Park Rapids native in Fast Company's Top 100

Jenny Town, a 1994 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, was recently named to Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business. Fast Company is a monthly business magazine focusing on technology, leadership, creativity and design. Town re...


Jenny Town, a 1994 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, was recently named to Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Fast Company is a monthly business magazine focusing on technology, leadership, creativity and design.

Town received the recognition "for her role in co-founding and managing 38 North to penetrate North Korea's iron curtain," according to the Fast Company article.

Town was born in Korea and adopted by Marion and David Town of Park Rapids when she was 3 years old.

"She didn't know any English when we got her, but she learned quickly," Marion said.


Jenny was active in speech, taking first place at the state competition in extemporaneous reading during her senior year. She was also a member of the high school band.

Jenny currently works as a fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a nonpartisan "think tank" in Washington, D.C. She travels all over the world for her job.

"I looked at my Facebook and there was a picture of Jenny riding a camel in Mongolia," Marion said. "The next week she was in Sweden for a meeting about scenarios for verification of North Korean denuclearization."

Jenny is the co-founder, managing editor and producer of 38 North ( ), a web journal devoted to providing policy and technical analysis of North Korea. The site she helped launch in 2010 includes satellite imagery analysis of major sites related to North Korea's weapons of mass destruction programs, a digital atlas providing one of the largest datasets of North Korean geospatial information and educational resources for primary and secondary school teachers.

"When President Trump emerged from his Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un last June and announced that North Korea had offered to dismantle one of its nuclear sites, the website 38 North used satellite imagery to confirm that deconstruction was underway at key facilities at the Sohae launching station," Fast Company reported. "Jenny provides an unparalleled public service to policymakers and to the American public by helping better understand the facts on the ground in North Korea. For years, she and her team have provided the most comprehensive, unclassified look into North Korea's nuclear program, domestic politics and economy."

"38 North constantly strives to provide informed policy analysis and data-driven technical analysis that utilizes innovative techniques and new technologies to deepen the policy discussion on North Korea," Jenny said. "This is a great honor for me and my team here at the Stimson Center, as well as the full network of analysts and experts that have contributed to our site over the past nine years."

The Stimson Center is a nonpartisan policy research center devoted to protecting people, preserving the planet and promoting security and prosperity.

Jenny previously worked in advertising. As managing editor of the 38 North website, she is responsible for everything from communications and branding, editing and curating content to distribution and social media.


38 North was formerly a project of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Jenny is the former assistant director of the institute, where she focused on North Korea and Northeast Asia regional security.

The website has grown into an internationally renowned source of information under her direction.

In addition to her work at 38 North, Jenny is an expert reviewer for Freedom House's Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea Project. She is also an associate fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at SAIS, a Member of the National Committee on North Korea, and an associate member of the Council of Korean Americans. She serves on the editorial board for Inkstick, an online foreign policy journal for emerging scholars.

Town holds a B.A. in East Asian studies and international relations from Westmar University and a Master of International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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