Linn is originally from San Francisco, and obtained a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UC San Francisco. After moving to Madison, he transitioned from academia to industry, eventually owning an electronics company specializing in the positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) market, where he was very active for 20 years. He served as President of the International Loran Association and head of its Congressional Relations Committee for many years, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. After selling his business and retiring, Linn has been active in a variety of roles, including the Agrace Foundation BOD (Chair), Habitat for Humanity BOD, PLATO BOD and Course Coordinator, and now Dane County Humane Society BOD. He is also an active member of Downtown Rotary, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and UW’s Van Hise and Bascom Hill Societies.
Linn and his wife, Jean Martinelli – former English teacher at West High – are dedicated animal lovers, fortunate enough to have traveled extensively to view wildlife in their natural environs, and to keep some noteworthy dogs at home. Their current housemate is Bella, a sweet 5-year-old Tibetan Terrier rescued off the streets of Houston. Linn says, "We couldn’t be happier with Bella and our association with Dane County Humane Society."