Todd Tanji – Chairman, Board of Directors
Todd has been involved with Minnesota Brass since 1978, as a performer from 1978 to 1980, as brass caption head and music arranger in 1984, director of Minne-Brass (the corps’ small ensemble) from 2005 to the present, and as a board member from 2009 to the present. He also has been involved with the Concord, Calif., Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps as a performer in 1981 and 1982 and as a board member from 2003 to the present; he served as board president from 2006 to 2007. Todd is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur in the semiconductor industry. He is also a freelance trumpet player, composer, and arranger working in a diverse range of genres including jazz, classical, world, and popular music. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in science and technology policy from the University of Minnesota.
Gavin Burnham – Corporate CEO and President
Gavin has been involved with Minnesota Brass since 1985. He was a marching member from 1985 to 1989; financial officer and assistant corps director (1988 to 1994), and corps director (1995 to 2001). Gavin received the Brassy Award in 1989. Since 2003, Gavin has served as chief executive officer of the organization. He holds a B.S. in accounting from University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and is a principal and Certified Public Accountant at Olsen Thielen & Co., a public accounting firm in St. Paul. Gavin also has been involved in many other area musical organizations as a financial and management advisor. He met his wife, Kathy, in MBI.
Dave Whitaker – Chief Financial Officer
Dave has been a member of MBI since 1990, as a marching member for six years and serving as visual tech or administrator in years he did not march. He joined the board of directors in 1992 and served until 2001 when he was elected board chairman, a position he held until 2007. Dave received the Brassy Award in 2003. A trombone player with the University of Minnesota Marching Band from 1987 through 1990, and also in 1998, Dave works as an air traffic controller at the Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center in Minneapolis, and is also a professional photographer, specializing in weddings, events, and portraiture.
Robert Gurrola – Board Member
Serving on the MBI board since 2012, Robert is an attorney, business consultant, and entrepreneur with more than 15 years’ experience in intellectual-property, entertainment, and computer law; business enterprise and corporate law; and corporate governance, compliance, and enterprise risk management. Robert has been responsible for the successful design and build-out of numerous for-profit and nonprofit business projects. His extensive creative background features high-level training, performance, and teaching in classical, jazz, and popular music in the United States and Europe. His advanced academic credentials include studies with Nadia Boulanger, a Paris Conservatory music degree, studies in Motion Picture Business & Production at UCLA, studies in entrepreneurship at the College of St. Thomas Center for Business Excellence (St. Paul, Minn.), and a law degree from St. Paul’s Hamline University School of Law.
Neil Plaistow – Board Member
Neil’s drum corps experience started at a very early age as his parents were part of the support staff for the Ironwood, Mich., Blue Knights, and he has continued to be around drum corps either as a fan or member since 1972. He previously performed with the Blue Knights in 1975-1976 and with Marty’s Goldenaires of Bessemer, Mich., from 1990 to 1994; he marched in the MBI trumpet section in 2011 and 2012. Neil has been in technology-related positions for a quarter-century, including 12 years as project manager delivering new technologies; he currently works for Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota as a testing designer. Neil holds a degree in computer information systems from Northern Michigan University in Marquette. At present, Neil lives in River Falls, Wis., with his wife, Vicki, and has three adult daughters: Kezia, Kylie, and Brittany.
Vicki Plaistow – Board Member
Vicki has followed Minnesota Brass as a fan and as a spouse of a member since 2011. She has been a hard-core follower of drum corps for more than 20 years, having attended many DCI and DCA events. She currently works as a financial manager for the City of St. Paul in the Department of Safety and Inspections; her previous work experience includes vice president of finance and operations at Dakota County Technical College and various other financial and accounting leadership roles at higher-education institutions. Vicki obtained a master’s degree in nonprofit management from St. Paul’s Hamline University in 2010. She grew up in and has returned to her hometown of River Falls, Wis., after living in Ironwood, Mich., for more than 20 years. Vicki enjoys music of all genres, boating on the St. Croix River with her family and friends, and is an avid sports fan.
