Board of Directors

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BOARD MEMBERS      

Sixteen residents of Black Hawk County make up the Black Hawk County Gaming Association Board of Directors. Together, they represent the broad interests of the Cedar Valley. Each board member serves a three year term, and can serve multiple terms. Potential members go through a nomination process and are subject to approval by the DCI and the full Board of Directors.

Here are the Board members, along with a short biography of each:


Debra J. Corson, Waterloo

Debra J. Corson is a “retired” educator who currently works as a consultant with K-12 schools and higher education organizations throughout the United States.  She makes numerous presentations at national and state conferences in the areas of leadership, instruction, and training. She is certified as a trainer for Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and co-author of  5 Toolkits designed to improve school climate.  In addition to her role in the BHCGA, DJ is an active volunteer in the Beyond Pink TEAM, Waterloo Elks, and the golf advisory committee at Hawkeye Community College.

1st term expires 6/30/19


Sarah Craft, La Porte City

Sarah Craft is a former La Porte City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem.  Sarah was formerly employed by the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments as an environmental planner and grant writer.  She is active in the La Porte City community serving as a founding member of the La Porte City Economic Development Committee, Co-Chair of the La Porte City RAGBRAI celebration, and led efforts to secure a bond referendum to build a new community aquatic center.  A Cedar Rapids native, Sarah is a proud UNI graduate where she received her degree in economics while lettering three times for the Panther Swimming & Diving team.  Sarah also holds a masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.

1st term expires 6/30/19

Geoffrey Grimes, Waterloo

Geoffrey Grimes is was a retired partner from StruXture Architects.  A graduate of Iowa State University, he has served on numerous community boards and associations.  He currently is a member of the City of Waterloo Tax Revenue Oversight Committee, the ISU Alumni Club, Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center Friends Board, and Junior Achievement board.  In addition, he is a member of the Spokesman Club, Waterloo Lions, Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Cedar Valley United Way Education Panel.  

1st term expires 6/30/19


Noreen Hermansen, Cedar Falls.

Noreen Hermansen has worked at the University of Northern Iowa for more than 40 years, and formerly served at the university’s Director of Alumni Relations. Currently, she serves as the vice president of the UNI Foundation. Additionally, Hermansen has served as president of Hospice, fundraising chair for the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Cedar Falls Civil Service Commission, House of Hope and Wheaton Franciscan Board of Directors. 

2nd term expires 6/30/18


Tim Hurley, Waterloo.

Tim Hurley served as the mayor of Waterloo from 2004 to 2010. Prior to that, he represented Waterloo’s Ward I as a city council member. During his tenure in city government he focused on economic development, served on several standing and ad-hoc committees and represented the city on many boards and commissions. He is active in the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, the Waterloo Development Corporation, Cedar Valley’s Promise, the Iowa League of Cities, Iowa Northland Regional Council of Government, the Cedar Valley Coalition, Cedar Valley United Way, Rotary Club, Exchange Club and several other community organizations. Hurley is also a retired John Deere engineer.

2nd term expires 6/30/18


Eric Johnson, Waterloo

Eric Johnson is an attorney and has been with Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman and Johnson, P.C since 1991.  He also has experience as an adjunct professor at the University of Northern Iowa.  Johnson received his undergraduate degree from the University of iowa College of Liberal Arts and attended the University of Iowa College of Law.  In addition, he received his M>B>A> from the University of Iowa.  Johnson has served on the founding board of the Waterloo Schools Foundation, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance, WIDA and the Allen Foundation.  He is a member of the Iowa State Bar Association, the Black Hawk County Bar Association, Kiwanis, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. 

1st term expires 6/30/2020                                                                                                                        


Paul Lee, Cedar Falls                                                                                                                                 Paul Lee is a Quality Administrator for BDI-USA.  Lee is a graduate of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.  He also served as a graduate assistant in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at the University of Northern Iowa.  He serves on the Winnebago Council of Boy Scouts of America, the Knights of Columbus, Hartman Reserve Nature Center Friends Board  and Actions Without Borders/Idealist.or National Student Advisory Board.  Lee also has experience as a fundraising consultant and event planner.

1st term expires 6/30/2020


Kent McCausland, Waterloo

A graduate of the University of Iowa with a Communication Studies and Business Administration emphasis, Kent is a partner at PDCM Insurance.  A proud Cedar Valley native, McCausland works hard to ensure residents of the area have opportunities to grow and florish.  Kent is the previous president of the Boiys and Girls Clubs of the Cedar Valley, a board member of the Waterloo Community Foundation, the Cedar Valley Sports Commission and the National I-Club – University of Iowa.  Kent has two young sons.

