A native of South Dakota, about twenty years ago Derron Wahlen found himself at the University of Arizona, pursuing a degree in molecular and cellular biology with an intent to go to medical school.

“I quickly learned I’d taken South Dakota duck hunting for granted,” he said. “I also had to work in college to keep the sandwiches from getting too thin, and found myself employed in the outdoor industry. Once I got a taste of working with hunters to raise funds for conservation, I never looked back at healthcare.”

Wahlen accumulated more than a decade of event fundraising, chapter coordination and conservation organization experience in Arizona, but longed to return to his beloved Midwest. So, he relocated to Minnetonka, Minnesota, with his wife, son and daughter, and continued to work in the hunting industry. In 2015, a professional colleague familiar with Wahlen’s career experience and passion for waterfowling alerted him to a newly created position at Delta Waterfowl: regional director of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“I very much feel part of the growing Delta family,” he said. “It’s a challenging job, but at the same time I feel like I’m at home with Delta Waterfowl. I’m passionate about helping people understand who Delta is and what we do, so they know where their hard-earned conservation dollars are going when they support The Duck Hunters Organization.”

A lifelong waterfowler, Wahlen most enjoys setting up for mallards in a Midwest crop field, followed closely by a diver hunt just ahead of the freeze.

“The sights, sounds, smells and all that goes along with fall in the Midwest are something special,” he said. “Spending a weekend of duck hunting with my son in October or November is as good as it gets.”