Delta Waterfowl Appoints George Freeman Chairman of the Board

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — George C. Freeman III of Richmond, Virginia, will become Delta Waterfowl’s new chairman of the board on July 1.

Freeman, 61, is a lifelong waterfowl hunter and conservationist who has served on Delta’s board of directors since 2002, including the past three years as vice chairman. He is the chief executive officer of Universal Corporation, an international, publicly traded tobacco company.

George Freeman“I think legacy leadership is important for Delta at this time,” Freeman said. “My experience as CEO in public companies has value to a non-profit. I’m humbled and honored to lead the board of such an incredible conservation organization focused on what I love—waterfowl. I’m a duck and goose nerd.”

Like many avid waterfowl hunters, Freeman was introduced to the wonders of autumn wings over a Lower Chesapeake Bay wetland early in life, even if his start was unconventional.

“My father didn’t hunt, and he traveled a lot,” Freeman explained. “My neighbor who didn’t have any sons got me started hunting. I would go the library as a kid and check out every bird book that had ducks in it, so I knew a lot about ducks. I got so into it that my dad started leasing hunting rights from a cousin for me, and I’ve been hunting ever since. I love ducks, and it’s just part of my love of nature. I love being there in the duck blind when the world wakes up.”

Freeman is a 1989 Yale Law School graduate who clerked for two prominent judges, the Hon. Richard S. Arnold and Lewis F. Powell Jr. He then went to work for Universal Corp. in 1997. He was promoted to general counsel in 2001, and continued moving up through management to become president, chairman, and CEO in 2008.

He is currently a director of the American Civil War Center, Carpenter Co., Children’s Hospital Foundation, Tredegar Corporation and Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, while he serves as a trustee of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and of the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. He’s married to Louise Gilbert Freeman, and the couple has two daughters and a son.

“We are excited to welcome George Freeman as the 22nd chairman of Delta Waterfowl’s Board of Directors,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, Delta’s chief executive officer. “George has incredible passion for waterfowl conservation, which combined with his love for Delta Waterfowl and his knowledge and charisma, will ensure that he will have an incredibly impactful term as the Chair of our Board. I look forward to working closely with George as we close out the Million Duck Campaign and make major advancements in all four of Delta Waterfowl’s programmatic pillars: Duck Production, Research and Education, Habitat Conservation, and HunteR3.”

Freeman takes the helm following outgoing chairman Michael H. Mooney, who has led Delta Waterfowl’s Board since 2021. During Mooney’s tenure as chairman, Delta experienced tremendous annual fundraising growth, impressive increased program delivery, and publicly launched the innovative Million Duck Campaign. Delta’s MDC is a bold, $250 million fundraising initiative that promises to add 1 million ducks to every fall flight through proven duck production programs such as Hen Houses and Predator Management. As a past chairman, Mooney will remain on the Board for another term.

Freeman plans to build on Delta’s momentum as a premier conservation organization working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting throughout North America.

“My goal is to sell the world on active waterfowl management, and for other people and groups to adopt duck production programs,” Freeman said. “The ultimate goal is for active waterfowl management to become widespread and accepted, which will lead to more ducks in every fall flight.”

John L. Dunlap of Newmarket, Ontario, has been elected as vice chairman. He is president of Moffat Dunlap Real Estate and maintains farms and wildlife properties in Ontario, Georgia, and Florida. Dunlap holds an MBA from Northwestern University (Illinois) and bachelor of commerce from Queen’s University (Ontario).

Robert B. Trainer Jr. of Houston, Texas, continues as treasurer. Additional returning Board members include Mooney of Chicago, Illinois; John H. Dobbs Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee; William M. Yandell III of Memphis, Tennessee; Patrick J. Rothwell of Chevy Chase, Maryland; Timothy B. Robertson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; W. Frank McCreight of Westworth Village, Texas; Robert E. Bartels Jr. of South Bend, Indiana; Charles A. Elcan of Nashville, Tennessee; Angus R. Cooper III of Mobile, Alabama; John W. Childs of Vero Beach, Florida; John S. Dale of Waubay, South Dakota; Rosemary McIlhenny of Nashville, Tennessee; Don Valentine of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Sprague Richardson of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Tucker Knight of Houston, Texas; Deke Welles of St. Louis, Missouri; and Ariel Grange Somes of Terra Cotta, Ontario. Petrie, of Bismarck, North Dakota, serves on the Board in addition to his role as Delta’s CEO.

Delta welcomes new Board members Jim Bebo of Orono, Minnesota; Peek Garlington III of Lexington, Kentucky; Geoff Shepstone of Barrington, Illinois; and Greg Twardowski of Frontenac, Missouri.

Delta directors at large include Tommie Duvavant of Memphis, Tennessee; George R. Eaton of Caledon, Ontario; John A. MacQuarrie of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; John Robinson of Calgary, Alberta; Robert D. Sopuck of Sandy Lake, Manitoba; and William G. Turnbull of Calgary, Alberta.

Delta extends thanks to Dick Carmical of Monticello, Arkansas, and Benjamin G. Bordelon of Lockport, Louisiana, who have fulfilled their Board service.

Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.