Great Company and Great Relationships

For nearly 100 years we have defined our industry leadership through our responsive and knowledgeable service, solutions design prowess and technology fluency. Our customer relationships continue to grow because of our work ethic, conceptual approach and confidence we will help them outflank their complex problems. We are a team of technology experts who, with our customers, find cost-effective solutions that increase speed to market and product quality.  Meet the team at Mel Foster and contact us anytime.

Our People

Kyle Neururer

Kyle joined the Mel Foster team as a field sales engineer in 2011 fresh out of the University of Minnesota electrical engineering program.

When not working, he likes to hunt and fish in northern Minnesota.

Contact:, 612-205-2028

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Ben Heisel

Contact:, 605-553-6065

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Ed Thurmes

After graduating from Mankato State University, and prior to joining Mel Foster, Ed worked for several years in store management at the Target Corporation where he really learned the value of customer service. He joined the Mel Foster team in March of 1998 as a member of the distribution sales team and marketing team. “I’m fortunate to work with a great team and great distribution partners. The distribution channel is an extremely important channel partnership for the Mel Foster group, as the majority of our customers choose distribution for their supply chain needs.” Ed and his team strive to be “best in class” in the market through the highest level of customer service.

Outside of work, his wife Kelly and two daughters, Hanna and Elysia, keep him constantly on the move. He enjoys playing softball, volleyball and racquetball, and exploring his creative side in the kitchen with new foods for his family to enjoy.

Contact:, 651-503-3356

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Taylor Veleke

Taylor joined Mel Foster in 2010 as a Field Sales Engineer right out of the University of Minnesota. He left to do design work, but soon realized he missed working with the team and customers and rejoined Mel Foster. At Mel Foster our product line is on the leading edge of new technology, making it very fun to design in products with our customers.
Taylor is a huge fan of America’s team, the Green Bay Packers, and enjoys watching all sports. In his spare time at home, he likes playing around with electronics for home automation.

Contact:, 952-500-1759

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Jake Hansen

Jake graduated with an AA degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Kirkwood Community College and received his CSP designation in 2006. Jake’s started working in the distribution side of the electronics industry. He gained valuable product knowledge from heading back to night school for electronics training and working as a PM for a major distributor. He eventually made the move to outside sales to broaden his efforts in the distribution world and gain valuable sales experience. Jake has the experience from two other organizations where he held the position of manufacturers representative. He started his role as a field sales representative for the Mel Foster Company in 2000.

Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his family, his two dogs and his close friends. He enjoys the great outdoors whether it be hunting with his kids, watching his youngest daughter play softball, or riding his Harley. Jake enjoys working out and is a big fan of Iowa wrestling, at the high school and college level.

Contact:, 319-350-0864

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Phil Portz

Phil has had the pleasure of working in the Electronics industry as a partner with the Mel Foster Company for the past ten plus years and is very excited to be a part of the organization. Phil’s career in the industry included 7 years at All American Semiconductor as an Outside Sales Person. He then went to Taylor Industrial Electronics as a Territory Manager and was promoted to Sales Manager after the Master Electronics reorganization.

As an outdoorsman Phil enjoys hunting in the fall, winter and spring and fishing in the summer.

Contact:, 612-845-8995

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Mike Gorman

Mike started with Mel Foster Company as an inside salesperson for the distribution group in 1984. For the majority of his 20+ years with the company, his role was distribution manager. Today, Mike is the Vice President and he is responsible for helping keep Mel Foster disciplined and on target. He is very proud to be a member of the dynamic team.

He and his wife Patti have traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe with their three grown sons – Nick, Alex and Ryan.

Contact:, 612-730-3070

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Alex Swenson

Alex attended St. Cloud State, where he studied Political Science.  He joined Mel Foster in 2015 in the role of Business Development.  His primary focus is on emerging accounts and start-ups.
Outside of Mel Foster, Alex enjoys fishing, hockey, golf, football (Skol Vikes!) and spending time up north.

Contact:, 763-442-2575

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Mike Swenson

Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota as a loyal Gopher fan, Mike’s first real job was with the Mel Foster Company. Over the years he has worked within the company in various positions – distribution sales, field sales, sales management and today, President. His primary goal is to make Mel Foster Company “best in class” along customer service, product lines represented and distributors partnerships. Mike focuses each day on driving the organization to grow in the markets they serve.

Outside of Mel Foster Mike loves to spend time with his family. He likes golf, biking, downhill skiing and watching Minnesota Gopher games.

Contact:, 612-220-5958

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Chad Rasmussen

Chad joined Mel Foster in 1995 and has held many positions with-in the organization including inside sales, CEM manager, field sales representative and even handyman. He is a graduate of the University Of Wisconsin-River Falls which means he cheers for both the Vikings and the Packers. He enjoys the sales process, especially face-to-face time with customers and is passionate about solving their problems with that innovative Mel Foster spirit.

Outside of work Chad enjoys spending time with his wife Lisa and two kids (Erik and Megan) in the outdoors taking advantage of all Minnesota has to offer.

Contact:, 612-708-2228

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Jim Eken

Jim graduated from University of North Dakota (the Sioux) with BSEE in1985. He worked at Norand (now Intermec) for four years in engineering, reliability and project management jobs. Jim has been in representative sales since 1989 and with Mel Foster since 2000. “I am happy to be with Mel Foster Company as we work together to provide the people and resources to assist our customers in product and system designs.”

Jim and his wife Liz have two boys, Joe and Mike who have kept them busy over the years with high school soccer, hockey and scouting. In the summer Jim enjoys spending time with his families on Pelican Lake near Detroit Lakes, MN.

Contact:, 319-431-6189

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Darin Rasmussen

Right out of college Darin has chosen to pursue a path in field sales for Mel Foster Company. Darin went to school at North Dakota State University(Go Bison) for electrical engineering.  His  hobbies include football, baseball, basketball, golf, hunting, and being outdoors. Darin recently moved from Fargo to Minneapolis and looks forward to his career at Mel Foster Company.

Contact:, 952-300-0515

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Jerry Watson

Jerry started with the company after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1998. He began his career with Mel Foster in distribution sales and marketing and today he holds to the position of field sales engineer.

Jerry has a passion for the outdoors and when not working is most likely with his two sons – Yellow Labrador Retriever, Duke and German Shorthair, Jake.

Contact:, 612-508-0953

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Greg Winters

Starting with Bosch/Telex, Greg worked in the Quality and Design Engineering departments on various electronic and electro-mechanical products. During this time, He went back to school at St. Thomas University to complete his BA degree in Management. In 1995,Greg accepted a position with Pioneer to start a career in Distribution Sales and proceeded to expand the role to include FAE responsibilities for various firms. Recently Greg was in account sales for a local manufacturer representative organization.

Greg is married with three boys and enjoys living and playing in White Bear Lake area. When time permits, his favorite interests include fishing and coaching/supporting my boys in soccer, baseball, football, and hockey.

Contact:, 651-600-8606

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Kristine Hall

Kristine graduated from University of St. Thomas and started with Mel Foster in 2002. She works very closely between the distribution partners, manufacturers and customers to provide top level service across the board.

Besides cheering on the Huskers, she enjoys staying busy by working out, being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, scrap-booking, entertaining and spoiling her dogs.

Contact:, 612-599-3791

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Martin Miller

Martin was a Mel Foster customer for many years prior to joining the team in 2001. His role is to help customer’s understand what solutions the principles on our line card offer and then support them through the design phase of a project.

He has a wonderful wife and two daughters. They enjoy snowmobile racing, camping, soccer, and being outside.

Contact:, 612-860-0576

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