To recognize exemplary leadership, provide for and benefit from ongoing engagement, share current information, and offer continued resources and influence to former members of the Board of Directors (BoD) of the Delta Waterfowl Foundation.
- Advocate and influence: Work with current Delta staff and active Board members to introduce new people and organizations to our mission, vision and current initiatives.
- Give: Contribute to the annual Ambassadors Circle Giving Campaign and help raise much-needed funds for research, conservation and advocacy efforts.
- Serve as an intellectual resource: Share institutional knowledge and guidance to help expand Delta’s presence and impact across North America.
Formed in 2017, the Ambassadors Circle’s first initiative was to spearhead the capital campaign which resulted in the purchase of a permanent headquarters for Delta in Bismarck, North Dakota. The result was a move into a new, more modern workplace in April of 2019 and the ability to invest the resulting cost savings into critical Duck Production and HunteR3 efforts.
The following former board members comprise the steering committee of the Ambassadors Circle.
Click here to view the Ambassadors Circle charter.
Gary H. Bechtel (Co-chair)
Bechtel served on the Delta Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012.
He became a duck hunter alongside his father in his early teen years and continues to be a passionate waterfowler today. He was introduced to Delta Waterfowl at a conservation event, where he met Delta volunteers and staff, and was impressed with The Duck Hunters Organization’s work and vision for the future.
Following his professional career working for Bechtel Corporation in various locations across the United States, he was elected to serve on the board of directors of Bechtel Group and Companies. He began his retirement in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he owned and managed a NASCAR Cup Team and two Busch Teams, and also formed Diamond Ridge Motorsports. He later sold the entire operation and moved home to California to become more involved with his true passion: outdoor conservation.
Bechtel worked for the California Conservation Fund and served as chairman of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance. He is currently on the board of the California Department of Wildlife Officers Foundation and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s advisory board.
He is also president of Foothill’s Foundation, where he is committed to philanthropically supporting wildlife and natural resources management, conservation projects, civic needs and education.
Donald J. Douglas
Douglas served on the Delta Board of Directors from 1996 to 2005 and as Chairman from 2005 to 2006.
He has served as president of Jetstream Capital Corporation since 1992. Previously, he served as president and CEO of United Communities Inc. when it commenced operations in 1993 until his resignation in 2014, and also served as president of its predecessor companies — United Inc., United Management Inc. (1991 to 1993) and United Management Ltd. (1984 to 1991).
Prior to joining United Management Ltd., he was president of L.K. Resources Ltd. from 1981 to 1984; vice-president of corporate development at Turbo Resources Ltd. from 1978 to 1980; and prior to that, he was involved in the investment industry.
Douglas has been, and continues to be, a director of numerous investment and management companies in Alberta, including PFB Corporation. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from IMEDE Management Development Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta. He is a founder and director of United Active Living, a director of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a member of the World Presidents’ Organization in Alberta.
Dr. Joe Carlson (Co-chair)
Thomas Hutchens, M.D.
Hutchens served on the Delta Board of Directors from 1999-2009 and as its Chairman in 2003-2004.
He was raised in Sumter, South Carolina, where he grew up hunting, tagging along with his brothers in the Santee-Cooper River swamps. Those adventures instilled in him a lifelong passion for the outdoors.
He completed medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and was sent by the U.S. Air Force to practice at its base in Minot, North Dakota. After 4 years, he and his wife Katie moved to Bismarck, where he practiced medicine as an Ob/Gyn for more than 33 years. He retired in April of 2020.
As an already addicted waterfowler, Hutchens said, “When the Air Force sent me to North Dakota, I thought I had arrived in heaven.”
His professional success allowed Hutchens and his family to begin acquiring land near Dawson, North Dakota, that eventually grew to the 5,000 contiguous acres they own and hunt on today. It’s where he, his wife and daughter love to hunt and practice conservation he learned through his long and committed connection with Delta.
Hutchens said, “After my first love, Katie, the second love of my life has been Delta Waterfowl Foundation.”
In 1994, Hutchens participated in a donor tour of the Delta Station and Minnedosa pothole projects. He says that he immediately fell in love with the passion and brilliance of the staff and over the years came to understand and appreciated what he calls the “holy trinity” of Hen Houses, Predator Management and policy work.
Today he continues to serve on the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Board, to which he was appointed by the state’s governor. Since OHF’s inception, it has delivered millions of dollars to conservation in the state, including several Delta programs.
His recitation of his “perfect day” is, “I am awakened at 8 a.m. by a phone call to hear that John Devney’s program, the incredibly popular NRCS program known as the Prairie Pothole Water Quality and Wildlife Program, aka ‘Working Wetlands’, has been increased five-fold by the Feds! Then I drive out to our ranch to spend four hours in my UTV checking our traps and Hen Houses. At 4 p.m., I get a call from Frank Rohwer inviting me to another one of his legendary shrimp fandangos at his home outside of Bismarck. My evening is then spent enjoying the fabulous food, and best of all talking with the old Delta staff that I grew up with. What a team, and what a day!”