Dr. Scott Petrie
An avid waterfowler and renowned biologist, Dr. Scott Petrie, 50, was named Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientist of Delta Waterfowl in 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.
Relying on his experience 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 the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways; placing renewed emphasis on and raising public awareness of Delta’s waterfowl research legacy; and advancing Delta’s hunter recruitment/retention efforts and programs such as Hen Houses and Working Wetlands.
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 ecologies of the white-faced whistling duck.
“It was very exciting to return to the organization I started with as a student,” Petrie said. “It’s been a pleasure leading an excellent team that’s increasing the impact and delivery of Delta’s conservation programs. Delta is gaining recognition 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 and pheasants with his English springer spaniel, Boone, attending his sons’ hockey games or spending time with his wife, Val. He lives in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Dr. Frank Rohwer
A legendary waterfowl biologist and hunting advocate, Dr. Frank Rohwer was raised near the Chesapeake Bay, where at age 12 he began duck hunting the public marshes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“As I grew up, I saw the Chesapeake’s ecosystem fall apart,” he said. “It lost its submerged aquatic vegetation, ducks and fish. That had a big impact on me.”
During Rohwer’s senior year of high school, he was invited to hunt the Central Flyway by his brother, Sievert, who was completing a Ph.D. in waterfowl ecology at Kansas State University.
“I was simply overwhelmed at the number of ducks,” Rohwer said. “That one trip convinced me to go to Kansas State for the duck hunting — as it turned out, the academics were perfect for me, too.”
Rohwer was instructed by internationally known faculty, including Steve Fretwell, and sought additional guidance from graduate biology students.
“In particular, a Ph.D. candidate named Patrick Caldwell was a Delta Waterfowl student,” Rohwer said. “As soon as I learned of Delta, I wanted to work there. I pestered then-scientific director Dr. Bruce Batt for two years before I wore him down and he hired me to be a summer technician at Delta in 1976.”
Rohwer remained a Delta student while completing his undergraduate degree and earning a Master of Science degree from Washington State University. He attained a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and completed postdoctoral work at Queen’s University in Ontario.
In the ensuing decades, Rohwer ascended from Delta Waterfowl student to president and chief scientist of the organization — and one of its most recognizable public faces. And while his early research focused on basic waterfowl mysteries, such as why ducks lay about 10 eggs and not more, his more recent work is unlocking cutting-edge tools to help Delta boost the fall flight.
“The body of scientific work that other waterfowl folks most associate with me is my research that shows Predator Management is an effective and efficient strategy to increase production for dabbing ducks,” he said.
One thing has remained constant throughout Rohwer’s four-decade career: Delta Waterfowl “follows the science” to find solutions for ducks and duck hunters.
“I am exceptionally proud of our strong base in science,” he said. “Science guides our programs and policies, not emotion and political correctness. I love working at Delta because we always speak the truth, even when it isn’t pretty.”
When he isn’t guiding Delta’s research, Rohwer enjoys hunting ducks and pheasants with his English springer spaniel, Spat, and playing sports with his 10-year-old son.
Jason Tharpe grew up an avid waterfowler in the town of Bastrop, Louisiana. Though he works largely behind the scenes while overseeing Delta’s affairs as chief operating officer, he’s one of the organization’s most respected minds on all matters affecting ducks and duck hunters.
“I bring a no-nonsense business perspective to our discussions,” Tharpe said. “Yes, I’m the ‘beans and bullets’ guy who reminds everyone we have to pay the electric bill. But after 16 years at Delta, I like to think I still bring the perspective of the everyday duck hunter.”
Tharpe joined the Delta Waterfowl staff in 2002 as one of the original regional directors — a period of transition in which Delta shifted from an exclusively research institution to The Duck Hunters Organization, committed to producing ducks and securing the future of waterfowl hunting in North America.
“I am a passionate waterfowler with two boys, ages 16 and 19,” said Tharpe, who holds degrees in paper science and technology, non-profit leadership and management, and psychology. “It excites me every day to know that I am contributing to their ability to hunt waterfowl and hopefully pass it along to their children.”
Tharpe enjoys hunting ducks with his black Lab, Jack, fishing, camping and skiing.
