Misty Slopes


Anne Marie Pecha is a generalist who has built her set of skills in a wide variety of positions, large and small, in a wide variety of enterprises.  She seeks out challenging work, and founded Brackenwell in pursuit of her passion for ingenuity, for learning new paradigms and skills, and for serving a small community.

Previously Anne worked as an editor and writer at Dow Jones Newswires, the National Journal GroupWorld Book Inc., and the Kearney (Neb.) Hub.  Over the course of her journalism career she covered many topics related to business, science, politics, and society.

Anne earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., and a master's in social sciences from the University of Chicago.

For 14 years Anne has been exclusively based at home, pursuing education with her four children through self-directed learning.  Working without the distinction of any corporate title to command respect means Anne has had to develop more savvy to draw out the best quality work from contractors, volunteers, and other partners.

Anne loves the incredible variety of her work and the ever-present challenge of on-the-job learning.  She regularly pivots among diverse tasks.  She is a planner with big ideas and a long-term view, but goes with the flow when an issue requires swift reaction. Months, weeks, and days are often a mix between proactive and reactive, analytical and creative, factual and sentimental, and human and material concerns.  Adaptability is her specialization.

All of Anne’s work requires initiative.  If she is seeking a particular social, educational, material, or other opportunity, she has learned that she often must forge the path to it herself.  This freedom and responsibility — two sides of the same coin — are what have drawn Anne to entrepreneurship.

Anne graduated as co-valedictorian from York High School in York, Neb.  Her father retired as a district supervisor in the law enforcement division of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  Her mother is retired from careers as a school aide, bank teller, and daycare business owner.  Beginning in York, Anne has worked in many jobs.  Please see LinkedIn for her professional experience.

Anne’s hobbies include sustainable agriculture and reading international relations news, science fiction, and historical fiction.  She also enjoys fiber crafts, baking, and hiking.​



Gary Loft

After fifteen years working as a computer programmer in the financial services sector, Gary started an information technology consulting business with his partner, Ray Neverdahl.  Neverdahl-Loft and Associates grew from a two-person startup to more than 135 consultants with clients in 37 states and four foreign countries.  Ray and Gary sold the company in 1999 to IMRglobal, a publicly traded firm in Clearwater, Florida.

Since selling the company, Gary has assisted several start-ups from inception to fully operational entities as a board member, investor, and adviser. Leveraging the skills from working with dozens of companies, Gary is working with Brackenwell in their search for a thriving and growing company to purchase and run.

Gary resides with his spouse of 35 years in Fernandina Beach, Florida, and Lamoine, Maine.  He enjoys hiking, golfing, tennis, and renovating homes.

Sara Hjelstrom

Sara has been honing her accounting skills since 1995.  She founded a financial management and accounting services business in 2007 and has grown it to 30 clients primarily in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.  She serves small businesses and nonprofits by providing bookkeeping services, financial reporting, custom finance manuals detailing the internal control environment, and audit and grant assistance.  Sara lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her spouse and two children.  She enjoys traveling, poetry, and crafting.

Shea Peeples

With experience as both a public librarian and a Minneapolis bus driver, Shea is uniquely positioned to advise Brackenwell with first-hand insight into the habits and needs of local government agencies and their private-sector partners.  She holds a bachelor's degree from Carleton College, a master's in library science from St. Catherine University, and a commercial driver's license from the state of Minnesota.  She lives in Minneapolis, where she is navigating a midlife career transition to a Dakota language teacher, supporting this change by driving for Metro Transit and taking on research consulting projects.  In her free time, Shea travels around the world.


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