1st term expires 6-30-19 


Richard McAllister, Cedar Falls

Born and raised in Marshalltown, Iowa and upon graduation from high school attended Iowa State University.  He graduated with honors from Iowa State University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning. Upon graduation he was hired by the City of Cedar Falls as a City Planner, serving in that capacity from 1975-1987.  In 1987, Mr. McAlister was appointed as the City’s first Director of Administrative Services.  In 2014, he was appointed to be the City’s first City Administrator to oversee the operation of all departments.  Richard retired in January of 2016 after 40 years of services to the City of Cedar Falls.  He has served on numerous local and state boards such as the Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce, Community Main Street, MET Transit, Big Woods Lake Board, Lions Club and Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association.He has also served on UNI President Ben Allen’s Budget Review Taskforce and Governor Terry Branstad’s Property Tax Reform Taskforce.

1st term expires 6/30/18


Keyaira Phillips, Waterloo

Keyaira Phillips ia a buyer for Alliant Energy.  A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, Phillips uses her professional expertise to create win-win scenarios in business and community development.  She is a results driven professional and has a reputation for building and sustaining collaborative and cross-functional relationships.

1st term expires 6/30/2019                                                                                                                         


Carolyn Rafferty, Waterloo                                                                                                                      

Carolyn Rafferty is a Vice President at US Bank in Waterloo.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and her law degree from Marquette University Law School in Wisconsin.  A former appellate attorney, she now serves as a trust officer for the Private Client Group at US Bank.  She has been involved in the Black Hawk County Estate Planning Counsel, the Harbaugh-Williams Education Promise Fund Advisory Board, the Youth Art Team, Habitat for Humanity New Home Buyer Educator program dn previously served as a board member for the YWCA and Family and Children’s Council.

1st term expires 6/30/2020                                                                                                                         


Betsy Ratchford, Cedar Falls

Betsy Ratchford is an Instructor of Management Information Systems at the University of Northern Iowa.  She has been employed at the university for over 12 years and also serves as the Webmaster for the College of Business Administration.  Betsy has served on the Board of Directors at Beaver Hills Country Club and was an active member of Junior League for seven years where she served on the Board for two years.

1st term expires 6/30/18                                    


Jim Schaefer, Waterloo

After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, Schaefer accepted positions at VGM as the Director of Services and Vice President of National Rehab before joining Professional Office Services as Regional Territory Manager in 2005.  Born and raised in Waterloo, Jim is Past President of the Friends of Cedar Valley Hospice and Easy Risers Kiwanis Club.  Additionally, Schaefer was elected to Parish Council and has served as a member of the My Waterloo Days Steering Committee and has volunteered for other civic organizations.

lst term expires 6/30/18


Mark Thome, Gilbertville

Mark Thome has been employed at Bertch Cabinet for 33 years.  He served as a Gilbertville city council member before stepping into the position of mayor of the town in 2013.  Thome is on the Gilbertville Visioning Committee, which was in charge of raising funds for and constructing Veterans Park. 

2nd term expires 6/30/19


Josef M. Vich, Waterloo

Joe Vich is a bank executive with over 30 years of experience in the banking industry, all in the Cedar Valley.  He was founder, president and CEO of Community Bank and Trust and its holding company. After the bank’s merger with Quad City Holdings, he stepped into the role of Vice-Chair. Vich chaired the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and co-chaired the Cedar Valley United Way Campaign. He also served on the Waterloo Enterprise Zone, Cedar Valley Techworks, Cedar Valley Promise, INRCOG Housing Board and several local non-profit boards. Vich has led his industry as chair of the Iowa Bankers Association, Card Services Member Association and on several other boards and committees.

1st term expires 6/30/17


Kate Wyatt, Hudson

Kate Wyatt serves as an elected council member for the City of Hudson ans as an appointed member of the Hudson Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Development and Public Safety Committee.  She is an active member of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and has been an active member of the Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber in Waterloo.  Kate has an extensive background of volunteerism serving as Chair of Hudson RAGBRAI committee, a board member on the Hudson Days Committee and as a volunteer for the Back to School project. Kate is a marketing specialist for a local insurance agency.

1st term expires 6-30-2017


Beth Knipp, Waterloo. 

Although not a member of the Board, Beth Knipp is an important element of Black Hawk County Gaming Association, serving as the Executive Director for the corporation.  She has served as Director of Planning for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – Iowa Region, was the Director of Planning, Public Relations and Marketing for Covenant Health System and Director of Development for Black Hawk Grundy Mental Health Center.  Knipp has also been a member of many local boards and committees, including Cedar Valley United Way, Family & Children’s Council, Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce, Cedar Valley Hospice and My Waterloo Days. She serves as a board member for the Iowa Council of Foundations and is a member of Metro Funders as well as Women In Philanthropy.