Catholic United Financial 2020-21 Board of Directors
Standing: William Lucas, James Wensel, Marty Seifert, James Gibbons, Robert Krattenmaker
Seated: Jean Hart, Sr. Vice President Paul Zastrow, President Michael Ahles, Renee Brod
Michael Ahles was selected as President and CEO in June of 2020. He was elected Senior Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer in 2013, after having served in this role on an interim basis since September 2012. He came to Catholic United as a 20-plus year veteran of the life insurance and annuity business, with the past eight years spent serving the fraternal insurance industry. Before joining Catholic United, Mr. Ahles led Insurance Operations as a Vice President for The Independent Order of Foresters, and he also held a number of progressively expanding financial leadership positions with Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. He is a Certified Public Accountant, although his license to practice is inactive. Mr. Ahles is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. He and his wife, Sharon, have three sons and make their home in Andover, MN. He is actively involved in fundraising, Catholic leadership and stewardship activities at the Church of the Epiphany, and also serves many organizations in his community.
Paul Zastrow joined Catholic United as Senior Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer in July of 2020. Zastrow graduated from Creighton University with finance and accounting degrees in 1987, and began his career with accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand in Omaha, Neb., before moving with his wife Patty to work in the Twin Cities office in 1992. In 1995, he joined ReliaStar Life Insurance Company, working his way up to Assistant Vice President of Financial Reporting. In 2002, Zastrow joined the fraternal life insurance industry at Thrivent Financial, where he rose to Vice President and Controller. Paul and his wife, Patty, live in Mendota Heights, MN and are active members of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church and School community in St. Paul, MN. They have eight children, all of whom attended Holy Spirit School.
Renee Brod is a 25-plus year member of Catholic United Financial, with roots in the German/Czech Catholic community of New Prague, MN. She attended St. Wenceslaus Catholic School in New Prague and graduated from the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul. Brod comes with considerable experience in corporate business and leadership. She is a certified project manager and event planner. She owns and operates Rozsah Consulting, an association management company. Brod has served locally and regionally as a trustee on the Mayo Clinic Health System Community Board, Hospital Foundation and Quality, and Safety & Service Board. She is actively involved in her home parishes of St. Wenceslaus and St. John’s in New Prague. Brod served as a Confirmation Catechist, member of the Capital Campaign committee, actively participates as a CCW member, and is the fraternal secretary of the St. John’s Council. She resides in New Prague with her husband, Jason, and two daughters, Samantha and Sydney.
James “Jim” Gibbons is the former Director of Operations for Catholic United Financial. In addition to 41 years of experience in the Life Insurance and Annuity industry, Gibbons also worked for the Minnesota State Department of Commerce as a Policy Analyst, regulating the insurance companies doing business in the state. During his career with a major international insurer, Gibbons served as chairman of the Civic Affairs and Community Service Committees, interacting with charitable and civic activities in 17 states. Gibbons and his wife Jeanne live in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. They have six children and eight grandchildren and enjoy charity work like Feed My Starving Children, gardening, playing with their grandkids, reading and playing bridge.
Jean Hart has been a member of Catholic United for more than 40 years, and is a life-long member of St. Boniface Church in Cold Spring, MN where she has been actively involved in fundraising and leadership positions. She is a product of St. Boniface Catholic Grade School and graduated from St. Catherine University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration/Accounting. As a Certified Public Accountant, Hart has nine years of work experience in public accounting, nine years in private accounting as an accounting/tax manager, and 19 years in banking as a commercial loan analyst/underwriter. She is currently employed with Home Federal in Sartell, MN. Jean has served multiple terms on the finance committee of St. Boniface Church, is serving her second term on the finance committee of the Diocese of St. Cloud, and has served as audit/accounting chair for multiple fundraising campaigns for various non-profits. Jean resides in Cold Spring with her husband, Gary.
Robert F. Krattenmaker has been a member of Catholic United Financial for 34 years. He and his wife, Vicky, have been married for 43 years and currently reside in New London, MN. Together, they have four grown children and six grandchildren. Krattenmaker is a graduate of Benson High School and Willmar Technical College. He is a former Chief Financial Officer for Heritage Bank in Willmar, MN, retiring in 2012. He was employed in the banking industry for 42 years. He and his wife have called Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Spicer, MN their home parish for 20 years and, prior to that, attended St. Michael’s Church in St. Cloud. Bob has been Lead Director for the last two years, chair of the Audit Committee for the last six years and a member of the Ad-hoc succession planning committee.
William (Bill) Lucas grew up in Northeast Minneapolis and graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in philosophy. After graduating from college Bill served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and was awarded three air medals. While serving in the Air Force, Bill earned an M.B.A. degree from Inter-American University of Puerto Rico. After his discharge Bill worked as an Administrative Analyst for the City of Minneapolis, as the Grants Administrator of the State of Minnesota Governor’s Crime Commission and as Assistant Director of the Minnesota Crime Control Planning Board. While working for the State of Minnesota, Bill attended the William Mitchell College of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 1976. After graduating from law school he worked as a pension consultant and a life insurance agent for Great West Life. Bill and his wife, Claudette, have two daughters and five grandchildren. They are active members of the Church of St. Patrick in Edina, MN.
Marty Seifert was born in Springfield, MN. Raised on a small family farm, he attended grade school at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Morgan, MN, and was active in his Catholic United Council. Assisted in part from a Catholic United Scholarship, he attended Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, and received a degree in political science as well as a 7-12 teaching license. As Chairman of the State Government Finance Committee, he assembled, reviewed and oversaw a budget of over $700 million, including legislative and elected Executive Branch departments. After leaving elected office in 2010, Seifert became Executive Director of the Avera Marshall Foundation, raising millions of dollars for a new cancer treatment facility for the only Catholic hospital in the Diocese of New Ulm. The Seifert family has been very active in the Catholic church. Marty and his wife, Traci, have been an active couple at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall and have two children.
James (Jim) Wensel has been a member of Catholic United for several years. Jim grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa, and moved to St. Cloud, MN, at the age of 16. Jim brings two different strengths to Catholic United Financial. Jim has been a licensed insurance agent for 40 years and owned his own independent insurance agency. He merged his business with Stearns Insurance Services, now known as Advantage 1 Insurance, and continues to work part time in the agency. His other strength is his credit union experience. He served on the boards of the Catholic United Financial Credit Union and Catholic Credit Union in St. Cloud. Since 1993, Jim has served on the Board of Directors and on the Central Minnesota committee for Make A Wish Foundation of Minnesota. Jim and Debbie are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Sauk Rapids, MN, where Jim is a former member of the Finance Committee. They have a busy blended family of seven children and 13 grandchildren.