Dave Gustafson, STLRN Founder and President

Dave Gustafson, STLRN Founder and President

Dave Gustafson

Founder and President

Dave grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but moved to St. Louis in 1985 when he joined Monsanto as an environmental scientist. His academic training was at Stanford University and the University of Washington in Seattle, where he earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees, both in chemical engineering. He retired from Monsanto in July 2014, but he is still very active in the global scientific community, where he leads efforts to enhance the productivity, resilience, sustainability of domestic fruit & vegetable supply chains. Dave has served as a Deacon at Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton, and on the core team for Central West End Church, a multi-ethnic church being launched in that rapidly developing part of St. Louis. Dave formed the St. Louis Reconciliation Network in September 2012, prompted by a heart heavy with dismay at the racism – both personal and institutional – that plagues the region. Dave is a single Dad, raising his high school daughter here in St. Louis. He also has two older children, a daughter who is a CPA and a son who is a lawyer. Dave’s hobbies include early morning runs, guitar, piano, song-writing and preparing home-made dinners for his weekly Bible Study Group.

 Peggy Swing, STLRN Vice President

Peggy Swing, STLRN Vice President

Peggy Swing

Vice President

Peggy is a proud product of the South, having been born and raised in North Carolina. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Duke University, she married her high school sweetheart, Paul. They moved to St. Louis in 1971. Peggy was a stay-at-home mom while she and Paul raised a daughter and a son in Ballwin, Missouri. She eventually continued her education in Art and Interior Design at Maryville University in St. Louis, and Parsons NYC School of Design in Italy.

Peggy enjoys reinventing herself from time to time, and her work history includes being an elementary school teacher in North Carolina, Interior Designer and Proprietor of P.S.Interiors in St. Louis and Travel Director for Maritz Travel Co. in St. Louis. She is presently a Certified Professional Tour Guide in St. Louis.

She stays busy volunteering as a member / officer for many charitable organizations. Peggy is a life-long Presbyterian and currently serves as the Moderator of the Dismantling Racism and Privilege Ministry Team of the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery USA. She has served as a Presbyterian Elder, and is presently a Deacon at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Wildwood, Missouri. Peggy's passions are her two grandchildren, travel, art, reading, religion and seeking ways to heal the broken race relations in today's world.

 Brandon Wilkes, STLRN Treasurer 

Brandon Wilkes, STLRN Treasurer 

Brandon R. Wilkes 


Brandon has been married to his high school sweetheart, Dorothy, for 18 years and is the proud father of 3 outstanding children. He received a BS in Environmental Science from The Ohio State University and his MA in Biblical Studies from Trinity International University.

After graduating from OSU in 1997 he worked 8 years at Procter & Gamble in R&D before being called into ministry. He gave his life to Christ in 2000 and left P&G in 2004 to work at First Christian Assembly of God in Cincinnati, Ohio under pastor Chris Beard. The vision of building a racially reconciled church in a city with a history of racial issues inspired him to leave the corporate world for full-time ministry. He served as the Executive Pastor at FCA (now named Peoples Church) for 10 years before the Lord moved him and his family to St. Louis, Missouri to help start One Church, a church plant from Peoples Church.

While serving in ministry, Brandon also owned and operated a successful photography/videography business and is currently the CEO of a non-profit tech start-up called Give Up, Inc. which will help people make generosity a part of their everyday life. In addition to being a die-hard Buckeyes football fan, Brandon is passionate about discipling young married couples, equipping entrepreneurs, and helping believers to use their everyday work environments as their place of ministry.

 Bernie Sammons, STLRN board member.

Bernie Sammons, STLRN board member.

Bernard (Bernie) Sammons 

Board Member

Bernie grew up as a “Military Brat” and was one of nine children. He was born on an Air Force base in Valdosta, GA, and lived in many places as a child primarily on the East Coast along with several years abroad that included England and Greece. 

He joined Monsanto Company in 1985, and first moved to St. Louis in 1986. This was followed by 2 ½ years in Syracuse, NY with a permanent move back to St. Louis in 1989. His academic training included three universities: BS from University of Delaware, MS from University of Maryland, and Ph.D. from Clemson University. All degrees are in plant pathology. He retired from Monsanto in November 2015, and is still active in advocating the safety of Biotechnology products to the general public. 

Bernie and his wife Kathy presently lead the Peace and Justice Team for St. Clare of Assisi located in Ellisville, and they are actively working with the Archdiocese and seven West County parishes to expand the awareness and need for peace and justice work in West County. Bernie became a board member of STLRN in 2015 after taking the Jn17 class (twice) and has a high passion and desire to heal the broken race relations in St. Louis. Bernie is happily married to Kathy and is the proud father of two daughters; one is a working as a nurse, and the second daughter is a senior engineering student at the University of Kansas majoring in computer science. 

Bernie’s hobbies include being an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan; he loves watching film on the big screen; listening to music, and reading. He has a keen passion for reading material that pushes people to grow in spirituality and faith, and is a strong advocate for the teachings of Father Richard Rohr.