A lifelong duck hunter raised in a small community northeast of St. Paul, Minnesota, John Devney has been at the forefront of Delta Waterfowl’s mission since November of 1998. Previously an aspiring attorney with a degree in political science from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, a chance encounter shifted his career path.
“After being a Delta member for several years, I met Delta’s Jim Fisher and former president Rob Olson at Game Fair in Anoka, Minnesota, in August of 1998,” Devney said. “I offered to contribute complimentary freelance articles to the Delta Waterfowl Report (precursor to Delta Waterfowl magazine). That led to a discussion of creating a new communications and marketing position, and I jumped in with both feet.”
In addition to a myriad of responsibilities, Devney directed Delta’s communications for more than a decade. Today, as vice president of U.S. policy, he works to ensure positive outcomes for ducks and duck hunters on the local, state and federal levels. Notably, he partnered with members of the agriculture community to engineer Delta’s Working Wetlands program, an innovative, incentive-based habitat initiative that focuses on protecting the best duck-producing wetlands.
“I’ve worn a number of hats throughout the organization, from the fledgling stages of our communications, marketing, membership and events program to today’s work on development and policy,” he said. “I have been fortunate to survey a diverse landscape, which allows me to have a broad view of Delta’s value and how to communicate it.”
If you ever have the opportunity to chat with Devney, you’ll instantly recognize his intricate understanding of the issues facing ducks and the future of waterfowling. And you’ll note he’s still just as motivated to find solutions as he was two decades ago.
“Delta is making a unique, critically important impact,” he said. “Whether it is hunter recruitment, duck production, new solutions to long-vexing habitat problems or issues of declining hunter access, Delta’s solutions are best-in-class and represent the best hope for ducks and duck hunters.”
In addition to duck hunting, Devney enjoys fishing, training his black Lab and running hunt tests. He lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, with his wife and three children.
Tim Beckler brought an abundance of business finance expertise to Delta Waterfowl in 2003, following 12 years of experience in public accounting and a two-year stint as controller of a family-owned car dealership. A Certified Public Accountant, Beckler’s thoughtful planning and execution of projects, accurate analysis of financial and business decisions, and thoughtful advice on new ventures are highly valued by his Delta colleagues.
“It’s exciting to be part of a successful team and know that my skills of accounting and business management made a difference,” Beckler said. “And it’s rewarding to work toward a conservation cause that’s greater than myself by contributing to Delta’s efficient workplace environment.”
While Beckler is not currently an avid hunter, a spark was lit when he was invited to try dove and duck hunting.
“My wife and I plan to take a hunter safety course, and I look forward to expanding my interest in hunting in the near future,” he said. “Until then, as an avid fisherman, I will continue to hunt the elusive North Dakota walleye.”
Beckler additionally enjoys kayaking, sitting by a campfire, biking, hiking, golfing and attending concerts.
Joel Brice has always been fascinated by wetland systems.
“In the dead of winter, you’re hard pressed to find anything living in them,” he said. “But come spring, they come alive with more animals and sounds than you thought possible.”
His interest led him to pursue a bachelor of science in wildlife management from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a Master of Science in biology from the University of North Dakota. In early 2001, he was working for the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota, when he received a call from his former graduate advisor.
“He’d received a call from the vice president of Delta Waterfowl, who was looking to hire a young biologist,” Brice said. “I applied, interviewed and the rest is history.”
That history includes an impactful career at Delta Waterfowl, most recently guiding the organization’s duck production and hunter recruitment/retention programs.
“I grew up in a long line of hunters and went to college with hundreds of guys who also hunted,” he said. “Until I came to Delta, I didn’t realize that the future of hunting is at risk. I’m proud to work for an organization that is strongly focused on waterfowl hunting as well as waterfowl. The opportunity to help impact the future of a continental resource is a monumental task that I thrive upon.”
Given Brice’s interest in wetlands, perhaps it’s no surprise he most enjoys hunting ducks with his yellow Lab, Chester, over water.
“To me, the splash of a duck and a swimming Labrador go together like milk and cookies,” he said.
Brice also enjoys fishing, camping, horseback riding and hiking with his wife and children.
