J. Charles (Chuck) Strinz grew up on a farm near Milford, Nebraska. While supporting himself as a truck driver and radio announcer, he attended the University of Nebraska Lincoln on and off, where he studied English and creative writing .
Strinz moved to Chicago in 1975, where he received his BA cum laude from the University of Illinois Chicago. While earning his keep as a copywriter for a Michigan Avenue advertising agency, Strinz continued working as a radio announcer, and pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree in filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In 1979, Strinz and his wife moved to the Twin Cities, where he was employed as a copywriter and producer for two prominent advertising agencies before launching his own freelance copywriting business. During this period, he wrote for myriad organizations including advertising, promotion, journalism and television production firms. He also devoted some of his time to writing short stories and producing short films, including a script for Twin Cities Public Television's "Minnesota Living History" series, and the creation of optically-printed titles for the "Energy Issues" television program.
In 1983, Strinz added a new and relatively unknown category to his business and creative endeavors: online communications. Through 1994, he pioneered Internet products that predated the World Wide Web, broke new ground with a syndicated radio program about high tech and home electronics, edited and co-wrote the world's first online humor magazine, and consulted with a range of small and large corporations including QWest, WCCO-TV, Minnesota Public Radio, startribune.com, and British Telecom.
Strinz sold his consulting business in 1994 to devote more time to his home, his family, and his work as a creative writer and Webmaster.
Strinz lives in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife and two children. He enjoys history, hiking, nature, depression-era movies, and driving on the back roads of the country. Writing and producing this program is the culmination of a large part of his training and experience.
Jim Maloney, a lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, has written and produced a wide variety of audio and visual materials for over 35 years and has the professional skills and knowledge to bring this project to fruition. He began his career as a musician, composer, producer and audio engineer, writing and producing materials for educational and industrial programs, radio and television programs and commercials and record albums.
Maloney spent eight years with the Campbell-Mithun advertising agency in Minneapolis in the 70's and 80's as a producer, working on commercials for clients such as Dairy Queen, Northwest Airlines, General Mills, Munsingwear, Anderson Windows and many others. In the mid 80's he left the agency to become a freelance producer and director.
Integrity Communications was formed in 1995 as his skills expanded to include such computer-involved disciplines as desktop publishing and Web site design. The company was incorporated and the name changed to ZIBI Video, LLC in 2000 as the company began to concentrate on video production as its primary service.
In 1999, Maloney began producing documentary programs of Civil War reenactments held throughout the country. His first effort, The Battle of Chancellorsville, won five international awards for creativity and editing, including two TELLY Awards, the non-broadcast equivalent of the EMMY.
Recent work includes camera operation on Chris Matthews' Hardball for MSNBC.
Maloney lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife. The two of them work together on marketing and distributing programs for history enthusiasts and other niche markets.
Paul Markland is responsible for helping promote and fund Back On The Mississippi, and provide other marketing expertise. He comes to the project with an impressive set of credentials including a career in marketing management at 3M, where he led major initiatives in advertising, branding, sponsorships and new business development.
Markland helped pioneer new strategies for leveraging company's commercial and philanthropic sponsorships (typically treated as separate entities) to support public television. He led initiatives making it possible for KTCA-produced Newton's Apple, funded by 3M philanthropy, to create stories on scientific innovations in Olympic sport by providing key resources from the company's commercial sponsorship of the 1992 Worldwide Olympic Games. He also led efforts to help the program enhance its classroom teaching kits with a variety of commercial products such as 3M brand Scotch Tapes™ and Post-It Notes™ which 3M, in turn, used to help reach new markets.
Markland's company, Landmark Media Productions, provides marketing services to businesses and individuals. The focus is on helping them more effectively "craft their message to the world" through strategic use of message and medium.
An avid mariner, history buff and media producer, Markland is eager to see his passions come to life in Back On The Mississippi. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and their three children.
As a professional educator, a leader for gifted and talented youth and a life-long Mississippi river junkie (he grew up blocks from its shores), Nick Cobbett jumped at the opportunity to bring Back on the Mississippi to life for students across the region.
EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH MANAGER
His current position as Enhanced Learning Program Coordinator for gifted and talented students at Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan, Minnesota reflects Cobbett's passion for helping young adults achieve their personal best and become lifelong learners. In 2001, his work earned him a nomination for his district's Teacher of the Year.
"Inspiring the mind is a wonderful thing," says Cobbett. "I can't think of a better way to teach than encouraging young adults to get involved and Back on the Mississippi
presents an ideal opportunity to learn, live the experience, share it with others and have fun all at the same time."
At the core of the outreach initiative is an innovative curriculum Cobbett recently developed as part of a graduate-level certification program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. His vision: give students across the region the opportunity to take on an online "virtual voyage" up the Mississippi, solve problems along the way, uncover their own hometown river connections and put their acquired knowledge to work through community service. "It's a logical extension of my passion to help students learn to be the best they can be - and I can't wait to make it happen!"