Board of Directors

Jeannette P. McKenzie, CIMA®,   Chair
Vice President-Morgan Stanley Smith Barney                              

Board member since: November 2010

Jeanette has a master’s degree in special education. She worked with emotionally handicapped and at-risk youth for 10 years before making a career change to be a Financial Advisor in 1986.   Jeanette chose J Bar J Youth Services because it was a match with her previous education and experience, and was a way to get involved and give back to the community. Besides her experience working with kids, Jeannette brings finance acumen to oversee the budgeting and accounting for the organization.  Jeannette was a Board member from 1992-1994 and rejoined the board in 2006 to present and currently serves as the Board Chair. 

Jeanette attended University of Pennsylvania where she received her Certified Investment Management Analyst certificate from Wharton School of Business. She attended State University of New York College, Kaplan University to become a Certified Financial Planner & earned a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University. Jeannette is also a Member of Management Consultants Association and CFP Board of Standards.   

Casey Baxter, Vice Chair
Attorney – Baxter Harder

Board member since: June 2018 

Casey was born and raised in Oregon, attending high school in Bend, Oregon. After high school, Casey enlisted in the United States Marine Corp as a Helicopter Crew Chief. Casey graduated summa cum laude from the University of Houston with a BBA in Business Management. He was a member of the Law School’s national Moot Court team. He also worked in the Criminal Representation Clinic where he represented low income clients.

Since law school, Casey obtained his real estate and financial advising licenses, and worked as a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney financial advisor. Shortly thereafter, he began working as a Deputy District Attorney in Deschutes County for three years. Casey has served as both Treasurer and President of the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Association. He helped to lead the efforts in attempting to obtain the Veteran’s Treatment Court in Deschutes County and helped develop the Deschutes County “Veteran’s Intervention Strategy” to appropriately address the combat related conditions of veterans in Central Oregon. Casey is currently the founding partner for Baxter Harder, attorneys at law, where the law firm represents many areas of legal practice for the local and state-wide community. He enjoys the many outdoor activities that Central Oregon has to offer, including snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and boating.

Lars Bowlin
Works – Kollective Technology

Board member since: March 2015   

Lars Bowlin joined J Bar J to help bring safety and improved opportunities to at-risk youth in Central Oregon. A native Oregonian, Lars grew up in Medford, Oregon. Lars received a degree in Bioengineering from Oregon State University. He moved to Bend to work in Chemical Engineering at Lonza.  He is currently in Software Development at Kollective Technology. Experience in science and engineering gave Lars a logical, analytical perspective from which to assess board issues. When he’s not in the office, Lars enjoys playing soccer, and exploring the outdoors with his wife and daughter.                             

Wolfgang Kuettner                              
Retired Counselor                               

Board member since: November 2016

Wolfgang Kuettner is retired from a career in Clinical Social Work. His work history includes Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol counseling with Deschutes County, The Kids Center, and Private Practice for 20 years before retiring to become a Parental Caregiver.

Wolfgang joined the J Bar J Board to use his experience in working with kids and families. He also brings experience in administration and governance from serving on the Oregon State Social Board for 2 years.  Wolfgang attended high school in La Mirada, California attended Northern Arizona University where he earned a degree in Sociology and History, and for graduate school he attended Arizona State where he received a Masters of Social Work degree.

Donald Smith
Retired business owner                                                                     

Board member since: November 2018   

Don is retired from his own company after operating it for 25 years. He sold in 2000 and has been retired and doing public service since then. 

Don came to Bend as a teacher and a coach and in those early years coached swimming. He was on the board of the American Red Cross and the J Bar J Board. He also served on the Bend Park Board and served as Chairman of that board for 8 years.

During the growing and running of his business he was a 20 year Member of the Greater Bend Rotary Club and served on its Board of Directors. Don also served as the Chairman of the Deschutes United Way campaign. Don returned to serve on the Bend Park Board for another 5 years as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In 2017 Don volunteered to help fund raise and build a vocational training school for the J Bar J Boys ranch. The project was completed in 2019.  Don was then elected to the J Bar J Youth Services Board of Directors.                                  

Katie Ashford
Ashford & Associates – CPA                                                  

Board member since: November 2018

Katie is a partner in Ashford & Associates, LLP. She graduated from Linfield College and earned her Certified Public Accountant license in 2010. Katie worked for Harold Ashford & Associates in Bend for almost 9 years before moving to Portland in 2013 to gain more experience working in a larger firm. After 3 years, Katie and her husband, Brad, decided they missed their hometown of Bend and moved back to join the Ashford Accounting firm as a partner in July 2016.

Mentoring and working with emerging accountants as they begin their careers is very important to Katie. One of the committees Katie has been involved with is the Career Development Strategic Committee. This group focuses on promoting accounting as a profession to high school and college students.

In her spare time she enjoys riding Morgan horses, exercising at the local Barre 3 studio, Yoga, spending time with her family, husband and their Labradoodle.

Growing up in Bend, Katie’s parents were both very involved with J Bar J.  From a young age, Katie learned the importance and value of the programs under J Bar J for the community. Katie believes it is important to give back to the community that you work and live in. Katie says, “J Bar J has so many amazing programs to assist those in need, I am honored to be a part of the board.”

Rachel Mitzel
Bend Anesthesiology Group – CRNA                                                                       
Board member since: June 2020

Rachel Mitzel was raised in Central Oregon and graduated from Bend Sr. High School.     She attended Oregon State University and has worked in the healthcare field for 20 years. She and her husband returned to Central Oregon in 2014 to raise their three kids. She is thrilled to be part of the J Bar J board and all the amazing things the organization does for the community.

Ellyce Whalen                   
Board member since: April 2023  

Bio Coming Soon