“Lately, you’ll most likely find me chauffeuring my kids to sporting events or coaching,” he said.
Delta Waterfowl bolstered the organization’s fundraising leadership in 2017 by hiring John Davis as vice president of development – corporations and foundations.
Davis, 39, a Texas native, now lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
An avid duck hunter, Davis completed an undergraduate degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Texas A&M. In 2000, he served as a Delta Waterfowl research assistant in Erickson and Minnedosa, Manitoba, studying lesser scaup.
After college, Davis found work in the healthcare industry, where he spent more than 12 years raising funds for a non-profit foundation that assisted people in great medical need.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to come back to Delta,” he said. “I’m using my experiences with capital campaigns and planned giving to build on the recent impressive growth of Delta Waterfowl. Ultimately, I want to fully fund Delta’s mission and initiatives, and continue to grow the organization.”
Dr. Scott Petrie, chief executive officer of Delta, said the addition of Davis is proving a key step forward for The Duck Hunter’s Organization.
“The hiring of John Davis is facilitating rapid organizational growth, and ensuring that Delta continues to make significant contributions to conservation, research, hunting advocacy and wetland protection throughout North America,” Petrie said.
A Texas native, Davis lives in Forth Smith, Arkansas. He most enjoys hunting waterfowl in the south’s flooded cypress forests, while his favorite duck is a toss-up between the canvasback, wood duck and pintail.
Alex Heiser earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing/advertising communications from Minnesota State University–Moorhead, and has worked in his field of study for his entire career. But, he was looking for something more: A place of employment where he could apply his skills, feel passionate in his work and give back to conservation. That search led Heiser to Delta Waterfowl.
His strategic thinking, long-term planning and entrepreneurship have made him a critical asset in Delta’s mission to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting.
“Delta has given me the opportunity to apply my marketing background in a field that I truly enjoy,” Heiser said. “It’s rewarding to know that my efforts, along with the great work Delta does, are making a difference for waterfowlers.”
Raised on a farm in rural North Dakota, he’s hunted the same family property since he was 5 years old. The landscape has changed, in some ways for the better: Wood ducks were a rare sight when he was a boy, but now there are hundreds to be found.
When he isn’t hunting, you’ll find Heiser fishing, camping or spending time with his wife, kids and black Lab, Sage.
A lifelong resident of Memphis, Tennessee, Jeffrey Howell was hooked as a kid on the south’s mallard hunting opportunities, particularly in flooded green timber. After earning a bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of Memphis, he was employed for more than a decade as a securities investment professional.
His love of duck hunting and career experience soon caught the eye of two members of Delta’s board of directors.
“They knew I was a long-time member of Delta Waterfowl and steered me toward working for the organization,” Howell said. “Joining the Delta team was an easy decision for me, because I’m passionate about its cause. I get to wake up every day and talk ducks and hunting with incredible men and women who help steward Delta’s mission and vision.”
Howell joined Delta in 2015 as a development director for the Mid-South, and in 2017 was appointed vice president of development – individual and major gifts.
“I want to see Delta grow substantially in the next couple of years,” he said. “I want to bring in new people who are interested in conservation so Delta can produce more ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting.”
When Howell isn’t hunting or fishing with friends and family, he enjoys spending time at Pickwick Lake in Tennessee and Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas. He lives in Memphis with his wife Kirsten, son Grant and daughter Averie.
One of Delta Waterfowl’s longest-tenured employees, Jim Fisher’s first involvement with the organization was as a Marsh Ecology Research Program (MERP) technician in 1990, while earning a bachelor of science degree at the University of Manitoba. He remained a Delta student as he pursued a Master of Science degree in natural resources management, assisting in the launch of new Delta conservation programs, notably Hen Houses.
“That got my foot in the door with Delta and I started full-time in 1993,” said Fisher, who now serves as director of conservation policy. “I have worked on a myriad of files for Delta over the years, from delivering programs and writing grant proposals to selling memberships at an outdoor expo. I enjoy meeting with people and bringing Delta’s scientific perspective to help shape conservation and hunting program efforts.”
In his current role, Fisher advocates for waterfowlers and guides Delta’s policies on agriculture, conservation, hunter recruitment/retention and more in Canada.
