Matthew Deery

Matthew Deery - Executive Editor

Matthew cut his teeth writing movie reviews for He furthered his passion by pursuing degrees at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and graduated in spring 2013. Post graduation he joined the Minnesota Connected team, both writing and editing posts featured on the site. Matthew has a wonderful wife, a spirited dog named Eddy, and an amazing family. He is a proclaimed softball addict.
Brandon Hedges

Brandon Hedges - Co-Founder

Brandon is a lifer. He was born and raised in Minnesota and is a card carrying member of the club. To prove his Minnesotan-ness, he has a boat, loves to ski (snow or water) and talks like a local. He is an attorney turned real estate agent and is a Co-Founder of the Homes of Minnesota Real Estate team. Brandon and his amazing wife Katie are busy at home with their three kids and revolving zoo of pets.
Matt Barker

Matt Barker - Co-Founder

Matt has called Minnesota his home since 1991. Like many other “non-natives” he is an avid traveler, especially during the cold winter months. Matt has an extensive background in marketing and is a Co-Founder of the Homes of Minnesota Real Estate team. He loves spending time with his family and his hobbies include – traveling, fishing, photography, and attending sporting events. Creativity is his strong suit which gets kicked into high gear with plenty of coffee and the occasional Red Bull.
Erik Bergs

Erik Bergs - Staff Writer

Erik fancies himself first and foremost a fiction writer (which is his focus while completing a Master of Fine Arts at Hamline University). As for completed education, he attended Southwest High School in Minneapolis and later majored in both Religion and English at Pacific Lutheran University. He currently lives in South Minneapolis, but has also lived in Tacoma, Washington and Yamagata City, Japan. Erik holds a wide array of interests which he compliments with hair-brained ideas and, on rare occasion, thought-provoking angles. His greatest passions include travel, food, stories (in all their forms) and of course his fiancee.
Brent Lee

Brent Lee - Staff Writer

Brent and his dog Steve live in Eagan where they spend their time eating, sleeping and getting into adventures. Apart from the brutal, inhumane winters, they are both convinced Minnesota is a top five global destination. Brent is happiest when he is playing football, laughing, discussing philosophy, eating Chipotle, watching anything Larry David created, doing funny character voices while reading children's books to his two little nieces, or writing about whatever happens to cross his mind, unapologetically stretching sentence length and comma usage as far as the editor will allow. Also, Brent's nemesis is Burt Reynolds, though Mr. Reynolds is likely unaware of this rivalry.
Troy Larson

Troy Larson - Staff Writer

Troy has never seen a baseball game, but he’s a baseball fan. The fact he’s blind and hears with a cochlear implant hasn’t stopped him from following his favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. Not only that, but he’s a walking encyclopedia of baseball history. He can tell you who won every World Series since 1920. A life long resident of Burnsville, he holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is following his passion in radio broadcasting by hosting a weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast called Troy’s Twins Chat. Although baseball is Troy’s biggest passion, he will also write about the many other topics that interest him.
Kendra Ackerman

Kendra Ackerman - Featured Columnist

Kendra Ackerman graduated with a Mass Communications degree from St. Cloud State University and currently lives in the Warehouse District in Minneapolis. She is a sucker for video games and constantly is browsing fashion and entertainment sites. Her love of writing blossomed when she started her personal blog over a year ago to document the things she loves. Her goal is to inspire others and gain writing experience wherever possible.
Leah Putz

Leah Putz - Featured Columnist

Leah Putz is currently studying Art History at the University of Minnesota —Twin Cities. She lives in Elko, MN with her parents, siblings, and three dogs. She enjoys creative writing as well as writing for Minnesota Connected.
Deanna Olson

Deanna Olson - Contributing Writer

Deanna calls Central Minnesota home. She attended St. Cloud State University and obtained her BA in Applied Sociology. Her emphasis focused on politics and systematic policies. Her greatest concentration revolved around food consumption and practices in our current society and global market place. Now, Deanna is a busy and blessed mom of two. She has fueled her love for research and food into her family by making and providing conscientious and healthy options for her family and local community. At this time, Deanna is also a board member at her local food co-op where she contributes articles written for parents and works to network and empower local food growers and community members to provide sustainable and locally grown foods for their community. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, horses, and anything that allows for fun outdoors (with the exception of high places...eek)!
Travis Bridell

Travis Bridell - Contributing Writer

Travis Bridell is a student at the University of Minnesota majoring in Journalism with a minor in Communication Studies. He subscribes to over a dozen different publications because he revels in hearing great stories and admiring his craft. Mostly, he likes to learn. A lifelong Minnesota resident, he has yet to leave the continental 48. Travis loves to play basketball and tennis, stream movies, play video games and listen to music (or go to shows). He aspires to write a book, he just isn’t sure what about. He also aspires to be Dikembe Mutombo, he just isn’t sure how.
Tony Randgaard

Tony Randgaard - Contributing Writer

Retired after 31 years in marketing with United and Northwest Airlines, Tony has been published by MinnPost, Minnesota Connected, Air Cargo News, The Forward, CNS Air Cargo Focus, TC Daily Planet and the Rake. He has won a Silver Addy award in Advertising and launched United Cargo’s Friendly Skies ad campaign in 2014.
Jason Ingolfsland

Jason Ingolfsland - Contributing Writer

Growing up in rural Tennessee, Jason spent most of his time watching old 80s movies and wandering around in the woods. He moved to Minnesota in the middle of high school, and many people asked him why he didn’t have a southern accent. Later, he attended Crown College where he was a contributing writer for the school paper, the yearbook editor, and President of the Student Activities Board. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Humanities and Social Science. Since then he’s written several novels, and two short screenplays produced into films featured at the Twin Cities Film Festival, Revolution Film Festival, and Z-Fest. He lives in Maple Grove with his two kids.
Shannon Balstad

Shannon Balstad - Contributing Writer

Shannon Balstad is a proud and lifelong Minnesotan. Her days started off on her father’s pig farm and she now attends the University of Minnesota and majors in Studies in Cinema and Media Culture. Some of her many passions include film (Disney movies in particular), traveling, photography, and of course, writing. She spends most of her days playing with her pug Walter and hopes to one day become a screenwriter for Disney Animation Studios.
Steve Sauer

Steve Sauer - Contributing Writer

Steve Sauer is a lifelong Minnesotan but never says uff-da or you betcha - at least not in public. Recently retired he is a Bon Vivant who can be found hanging out in Excelsior, Wayzata, Navarre, or any of the cool areas near Lake Minnetonka. He can play the guitar like a ringin' a bell, enjoys tennis, biking, poker and rereading (for the tenth time) any of John D MacDonald's Travis Mcgee novels.