Board of Directors

Michael H. Mooney

Michael H. Mooney

Chairman | Chicago, Illinois

Mooney, 54, joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in May 2018. He is an avid waterfowl hunter and conservation-minded leader from Chicago who spends several days each hunting season at Swan Lake in Illinois and Heron Lake in Minnesota. Mooney brings a passion for waterfowl conservation, as well as strong experience in board governance and fundraising to the role of chairman.

Mooney was introduced to duck hunting by his father-in-law in 1996, and has since become dedicated to waterfowl conservation.

“Delta Waterfowl is a proud conservation organization with a rich, 110-year history rooted in waterfowl science,” he said. “During my tenure as chairman, I want to ensure Delta continues to use the best science to implement duck production programs that make a meaningful impact to add ducks to the fall flight.”

An investment advisor for Goldman Sachs who manages assets for families, Mooney has been married to his wife, Lynda since 1997. The couple has two children, Sean and Caitlin. Mooney also serves on the boards of Footwear Unlimited Corporation and Catholic Charities of Chicago. He is a founding board member of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools, and of the advisory board for Highsight, which provides scholarships and mentoring for at-risk, inner-city youth.

He has also served on the governing committees and boards of Sacred Heart Schools in Chicago, St. Clement Church, Chaminade College Preparatory, Guilda’s Club Cancer Center, the Saddle and Cycle Club, St. Ignatius College Prep and Heron Lake Farms. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and an MBA from Washington University’s Olin School of Business.

Mooney intends to continue to foster Delta’s strong commitment as The Duck Hunters Organization. “Delta Waterfowl will proudly serve as leaders in duck production, habitat conservation, research and education, and hunter recruitment and retention (HunteR3) throughout North America,” he said.

George C. Freeman III

George C. Freeman III

Vice Chairman | Richmond, Virginia

George Clemon Freeman, III, was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1963.  He attended St. Christopher’s School (Class of 1981), University of Virginia (class of 1985) and Yale Law School (Class of 1989).  After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Honorable Richard S. Arnold, on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., who was retired but maintained chambers at the U. S. Supreme Court.

He then went to work for Hunton & Williams in the fall of 1991 where he worked for the Corporate and Securities team.  In 1997, he went to work for Universal Corporation’s legal department.  George became General Counsel of Universal Corporation in 2001, and then in 2005 left the legal department of Universal to go into general management and served as Executive Vice President of Universal Leaf Tobacco Company.  In December 2006, he was elected President of Universal Corporation, and he was elected President & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Corporation in April 2008.  In August 2008, he was elected Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Corporation.

George is currently a director of American Civil War Center, Children’s Hospital Foundation, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Tredegar Corporation, Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, and TowneBank.  He is also a trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Virginia Historical Society, and of the Virginia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

George is married to Louise Gilbert Freeman from Statesville, North Carolina, and has three children: Sara Presley Freeman, Katherine Colston Freeman, and George C. Freeman, IV. George is an avid duck and goose hunter, and he enjoys fishing, shooting and American History.

Robert B. Trainer Jr.

Robert B. Trainer Jr.

Treasurer | Houston, Texas

Trainer joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in February 2019.  

 He was raised in Milwaukee and has lived for the past 22 years in Houston. Trainer is retired from Gyrodata Inc., an oil service firm based in Houston which provides down-hole surveying and directional drilling services to the worldwide oil and gas industry. He serves on the boards of both Gyrodata and Schroeder-Manatee Inc., a real estate development company in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. He holds a registered representative license with Carl M. Henning Inc., a securities brokerage firm in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  

 Trainer was introduced at age 10 to duck hunting on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin by his grandfather, and has been an avid enthusiast of hunting and conservation ever since. As a young man, he frequently hunted with his uncle, David Uihlein, a former Delta director. Uihlein introduced him to Delta Waterfowl, and Trainer has been a member since he was in his 20s.  

 I feel strongly aligned with and supportive of Delta’s mission to boost duck production through through research, Predator Management, Hen House expansion and advancing Working Wetlands in North America,” Trainer said. In addition, I fully support protecting the tradition of waterfowling through hunter advocacy and recruitment.” 


Robert E. Bartels Jr.

Robert E. Bartels Jr.

Dowagiac, Michigan

Bartels, 58, joined the Delta board in spring of 2019. He is the former co-owner, president and CEO of Martin’s Super Markets. A South Bend, Indiana native and a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

Bartels devoted his professional life to the management of retail operations, beginning by bagging groceries, moving across multiple disciplines and management roles and into executive roles then president and CEO for more than a decade. He focused on team development and company culture stewardship. He was the third generation of family leadership for Martin’s.

