Board Members & Officers

Byron Huff


President:  Byron Huff has served on the FFBC board since 2004 and as Vice President starting 2015.  He became President in 2021.

He grew up on a farm outside of Winterset, Iowa where his parents continue to live today.  Byron graduated from AIB, Simpson College, The Graduate School of Banking Madison and Lake Forest Graduate School in Chicago.  He met his husband Jim in 1995 at the Blazing Saddle where they made plans for our first date on Memorial Day weekend.  Career opportunities took them to New Orleans in 1997 for a short time, then on to Chicago where they spent 5 years.  Byron accepted a job with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines in March 2003 bringing them back to Iowa.  Iowa had changed so much for the better since 1997 as gay people seemed more welcome and Des Moines had prospered. Jim and Byron were married in 2010.

Jim, Presha (their 6-year-old Morkie) and Byron lived in the Druid Hill neighborhood from 2003 until 2019 when we moved to a loft downtown as part of our desire to simplify and downsize. They enjoy many of the amenities downtown living offers as they love to join friends for drinks and dinner.  They both enjoy biking (Presha rides along) around the city and attending the downtown farmers market and the other festivals throughout the summer. 

David Cotton

Vice President

Vice President:  David Cotton, the Newton, Iowa, native is a retired US Air Force Brigadier General and former senior executive for the Department of Defense as a Deputy Chief Information Officer.  He is a graduate of Iowa State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. He received Master of Arts degrees from Webster University in Computer Data Management and Personnel Management, and the U.S. Air Force Air University in Strategic Studies.

Following his government service, he was a cybersecurity vice president for a defense and intelligence contractor, Iowa State University’s first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a regional telecommunications company, and most recently a consultant for a local cyber security firm.   He is currently a life coach and has a podcast, Out Late With David:  Coming Out Late in Life LGBTQ+.  Previously David told his own coming out story on two podcasts, Graying Rainbows and The Vulnerable Man

David enjoys socializing with friends, his regular workouts, yoga, and cycling (when it’s warm outside). He’s also active in the Des Moines Community ManKind Project men’s group.

David Wilfahrt


Treasurer:  David Wilfahrt has been on the board since 2016.  Originally from Fairmont, a small town in southern Minnesota, about an hour northeast of Lake Okoboji, David earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and later a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He first came to Des Moines in 1984 and worked as a Sales Account Executive at KIOA Radio. In 1986 he joined KDSM-TV in a similar role, eventually becoming Local Sales Manager. It’s here, in the late 80s and early 90s, where he “came out” and discovered the marvelous gay world of The Brass Garden. In 1992, life, and a man, took him to Minneapolis where he worked at KMSP-TV, also in sales.

In 1996 he started a 15-year marketing career with a Michigan-based national print promotion company focused on consumer package goods, holding job assignments in Ann Arbor, Chicago, and Seattle. In 2011 he joined a small Silicon Valley tech startup and moved to San Francisco where he lived until 2016 when he retired.

Upon retiring, David took a five-month cross-country road trip and published a photo-intensive travel blog documenting his adventures. He spent his first two years of retirement in Seattle, but eventually felt the pull of family and friends in Minnesota, Michigan, and Iowa, and decided to return to the Midwest. He selected Des Moines as his new home where he’s now been for four years. 

David loves a good road trip, particularly to any national park with a great vista and good hiking. He also enjoys his fitness regimen, entertaining in his home, and has a solid reputation for hosting gay-friendly cocktail parties. Proudest Moment: Raising $20,500 in 2007 for AIDS/LifeCycle, via 174 small donors, and completing its weeklong, 545-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. 

Joe Raetz


Secretary:  Joe works as an Account Manager/Project Coordinator for a local branding company; they help companies with their branding standards and work with their members to achieve that look.

Joe grew up in a small town in northeast Missouri between Mark Twain’s Hannibal and  his birthplace of Florida, Missouri. After college at Truman State (NMSU), Joe moved to Des Moines.

Joe met his husband, Brad Holland (right in photo), at First Friday Breakfast Club in 2002. For the first 10 years they were acquaintances (as they were both in relationships with other people). On April 1, 2012, Joe’s partner of almost 22 years passed away suddenly; near that time, Brad’s relationship of 15 years ended. A couple of months later, Brad invited Joe to a movie night with his family. Following the movie, they talked in the parking lot for two hours. Brad and Joe were married on September 26, 2105, by Donna Red Wing on the lawn of the state Capitol.

Brad and Joe enjoy bike riding, hiking on the north shore of Minnesota, going to movies, and dining with friends. They moved to a new condo recently and are working to make renovations as they hope this will be their last home.

