TZD Star Awards Recipients

2021 Recipients

Child Passenger Safety: Bridget Nez

Crystal Hoepner
Crystal Hoepner
Bridget Nez
Bridget Nez

This award was given to Bridget Nez in recognition of her efforts to provide car seats and CPS education for the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Southwest Minnesota. This community has a high need for car seats as well as for CPS technicians. As a family advocate for the Lower Sioux Early Head Start, Bridget has been a strong advocate for growth in these areas, working with families in need to get them car seats and collaborating with local agencies to train technicians. She has also been essential in ensuring families feel comfortable asking for services.

Education: Crystal Hoepner

This award was given to Crystal Hoepner in recognition of her creativity and expertise in implementing traffic safety efforts as the Grant County TZD Safe Roads Coalition Coordinator. Crystal, a health educator with Horizon Public Health, uses social media messaging to educate drivers and organizes many events at local schools, health fairs, and other public venues. One highly successful event was a “Rural Safety Day” at the 2019 Grant County Fair, which addressed such topics as agriculture equipment, bicycle, and seat belt safety for a wide-ranging audience. Crystal was instrumental in organizing the many presenters, and upon her recommendation, the event will be held annually.

Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Tim Cook

Sgt. Josh Moore
Sgt. Joshua Moore
Tim Cook
Tim Cook

This award was given to Tim Cook in recognition of his traffic safety efforts with the Pennington County Safe Roads Coalition. As a lead paramedic for Sanford Ambulance in Thief River Falls, Tim is the first to jump in and represent EMS/trauma at any traffic safety event, contributing to the conversation and offering innovative ideas. Tim has participated in several enforcement ride-alongs to better understand traffic safety and contributes to the Teen TZD program, conference, and events. He is also community-minded and always willing to support TZD in every aspect.

Enforcement: Sgt. Joshua Moore

This award was given to Sgt. Joshua Moore in recognition of his efforts to improve public safety in the city of St. Paul. In his role with the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Unit for the St. Paul Police Department, Joshua manages the officers in his unit, fields traffic complaints, and assists on traffic injury and fatal crash investigations. In addition, he helps schedule and manage all speed enforcement, distracted driving, pedestrian safety, seat belt, and move-over law TZD grant-funded events. Joshua has managed over 350 officer shifts, resulting in more than 3,600 traffic stops since October 2020.

Engineering: Diane Langenbach

Diane Langenbach

This award was given to Diane Langenbach in recognition of her efforts to reduce severe crashes at expressway intersections in Scott and Carver Counties. As the South Area Engineer for MnDOT’s Metro District, Diane served as the project manager for the installation of a reduced-conflict intersection in Cologne, which was one of the first in the state and remains one of MnDOT’s most impactful spot location safety projects. Diane’s communication with the community, local officials, and other stakeholders was critical for helping them understand the safety benefits as well as the tradeoffs of the project and for moving it forward.

Past Recipients


  • Child Passenger Safety: Tracy Brown
  • Education: Stephanie Felt
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Joan Somes
  • Enforcement: Chief Josh Hanson
  • Engineering: Loren Hill
  • Judicial & Court System: Monica Jensen


  • Child Passenger Safety: Detective Cameron Gustafson
  • Education: Allison Nicolson
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Kristi Engelstad
  • Enforcement: Commander Jeremy Ellison
  • Engineering: Renae Kuehl
  • Judicial & Court System: James C. Backstrom


  • Child Passenger Safety: Karri Hendrickson
  • Education: Jeff Strom
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Amy Saylor
  • Enforcement: Kevin Otto
  • Engineering: Richard Sanders
  • Judicial & Court System: Abby Kuschel


  • Child Passenger Safety: Julie Philbrook
  • Education: Vijay Dixit
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: James Kroona
  • Enforcement: Brad Norland
  • Engineering: Rick West
  • Judicial & Court System: Matt Grochow


  • Child Passenger Safety: Laura Owen
  • Education: Officer Adam Gau
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Matt Jakubik
  • Enforcement: Deputy Tom Coulter
  • Engineering: Lou Tasa
  • Judicial & Court System: Michelle Zehnder Fischer


  • Engineering: Tom Dumont, MnDOT District 3
  • Enforcement: Trooper Gabe Cornish, Minnesota State Patrol
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Jack Muhar, Itasca County
  • Education: Brenda Pohlman, Fillmore County Public Health
  • Emergency Medical and Trauma Services: Deb Syverson, Sanford Medical Center
  • Child Passenger Safety: KaRee Lockling, Fond du Lac Reservation Human Services Division


  • Engineering: Nancy Klema, MnDOT 
  • Enforcement: Deputy Sheriff Tim Entner, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Judge Shaun Floerke, Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District
  • Education: Jennifer Hoff, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center
  • Education: Bill Shaffer, Office of Traffic Safety, Minnesota Department of Public Safety
  • Emergency Medical and Trauma Services: Deb Horsman, Mayo Clinic
  • Child Passenger Safety: Deborah Schroeder, Olmsted County Public Health


  • Engineering: Vic Lund, St. Louis County
  • Enforcement: Becky Putzke, Brainerd Police Department
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Thomas Miller, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota Department of Public Safety's
  • Education: Andrea Gierok, Winona County Community Services
  • Emergency Medical and Trauma Services: Tom Vanderwal, Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services
  • Child Passenger Safety: Esther DeLaCruz, CPS Associates


  • Engineering: Brad Estochen, MnDOT
  • Enforcement: Jason Engeldinger, Minnesota State Patrol
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Judge Mark Starr, St. Louis County Courts
  • Education: Gail Weinholzer, AAA Minnesota-Iowa
  • Emergency Medical and Trauma Services: Dan DeSmet, North Memorial Ambulance Service-Marshall Region
  • Child Passenger Safety: Jennifer Booge, Mahube Community Council


  • Engineering: Mark Vizecky, MnDOT
  • Enforcement: Scott McConkey, Office of Traffic Safety
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Shari Schluchter, Beltrami County Courts
  • Education: Bryan Carey, Minnesota State Patrol
  • Emergency Medical and Trauma Services: Brian Nord, Allina Transportation Buffalo
  • Child Passenger Safety: Diana Van Wormer, Regions Hospital


  • Enforcement: Joel Scharf, Moorhead Police Department
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: J. Kevin Croston, North Memorial Medical Center
  • Education: Dan Schoonhoven, Moorhead Fire Department
  • Engineering: Wayne Sandberg, Washington County
  • Child Passenger Safety: Sharon Munns, Saint Marys Hospital/Mayo Clinic
  • Judicial/Court Systems: Joel Watne, former assistant attorney general


  • Enforcement: Bruce Johnson, Dakota County Sheriff's Department (retired)
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Darrell Smith, Cook County Ambulance Service
  • Education: Joseph Grafft, Metropolitan State University
  • Engineering: Dave Engstrom, MnDOT
  • Child Passenger Safety: Brynn Duncan and family, crash survivor
  • Judicial/Court System: James Dehn, Isanti County Courts


  • Enforcement: Jeremy Cossette, White Earth Tribal Police
  • Emergency Medical & Trauma Services: Jim Theodore (retired)
  • Education: Cheryl Bisping, Mesabi Safe Communities Coaltion
  • Engineering: Dave Kopacz, Federal Highway Administration
  • Child Passenger Safety: Tom Jansky, Gold Cross Ambulance