Strong Towns Staff
Charles Marohn - known as "Chuck" to friends and colleagues - is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute.
Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he graduated from Brainerd High School in 1991. Chuck joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years. Besides being passionate about planning and small towns, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and is a season ticket holder of the Minnesota Twins.
Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters and two Samoyeds just north of Baxter, Minnesota.
Co-Founder Jon Commers
Jon Commers brings fifteen years of experience analyzing, developing and implementing policy and public finance strategies to his work at Strong Towns. As a consultant to cities and private parties involved in redevelopment – primarily in core urban areas – Jon’s work has been devoted to understanding what distinguishes successful places. Managing the policy and practice of municipal finance is a critical element of Strong Towns, and Jon’s expertise supports the organization’s work in this area.
Jon is coordinator of the Falcon Heights Public Work initiative, an innovative collaboration among Strong Towns, the City of Falcon Heights, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. The initiative is facilitating citizen-led action by children and adults, to identify and solve community problems.
In addition to his work with Strong Towns, Jon represents St. Paul as a member of the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis St. Paul region’s metropolitan planning organization and operator of its wastewater and transit systems. Jon has served as a member of the Planning Commission for the City of St. Paul, as a Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute Policy Forum, and as an Adjunct Professor of Economics at the College of Saint Catherine. Jon holds an MBA (University of Saint Thomas, St. Paul, MN) and a BA in History and Political Economy (Carleton College, Northfield, MN ).
Executive Director Jim Kumon
Jim Kumon is an urban designer and community organizer based in Minneapolis. As Executive Director, he organizes events, volunteer initiatives, membership activities and sponsorship programs for the group. He is your primary point of contact for engaging with anything relating to Strong Towns.
Jim was born and raised in a rural township about fifty miles northwest of Detroit. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan, Jim started his professional career in architecture and urban design in Los Angeles, and later moved to Denver. He has served on the board of a multitude of professional and trade groups and brings over a decade of not-for-profit experience to Strong Towns. Most recently, he served as operations manager of a national niche consulting company in the architecture and engineering industry.
Jim and his wife, Faith, live in the heart of south Minneapolis, where they are slowly renovating their 102 year old house. A self proclaimed rain barrel enthusiast and edible garden aficionado, he is working to maximize the return on investment in their small city yard. He serves on the board of directors for Kingfield Neighborhood Association and chairs its redevelopment committee.