Ken Hanson

Scholarship  Committee Chair

Ken grew up in the small western Iowa town of Castana; he is the middle child of five and has an identical twin brother. He has three children and two grandchildren. Ken also enjoys gardening, singing, playing the piano, and camping in his free time. Ken has been married to Wade Petersen officially and legally since 2009, but had a long seven-year engagement prior to that. 

Ken is the Jail Services Supervisor with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Des Moines. Ken has a B.S. in Hotel Restaurant Management from Iowa State University. He has over 37 years of food service experience in fast food and full-service restaurants, cafeterias, long-term care, and corrections. Ken currently oversees the food service and warehouse operation of a 1,100-bed county jail facility. Ken was also an adjunct instructor teaching Foodservice Management for the Dietary Manager Program at Des Moines Area Community College for 14 years. In addition to being a Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP), he is also a Certified Public Manager (CPM) through Drake University. He is a past Chair of the Board of the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP). Ken currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Nutrition & Foodservice Education Foundation (NFEF). He is the current Board Chair of the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM). Ken also has a Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida.

Jim Flansburg

Jim is in public relations at the Iowa Department of Education, where he manages the department’s brand, oversees best-practice stories from across the state, and works with the media. Prior to that, Jim was the Director of Communications for Governor Culver and held the same title for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Jim’s earlier career was in newspapers, in which his last gig in that industry was running a chain of newspapers in Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and American Studies, as well as a Master’s of Business Administration. Jim is a moderator of the online international LGBTQ Grief Loss Support group and a member of Soaring Spirits International. He lives in Clive with cats Carrie (Chapman) Catt and Stevie Gonzalez.

Jim Flansburg is part of the effort to create a “share your stories” series where we record short interviews with people about LGBTQ issues and history.

Brad Holland

Brad Holland has been an FFBC board member for 15 years. Brad has served on the FFBC Scholarship Committee and delivered awards in several communities across Iowa and has assisted with events such as Capital City Pride. Most recently he has taken on the role of handwriting thank you letters to donors.
Brad is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC – Ascendant Wealth Management Group. Brad provides retirement planning and investment services in their West Des Moines office but has clients from coast to coast. Ascendant is currently the largest franchise for Ameriprise in the state of Iowa with approximately $1.7 billion in assets under management. Brad has officed in West Des Moines since 2005, and worked for Ameriprise at their corporate headquarters in Minneapolis from 1991 until moving home to Iowa in 2002. Brad continued in telecommuting roles for Ameriprise until becoming a financial advisor in 2005.
Brad is a native Iowan, and grew up in the small town of Pomeroy, northwest of Fort Dodge. Brad moved to Minneapolis in 1986. After 9-11, Brad moved from Minneapolis to Des Moines in 2002.
Brad met fellow FFBC member, Joe Raetz at a breakfast meeting in 2002 and began dating in 2012; they were married September 26, 2015. In addition to FFBC, Brad has served on the board for StageWest (now Iowa Stage Theater) and the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus (DMGMC). With StageWest, Brad played various leadership roles including two terms as President, though Brad indicated the most fulfilling work was the creation of the Producers Circle donor recognition program. Likewise, with DMGMC, Brad was instrumental in the launch of their annual fundraiser Eat. Drink. Sing. Brad believes service to a non-profit includes giving your time, talent, and treasure (money) and has always led by example.
Brad and Joe enjoy socializing with friends, biking, exploring local arts and artists, and watching movies. They look forward to traveling more in the future.

Scott Kuknyo

Scott’s professional life includes a background in human resources with Carlson Wagonlit Travel (now simply known as CWT as a result of the pandemic). His employer is the leading global travel management company, and he has been employed with that organization since 1999.

Scott provides support to over 1000 CWT employees in different lines of business that include both commercial and military offerings from all over North America, using his expertise coaching management through strategic initiatives, policy creation/interpretation, and employee relation functions.

Scott has earned several accreditations including holding both Professional and Senior Professional Certifications through the Society of Human Resources (SHRM) and has been a member of both Central Iowa and Arizona SHRM chapters.

Scott was born in Cicero, Illinois, and lived in several different states including Indiana, Florida, and Arizona before permanently relocating to Des Moines in the winter of 2013. His partner, Jonathan Wilson, attributes his relocation to his animal magnetism. There is some truth to that.

In his spare time, Scott enjoys visiting with family and friends, hiking, and bicycling. Scott and Jonathan regularly travel between Des Moines; Milton, Iowa; and Phoenix.     

Gene Larson

Gene is retired and living on an acreage in Altoona with his husband, David Phelps; they spend their time enjoying the space, the scenery, and gardening. 

