Meet the Staff

Executive Director – open as of June 2, 2023



Jules Richardson – Team Member


“I’m originally from England with a background in IT, but I made a permanent move to the Bemidji area at the end of 2007, and now live in an old farmhouse north of town with my wife, three children, three dogs and two cats. With my maintenance hat on at GRR, I greatly enjoy the diversity that the job brings – it always seems like there’s some new and interesting project to tackle! Outside of the shelter, my main hobbies involve saving and repairing vintage vehicles, mechanical gadgets, and electronics (ancient computers in particular).”


Briana Propst – Shelter Manager

Hi, I’m Briana and I joined the GRR team in July of 2021. At home I have four cats and one dog – two of the cats I adopted from Great River. I’m married with two kids. I moved to Bemidji, from Florida when I was 16. I absolutely love this job and spending time with the animals. I particularly enjoy helping the animals find the perfect home for them. When I’m not at work I like playing video games and doing art.





Joanie Pesek – Volunteer & Foster Care Coordinator

Hello!  I’m Joanie Pesek, the new Foster Care and Volunteer Coordinator at the Great River Rescue.  I am relatively new to the Bemidji area, moving to the area September 2022.  I am joined by my husband Dan and our kiddos Elcee and Maverick.  We have fallen in love with Bemidji and are greatly enjoying our time here.  We recently adopted two furballs from Great River Rescue whom we love dearly.  Our experience was so wonderful working with the staff at GRR, when the opportunity for this position arose, I knew I had to apply.
I come with many years of volunteer coordinator experience and am excited to continue the work on growing our Foster and Volunteer Programs!

Tayli Brekkestran – Team Member

Hi, I’m Tayli! I’m a student at BSU for wildlife biology, and I’m extremely passionate about all animals and nature. I love hiking with my significant other and dog, reading, bird watching, dog training, and just being with my pets which are my dog Grizzly, my cat Minnow, and my hamster Ham Solo.


Red Herzig – Animal Care Team Member

I am a college graduate from the University of Minnesota, Morris, with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Communications, Media & Rhetoric.  After graduation, I moved to Bemidji, working odd jobs until I found my fit. I enjoy dedicating my time to helping others and making a difference in people’s personal lives.
When I’m not working, I enjoy longboarding, paddle boarding, gardening, and crafting. I’ve recently got into Legos, which has been fun, and my favorite set so far are the sunflowers.

I do not have any pets at home yet, but growing up, we always had a cat. Currently, my parents have Nala, an absolute sweetheart who loves hugs.

Engress Clark – Pet Fixers Coordinator

Picture and Bio to Come

Sarah Matchan – Team Member

Picture and Bio to Come

Great River Rescue