He is a board member of Lake City Bank, serving on the audit and governance committees, and serves on the Beacon Medical Group Doctor’s Board, and the South Bend Education Foundation’s Board. Bartels has served Sunnyside Presbyterian Church as an elder and officer as well as working within the youth program for more than 15 years.

An active outdoorsman, Bartels enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking and skiing. He understands protecting, enhancing and improving our natural resources are important – especially through effective, science-based means. In addition to the Delta board, he serves on the Indiana Nature Conservancy Board.

He owns and manages 640 acres in Lake County Michigan, participating in the Michigan Private Landowner Stewardship Program, with a focus on soil improvement and biodiversity. He is a life member of the Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society.

Bartels is blessed with three sons Bobby, Andy and Will. He considers his noble purpose and greatest gift his mission as a father, sharing his own faith, vigor, goodwill and, above all, joy with his sons.

Benjamin G. Bordelon

Benjamin G. Bordelon

Lockport, Louisiana

Bordelon, 46, joined the Delta Waterfowl Board in spring of 2021. He is the president and chief executive officer of Bollinger Shipyards, LLC.

Bordelon is the grandson of Donald Bollinger, who founded Bollinger Shipyards in 1946, making Bordelon the third generation to lead the company. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, he played football and was named captain of the team in 1996. He garnered All-SEC recognition at LSU and was a member of the San Diego Chargers professional football team until his retirement in December 1999.

Bordelon is active in many professional and community organizations. He is Chairman of Shipbuilders Council of America and an active board member of Offshore Marine Service Association, Tiger Athletic Foundation, Young Presidents’ Organization and a former board member of Marucci Sports. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Webb Institute and The Coast Guard Foundation, and he is an active member of the Fourchon Oilman’s Association and a board member of the Industrial Development Board of the Parish of Lafourche. He supports many additional charities, schools and churches in his community and beyond.

Bordelon was born and raised in Lockport, Louisiana, where he now lives with his wife Gemi, and their three children, Brooke, Bo and Brett. He is a lifelong duck hunter and his family owns a hunting lodge and property on the Mississippi Delta. Besides hunting, Bordelon enjoys watching his kids play sports, LSU football, working, fishing and traveling.

Bordelon was introduced to Delta Waterfowl by his friend Angus Cooper III. He said that as a member of the board, “I’m looking forward to helping create more suitable habitat and increase the duck count in the United States, so we can ensure high quality duck hunting for years to come. I also support introducing the great experience of duck hunting to the youth in our great nation.”

Dick Carmical

Dick Carmical

Monticello, Arkansas

Carmical, 63, joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in October 2018.  He was raised on and still lives on a cattle, timber and ag farm on the edge of the Mississippi Delta.

The Arkansas native is chief executive officer of The Price Companies, a diversified forestry and ag company. This includes FIREHUNT, known for sustainably managing land, balancing wildlife and agriculture.

“There are big challenges in agriculture that negatively impact ducks,” Carmical said. “These changes date back from the original clearing and draining of the nesting and wintering grounds to today’s precision land leveling, earlier harvest of crops, absentee ownership and high input costs.”

Good science, political savvy and committed people such as those at Delta Waterfowl are key to the future of ducks and duck hunting, he said.

“The right to hunt faces many challenges as people become more urban and less connected to the land. In the 1990s, loggers and farmers were unfairly viewed as environmental villains. Today, with the focus on sustainability and a clearer understanding, society accepts farmers and loggers as guardians of our natural resources,” Carmical said. “My hope is with time and clear messages we can affect a similar shift in the perception of hunting. No one has brought back, preserved and protected species better than wise-use conservationist/hunters.

“Delta Waterfowl gets it. More hunters equal more ducks.”

John W. Childs

John W. Childs

Vero Beach, Florida

Childs, 78, began serving on the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in February 2020.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Yale and his MBA from Columbia University. In 1995, he established J.W. Childs Associates, a private equity firm based in Boston. Previously, he was senior managing director at Thomas H. Lee Company, and spent 17 years as an executive at Prudential Insurance.

Childs grew up hunting Virginia’s Back Bay and North Carolina’s Currituck Sound with his father. Those waters were thick with wild celery, and the bull canvasbacks that flocked there were kings of the duck world. The passions he developed on those historic wetlands fueled his desire to conserve what he loved to do.

An advocate of wetlands conservation for decades, Childs served as president and trustee emeritus of the Wetlands America Trust, which oversees 400,000 acres of conservation easements. Over the years, he has contributed millions of dollars to waterfowl research and conservation.

