K. Marianne Wargelin, President
K. Marianne Wargelin grew up in three Finnish American communities: Berkeley, CA, Fairport Harbor, OH, and Hancock, MI. As a child accompanying her parents on their work trips, she visited most of the Finnish of the Finnish communities scattered across the entire continental United States. Earlier an educator in American higher education, she now consults with scholars, government officials, cultural institutions, and the general-public about Finland and Finnish America. She serves as an Honorary Consul of Finland in Minneapolis. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tampere in Finland, her dissertation studies the changing identity of the national Finnish American community, a subject well suited to her position as President of FinnFest USA since 2004.
Daniel Truckey, Vice President
Daniel Truckey is the Director/Curator of the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University. He manages all operations of the Center and also teaches courses in Museum Studies and Upper Peninsula folklore at NMU. He has over two decades of experience working in the museum and history field. Mr. Truckey holds a B.A. in History from Northern Michigan University, an M.A. in Popular Culture from Bowling Green State University and an M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY -Oneonta. Professionally he has worked as a curator and administrator for many large and small history museums including: the Grand Traverse Heritage Center in Traverse City, Michigan, Sioux City Public Museum in Iowa, the Connecticut Historical Society, Simsbury Historical Society (Connecticut), Litchfield Historical Society (Connecticut), Noah Webster House, Catskills Entertainment Hall of Fame, Michigan Historical Museum, Father Marquette Museum and Fort Wilkins State Park. He is currently on the board of Finn Fest USA. He has formerly been on the boards of the Michigan Museums Association, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Iowa Museum Association, and the Traverse Area Arts Council.
Yvonne R. Lockwood
Yvonne R. Lockwood (née Hiipakka) grew up in Ironwood, in the western Upper Peninsula, Michigan. She has degrees in folklore, history, and Slavic languages and literatures from the University of California, Berkeley, and The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
As curator of folklife for some 25 years at Michigan State University Museum, she conducted studies of various cultural groups in the upper Midwest, including Finnish Americans. During her career, a good number of Finnish Americans participated in museum programs, including the American Folklife Festival, the Great Lakes Folk Festival, Michigan Heritage Awards and Michigan Apprenticeships Programs. She curated a number of exhibitions, including “Michigan Eats” and “Rags, Rugs, and Weavers,” and published Finnish American Rag Rugs: Art, Tradition, and Ethnic Continuity in addition to other books and many articles.
Since retiring, she continues her research and writing about Finnish America, and devotes much of her time to Finnish American cultural organizations dedicated to the maintenance of Finnish American culture, such as FinnFest USA.
Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, Ph.D.
Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she specialized in Finnish history. Her dissertation was entitled “Jewish Identity in Finland.” During this research, she and her husband lived in Finland as Fulbright Scholars for two years. In addition to studying minority identity in Finland, especially the Jewish community, her research includes women’s suffrage and the development of Finnish education. She has made several trips to Finland to visit schools, the National Board of Education and the Ministry of Education.
Sharon serves on the Board of FinnFest USA and on the Finlandia University (Hancock, Michigan) Finnish Council in America. Sharon has been named one of the Finlandia Foundation Lecturers of the Year for 2016-2018. Her topic is "Finnish Independence."
Sally Capra Morales
Sally Capra Morales grew up in St Louis, MO. Her mother was from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Childhood summers were always spent with Finnish friends and relatives in the Wakefield, MI area. St Louis had a smaller group of Swedish and Finnish members who met on a regular basis. Something Finnish was always in her childhood. Whether it was her mom's home cooking, Finnish music (usually hymns) or hearing phone conversations with out-of-town relatives. Only as an adult was she able to visit Finland and see for herself the birthplace of her grandparents, in Lapua.
Sally's career was in real estate and she lives in the Los Angeles area. She attended college in the Toronto area. She has always enjoyed travel and has made trips to Finland, Karelia and Lapland. She lived in Vienna, Austria for 5 years and speaks fluent German. Her love for culture and her heritage is evident. Sally is also a docent and leads tours at the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA. But her greatest joy is spending time with family and Finnish friends!
Helena Niskanen, a native of Finland, has resided in Jersey City, New Jersey for the last 30 years.
Helena has worked as a professional in destination travel marketing for more than 20 years. She is also the founder and CEO of Polar Star Marketing. Helena runs Visit Finland operations in USA, and in that capacity has cultivated an extensive professional global network with a primary focus on Scandinavian tourism. Helena possesses strong interpersonal skills utilized to inspire, lead, and motivate, but she is also happy to serve as a team player working towards a common goal.
Helena serves on the Board of Directors of FinnFest USA. She has served as a volunteer on several boards such as the American Scandinavian Society of New York and Finland Center Foundation. Being part of the FinnFest USA family is important for Helena because she embraces the celebration of Finnish heritage and traditions in the USA. She herself maintains very strong ties to Finland and visits family and friends often. Helena has one son who practices law in the New York area. Her son pays visits to Finland when possible, speaks the language, and shares mutual appreciation for his Finnish heritage and language.
In her free time she enjoys ballroom dancing, skiing, gardening, baking, spectator sports, opera, theater and concerts. She is a seasoned traveler who has traveled extensively around the world.
Past Members of the Board of Directors
Ari Aho - Pennsylvania
Leonard Barchak - Pennsylvania
Ryan Braski - Minnesota/Utah
Sinikka Garcia - New Mexico/Arizona
Lloyd Hannula - Massachusetts
Tarmo Hannula - Massachusetts
Terttu "Tepa" Haronoja - Colorado
David Hinsa - Florida
Melvin Holli - Illinois
Ron Kaminen - Colorado
John Kiltinen - Michigan
Eva Koskimaki - Michigan
Elaine Kumpula - Minnesota
John Laine - Texas
Ray Lescelius - Illinois
Jean Lindblad - New York
Paul Makela - California/Michigan
Peter Makila - Florida
Maija Mård - Massachusetts
Herbert Matta - Oregon
Andrea Mikkola - Minnesota
Satu Mikkola - Oregon/Washington
Sadie Mursu - California
Kalevi Olkio - Maryland
Roy Palo - Delaware
Viola Palo - Delaware
Eleanor Palo Stoller - North Carolina
Carol Parssinen - Massachusetts
Reuben Perttula - California
Carl Rahkonen - Pennsylvania
Olaf Rankinen - Michigan
Nancy Riikonen - Florida
Reino Saari - California
Eeva Savolainen - Minnesota
Robert Selvala - Minnesota
Anna-Liisa Sjoblom - Florida
Jack Smiley - Massachusetts
Leo Utter - Washington
Norman Westerberg - Washington