Jule Thorsen - President
Jule Thorsen has served on the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees since 2005. She is an instructor of Management and is the Instructional Technological Specialist for Simpson College in Indianola. Thorsen has twice received the Excellence in Adult Teaching award (in 2000 and 2005) from Alpha Lambda Sigma, an adult student honorary society, and served as building committee co-chair for Monroe Elementary School in Des Moines, the first school building project completely paid for with sales tax monies. She has also served on the Beaverdale Little League Board, Beaverdale Neighborhood Association Board of Directors, was treasurer for Central Iowa Aquatics and has been an active volunteer in Des Moines schools, the PTA, and Faith Lutheran Church.
Thorsen is a graduate of Drake University with a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Public Administration. She currently lives in Des Moines with husband Robert, and children Michael, Kelly, Eric, and Alan.
Jason Grinstead - Vice President
Jason Grinstead brings a broad background in Information Technology and Marketing to the Library Board. A native of Des Moines, Jason spent fifteen years outside of Iowa, holding technical and marketing positions for companies including General Motors, ADP and Target Corporation. He is currently employed by the Iowa Department of Education in Data Warehousing.
Jason received his BBA for Iowa State University and MBA from the University of St Thomas in St Paul, MN.
Serving concurrently on an ISU Alumni board, Jason is an advocate of childhood literacy through the Everybody Wins! program in conjunction with the Des Moines Public Schools.
Jennifer Fiihr - Secretary
Fiihr works part-time as the Human Resources Director for the Iowa Democratic Party. She served as the legislative liaison for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and also worked for the Iowa Department of Public Safety. For two years, Fiihr worked in Washington, DC, for U. S. Senator Tom Harkin and worked as a budget analyst for Obama for America during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. She is active in the Downtown School PTA where she has served as co-vice president and currently coordinates the Scholastic Book Fair. She is also a member of the Plymouth Nursery School Board and a member of the Friends of the Franklin Avenue Library. Fiihr is a graduate of Drake University with a B. A. in history and political science. She and her husband Dean live in Des Moines with their children Lily, Owen, and Eliza.
Ellen joined the Library Board in March 2011. She retired from Meredith Corporation in 2007, where she was employed as VP, Creative Services, an in-house creative agency that developed consumer-marketing campaigns for Meredith magazine titles. At Meredith she also took a leadership role in New Product Development. Prior to Meredith, she was employed by Southern Progress Corporation, a subsidiary of Time Warner. At SPC she was first hired as an editor for Southern Living Cookbooks and later became Creative Director in consumer marketing. Before Ellen migrated to the publishing world, she spent over a decade teaching high school English.
Ellen also serves as a Trustee on the Cultural Trust Board (appointed by Tom Vilsack) and as a layperson on the Supreme Court Grievance Commission. She has served on the non-profit boards: The Des Moines Public Library Foundation (Vice President 2009-2010), Chrysalis Foundation, Homestead Foundation (President, 2008-9) and EFR (Employee Family Resources). Ellen, whose father was a USAF Chaplain, lived all over the world while growing up: grade School in Tripoli, Libya and Roy, Utah; junior high in Blytheville, Arkansas; high school in Duluth, Minnesota; first year of college in Munich, Germany. She graduated from the University of Alabama, with graduate work at Samford University (Birmingham).
Ellen lives in Des Moines with her husband Jim. Together they're active in the affairs of the Des Moines Art Center and Drake University. They have a blended family of six children and three grandchildren and enjoy traveling, biking, gardening, books, and art.
There is currently one vacant position on the Library Board that is in the process of being appointed by the Mayor of Des Moines.