In 2014, he began funding the lion’s share of a massive Delta Waterfowl research project seeking management options to increase canvasback production throughout the parklands of Canada. That fall, he visited the Delta Marsh for the first time. Then when the historic James Ford Bell York Lodge property came up for sale, he purchased the 400 acres in the middle of Delta Waterfowl’s 3,600 acres. This critical parcel serves as key access to the marsh for Delta’s research.

Child’s acquisition of the property provides major legacy value, and fosters continued potential to advance waterfowl research and management impacting every flyway in North America.

Angus R. Cooper III

Angus R. Cooper III

Mobile, Alabama

Cooper joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in March 2019.

As president of Cooper/T. Smith, a leader in the maritime industry, Cooper is the fourth generation in his family to run the company, with his brother, Scott.

Cooper started duck hunting at age 8 with his father in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He hunted almost every weekend, which inspired him to get involved in conservation. At age 14, he put up six wood duck boxes at his family’s farm in Alabama. The population grew from 23 wood ducks to more than 400, and Cooper learned that people who care can make a difference. Cooper raises more ducks every year than he kills, and he has passed his love for duck hunting on to his sons and friends.

Cooper has served on the Alabama Wildlife Federation board for 20 years, including two years as president. He has also served as chairman of the board for UMS-Wright Preparatory School, a top private school in Mobile, Alabama. He is past chairman of the Alabama State Port Authority, the 10th-largest port in the United States. He serves on the Board of Alabama Power, Bryant Bank and other Mobile civil and mystical organizations.

John S. Dale

John S. Dale

Waubay, South Dakota

John is a self taught duck hunter, hunting the Dakotas and Canada extensively since he was in his teens. Over the decades he has witnessed the destruction of vast amounts of wildlife habitat. This is the destruction of breeding habitat,  without which no species can exist. John is determined to protect and enhance what good habitat remains and his support for Delta is part of that effort.

John retired in 2015 after a 47 year career in the institutional money management business in Minneapolis. He was a founding partner in Peregrine Capital Management where he founded and managed the Growth Equity portfolio management effort since 1983.

John and his wife Cheryl are also passionate fly fishers and spend a considerable amount of time at their ranch in Montana. Fall finds him at their place in South Dakota which is in the heart of the Prairie Couteau region,  a geographic wonderland of rich waterfowl habitat. John loves ducks, loves just watching them fly and hoping what remains of their habitat can be protected and enhanced so others can experience the same thing. Diving ducks, particularly canvasbacks and bluebills, hold a special place in his waterfowl activities. His idea of a perfect day is sitting with his lab, Skipper, watching flocks of ducks buzzing his decoys.

John H. Dobbs Jr.

John H. Dobbs Jr.

Memphis, Tennessee

Dobbs, 52, has served on the Delta Waterfowl Foundation Board of Directors since May 2013.

He is the CEO of his family business, Dobbs Equity Partners. The firm owns car dealerships, behavioral health companies, automobile parts companies and non-standard auto insurance companies.

Beyond the Delta Waterfowl board, Dobbs is a member of the International Order of St. Hubertus – a worldwide organization and knightly order of hunters and wildlife conservationists who promote traditional hunting ethics and practices. He’s also on the board of the Memphis College of Art.

Like most of Delta’s board members, Dobbs began hunting from an early age, nearly before he can remember. His primary passion is for duck hunting, but he also enjoys pursuing quail, pheasants, turkeys and doves.

Dobbs was introduced to Delta by fellow board member Will Yandell. He values increased duck production, which aligns well with the mission of The Duck Hunters Organization.

“My hope is to make a significant difference in the hunting experience for all duck hunters across North America,” Dobbs said.

John M. Dunlap

John M. Dunlap

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Dunlap joined the Delta Waterfowl Board in spring of 2021. He is president of Moffat Dunlap Real Estate and maintains farms and wildlife properties in Ontario, Georgia and Florida.

Previously, Dunlap worked as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Toronto, Paris and New York. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University (Illinois) and bachelor of commerce from Queen’s University (Ontario).

A number of private and non-profit boards benefit from Dunlap’s association. He’s a director of Southlake Regional Health Centre, a governor of St. Andrew’s College, a trustee of the Pebble Hill Foundation and an advisory board member of The Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto. He is also a past president of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the world’s largest indoor agricultural and equestrian exposition.

Dunlap was introduced to hunting at an early age by his grandmother, the noted conservationist, Louise Ireland Humphrey. Today, he considers himself fortunate to share the enjoyment of the outdoors with his wife and three children.