Sam Springer – Board Member
Sam Springer is a teacher at Beacon Academy Charter School in Maple Grove, MN. She is working specifically with special needs students as well as honors students in a resource room. Sam has taught District 11 marching bands such as the Champlain Park Marching Rebels and the Anoka Marching Tornadoes. She has been actively involved in Minnesota Brass since 2007.
Jim Tarbox – Board Member
Jim’s drum corps career stretches back to 1965 when, through 1971, he was a performing member (bass drummer, tenor drummer, drum major) with the Fort Dodge, Iowa, Lanciers. He previously served on the MBI board from 1997 to 2003. He was introduced to Minnesota Brass while writing a story about the corps’ 50th anniversary for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where he worked from 1974 to 2001. After subsequently serving seven years as editor of The History Channel Magazine, he now works as a free-lance/contract editor. Jim holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science journalism from Iowa State University. He currently is also drum major for St. Paul’s Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band.
Nancy Terry – Board Member
Nancy grew up in Pipestone, Minn., and performed with the Pipestone Marching Arrows before moving to the Twin Cities and joining MBI’s color guard in 2005. From 2007 to 2010, Nancy served in a support capacity until returning to the field as assistant drum major in 2011 and 2012; she has served on the board of directors since 2008. Nancy’s husband, Paul Terry, currently is on the corps’ horn staff. She also teaches area color guards, most recently with the Anoka, Minn., Marching Tornadoes. Nancy holds a master’ s degree in communication disorders from the University of Minnesota and works as a speech language pathologist at a local elementary school.
Ed Wasz – Board Member
Ed began his involvement in drum corps with the Chicago Cavaliers as a member of the color guard from 1973 to 1978. Ed began his professional career as a submarine officer and retired from the Navy Reserve as a captain in 2008; he now works at Supervalu and is responsible for corporate finance planning. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from St. Mary’s University in Winona and an MBA in finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Plymouth and have three children.
Todd Woods – Board Member
Todd Woods shares his expertise and leadership with organizations that affect his everyday life. He has served as President of the Osseo Sr High Band Boosters for the last 3 years and is currently President of the City of Osseo Economic Development Authority and Chairman of the City of Osseo Planning Commission. Prior to moving to Minnesota he was involved with the Alpine Autism Center in Colorado Springs, providing guidance with their Fundraising Committee. Professionally, Todd is Senior Manager of Electronics Quality at Select Comfort. He has held several roles during his career, leading teams in multiple countries and developing a completely new organization for an acquired company. He provided physical diligence for two Private Equity firms on over 50 acquisition targets, evaluating human resources, capital equipment, facilities and property.
Curtis Zoerhof – Board Member
Curt Zoerhof’s commitment to drum corps dates back more than 40 years ago, when Curt was first introduced to the Midshipmen from Petoskey, Michigan. In 2004, his passion for the activity brought Curt to Minnesota Brass. He performed with the corps in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 in addition to several years with Minne Brass. Outside of MBI, Curt is a graduate of Michigan State University and has enjoyed a lifelong career in commercial lending the last 20 years of which have been spent with Wells Fargo in the commercial equipment leasing and finance business.
Gwynne Byrne – Recording Secretary
Gwynne has served as secretary for Minnesota Brass Inc. since 1990, providing administrative support to the organization and recording minutes at board meetings. Gwynne joined the organization in 1974 as a marching member in the color guard; she has also worked at the corps’ bingo operation and served as gambling manager. She currently is a member of the support staff, which includes constructing and maintaining uniforms, flags, and other activities, and coordinates fund-raising events and staffing. Gwynne recently retired from General Mills after 30 years (including 20 with the Pillsbury Co.); she currently works on contract. Gwynne’s husband, Patrick, and their son, Kevin, also are active volunteers with the corps.