted a wind farm campout onsite at the Bent Tree Wind Farm near her home. You can learn more about her passion for renewables by reviewing her support letter for the Freeborn Wind Farm here.
Mariah was elected to the Board of Directors for RENEW Wisconsin in mid-2021. PV Magazine featured a Q&A in July of 2019 titled, “Bridging the gap: Mariah Lynne of Good Steward on farming and solar”. Mariah has spoken at industry conferences, including participating as a panelist at the 2019 & 2020 Renewable Energy Summits in Madison, WI , and as a panelist/moderator where she joined other experts to discuss community support and engagement as well as opposition, within the utility-scale development industry. She also participated as a panelist at the 2019 SEIA Solar and Energy Storage Midwest conference. Good Steward Consulting was named the 2017 Small Business of the Year by the Albert Lea – Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. Mariah has been featured in Minnesota Business Magazine (January 2016) as one of the state's most creative and ambitious female leaders.
VP of Sales & Marketing
Chris Fjermestad leads outreach and develops strategy for Good Steward Consulting’s clients as the VP of Sales & Marketing. Chris grew up just outside of Albert Lea, MN, in rural Freeborn County. Farming, living in a rural setting, and enjoying the outdoors have always been large parts of his life. Chris currently still lives in rural Freeborn County with his family who he loves spending time with both at home and in nature, hunting and fishing.
Chris came to GSC with 15 years of experience in small business ownership via two vegetation management companies. When both of those companies were sold successfully, he began his tenure as a regional manager with an infrastructure maintenance company for the upper Midwest. While consulting for various companies, Chris kept tabs on GSC during its tremendous first three years of growth and in early 2021 the stage was set for him to become a Good Steward. He brings energy to the team and an enthusiasm for working in an environmentally responsible industry that is making the future cleaner and greener for his kids and grandkids! When your development team is considering a project, please reach out to Chris to discuss strategy.
Laura Cunningham grew up on a dairy farm in Hayward, MN. In her youth, she spent time loving the outdoors and the resources around her family farm. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Communications. She is an avid volunteer and community advocate as well as a positive presence for the local lake restoration efforts leveraging her passion for environmental stewardship awareness. She served as the President of the Albert Lea Lakes Foundation for 10+ years. The effort resulted in a community collaboration that brought in $30M+ for area water resources.
Laura’s career background involves wholesale distribution, marketing, recruiting, and business management. She is energized by the opportunity to do good for the benefit of an entire community.
Laura is married to Colby who spent his youth in the great Driftless Area of northeast Iowa. Together, they are raising two sons, Cooper and Jax, to respect and harness all that nature has to offer. Her hobbies include being a mother, golf night, jewelry design, home organization, and exploring unique destinations. In Laura’s capacity at Good Steward Consulting as a Portfolio Manager, she is focused on
seeing projects develop and thrive, in turn leaving a lasting legacy for their home communities. She
believes in harvesting renewable energy and renewing rural farming communities.
Seth Light was born and raised in Albert Lea, MN, and has always been innovating and thinking about the next big thing. He graduated with a degree in Marketing Communications from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, after developing his creativity as an on-field promotions intern with the St. Paul Saints. Seth returned home after college to work for a local marketing firm, where he first met Mariah Lynne.
As Seth began using his digital marketing acumen to create and produce real-world marketing efforts, he developed and expanded new skills that led him to start his own business: Digital Lighthouse. Immersed in the thrill of running his own company, he was, once again, approached by Mariah to work for Good Steward Consulting. With GSC leading the charge for a local renewable energy project, Seth hopped on board to help with social media and digital marketing efforts. After that project, he knew Good Steward was where he wanted to be. Seth continuously strives to improve his skills and is a source of innovation for GSC and its clients. Outside of his artistic and vocational pursuits, Seth enjoys paintballing, working out, and bringing the best out in everybody.
Abby Flatness is a Project Manager for Good Steward Consulting. Growing up, Abby knew she wanted to be a part of the agriculture world after several years of participation in the local 4-H Club and FFA. As such, she attended the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and graduated with a B.S. in Agriculture Studies. She and her husband, Gage, now live on the northern edge of the Bent Tree Wind Farm near Hartland, MN with their daughter Hannah, two cats and a dog. Abby enjoys meeting and chatting with new people and helping in any way she can.