“I have always had a keen interest in farming and understanding how ducks and wetlands fit in on the farm,” he said. “I am also very interested in helping advocate for hunters, especially in Canada where there’s an especially high need for Delta’s efforts.”
Fisher was raised in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, where he began hunting ducks at age 10 with his Uncle John at Tin Town, a collection of shooting camps on the south side of Delta Marsh. He remains hooked on hunting divers.
“I am lucky to have a family that enables me to pursue my intense drive to hunt, especially ducks but also deer, pheasants, grouse and turkeys,” he said. “I look forward every year to an annual gathering of best friends at the end of fall to hunt and cook wild ducks, especially bluebills.”
Fisher lives in Winnipeg with his wife, daughter, springer spaniel and black Lab.
Best known as Delta Waterfowl’s Hen House guru, Matt Chouinard developed his passions for waterfowl conservation and hunting while growing up in the “bootheel” of Missouri.
“For me, there’s no better place to watch mallards respond to good calling than the flooded timber of Arkansas and southeast Missouri,” he said. “Every aspect of my work that increases duck populations and hunting opportunities is highly rewarding for me.”
While studying wildlife biology at the University of Missouri, Chouinard spent the summers of 1999 and 2000 as a Delta Waterfowl student research technician. He was a Delta graduate student for two subsequent years, which prepared him for a 3-year stint working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, Chouinard left a lasting impression at Delta, and the organization offered him a full-time role as waterfowl programs manager in 2007.
“I probably get most excited about my job when I see the fruits of our labor,” Chouinard said. “There’s nothing better than seeing a mallard hen nesting in a Delta Hen House!”
In addition to waterfowl hunting, Chouinard enjoys fishing, camping, spending time with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Max and Madeline, and cheering on his favorite sports teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals and University of Missouri Tigers.
As Ontario waterfowl programs manager, Maya Basdeo of Toronto oversees Delta’s Hunting Heritage & Conservation Center in Turkey Point, Ontario. Basdeo’s critical role supports Delta’s Great Lakes Initiative, which was launched in 2016 to bolster conservation efforts in a key region for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters. Additionally, she works to promote and help deliver First Hunt recruitment programming throughout the region, and build on Delta’s Hen House duck-production work in Ontario.
“Maya advocates for waterfowl hunting, addresses policy issues important to waterfowl hunters, assists in research projects and promotes trapping as an important heritage activity,” said Joel Brice, vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs.
Basdeo earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies at the University of Waterloo (Ontario) in 2011, and has worked in wildlife management, environmental education and conservation. She’s a director-at-large with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
“I’m a lifelong outdoor enthusiast — I grew up fishing and camping,” she said. “I’ve always been passionate about conservation, but once I became a hunter, I became even more passionate about it.”
Basdeo took a unique path to become a hunter. She worked to rehabilitate injured raptors, so her first waterfowl hunting in 2003 involved falconry, which is the practice of using a bird of prey to hunt ducks and small game. She currently has two hunting birds, a peregrine falcon named Roxy, and a Harris hawk she calls Guzedman.
“I’m interested in bringing different parts of the hunting community together,” Basdeo said. “I want to support youth and women in becoming hunters, and advocate for the preservation of hunting heritage in North America. I’m thankful for the opportunity to expand the mission of Delta Waterfowl in the Great Lakes region.”
A native of Vermont, Mike Buxton was a standout Delta Waterfowl research technician during his final two summers as an undergraduate student. In 2010, he was accepted into graduate school at Louisiana State University, where his research focused on Delta’s Predator Management program. After defending his thesis and earning a Master of Science degree in wildlife sciences, Delta invited him to return to the organization as waterfowl programs manager.
He has since proven himself a dedicated manager of Delta’s duck production programs and a true innovator. In particular, his ideas and research continue to increase the extreme effectiveness and efficiency of Predator Management.
“I enjoy the opportunity to work on and enhance programs that increase duck production and opportunities for duck hunters across North America,” Buxton said. “Several seasons of field research have given me a unique perspective on how different environmental components interact with each other, and how waterfowl managers must adjust for changing conditions and circumstances. What a duck goes through from spring migration to successfully hatching a nest and raising a brood of ducklings is nothing short of amazing to me.”