Of his appointment to the Delta Waterfowl Board, he said, “It is a privilege to be able to help support Delta in its work to improve the science of conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations across North America.”

Charles A. Elcan

Charles A. Elcan

Nashville, Tennessee

Elcan, 55, joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in February 2019.

Currently, he serves as a partner in Frisco Partners, a leading global equity firm specializing in investments in technology and technology-enabled businesses. Previously, Elcan was the founder and president of China Healthcare Group organized in 2008 to build hospitals in China. He also served as executive vice president-medical office properties for Health Care Properties Investors, Inc.

In addition to Delta Waterfowl, Elcan is deeply involved with many charitable and conservation organizations. These have included board positions with the Frist Foundation, the Land Trust for Tennessee, the Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Trust, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Foundation, YMCA of Middle Tennessee and others.

Elcan was introduced to Delta Waterfowl by fellow board members Will Yandell and John Dobbs, but his hunting history and passion go back much farther. At age 7, he was introduced to hunting by his father, and has been devoted to it ever since.

The Delta Waterfowl pillars of producing ducks and ensuring the future of duck hunting align with Elcan’s views.

“Association with Delta supports my passion for hunting by helping with wildlife conservation and habitat,” he said.

Ariel Grange Somes

Ariel Grange Somes

Terra Cotta, Ontario

Ariel Grange Somes brings a lifetime of hunting experience, an innovative spirit, and an enthusiasm for recruiting new hunters—especially women and those lacking hunting families—to Delta Waterfowl. A professional horse trainer, Somes owns an elite equestrian stable and competes on the sport’s biggest stages, including the World Equestrian Games and European Championships. Somes also owns and operates multiple small businesses within Inglewood, Ontario.

In her free time, Somes most enjoys hunting with her husband on their properties in Collingwood and Iron Bridge, Ontario, and throughout Canada and the United States. Even their honeymoon included a trip to the Yukon and Northwest Territories in pursuit of moose, caribou, and Dall sheep. Somes is an avid waterfowler and upland bird hunter, too, joined most often by her husband and—her constant sidekick—her black Lab, Hazard.

A new mom as of January 2023, Somes is excited to contribute fresh ideas and perspectives to Delta’s Board of Directors.

“It is an honor to sit on the Board of Delta Waterfowl, especially as a younger member of the team,” she said. “Not only is it my passion for bird hunting that drives my enthusiasm for the work that Delta does, but also to raise my son in a lifestyle that my husband and I love and encompass into our lives so whole heartedly.”

Tucker Knight

Tucker Knight

Houston, Texas

Tucker Knight, 49, of Houston, is the senior managing director in the mortgage banking division of Berkadia with responsibilities in loan origination, equity placement and management of the Texas offices. Under his leadership, the Houston office ranks at the top of Berkadia’s national network in annual production.

Knight joined Berkadia in 2015. He specializes in office, industrial and multifamily properties. He has extensive experience in arranging and structuring joint venture opportunities with life insurance companies, pension funds and advisors as well as originating debt for commercial real estate throughout the United States.

A native of Houston, Knight earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and is a certified commercial investment member. Prior to joining Berkadia, he was a senior managing director for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. and before that was a mortgage banker with Allied Mortgage Capital Corporation.

He serves on the National Advisory Committee for Freddie Mac and is vice chair of the IOPC Black committee of the Urban Land Institute. Knight is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Texas Real Estate Commission, International Council of Shopping Centers and Association of Commercial Real Estate Professionals.

He serves as Chairman of the Board for the Institute of Stem Cell Research and Education and is a Board Member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, providing college scholarships for the youth of Texas and surrounding states. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Culinary Institute Lenotre, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Trinity Oaks, the Texas Wildlife Association and rides with the Tejas Vaqueros.

W. Frank McCreight

W. Frank McCreight

Westworth Village, Texas

McCreight joined the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors in January 2018.

The 63-year-old Mississippi native is the president of a private equity-backed oil and gas exploration and production company in Texas. He has been an oil and gas company executive since 1982.

An avid duck hunter since his childhood, McCreight fondly recalls those youthful trips with his father to hunt in green timber. Over the years, he has enjoyed a wide range of outdoor experiences, including hunting big-game on other continents. But he always comes back to waterfowl.

“My true passion is shooting mallards and running Labs,” he said.

McCreight became aware of Delta Waterfowl a decade ago through acquaintance with Will Yandell, who is now Delta’s chairman of the board. McCreight said he appreciates Delta’s values and mission as The Duck Hunters Organization, so he wanted to get more involved.

