Our Program. 

The St. Louis River Experience is a local, nonprofit service organization dedicated to helping seniors experience and enjoy our beautiful St. Louis River.


SLR volunteers take seniors, veterans and those with special needs out on a specially-equipped pontoon

to enjoy and take in nature’s breathtaking sites on the river. Our Outing Schedule will be available for

reservations on May 15, 2021 to book an awesome trip for your organization! 


See more in our 2021 online brochure.

Our Team. 

Julia Rulla

President & Marketing Director 

Julia is our remote officer, working from Arizona. A board member since 2015, she is responsible for the our website, marketing material, sponsorships and volunteer coordination.


Roger Amborn

Vice President

Roger retired from Minnesota Power and volunteers as a captain and mate. In retirement, he enjoys giving back to the community. Roger oversees the pontoon operations and maintenance duties.

Mary Jackson



Mary Jackson is a retired corporate communicator who loves living on the St. Louis River harbor on Park Point. Joining the board as secretary and mate allows her to experience the harbor activities up close.

Eric Kaiser


Eric is a retired teacher and public school administrator and is a captain and mate with SLRE.  Eric is also our trainer for new and current volunteers at the beginning of each season.


Bob Vavrosky


Bob is a retired medical social worker who specialized in orthopedic and rehabilitation needs. He enjoys interacting with seniors and is a proud First Mate with SLRE.

Mark Evans


Mark is currently the assistant controller for The Jamar Company.  He has spent countless hours charter fishing on Lake Superior, and volunteers with the SLRE as our Board Treasurer.

Blaine Gamst


Blaine currently serves as the executive director of Ecumen Lakeshore, a senior living and health care campus located on London Road in Duluth. Blaine enjoys volunteering in the community and for the St. Louis River Experience!

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Cindy Hnatek


Cindy Hnatek has been the Life Enrichment Director at Primrose for 8 years and has a talent for creating lasting memories for seniors, making her a perfect mate for SRLE! A board member since 2020, Cindy has helped us out SO MUCH in the past with our fundraising efforts.

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Cindy Richey


Cindy Richey is the Director of Admissions and a licensed nurse for Chris Jensen Health +Rehab, with over 40 years in long term care. A board member since 2020, she's very passionate about making a difference in the lives of our seniors. Cindy is one of our awesome mates!

Skip Van Kessel


Skip is a retired clinical pharmacist from Essentia Health St. Mary's Hospital and a new board member for 2020. He will be one of our awesome captains (and a mate!) for SLRE. Skip looks forward to serving our program and our community.

Natalie Zeleznikar


Natalie is currently the CEO for Full Circle Senior Living, the management company for Keystone Bluffs Assisted Living and Diamond Willow Advanced Care. With over 30 years in healthcare, she is excited to be a board member for the 2021 season!

Rick Liljegren


Rick is a retired Operations and Compliance Manager from Minnesota Power. He volunteers as a captain and mate, and is a seasoned Lake Superior boater. Rick appreciates and is grateful for all of the volunteers who continue to make the SLR Experience such a unique and enjoyable activity for our seniors.

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Al Makynen


Al is a retired Administrative and Risk Manager from LHB Engineers and Architects.  He enjoys giving back to the community through volunteer service especially as a First Mate and as a new Director.