Deke Welles is among the most respected and well-liked conservation leaders in North America. The retired chairman of his family’s door manufacturing enterprise and a past chairman of the board of the Toledo Museum of Art, Welles is a generous, longtime donor to Delta’s research programs and, more recently, to the Million Duck Campaign.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s shared a duck blind or dinner table with Deke and not come away truly liking the man,” said Jeffrey Howell, vice president of development for The Duck Hunters Organization. “He is a brilliant thinker, and he’s adept at bringing other philanthropists to the table when articulating the science driving Delta’s Duck Production programs—Hen Houses and Predator Management.”

An avid waterfowler, Welles is a member of the famed Winous Point Shooting Club of Port Clinton, Ohio—the oldest duck club in North America—where he worked to endow funding for a waterfowl student research program. He also helped establish a waterfowl- and wetlands-focused professorship at Ohio State University.

Welles is a member of the Wild Salmon Center’s board of directors; a Ducks Unlimited trustee; president of the Winous Point Marsh Conservancy and Waterhen Lodge duck club in Manitoba; an advisor to the Black Swamp Conservancy; and he’s a member of the Castalia Trout Club, the Anglers’ Club of New York, and the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

“Deke’s longtime leadership for other conservation groups uniquely positions him to further strengthen Delta’s Board,” Howell said. “I’m confident Deke will be a monumental asset to to Delta’s mission to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowling.”

When Welles isn’t hunting ducks, you’ll find him flyfishing for trout, salmon, or steelhead.

The 1974 cum laude graduate of Yale resides in St. Louis, Missouri.