Co-Founders

Tom Bengtson
Dale Ahlquist

Board of Directors

Jay Ward, Board Chair
Rich Kirchoff, Vice Chair
Dale Ahlquist, Tizoc Rosales, Casey Scott,
Judy Shea, Kalley Yanta, Richard Vigilante

Ex-Officio Members

Dave Beskar, Superintendent and Headmaster
Emily de Rotstein, Executive Director
Fr. Adam Tokashiki, PES, Chaplain


Tom Bengtson

Co-Founder

Tom Bengtson is president of NFR Communications, Inc., a publishing company that specializes in niche magazines, and is editor and publisher of a trade magazine covering the banking industry. He is also the managing director of a financial services industry trade association in the Midwest. Tom is author of two books: a memoir called Emerging Son, and a book about living your faith in the workplace called The GEO Principle.  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and a 2005 Fellow to the Stonier Graduate School of Banking in Georgetown University. Tom and his wife Susan have four children.


Dale Ahlquist

Co-Founder

Dale Ahlquist is the president of the American Chesterton Society. He is the creator and host of the television series, G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). Dale is the publisher of Gilbert Magazine, author of The Apostle of Common Sense and Common Sense 101 – Lessons from Chesterton. He is editor of The Gift of Wonder: The Many Sides of G.K. Chesterton, associate editor of the Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (Ignatius). He has been called “one of the most respected Chesterton scholars in the world” and has delighted audiences around the country with his variety of talks on the great English writer. He is a graduate of Carleton College (B.A.) in Northfield, Minnesota, and Hamline University (M.A.) in St. Paul, Minnesota. He lives near Minneapolis with his wife and six children. Like Chesterton, Dale is a Catholic convert and a joyful defender of the Catholic Faith. He can be contacted at info@chesterton.org.


Jay Ward

CHairman of the board

Jay Ward is Chief Executive Officer of Quadion LLC (Minnesota Rubber & Plastics). He has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the diversified industrials market. 

Prior to Quadion, he held leadership positions for 18 years at Donaldson Company, a $2.4 billion global manufacturer of filtration systems. His most recent role was Senior Vice President, Industrial Products, where he led eight global businesses with P&L responsibility serving end-markets ranging from the electronics industry to power generation and oil & gas.

Prior to his role with Donaldson's Industrial Products division, Ward worked as Senior Vice President for Engine Products, a $1.5 billion division of Donaldson that serves off-road and on-road vehicle markets, including engine manufacturers, aviation and defense customers and a global independent distributor network. Ward also lived in Belgium in the Vice President, Europe/Middle East role where he had full P&L responsibility and directed a team of 3,000+ employees.

Other career highlights include working for several manufacturing companies in the chemical, semi-conductor, and industrial markets as well as serving as a Commissioned Officer for the United States Navy after graduating from the United States Naval Academy.

He and his wife Lisa have 10 children, two of whom are graduates of Chesterton Academy. 


Dave Beskar

Superintendent & Headmaster

Dave Beskar joined Chesterton Academy of the Twin Cities as Superintendent and Headmaster of the Edina campus in 2015. He has served as a high school teacher, coach, and administrator since 1990. During his career, he served in roles including faculty member, Academic Dean, and Associate Head of School at Trinity School at River Ridge. In 2011, he went on to serve as Head of School of Trivium Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, Arizona, part of Great Hearts Academy, a network of classical liberal arts charter schools. During his time in Arizona, he led the opening of two academies, a K-5 academy and a 6-12 prep academy. He led the process of opening a third academy and the building of a new campus. Mr. Beskar holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Economics from the University of Minnesota.


Christopher Olley

Executive Director

Mr. Olley has extensive experience in public and private Catholic school teaching and leadership. Most recently, he served for 10 years as the President of Saint Catherine’s High School in Racine, WI, an urban Catholic school serving 690 students from grades 6-12. There, Mr. Olley overhauled the school by increasing enrollment, strengthening faculty and staff, and founding valued relationships with all potential stakeholders. He also oversaw the opening and successful growth of Saint Catherine’s new middle school, establishing a wait list after its first year.  In addition to his duties as Executive Director, Mr. Olley will also serve as the Boys' Basketball coach. He holds a Master of Arts in Education from Viterbo College and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He and his Jane have four children. They live in Woodbury, MN and attend the parish of St. Ambrose.