While Buxton is fascinated by the ecologies of all waterfowl, his favorite duck is the American wigeon. He enjoys layout hunting in the agricultural fields of prairie Canada and the Upper Midwest United States, training his black Lab, Tank, camping with his wife, Sarah and completing do-it-yourself projects at his home.
Though Karol Jablonski has managed Delta Waterfowl’s human resources for more than two decades, she was unfamiliar with its mission when she applied for a position. The knowledge she gained during her job interview was impactful.
“I went home and said, ‘I want this job!’” Jablonski said. “I knew right away it was where I wanted to work. It’s been amazing watching the growth within Delta and the expansion of its efforts over the past 22 years.”
Jablonski has proven herself an outstanding manager of Delta’s employee roster and a trusted, likable, reliable colleague.
“I’m fortunate to work with an incredible group of people here at Delta,” she said. “I love being able to help the staff when they need something taken care of right away. I like being the person they know will go the extra mile to take care of their needs.”
A native of Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota, Jablonski enjoys cheering on her grandsons’ sports teams, bike riding, relaxing on the beach and geocaching with family.
If you’ve ever placed a call to Delta Waterfowl’s U.S. headquarters in Bismarck, North Dakota, odds are you’ve spoken to Stephanie Thompson.
“As the first point of contact for Delta Waterfowl, I strive to be knowledgeable and informative,” Thompson said. “It excites me as a support staffer that I can assist Delta in achieving its vision of abundant waterfowl and endless opportunities for hunters.”
Thompson arrived at The Duck Hunters Organization following a 22-year career in the conservation field, including 17 years at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Hunter Education section. She has an associate of applied science degree from Bismarck State College.
In her free time, Thompson enjoys softball, volleyball, bowling, camping, walking her two dogs, and enjoying the comforts of home with friends, family and a glass of wine.
Amy Austin grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, as no stranger to the sporting life. Her great grandmother, stepfather and brother in-law all hunted. However, her one foray afield led to the comment that she was “too noisy.” That didn’t stop her from appreciating the outdoors — her favorite scenic locations include Colorado’s Grand Mesa and Cimarron Range.
After earning a bachelor of science degree in business management, Austin discovered Delta Waterfowl while looking for a workplace that would suit her family’s needs. She has since come to further appreciate Delta’s conservation mission, finding it rewarding to help protect wetlands and waterfowl for future generations.
Austin is regarded by her colleagues as a team player and big-picture thinker who contributes skillfully toward the organization’s goals.
Raised on a farm along the Missouri River near Wilton, North Dakota, in 2004 Lori Schacher responded to a job listing in the Bismarck Tribune for a receptionist at Delta Waterfowl. She’s sure glad she did.
“I love working for Delta!” said Schacher, who now serves as donor relations manager. “What excites me most about Delta is what excited me from the beginning: I work with a group of people who work so hard together and care so much about Delta’s mission. It’s been simply incredible to watch how the organization has grown.”
Through working in a variety of capacities, Schacher has proven herself in a variety of roles and demonstrated a firm understanding of Delta’s mission and the values of its membership.
“I’ve been told I have great ‘institutional knowledge’ — I think that means I’ve been at Delta a long time,” she quipped. “I worked with the Board of Directors for several years, and I’ve worked with the development department almost from the start. When I assist the directors of development to achieve a positive outcome, I feel like I too have succeeded. I’m fortunate to work in a place where everyone is so appreciative and supportive of each other. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
On the weekends, Schacher enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, boating, fishing and relaxing at her childhood farm. She enjoys hunting ducks, pheasants and big game.
“Most of all, I like hunting deer and elk in a small town in the Black Hills where I lived for 12 years,” Schacher said. “It’s so beautiful there and rarely very cold.”
Raised in Cedar Springs, Ontario, near the shores of Lake St. Clair and Roneau Bay, Scott McGuigan is Delta Waterfowl’s development director for Canada, with a focus on the Ontario and Alberta markets. Previously employed as a waterfowl guide and outdoor writer, he’s no stranger to the hunting community.