In her spare time, she cherishes nights around the campfire with family and friends, traveling to the mountains with her mom (Julie), and helping her dad (Dennis) with his auction business. She is happily raising a family near the Hartland area… yes, raising a healthy baby girl right near a wind farm! Fun fact: Abby has an identical twin sister, Claire.
Frank is our Paris Solar project representative in Kenosha County Wisconsin. He joined the Good Steward Consulting team in April of 2019. Frank, born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and has lived in Southeast Wisconsin for the last 35 years. Having resided in both urban and rural areas, Frank brings with him deep local knowledge, creativity, and business experience. Frank’s 25 years of experience in project management, technology, and customer service along with his involvement in the community makes him a great fit for the Paris Solar project. He is also currently active as a small business owner running both a website development business and a travel agency.
Frank is passionate about community involvement and has plugged in on the local level through being elected to a village board position in the Village of Union Grove, coaching youth soccer, acting as a board member of the local youth baseball association, being a volunteer firefighter/EMT as well as through roles in the local chamber of commerce where he held the offices of President and Vice President. In his free time, he enjoys many activities such as local festivals, concerts, camping, cruise vacations, watching the Green Bay Packers, and spending time with his 7 grandchildren. You may have even seen him on a few episodes of Chicago Fire where he worked as an extra portraying a Firefighter.
Randy joins us as the local representative on the Eldorado Solar Project in southern Illinois. He has lived on the family farm for the last 60 years and has held many jobs during that time. For his last 23 years before retirement, he worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in Saline County as a highway maintainer. Prior to IDOT, he worked at Illinois Youth Center (IYC) as a Youth Supervisor in Harrisburg, Illinois.
Growing up, Randy went to Shawneetown schools and attended S.I.C College. While continuing to work on the family farm, Randy also spent several years in the coal mining construction field. He has been an active member with the local FFA Alumni chapter being one of its founders and served as president for 3 years. The chapter hosts an Annual Fish Fry that serves around 1,400 meals and raises money to help deserving students with scholarships each year. He is an avid gardener and enjoys donating vegetables to many in the local community. Randy was the first in Gallatin County to install solar at his home and enjoys the fruits of residential green power on his property. He is looking forward to helping bring solar to Saline County.
Stacey Kincaid joins Good Steward Consulting as the local representative for the Darien Solar Project. She was born, raised, and lives in rural Wisconsin and is proud of the deep tradition of farming in her family. She feels it was truly a blessing to grow up "a farm girl,” where daily chores helped shape her work ethic. She fondly remembers playing in the haymow, chasing kittens, showing cattle at the fair, participating in 4-H, selling sweet corn, and painting fences. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2001 with a BS in Merchandising Business Management. Stacey worked in product development, marketing, retail leadership, human resources, and customer relations for several large organizations.
For 11 years, she focused her energy at home raising three young boys and now lives on a 3rd generation family vegetable farm in Palmyra with her husband, Corey. Stacey has worked on many successful community projects and events while volunteering her time with the School PTO, Waterski Team, and Cub Scouts. Stacey enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, on fitness endeavors such as running marathons, and cooking. This good steward plans to join her keen perspective of being raised in a farming family with the forthcoming local opportunities for renewable energy development. Stacey feels that traditional farming, in tandem with renewable energy possibilities, hold a bright future for generations of farming families in Wisconsin.
Tracy is our local representative for the Hayward Solar Project in Freeborn County, Minnesota. He is a resident of Hayward Township, and his family has pioneer roots there in that the Skaar family settled there after leaving Norway several generations ago. Tracy raises corn, soybeans, hay, oats, and cattle alongside his wife, Sue, and one of his sons, Mic. With strong agricultural passion within the family, Tracy’s other children also work/study in ag-related fields. His son Jay is a Forestry Technician in Northeastern Kansas and his daughter Shayna is an Animal Science major at the University of Wyoming. Before engaging in his own family farm operation, Tracy studied Diversified Ag Production at the University of MN Technical College in Waseca, MN. He then pursued Dairy Science at South Dakota State University. Later in life, he diversified his education by enrolling in the Wind Turbine Technician/Solar Installer program at Riverland Community College in Southern Minnesota. It was during this time that he grew to understand and appreciate renewable energy production.
Tracy serves on the Hayward Fire Department as a Firefighter and Emergency Medical Responder. He invests time in serving as the Dairy Superintendent for the Freeborn County Fair every summer and serves on the Hayward Coop Elevator Board of Directors. Recently, Tracy became a Ski Patroller at Mount Kato, a ski resort in Mankato, MN. He is committed to keeping the community safe and diversified- literally and economically.