Before retirement Gene was an underwriter for a Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Company, holding positions for several of the MPCI companies in Des Moines. The job involved working with agencies that sold insurance to crop farmers; he trained agents and updated agencies to current guidelines and plans.

Gene is involved in two farming operations; one is a portion of land he originally farmed for 25 years which he rents out, and the other is the five acres where he and David live.

In addition to FFBC, Gene also keeps busy with Prime Timers, working on their acreage, and spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Deb Madison-Levi

Deb serves as Chief of Staff for Affiliates Management Company, the wholly-owned holding company of the Iowa Credit Union League. In this role, she supports the CEO and manages governance. Deb, a multipotentialite, has enjoyed more than, ahem, 40 years supporting executives in government, law, non-profits, aviation, construction, banking, healthcare and hospitality.

Deb currently serves on the boards of the Downtown DSM Neighborhood Association, Iowa CareGivers; and, has previously served the boards of Simpson College Alumni and the Child & Family Policy Center. Deb graduated magna cum laude with her communications degree from Simpson College. She is the proud owner of a vintage ice cream bike, always eager to share joy and community connection.

Wade Peterson

Newsletter Editor

Wade Petersen taught French and Language Arts classes for 33 years in Iowa (Albia High School, Hampton-Dumont High School, and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines) before retiring in 2020. Wade grew up in Hartley, Iowa, and he earned his B.A. from Northwestern College in Orange City (which included studying abroad in Paris, France). Wade earned his Master’s degree from Drake University. Wade was named Iowa’s High School World Language Educator of the Year in 2004. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa World Language Association. In 2016, he was a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award from the Iowa Department of Education.

Wade has published over 40 educational books for French, Spanish, and German teachers; his products are marketed throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to being a Board member, Wade has been the newsletter editor for the First Friday Breakfast Club for the past five and a half years. Wade is married to Ken Hanson, another FFBC Board member; they have three children and two grandchildren. Wade loves reading historical fiction, and he has a collection of over 10,000 DC comic books. Wade and Ken enjoy camping, gardening, and traveling.

Phil Williams

Phil Williams is an engineer with Consolidated Communications, Inc., where he provides high-speed Internet services over fiber. He has been at his job for two years and has 37 years experience in this work.

Phil works out regularly and plays volleyball, softball, dodgeball, basketball, and kickball with the Pride Sports League. He also is on the traveling softball team which is a part of the North America Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA).

In addition to the First Friday Breakfast Club Board of Directors, Phil has been on the Board of Directors at his credit union for 24 years and currently serves as Chairperson on the Board.

Phil lives in Des Moines and has three daughters, two sons-in-law, one grandson, and two more grandsons on the way. Besides staying active, Phil likes to do a little gardening, baking, and cooking.

Jonathan Wilson

Past President & Board Member Emeritus

Jonathan Wilson was the co-founder of the First Friday Breakfast Club (FFBC) in early 1996 as an association of gay, bi, and trans men. It was intended, and remains, a monthly safe place for men who were out or in the process of coming out. He also was instrumental in creating and organizing a lesbian counterpart. More recently, he participated in the decision to extend FFBC membership to allies of gay, bi, and trans men.

For more than 25 years, Jonathan served as President of FFBC, served on its Board of Directors (and continues to do so), and, as an attorney, provided gratuitous legal services to achieve tax-exempt status for FFBC, as well as to comply with pertinent legal requirements of the organization. He assisted members with estate planning for legacy gifts to the FFBC. He has written more than 650 monthly newsletter articles on a wide variety of subjects, and during his tenure in leadership, FFBC has raised more than $475,000 in funds for scholarships given to Iowa high school students who have done significant – often courageous – things to reduce homophobia and educate about LGBTQ+ issues in their schools and communities.

Those scholarships bought FFBC a “ticket” to Iowa high school graduations across the state of Iowa, often in front of audiences, especially in rural Iowa, who thought that they had never before seen an openly gay person. That’s what they thought; but more than once, the award was followed by a standing ovation. Did anything like that happen at your high school graduation? 

It has made a difference. On one occasion, for example, a high school counselor who had received the annual, mailed announcement of the scholarship opportunity, returned it to sender unopened. Jonathan, who had served on the Des Moines School Board for a dozen years, happened to be acquainted with the superintendent of the school district that employed that counselor. Learning that, Jonathan gave the superintendent a friendly call and explained what had happened. The superintendent, to his credit, replied that two  things  were  going  to  happen.  First,  he  would personally see that the FFBC scholarship opportunity would be relayed to every high school student in the school district. Second, while he remained superintendent, such a thing would never happen again. Progress.

Thanks partly to the FFBC leadership of Jonathan Wilson, progress has been made toward equality for all people under the law.