“I knew I wanted to continue working in the outdoor industry, and there’s no better organization than Delta Waterfowl to fulfill that passion,” McGuigan said. “Delta is growing rapidly in the Canadian marketplace, and it’s rewarding professionally to raise funds for Delta to recruit new waterfowlers, produce ducks and conserve habitat in Canada.”
McGuigan most enjoys engaging waterfowlers who are less familiar with Delta Waterfowl, and witnessing their excitement when informed of the organization’s mission to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting.
“Seeing others become excited about what we do is one of the best parts of my job,” he said. “It’s rewarding to help affect changes that benefit ducks and duck hunters, to witness the fruits of our labors come to bear at such things as Delta First Hunt events, and to work in a field that’s my passion and profession.”
A graduate of Butler University, where he played varsity baseball, McGuigan enjoys fly fishing and hunting big game, upland birds over pointers, and of course, waterfowl.
Martha “Marty” Justice Moore
Martha Justice Moore is Delta’s development director for North Texas, a key waterfowl state where The Duck Hunters Organization continues to grow strong support for its conservation programs.
Justice Moore focuses on major gift procurement, particularly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She is a life-long hunter and conservationist who grew up around cattle and hunting on her grandfather’s ranch. Justice Moore is a life member with leadership responsibilities in the Dallas Safari Club, currently serving as DSC Conservation Society liaison to the board. In addition, she’s been a consultant and project manager for several conservation groups in Texas.
“I love the conservation and hunting culture at Delta, and that the organization is founded on science and research,” Justice Moore said. “I’m working to build the Dallas-Fort Worth market, get people engaged and develop an even stronger community around Delta’s programs for ducks and duck hunters.”
Dr. Scott Petrie, chief executive officer, points to Justice Moore as an important asset to Delta’s growing development team.
“As a known leader in conservation across the DFW metro area, Justice Moore brings more than 20 years of professional experience in development and project management,” Petrie said. “Her skill and knowledge in development, combined with an intimate and working knowledge of key stakeholders in North Texas, are elevating Delta Waterfowl, both in Texas and across North America.”
An avid bird hunter and outdoorswoman, Justice Moore lives in Dallas with her two sons.
Hired as director of development in 2017, Janice Presley brings more than two decades of fundraising experience to Delta, including the past 11 years at the National Wild Turkey Federation as director of development, research and stewardship. Presley also previously worked for 10 years at United Way in Aiken County, South Carolina.
Presley focuses on major gift procurement in the Atlantic Region, particularly in Virginia and the Carolinas.
“I love the fact that at Delta Waterfowl, we’re not afraid to tell people we’re The Duck Hunters Organization, and we’re proud of that,” she said. “I want to raise money for ducks. I want to strengthen support in the Atlantic Flyway by expanding upon current donor relationships and developing new ones to enhance the mission of Delta Waterfowl for years to come.”
Dr. Scott Petrie, chief executive officer, lauded the unique qualities Presley brings to the Delta Waterfowl team.
“As a leader in conservation fundraising, Janice brings more than 20 years of proven development experience — 11 of which were devoted to raising visibility and dollars for game and habitat conservation,” he said. “Her skill and knowledge in major gift research, strategy and fundraising will certainly elevate our organization.”
Presley lives in South Carolina with her husband, Tim, 15-year-old daughter, Hannah Rae, and chocolate Lab, Abby. She enjoys camping and hunting doves, turkeys and deer with her family.
Media & Communications
One of today’s most prolific and celebrated waterfowl writers, Paul Wait has been the editor of more than 230 outdoor magazine issues in his 24-year media career. He began as a newspaper journalist in 1995, after graduating from St. Cloud (Minnesota) State University’s nationally accredited journalism program as the top student across all five mass communication disciplines.
Wait entered the outdoors industry in 1999, and previously has been editor of The Trapper & Predator Caller, Wisconsin Outdoor Journal and Wildfowl. He’s been editor of Delta Waterfowl magazine since 2011.
“I love ducks and duck hunting, so to be able to write about the subjects every day feeds my passion,” said Wait, who was honored in 2017 with a Professional Outdoor Media Association Pinnacle Award. “I’m passionate about the traditions of duck hunting, and I continually seek unique stories to share with Delta’s members. I feel enormous satisfaction when a piece I put together connects and inspires.”