“I’ve met a lot of people in the south and southeast, so I think I can help raise Delta’s profile as we grow the organization,” he said. “I’m a true believer that Delta’s work to raise more ducks is good for every duck hunter.”

Rosemary McIlhenny

Rosemary McIlhenny

Nashville, Tennessee

McIlhenny joined the Delta Waterfowl Board in the spring of 2021. She is an active community volunteer who grew up on Avery Island, Louisiana, where her family has resided for more than 200 years. It is there that the McIlhenny family created and still produces the Tabasco hot sauce brand. Their family history is rich with appreciation for the land and wildlife conservation.

McIlhenny also grew up close to hunting.

“Bird hunting stories were most often the topic of conversation between my father, both grandfathers and many extended cousins,” she says. “Much of the talk and time in the kitchen was spent discussing how to prepare and cook what was harvested.”

McIlhenny holds degrees from both Saint Mary’s College and the University of Georgia. In addition to Delta Waterfowl, her leadership and generous philanthropy benefit Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum, Friends of Warner Park, Nashville Symphony, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Foundation and the Montgomery Bell Academy as special events and chef series coordinator.

McIlhenny lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and has two sons – John and Frank. Her own interest in hunting was primarily fostered by her father. She said, “It was working with my dad and our retriever that I became more interested in hunting. I wanted to see her work put to the test. My father found some old hip boots and always made sure I was dry and warm to ensure a positive experience. I hunted occasionally as a child and throughout the years. I have loved watching my boys grow up as hunters.”

They have hunted together in Arkansas, Canada, Louisiana and Tennessee. In the most recent years, she says she has come to realize how much she enjoys hunting, particularly for waterfowl. She appreciates the small things like the boat ride through the marsh, the anticipation before shooting hour, and even missing the first shots of the morning that really make her settle down and focus.

McIlhenny says she likes to work with organizations whose work is “hands on” – something she can see the results from – and that’s how she views Delta. She is particularly impressed with the scientific-base to all of the programs and believes deeply in Delta’s delivery of a portion of funds back to the chapters who raised it. She added, “Those are things I can relate to and get behind because I can see them happen and their benefits.”

Dr. Scott Petrie

Dr. Scott Petrie

Chief Executive Officer

An avid waterfowler and renowned scientist, Dr. Scott Petrie, 57, has been the Chief Executive Officer of Delta Waterfowl since 2015. He came to The Duck Hunters Organization as an accomplished and respected leader in the waterfowl conservation community, having served as executive director at Long Point Waterfowl in Ontario for 18 years. Petrie was also an adjunct professor at Western University where he supervised graduate students and taught Wildlife Ecology and Management.

Relying on his experience, desire for organizational growth and strong connections in both the waterfowl management and hunting communities, Petrie’s notable achievements include leading Delta’s development and events staff through a period of rapid growth; overseeing the organization’s expanded conservation and leadership roles in all four flyways; placing renewed emphasis on and raising public awareness of Delta’s waterfowl research legacy; and advancing Delta’s hunter recruitment/retention efforts and conservation programs.

As a young man, Petrie worked on a family dairy farm in Atwood, Ontario, where he also began hunting ducks and geese. His passion for waterfowl grew out of research as a “Delta student” in 1986 and 1987, when he worked on the Marsh Ecology Research Program and Minnedosa Canvasback Project. He completed an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology at the University of Guelph in Ontario in 1990, and earned his PhD at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa in 1997, where he studied the wintering and breeding ecology of the white-faced whistling duck. Petrie also completed a masters of business administration at the University of Mary, North Dakota, in 2022.

“It has been very exciting to return to the organization I started with as a student,” Petrie said. “It’s been a pleasure leading and growing an excellent team that’s increasing the impact and delivery of Delta’s conservation programs. Delta is now recognized as a key contributor to waterfowl conservation and as the premier organization supporting duck hunters across North America.”

When he’s not in the office, you’ll find Petrie hunting waterfowl with his English springer spaniel, Boone. Petrie is also an avid big game hunter, and enjoys mountain biking, kayaking and playing tennis with his wife, Val.

Sprague Richardson

Sprague Richardson

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sprague Richardson, 35, of Winnipeg, was born and raised in Headingley, Manitoba. He was blessed to grow up knowing and exploring the Delta Marsh, because his family has owned a weekend property there since it was purchased by his great grandfather, James A. Richardson, more than 100 years ago.

The family loves hunting the marsh and has gone beyond to develop a deep appreciation for all the wetland does to benefit the environment and the economy of the area. Today, Richardson feels an important duty to give back so future generations can enjoy all of Delta Marsh’s benefits the way he has.