VP of Finance
Jenny Fjermestad, Good Steward Consulting’s Vice President of Finance, began working with GSC in 2018 and has been integral to the team ever since! Prior to becoming a Good Steward, she spent 15 years in the infrastructure maintenance industry with a focus on vegetation management in the Midwest.
Jenny is originally from Albert Lea, MN where she continues to live with her husband and two daughters. She attended college at Riverland Community College & Rochester Community and Technical College. She loves to spend time at home with family or working on home renovations with her husband. It is widely known around the office, and possibly even true, that Richard from the movie Tommy Boy is Jenny’s missing twin.
VP of Operations
RJ Welch is originally from a small town in northwest Ohio and completed high school in Bettsville, population 660, alongside a graduating class of 18 peers. Currently he resides in Gahanna, Ohio with his wife and four children. RJ came to GSC with 15+ years of Business and Operations Management experience, most recently with an infrastructure maintenance company. In this role, he covered OH, MI, IN, KY, IL, and WV primarily, and assisted across the U.S. and Canada. Throughout his career, RJ has worked with many State Departments of Transportation in contractual agreements, permitting, Davis Bacon compliance, Disadvantage Business Enterprise compliance, and many other state and city contractual functionalities. In his tenure RJ also worked with an array of railroads, and many other private entities and has a vast knowledge of Vegetation Management, Storm Water & Wetland Management, Highway Asset Maintenance, Rest Area Management, and Aquatic Vegetation Management. RJ has invested in continuing education in the areas of vegetation management and/or preventative maintenance for Ohio State University, Ohio Department of Agriculture, National Roadside Vegetation Management Association (VMAK), West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH), Ohio Stormwater Association, American Public Works Association (APWA), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB).
In addition to spending time with his friends and family, RJ enjoys hiking, fishing, and Ohio State Sports. RJ’s passion for a sustainable future that centers family values along with his agricultural background, vast network in the mid-west, deep understanding of business acumen, and lifelong connection to rural communities make him a great fit at Good Steward Consulting and an invaluable resource for clients and partners.
Emily was born and raised in rural Hartland, MN, on the family farm where her parents still live. She has one sister, Hannah, a brother-in-law, Bennett, and twin nephews, Leighton and Beckett. Many of her early memories involved playing with her German Shepherds, raising her 4-H show pigs, bailing hay, and running meals to dad in the field. She was active in the Hartland 4-H Club, where her passion for agriculture grew; she loved being a leader and channeling her creativity throughout her 13-year involvement with the program. Emily graduated from South Dakota State University in 2015, with a B.S. in Agriculture Communications - she will always be a proud Jackrabbit Alumni!
Emily has been with Good Steward Consulting since early 2018, getting her start as an Assistant Project Manager. Her favorite part of this job involves making new contacts and meeting people in various communities. She has made some great connections while at GSC and enjoys watching the growth and positivity. Emily now resides in Wells, MN, with her husband, Taylor, a local beef and grain farmer, business owner, and head high school basketball coach at United South Central Public School. They have a Border Collie/Blue Healer mix puppy, Cash, who lives on Taylor’s family farm. She stays busy with a number of social and volunteer activities and enjoys being part of the Wells Area Jaycees. Emily also makes time to visit family in Northern Minnesota, which is her favorite place to travel - especially in the summer. Her future goals include raising a family in rural Minnesota and growing professionally with Good Steward Consulting.
Mark Raney is an experienced graphic designer with truly amazing artistic talent. Born with a passion for art, Mark has always loved to draw. He knew his future as a graphic designer was set in stone when his fourth-grade art teacher told him he was going to be a commercial artist when he grew up... undoubtedly, she was right. He has over 25 years of experience and has worked in print shops, for ad agencies, as part of in-house art departments, and even as co-owner of a retail store alongside his wife. Using this experience, he started his own design company, RaneyWorks, and has worked with companies of all sizes. Along the way, Mariah hired Mark to help with design projects for GSC and then convinced him to become part of the Good Steward team!
With a creative eye and experienced graphic touch, Mark delivers excellence in all forms of design. Spending time with family and friends, helping to coach his kids’ sports teams, and enjoying the outdoors are a few of Mark’s favorite ways to enjoy life when he isn’t perfecting a project.