Wait relies on strong editing and writing skills to produce insightful waterfowl magazines, web stories, press releases, and video and marketing materials that apprise members of Delta’s mission and celebrate the waterfowling lifestyle.
A Wisconsinite, Wait draws inspiration from four decades of pursuing ducks across the public marshes, rivers and lakes near Green Bay. When Wait’s father took him duck hunting at his uncle’s marsh near Clintonville, Wisconsin, Wait continued a family waterfowling tradition that spans at least six generations.
“I enjoy hunting big diving ducks, particularly from a layout boat,” Wait said. “Not surprisingly, my favorite duck species are bluebills and canvasbacks, although I’ve never met a duck or goose I didn’t like.”
Married for 22 years with two teenage daughters, when Wait isn’t writing or hunting, you’ll find him at a basketball tournament, soccer game, swim meet, whipping up a meal in his kitchen or adding to his decoy collection.
Carrie Lapka brings years of graphic-design experience in the outdoor industry to Delta Waterfowl. As art director, she adds visual appeal to numerous print and digital Delta publications, including the award-winning Delta Waterfowl magazine.
“I am most passionate about presentation,” Lapka said. “Valuable information can get lost in a paragraph, and I pride myself on making documents come to life by presenting words visually, so important messages shine through. I feel fulfilled knowing my work impacts things I am passionate about: hunting, the outdoors and conservation.”
Raised in Shakopee, Minnesota, Lapka has a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design and Printmaking from Minnesota State University–Mankato. She arrived at Delta, she says, through “a good mix of hard work and fate.”
“I love feeling good about the Delta programs and team I am supporting each day,” Lapka said. “Making relevant, stand-out marketing materials comes naturally when I am committed to the mission and vision of the company I am creating them for.”
Lapka most enjoys hunting with her family by her side, preferring to hunt turkeys from a bale blind, deer from a treestand and waterfowl with her camera. During the off-season, you’ll find her at the family farm gardening, riding ATVs with her husband and three girls, or on a hiking trail.
Kyle Wintersteen has been an outdoor writer since 2004, arriving at Delta Waterfowl as managing editor in March 2015. His roles include producing stories, photos and content for Delta’s magazine, website and social media platforms, and assisting with marketing and public relations.
“I have three passions in life: outdoor writing, duck hunting, and waterfowl conservation,” Wintersteen said. “My role at Delta allows me to indulge all three interests, while giving back to waterfowl and the tradition of waterfowl hunting. I take the responsibility of providing Delta members with an informative, entertaining magazine very seriously.”
A central Pennsylvania native, Wintersteen grew up along the north branch of the Susquehanna. At age 13, he shot a black duck on the river, thus fueling a life-long fascination with all-things waterfowl.
“Black ducks have been my favorite species ever since,” he said. “Nothing makes me feel like I’ve done something right than decoying a flock of those wary, chocolate-colored birds.”
Wintersteen earned a degree in communications at Penn State University, where he was a member of the varsity track and field team. When he isn’t hunting ducks, he competes in English springer spaniel field trials. He has owned two field champions, including a National Open High Point Champion. He lives in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, with his wife, two sons and two springers.
Marketing & Membership
Hired in February 2018, Brad Heidel handles corporate partnerships and advertising sales for Delta Waterfowl’s award-winning membership magazine, as well as for the organization’s website, digital and special media projects. In addition, Heidel works with industry conservation partners to increase the impact of Delta’s innovative programs such as First Hunt, Hen Houses, Predator Management, Working Wetlands and Waterfowl Research.
“Delta’s continued growth and the changing dynamics around our marketing and advertising activities necessitated that we realign and add another professional to our staff,” said Alex Heiser, vice president of communications, marketing and membership. “Brad came to Delta with extensive experience in the outdoors industry, along with a strong sales background and a passion for waterfowl hunting.”
Heidel has worked in the non-profit conservation world throughout his career. He began with the Minnesota Wildlife Heritage Foundation, then became a regional director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He was director of corporate relations for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever for 10 years, and most recently, has served as executive director of the International Hunter Education Association.
