Leadership

The senior leadership of Himle Rapp & Company includes the following:

 

John Himle

JOHN HIMLE
Founder and CEO

John founded our firm based on his public service and corporate expertise and the principle of aligning strategy to clients’ business and organizational goals.

John originally founded Himle & Associates, Inc. in 1982 and expanded it into Himle Horner in 1989 with the partnership of Thomas Horner. Following Horner's departure in 2010, the firm was renamed Himle Rapp in 2011.

From 1978 to 1982, John was executive director of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, an agribusiness trade association in Minnesota. Before that, he was government relations assistant for Northwest Bancorporation, now Wells Fargo, a multi-bank and financial services company.

First elected in 1980, John served five terms as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and held leadership positions including assistant majority leader, floor leader and assistant minority leader. Among his legislative accomplishments, John was chief House author of the bill to facilitate the construction of the Mall of America. Appointed by Governor Carlson in 1991, John also served eight years as a member of the Metropolitan Airports Commission where he was responsible for chairing the governmental approvals and construction program related to the $2.5 billion expansion of the country’s 10th largest hub airport at Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP).

Raised in a southeastern Minnesota farming community, John graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Gustavus Adolphus College. Among his current outside activities, John is a corporate director of the Kraus Anderson Companies, immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a director and past chair of the Public Affairs Council in Washington, DC. John is a former trustee of the Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Chapter; Gustavus Adolphus College; co-chaired the Breck School Annual Fund and has served on a variety of other boards.

John has received various recognitions for his service, including the "Government Affairs Service Award" from the Advertising Federation of Minnesota and the "First Decade Distinguished Alumni Award" from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Todd Rapp

TODD RAPP
President

Todd has been at the center of many of Minnesota’s most critical public affairs issues as a political operative, legislative leadership staffer, public affairs director and strategic advisor.

In 2008, Todd became a partner in the firm. Prior to joining Himle Horner, Todd served as Director of Minnesota Government Affairs for Xcel Energy (formerly Northern States Power Company). In this role, he developed and managed company strategies for legislative affairs in the areas of energy, environmental and tax policy. Todd’s corporate experience in issues management, organizational strategy and crisis communications provide significant strategic value for clients with legislative, regulatory and public communications needs.

Todd is a guest commentator on state and national public affairs for Minnesota Public Radio, and is often asked by the news media, private organizations and public entities to share perspectives on the current political environment in Minnesota and the United States.

Previously, Todd served in a number of key positions in Minnesota government and politics. As the Executive Director for former House Speaker and Majority Leader Phil Carruthers, Todd served as Carruthers’ chief political advisor for four legislative sessions from 1994 through 1997. He also worked as Campaign Director for Majority Leader Roger Moe and the Senate Majority Caucus in 1996, and as Political Director for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party from 1990-93.

Managing the research, media, voter identification and get-out-the-vote programs, Todd played a critical role in the upset victories of Senator Paul Wellstone, Representatives Collin Peterson and David Minge and nearly two dozen state legislative challengers.

Todd is past President of the Minnesota Taxpayers Association, which provides non-partisan research on the impact of fiscal policies in Minnesota. He also has presented at state and national conferences on the topics of strategic communications, grassroots strategies and ethics in government.

ALLISON O’TOOLE, Director

Allison O’Toole works directly with many of Himle Rapp’s private and public sector clients.  O’Toole’s diverse background in national and state public policy, communications and law allow her to provide creative public affairs solutions for clients such as ClearWaySM Minnesota, the McKnight Foundation and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.

O’Toole comes to Himle Rapp from Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) office, where she served as State Director, managing the Senator’s four Minnesota offices as well as her state staff. O’Toole also served as the Senator’s lead representative throughout Minnesota, communicating key policy initiatives to a wide variety of audiences. O’Toole also brings extensive legal experience to Himle Rapp.  She previously served as the Chief Deputy County Attorney for Carver County and as an Assistant County Attorney for Hennepin County.  In addition, O’Toole spent several years working in state government where she built coalitions for statewide public health initiatives.

O’Toole graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government. She earned her Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN. O’Toole is active in the community and volunteers frequently for local organizations, including the Jeremiah Program, the East Harriet Neighborhood Association and Breck School.

SUSIE BELL, Director

Susie Bell’s extensive background in corporate communications and public policy serves her well with Himle Rapp’s diverse client base. Bell assists clients with strategic planning, reputation management, corporate communications, public affairs, issues management and crisis communications.

Prior to joining Himle Rapp, Bell spent several years in corporate communications at SUPERVALU INC., focusing on public affairs, issues management and crisis communications for the then FORTUNE 50 grocery company. Bell also helped develop and manage the company’s reputation and corporate social responsibility activities, and provided strategic communications counsel and support to company executives.   

Prior to SUPERVALU, Bell served as the Director of Public Relations for National Journal Group, a political publishing company in Washington, D.C. In that role, she directed and executed all public and media relations activities for the company’s numerous print and online publications, including National Journal, The Hotline and CongressDaily. Before joining National Journal Group, Bell held communications and public relations positions in Southern California and South Carolina. In addition, Bell worked on Capitol Hill where she served as Deputy Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).

Bell graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics. A native of the Minneapolis area, she currently lives in Minnetonka with her husband and two sons.

LINDA THRASHER, Corporate Practice Leader

Linda works with the firm’s clients on a variety of issues including reputation and issues management as well as strategic and crisis communications. Linda joined Himle Rapp in 2012 after spending nearly two decades in the corporate sector. Most recently, she served as a founding member of The Mosaic Company's management team.  In her role as Vice President of Public Affairs, Linda led the company’s global public affairs function and was responsible for building the brand and developing the reputation of the new Fortune 500 Company.

Prior to joining Mosaic, Linda served as the director of Public Policy in Cargill, Incorporated's Washington, D.C. office.  Linda led the company's federal legislative and regulatory efforts for a variety of Cargills industrial and food businesses.  Linda began her career with the U.S. House of Representatives where she managed trade, energy and agricultural issues for two congressional members. Linda has a B.A. in English and political science from St. Catherine University and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

Linda is an active member of the Twin Cities community. She serves on the boards of St. Catherine University and the YWCA.  She also chairs the St. Catherine University's Alumnae Council.  In addition, Linda is the 2013 chair of the YWCA's annual "It's Time to Talk”: Forum on Race program, which is the largest conversation on race in the United States. Linda also is a member of the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable and the Arthur W. Page Society.

DENNIS MCGRATH, Senior Counselor

Dennis McGrath is a past president and CEO of Mona Meyer McGrath & Gavin, now the Minneapolis-based office of the international PR firm Weber Shandwick, Inc. He later served as CEO of Weber Shandwick offices in New York and Tokyo, Japan. In more recent years, he and his wife, Betsy Buckley, founded McGrath-Buckley Communications Counseling. 
 
A journalism graduate of the University of Minnesota, McGrath has served on the boards of many community and nonprofit organizations, including the Minnesota Zoo, the Community University Health Center, the Minneapolis Aquatennial, DeLaSalle High School, Children's Surgery International and 360 Journalism. He is an accredited member and Fellow of PRSA and former national chair of the Public Relations Counselors Academy.