Richardson is president of Western Canadian Aerial (WCA) and its group of affiliated companies — an aerial application business he acquired in 2016.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba with a double major in agricultural business and economics. He also obtained his commercial pilot’s license and began working in aviation as an aerial applicator. He then developed WCA, operating 17 aircraft with a focus on agricultural spraying across the Canadian prairies. Most recently, he expanded the business into forestry, spraying across Ontario and Quebec.

His current board positions include Kingston Midstream (a pipeline business in Manitoba and Saskatchewan), Fort Whyte Alive Capital Campaign (an environmental education and recreation center in Winnipeg) and the Siobahn Richardson Foundation (a family foundation with a focus on youth environmental education).

Richardson enjoys hunting waterfowl, upland birds and big game. He has hiked on Elsmere Island, Mount Kilimanjaro and various trails across Canada. He sails on Lake of the Woods and flies privately more than 100 hours each year.

His addition to the Delta Waterfowl board of directors allows him to expand his personal philanthropic focus on the environment, education and recreation.

Timothy B. Robertson

Timothy B. Robertson

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Robertson, 66, joined the Delta Waterfowl board in spring of 2017. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia and currently serves as Chairman of Bay Shore Enterprises, LLC, an investment holding company with activities in international media, real estate and private capital ventures. He previously served as President and CEO of International Family Entertainment (NYSE-FAM), which was best known for its flagship cable network, The Family Channel.

Following the sale of FAM to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Robertson has pursued educational, charitable and public service activities. In addition to the Delta board, he has served on the board of his alma mater — the University of Virginia — as well as the Virginia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum.

He first developed an interest in hunting through his grandfather, U.S. Senator A. Willis Robertson, who was the co-author of the Pittman-Robertson wildlife conservation bill. This law remains an historic legislative high-water mark in the funding of conservation in the United States.

Later in life, Robertson became a truly avid waterfowl hunter in order to share quality time with his son, Willis H. Robertson. He primarily hunts in Virginia’s historic Back Bay region, as well as North Carolina’s Currituck Sound.

“I love the fact that Delta Waterfowl is committed to science-based solutions to increasing duck production,” Robertson said. “Through all of our efforts, we will preserve this great sport for many generations to come.”

Patrick J. Rothwell

Patrick J. Rothwell

Chevy Chase, Maryland

Rothwell, 42, brings to Delta’s Board of Directors an extensive background in legislation and governmental affairs at the federal level.

Since 2012, he’s been the managing director of federal government relations for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Rothwell’s resume includes senior staff positions for a who’s who of U.S. legislators.

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Rothwell is the son of a successful flour miller. His father’s career took the family to Arizona and Minnesota before settling in Norfolk, Massachusetts, where he grew up playing hockey, baseball and golf. There, in high school, he also learned to bird hunt and fly fish alongside his brother.

In 1997, Rothwell enrolled in Hobart College, where he majored in political science. Upon graduation in 2001, he moved to Washington, D.C., and began working on Capitol Hill as a paid intern with the office of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He quickly moved up to a full-time role with U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood of Georgia, then became legislative director for U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, followed by serving as chief of staff for the House Republican Policy Committee, and finally, as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

He joined NSSF to combine his love of hunting with his experience as a senior congressional staffer.

He and his wife, Catherine, have twin girls, Jane and Charlotte.

Don Valentine

Don Valentine

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Don Valentine, 84, joined Delta’s Board of Directors in February 2021.

After graduating from Utah State University, Valentine worked in his family construction business. In the 1960s, he had the opportunity to move to Boulder, Colorado, where he grew interested in the ski industry. It was there he met Jim Temple, the founder and developer of the Steamboat Ski area.

Valentine acquired most of the land around the developing ski area. His creativity and conservation ethic were pivotal in the development of several homes and land preservation subdivisions around the area. His expertise in development was integral to the formation of the Steamboat Springs Mt. Werner Water District, where he served as president and board chairman for 32 years. As the ski area became one of the largest in Colorado, Valentine turned his skills to banking and helped form a new bank for which he served as a director for 30 years.

In the 1970s Valentine purchased approximately 5,000 acres in western South Dakota that included several closed gold mines and abandoned gold towns. He subsequently formed a partnership with one of the largest gold mines in the world, the Homestake Mining Company. His interest in mining led to participation in several other small mining operations, where most of his time is absorbed today.

Although he started hunting upland birds and deer at an early age in the East, it wasn’t until his move to Colorado that Valentine’s passion for hunting took hold. After several years of pheasant hunting in Nebraska, his interest in duck hunting also began to grow.

