Mayor Carter Announces Directors for Saint Paul Emergency Management and Office of Financial Empowerment

Friday, February 15, 2019
Contact: Liz Xiong

SAINT PAUL - Today, Mayor Melvin Carter announced Rick Schute as the new Director for Saint Paul’s Emergency Management Department, and Muneer Karcher-Ramos as the Director for the new Office of Financial Empowerment. 

Rick Schute, Emergency Management Director

“Rick Schute’s illustrious career of service positions him well to ensure Saint Paul is ready to respond to any emergency situation we may face,” said Mayor Carter.

“As a Saint Paul native, it’s an honor to join the City as its new Emergency Management Director,” said Schute. “I look forward to working with Mayor Carter, our department directors, and our intergovernmental partners to ensure Saint Paul maintains the highest degree of readiness.”

About Director Rick Schute: Rick Schute joins the City of Saint Paul following a 23-year professional career in the U.S. Army serving in command, staff, instructor, and cross-functional team building positions across all military and civil authority levels. He is a combat veteran of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Director Schute is a 1995 graduate of the Marquette University College of Engineering and 2016 graduate of the U.S. Army War College. He was previously the Chief of Staff for the Minnesota National Guard, where he integrated all command and staff functions supporting the operational readiness of more than 13,000 Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard. He served as the Director of Operations from 2012 to 2018, where he planned, resourced, trained and directed operations that provided ready units to support federal, state and community contingency response missions. He currently resides in North Saint Paul with his wife and his three school-aged children.

Saint Paul’s Emergency Management Department helps build, sustain and improve our community’s capability to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to and recover from threatened or actual disasters, whether natural or man-made and acts of terrorism.

Muneer Karcher-Ramos, Director of the Office of Financial Empowerment

“Muneer Karcher-Ramos has a proven track record of leadership in our community,” said Mayor Carter. “His incredible work as director of Saint Paul’s Promise Neighborhood uniquely positions him to lead our Office of Financial Empowerment.”

“The Office of Financial Empowerment will help address the root causes of financial instability in our community,” said Director Karcher-Ramos. “I look forward to connecting residents to the tools, support,and resources that will help build community wealth.”

About Director Muneer Karcher-Ramos: Muneer Karcher-Ramos previously served as the director of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, a transformative education initiative in the Frogtown, Rondo, and Summit-University neighborhoods of Saint Paul. Under his leadership, the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood was named a 2017 Facing Race honoree by the Saint Paul Foundation. He is a community faculty member in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and serves on the boards of the Headwaters Foundation for Justice and Minnesota Education Equity Partnership. Karcher-Ramos was named a 40 under 40 honoree by the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal and received the Public Sociology Award from the University of Minnesota in 2016. Under sponsorship from the Itasca Project and Greater MSP, he participated in the Young American Leaders Program at Harvard Business School in 2018. Muneer received his bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and his master's degree from the University of Chicago.

The Office of Financial Empowerment will drive community wealth building in Saint Paul by:

  • Developing a city-wide strategy to coordinate financial education and wealth building efforts led by the non-profit, private, and governmental sectors
  • Working with local financial institutions, culturally specific community organizations, and nonprofit organizations that provide one-on-one financial counseling, education, and services
  • Elevating awareness of financial health resources and identifying gaps in services and resources to help low-moderate income residents build economic security
  • Collecting and evaluating data to inform policy priorities
  • Implementing and managing the Saint Paul College Savings Account Program
  • Opposing and limiting the power of predatory lending institutions, and connecting our communities to responsible financial institutions 
  • Supporting fair housing protections, policies, and practices for all residents

Joining Director Karcher-Ramos will be Kirstin Burch as Fair Housing Coordinator, and Ikram Koliso as College Savings Account Program Manager.

Kirstin Burch joins the Office of Financial Empowerment, bringing her experience in affordable housing, nonprofit leadership and management, and culturally inclusive relationship building. Most recently she served as the ZOOM House Director in Minneapolis. Kirstin holds an individualized studies B.A. from Metropolitan State University with a focus on Culturally Inclusive Approaches to Economic Advocacy and Leadership. Kirstin is a native resident of Saint. Paul and currently resides in Ward 5.

Ikram Koliso previously served as a policy associate in the Office of Mayor Melvin Carter and currently serves on the Metropolitan Airport Commission as the Saint Paul appointee. She is a proud graduate of Central High School and received a dual B.S. in Social Work and Public Health: Public Policy from St. Catherine University.