Shane Glinski, a Project Manager with Good Steward Consulting, was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids, Wi. After 18 years in Central Wisconsin, he decided to venture out into the world and spent a semester at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls studying Field Biology & Environmental Studies. After a semester away from home, Shane realized that Central Wisconsin was where he was supposed to be, so he transferred to the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point where he graduated with a B.S. in Communications: Professional Communications. Shane first got started with Good Steward Consulting in college, where he was hired as a Public Relations Intern for the Wood County Solar Project. He had the opportunity to work on a project that was local to him, while gaining experience and utilizing skills in his professional field. After working as an intern for several months, Shane fell in love with the work, vision, and people at GSC, and is now extremely thankful to be a part of the team full-time.
In his free time, he enjoys hunting with his family in the fall, downhill skiing in the winter, hanging out with his little brother from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation, spending time with his nephew, and traveling with his wife, Natalya. Fun fact: Shane has been to 32 states, and although his wife has traveled to only a few states, she has topped the scale by traveling to the Middle East and Australia!
Frank joins us from Sikeston, Missouri, and is a lifelong resident of Scott County. He grew up in Blodgett, where his family has a farm that has been in the family for over 120 years. While growing up he worked on the farm with his father, raising wheat, rye, corn, soybeans, cotton, and milo, as well as having a cow/calf operation. After high school, Frank got his BS in Business Administration and in Economics from Regis College in Denver. He then attended Saint Louis University School of Law where Frank graduated with a Juris Doctor before returning home. Practicing law in Sikeston for thirty-five years, Frank has also served as a municipal division judge for multiple communities in the area.
Frank has been involved with various community civic organizations as well as youth sports and continues to be involved with the family farm. His wife, Missy, is the director of the Three Rivers College Sikeston location. They like to spend their free time together, outside in their yard, walking, and going to visit their son and daughter and four grandchildren.
Rick comes to Good Steward Consulting as a local representative located in Gibson County, Indiana. He has been in Gibson County since 1984 and has deep roots and relationships within the community. Rick stays involved by serving as a Fire Captain at the Evansville Vanderburgh Airport Authority and as President of Directors of the Pike Gibson Water, Inc.
Rick and his wife, who is a principal at a local school, are fifth-generation residents of Gibson County. Prioritizing education and good communication, Rick recognizes the importance of teaching the public about economic growth and how infrastructure, such as a utility-scale solar farm, would benefit the local community and wider county.
Stacy was born and raised in Posey County, Indiana, growing up on a farm her family rented. Her dad farmed the ground and her family lived in the home on the farm. Stacy loved spending time at her grandparents’ farm just down the road and credits them with a lot of the things that Stacy knows how to do today. She moved for a few years to live in the big city of Evansville, but shortly after she and her husband, Mike, were married, they moved back to Posey County, starting construction on their home just days after their wedding. Stacy has worked as an insurance clerk and with title insurance and real estate closings, holding her title insurance and real estate licenses as well as being a Notary Public.
Stacy and her husband are both members of E’ville Iron Street Rods, host of the Frog Follies. The Frog Follies is one of the largest street rod events held in the United States. As a member of E’ville Iron, Stacy has held many offices, including three terms as its Rod Run Chairman (the person in charge of coordinating the event), and is currently serving as President. Stacy’s other interests include spending time with her family and friends. She also loves working in her gardens, cooking, and photography. Stacy is excited about the opportunity to grow her knowledge about renewable energy and is anxious to see the part that it plays in our future.
Tracy is our local representative for Badger Hollow in Wisconsin and has spent her career in the customer service industry. She thrives when she is able to work directly with people, both in person and over the phone. Her first job was as a Claims Adjuster for American Family Insurance, and then moved to the agency side of insurance: sales and handling customer calls. She has been married to her husband, Mark, for 21 years and they have been blessed with two children: Ellie and Luke. Tracy was the “CEO” of the Fillback Family for many of those years, sharing experiences with her kids, volunteering in their classrooms, and working with the Parent/Teacher Club. She maintained her insurance accreditations through the years, working part-time for an agency.
The opportunity to work with the Badger Hollow Solar Farm came along when Tracy was looking for a way to reengage with the public. As the local representative, she is able to use her people skills to make contacts, answer questions, and present information about this exciting new energy source for Wisconsin. Other than time with her family, this is her sunny place!