He noticed there was little access to adequate duck hunting, so he decided to purchase property along the Platte River in Nebraska and form a hunting club. The club has since increased its ownership to several thousand acres along the river and created additional waterfowl habitat by building more small lakes and wetlands.

Learning of Delta’s nest predation studies in the 1990s led Valentine to The Duck Hunters Organization.

“I was intrigued by what Delta had to say on the predation of duck nests and the low survival rate of ducklings, so in 1995 I became a financial supporter and an interested party,” he said.

His more than five decades of hunting experience has covered 45 states, four Canadian provinces, South America, Africa, Europe, and Iceland. He lives in Steamboat Springs and continues to travel the world hunting with his children and grandchildren.

David “Deke” Welles

David “Deke” Welles

St Louis, Missouri

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.

William M. Yandell III

William M. Yandell III

Memphis, Tennessee

Yandell, 65, has been on the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors since October 2012 and served as its chairman through February of 2021.

He has a diverse business background with experience in agriculture, oil and gas, wireless telecommunications and real estate. In 2010, he became a partner at Heritage Land and Development, a company that redevelops historical buildings, and he continues today as a real estate developer.

Yandell holds degrees from Woodberry Forest School, Rhodes College, and the University of Mississippi Law School. He has been a member of the Mississippi Bar since 1981.

His hunting career began at age 6, taking a single-shot .410 afield for doves. He went on his first duck hunt two years later at a flooded timber club in Mississippi.

“I love any type of wingshooting, but duck hunting is my favorite,” Yandell said. “I like to hunt ducks in all types of environments – marsh, pond or green timber. When I was young, my favorite duck was the ring-necked ducks because they are so fast. I remember when hunting with my father, I would want to shoot the ringnecks, and he wanted to shoot the mallards.”

During Yandell’s term as board chairman, Delta made monumental gains in habitat conservation through the inclusion of the organization’s Working Wetlands program and by working with Manitoba to develop the GROW program. Both ensure that breeding ducks have excellent places to nest and raise broods. Delta’s innovative duck production programs — Predator Management and Hen Houses — have continued to thrive, and Delta launched HunteR3, an initiative that includes the University Hunting Program, First Hunt and Defending the Hunt.

Directors At Large

Tommie Dunavant

Tommie Dunavant

Memphis, Tennessee

Tommie Dunavant, a longtime supporter of The Duck Hunters Organization, joined the Delta Waterfowl Board as a director at large in February 2023. A Memphis, Tennessee, resident, Dunavant practices psychology and oversees The Dunavant Foundation, a philanthropic enterprise founded with her husband, the late William “Billy” Dunavant Jr. (see “Conservation Leader Inspired Others to Appreciate Ducks,” Winter 2021, Page 86).

Through early adulthood, Dunavant says she most enjoyed “indoor activities,” such as ballets, operas, and symphonies, but in her early 30s she “found the healing power of nature” while coping with a family tragedy. Soon, too, she met Billy Dunavant, whose passion was for all-things outdoors.

“I used to tell my Billy that I married him because he was a ‘seasonal man,’” Dunavant said. “Every season brought a new activity, whether it was flyfishing, shooting clays, or hunting ducks.”

The Dunavants shared more than three decades of such seasons together, with Tommie Dunavant gaining an obsession with the beauty and hunting of teal, wood ducks, mallards and, most especially, black ducks.

“We don’t see many black ducks in this flyway, of course,” she said. “But I’ve managed to bag three, which Billy had mounted for me. I just love being in a duck blind listening to wings whistling overhead before daylight. It’s pure magic.”

Dunavant has given back to the resource since practically her first hunt. She and Billy have funded habitat work as far south as Mississippi and north as the prairie pothole region; they’ve donated generously to Delta’s Duck Production programs; and, most recently, The Dunavant Foundation gifted $2 million to Delta’s Million Duck Campaign—an initiative to add 1 million ducks to every fall flight, every year.

“All duck hunters are indebted to Tommie Dunavant’s incredible passion for waterfowl conservation,” said Jeffrey Howell, vice president of development for Delta Waterfowl. “She’s also an incredibly dynamic and inspiring public speaker who’s rallied countless others, including women, to support ducks and duck hunting.”

A University of Memphis ambassador, Dunavant serves on the boards of Christian Brothers University, Rhodes College, and the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses.

She and Billy were introduced to The Duck Hunters Organization by their friends John Dobbs, a longtime member of the Delta Board, and Paul Tudor Jones III, a noted financial manager and waterfowl conservation leader.

