Jim Wolford, Chair
Jim is the CEO and owner of Atomic Data, Foundation Technologies, & Bark and the Bite. When he’s not helping companies with their technology, Jim seizes every opportunity he can find to help those around him and give back to the community. He has seen first-hand, both through his two young sons and across the globe at the Atomic Data-constructed refugee library, the transformative power of reading.
Theodore was moved to support Start Reading Now after reading a Sun Post article. He contacted Start Reading Now to see how he could help. At the time, he was a part of Barnes & Noble's community development team, and he wanted to use his experience in helping schools and arts and literacy groups grow revenue and inspire learning.
His areas of expertise include nonprofit communications, social media strategy, website development, sales and marketing. He is currently a specialty sales representative at The Quarto Group injecting illustrated nonfiction books into specialty retailers. He is the father of two young children, so most of his time is spent reading picture books. Two of his favorites are Ninja Red Riding Hood and The Bossier Baby. In his remaining spare time, he enjoys camping, cycling and writing about fatherhood.
Prior to his MBA from Carlson School, Gong was a research scientist in molecular and cellular biology focused on novel approaches to treat leukemia. He holds a Masters in Public Health from The School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, and a BA in Biology from Knox College. Gong is also a Certified PCA responsible for the care of a disabled individual.
Lauren Beek, Secretary
Lauren is a communications professional with an interest in helping great nonprofits tell their stories. She has worked with Start Reading Now since 2016 and has enjoyed every minute. Her favorite part has been experiencing the thrill of Start Reading Now's in-school book fairs. Even in a world filled with screens, apps and iPads, Lauren has seen the excitement that picking out a brand new book brings. Her English-major heart is grateful to help foster a love of books for all kids, across Minneapolis and beyond.
Hannah has been Jim’s Executive Assistant at Atomic Data for the last seven years and Atomic’s Office Manager for the last five years. When she isn’t working she spends most of her time cooking, chasing her two Boxer pups around, or enjoying a book. Hannah’s father sparked her love for reading at a young age and they continue to share books and recommendations with each other. Her favorite books growing up were Yummers! and In a Dark Dark Room which is likely why she loves food and all things spooky!
Scott is a marketing jack-of-all-trades, technology geek, and journalism major. Currently serving as the Director of Marketing Communications at Atomic Data, Scott assists in the execution of many of Atomic Data’s charitable initiatives. Recently relocated to France after 35 years in Minneapolis, these days Scott is mostly reading French story books to his bi-lingual 4-year old daughter while she corrects his grammar and pronunciation.