Alex Tyink

Alex Tyink


Alex is the co-founder of Fork Farms and the inventor of its farming technology and methods. He is a former opera singer with 10 years of leadership experience in the social service sector, who works to inspire vast food system change across communities.

He began his urban agriculture career in Brooklyn, New York where he first worked on rooftop gardens and then started building indoor growing systems of his own for educational and food security purposes. This eventually led to the development of Fork Farms intellectual property, and the rest is history.

After relocating back to Wisconsin, Alex continued his work as program director at Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin and as director of innovation and programs for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. In 2018, he was a Fox Cities Future 15 winner and featured as Fox Cities Magazine’s ‘Big Idea’. Alex currently lives in Appleton, Wisconsin with his wife, son and their dog Maya.

Ashley Ponschok

Operations Director

Ashley has always called the Midwest home. Born and raised in the Twin Cities, she relocated to Northeast Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin Green Bay where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry. She decided to stay in the area to remain close to her relatives and of course, the Green Bay Packers.

Ashley has spent the majority of her professional career in the nonprofit sector where she developed a passion for building healthier food systems. In 2018, Ashley earned her MBA at St. Norbert College. She currently leads all operational efforts for Fork Farms. 

In her free time, Ashley enjoys cooking, traveling and spending time with her family and friends. She is also a lover of all animals, particularly her two cats Scooter and Joey.

Gil Shaw

Strategic Partnerships Director

Gil is a self-proclaimed recovering attorney with more than three decades of management, partnership development and hydroponics experience.

Hailing from the Southwest, Gil farmed and gardened in the Arizona Highlands for over 30 years. He says he primarily started gardening to keep his sanity while practicing law. In 2014, Gil retired from law and moved to Wisconsin to enjoy the vast array of wilderness and water the state has to offer.

Shortly after moving, Gil started working with veterans as manager of the largest hydroponic production operation in Appleton, Wisconsin. Joining Fork Farms in 2017, he initially managed the commercial farm side of the business until moving to a full-time partnership development role. He happily lives in Appleton with his two retired ranch dogs.

Steve Tyink

Business Development Director

Steve is widely known for his work with experience-based design methodology and creating thought-leading, innovative customer experiences in a wide variety of industries. His professional experience includes vice president of business innovation – Miron Construction, founder – Attach (nationally recognized industrial design firm), vice president of Saturn operations and leadership development – Bergstrom Corporation and general manager of numerous private country clubs. 

Megan Pirelli

Community Engagement Director

Megan originally hails from the northern suburbs of Chicago, but for the last 10 years, she has called Wisconsin home. Megan graduated from St. Norbert College with a B.S in philosophy and political science. She returned to her alma mater to complete her M.B.A in 2019.

Megan has always been passionate about helping people lead healthy lives through access to healthy food. Before joining the partnership development team at Fork Farms, she interned for the Organic Trade Board of the UK in 2008, started a successful organic community garden at a Florida nonprofit and led a grants program for a regional nonprofit to help solve hunger in Wisconsin.

If you are looking for Megan outside of work, you will most likely find her in one of these five places – riding her horses, gardening in her backyard, kayaking or paddle-boarding in one of her favorite hidden spots in Florida, hiking “up north” with her dogs or catching a flight for her next adventure!