Board of Directors

Jay Garstecki – President

As the son and brother of two United States Marines, professional muskie fisherman Jay Garstecki is dedicated to making sure this country takes care of our U.S. military veterans. He has vowed to make a difference in veteran’s lives, even if it is one at a time. That’s why Jay co-founded two non-profit organizations that support veterans:

  • Operation Fishing Freedom Foundation (2018)
  • Take-A-Vet-Fishing (2011)

For the past 20 years, Jay Garstecki has served as the Vice President of Enterprise Business Development for a brand-building marketing company that specializes in creative marketing strategies. During this time, he has been involved in product and consumer marketing for numerous Fortune 500 companies. Jay has a beautiful wife of 18 years and is the head coach of his teenage son’s ice hockey team.

Ben Olsen – VP

Co-founder of the documentary TV show Operation: Fishing Freedom, Ben Olsen is a professional fisherman. From an early age Ben was surrounded by veterans. His grandfather, Carl, was a VFW post commander and World War II veteran. His father, Greg, is a Vietnam veteran and active member of the VFW and Legion Riders Motorcycle Club.

Ben seeks to share his passion for fishing and the positive influence it has had on his life. In addition to co-founding Operation Fishing Freedom, he has worked with Take-AVet-Fishing, Operation Muskie, Muskies Inc. and other local groups for several years to accomplish that goal. Capt. Ben Olsen is the owner and operator of Fishing Hardcore Guide Service LLC in Minnesota and Southwest Florida. He and his wife, Kelly, also own and operate several other businesses including an online retail business, real estate businesses and a bakery.

Michelle Eidsor – Treasurer

Michelle Eidsor is Finance Officer for a Township in Illinois. She brings more
than 25 years of accounting experience to her role as board
Treasurer.

Brad Novak – Secretary

Brad Novak is a Business Development/Customer Success Manager with Omnia Fishing. As Secretary of the Board, he provides social media support including data analysis and insights.

Cole O’Brien – Board Member

Cole O’Brien is co-founder/CEO of Northern Pine Productions. He has produced award-winning content that aired on Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and more.

Rich Gallagher – Board Member

A member of the pro staff for Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops, Rich Gallagher holds seminars for anglers at all skill levels. He also owned and operated a fishing guide service for 14 years.