“Billy and I shared a love for waterfowl conservation that essentially became a way of life—a life of action,” Dunavant said. “I look forward to continuing our legacy on Delta’s Board, and it’s a high honor to have been nominated.”

George R. Eaton

George R. Eaton

Caledon, Ontario

Eaton, 75, has been a director at-large member of the Delta board since May 2018. He is an investor and entrepreneur from Caledon, Ontario.

His long and varied business career has included everything from professional race car driver to president and CEO of Eatons of Canada, the T. Eaton Company (a full-line department store with 35,000 employees), Eaton Acceptance and Eaton Realty among others. He currently manages family investments as vice-chairman of Weatons Holdings Limited.

In addition to his involvement with Delta Waterfowl, Eaton also currently serves on the boards of Metaris Inc., Weatons Holdings Limited and the John David and Signy Eaton Foundation, which delivers philanthropic grants to hospitals, arts, athletic, educational and conservation causes. These causes mirror his personal charitable interests including volunteer work for medical, political, educational and conservation organizations.

He enjoys hunting, fishing, collecting wildlife art and reading. Eaton has been married happily for more than 40 years and has three sons.

John A. MacQuarrie

John A. MacQuarrie

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Isl.

MacQuarrie joined Delta Waterfowl’s Board as a director-at-large in February.

He has long served in Canadian government, working first in the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture before becoming the Deputy Minister of Agriculture from 2001 to 2004. From 2004 to 2011, MacQuarrie was Deputy Minister for the Department of Environment (which included fish and wildlife).  During this term, he facilitated Delta’s Alternative Land Use Services to become a province-wide program in Prince Edward Island, holding numerous meetings with Delta Waterfowl staff to develop and implement the successful ALUS program there.

MacQuarrie was again appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture in 2011, and held the post until becoming Deputy Minister responsible for transportation, infrastructure and energy in 2015. In 2017, he went to work for Cavendish Farms — a large potato processor — as director of environmental sustainability.

A lifelong hunter and angler, MacQuarrie enjoys pursuing these passions and sharing them with his children.

“Issues relating to the environment and wildlife have always been close to me, and I am fortunate that my working career has allowed me opportunities to provide positive influence,” he said. “Hunters and anglers share a deep connection to the natural world. I have looked upon Delta Waterfowl as an organization that has not lost sight of the importance of meeting the needs of hunters, and in turn, has influenced good public policy.”

Robert D. Sopuck

Robert D. Sopuck

Sandy Lake, Manitoba

Sopuck, 67, joined Delta’s Board of Directors in May 2019.

He is a member of the Canadian Parliament, first elected in 2010 to the House of Commons representing the Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette District of Manitoba. Most recently, he was appointed Parliament’s Critic for Wildlife Conservation and Parks Canada.

Sopuck currently farms in central Manitoba, but previously has held numerous positions related to environmental management. These included fisheries biologist, director of environmental programs at Pine Falls Paper Company, vice president of agricultural policy for Delta Waterfowl in Western Canada (2000 to 2009), and environmental consulting for several industries and organizations, including Exxon and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

In 2014, he became a published book author. “A Life Outdoors: Essays on Hunting, Gathering and Country Living in the 21st Century” is a collection of columns written for the Winnipeg Free Press.

Sopuck also serves as chair of the Fish and Lake Improvement Program for the Parkland Region, and a is board member of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.

Sopuck’s father introduced him to hunting at age 10, and he has been afield ever since. He enjoys duck, goose, and upland hunting with his yellow Lab, and big-game hunting.

“Delta Waterfowl combines the best evidence-based waterfowl management along with a passionate advocacy for waterfowl hunters and waterfowl hunting,” he said.

William G. Turnbull

William G. Turnbull

Calgary, Alberta

Turnbull70has served on the Delta Waterfowl Foundation Board as a director-at-large since of spring of 2018. 

He is the vice president/general manager of Pollyco Developments and president of W.G. Turnbull & Associates Real Estate Development. 

Amassing an impressive resume of philanthropic accomplishments, Turnbull has been an avid and active conservationist of fish and wildlife for more than 40 years. His efforts have been recognized in Canada with “Order of the Bighorn” and a “Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.” 

For 10 years, Turnbull served on the board of directors of the Long Point Waterfowl Wetland Research Center for Great Lakes in Ontario, Canada. That’s where me met Delta Waterfowl CEO Dr. Scott Petrie, who was then Long Point Waterfowl’s executive director. 

Additionally, Turnbull has the distinction of having co-hosted one of the largest conservation fundraisers in North America. The 2007 event in Calgary raised more than $2 million in one evening.