“Conservation is my passion,” Heidel said. “Hunters are the greatest conservationists in North America, and I enjoy working with them.”
Heidel grew up in southern Wisconsin, where he began hunting ducks and geese near the state’s famed Horicon Marsh as a youngster.
“As a lifelong waterfowl hunter, who better to work for than The Duck Hunters Organization?” Heidel said. “I want to help put more ducks in the air and more hunters on the water.”
He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with wife, Karen, and a pair of Labrador retrievers, Oakey and Burger.
Bryce Seefeldt was drawn to Delta Waterfowl by the opportunity to introduce the next generation to duck hunting.
“I wanted the chance to make a difference for the future of waterfowling,” he said. “Not just work a job.”
After earning degrees in PR/Mass Communications from Moorhead State University and Commercial Art from Bismarck State College, he joined Delta Waterfowl as an event coordinator in 2012. Bryce’s professionalism and innovative thinking led to several promotions, including his current position as assistant director of marketing. Seefeldt leads and supports Delta Waterfowl’s marketing and fundraising activities, as well as event package procurement.
His favorite place to hunt is his family farm, with his yellow Lab, Max, at his side, where the fields of corn stubble draw late-season giant Canadas and mallards.
Seefeldt also enjoys fishing, golfing and spending time in the great outdoors with his wife and children.
Thanks to increasing support from duck hunters across North America, Stacy Pollestad has witnessed a sweeping expansion of the scope and mission of Delta Waterfowl since becoming an employee in 2003.
“I started as the data entry/mail clerk,” Pollestad said. “Now we have several people who primarily enter data and we’ve contracted with a firm to help handle our fulfillment operations. It’s exciting to see how much Delta has grown over the years.”
Raised on a farm near Hampden, North Dakota, Pollestad takes satisfaction in knowing that the funds she helps generate through membership outreach directly support Delta’s conservation mission.
“Coming up with new membership gifts and offers that appeal to our members is fun,” she said. “Execution is probably my biggest strength. Seeing a project through from point A to Z is something I enjoy.”
Pollestad keeps busy raising three active boys, and enjoys home improvement projects, crafts, and more recently, quilting.
Ashley Praus attended her local Delta Waterfowl event in Bismarck, North Dakota, for years before joining the organization as a full-time employee. A graduate of Bismarck State College with a degree in graphic design and communications, Praus’ creative skills deliver visually appealing marketing pieces and an engaging website.
“I love that technology and social media are constantly changing,” Praus said. “I learn something new almost every day.”
A waterfowler, Praus also enjoys fishing and camping with her husband, friends and black Lab, Achilles, and German shepherd, Rena. However, archery hunting is her favorite pasttime.
“It’s such an incredible rush sitting in a treestand watching deer come in only 20 yards from you,” she said. “It also excites me to shoot a duck or two. There’s really nothing better than watching how excited Achilles is from the moment we put our camo on in the morning to the actual hunt.”
A native of Bismarck, North Dakota, Julie Lagro was drawn to Delta Waterfowl because of its contributions to and historic role in conservation. In addition to her work experience as a membership data specialist, she’s taken an active interest in ongoing career training programs, a commitment that’s gained her a wide scope of technological expertise and workplace successes.
“I enjoy the challenge of learning something new every day,” Lagro said. “I’m dedicated to ensuring data integrity through timely, accurate entries and ongoing database maintenance, because I’m passionate about the Delta members whose contributions represent Delta’s core values.”
Lagro enjoys camping, lake activities, spending time with family and friends, and relaxing at home with her dog, Sadie.
Lisa Lawrence grew up in a hunting-oriented family on a dairy farm and ranch in Richardton, North Dakota. After earning dual bachelor’s degrees in English teaching and special education with an emphasis in communications, a friend told her about an opening for an events coordinator at Delta Waterfowl.
“When I learned the commonalities between what Delta Waterfowl stands for and the culture that I grew up in, I became interested in the organization,” Lawrence said. “I enjoy being part of an organization that affords the opportunity to keep the tradition of hunting alive — not only by helping those already hunting, but by providing youths and others with the satisfaction of experiencing their first hunts.”
Through her years of service, Lawrence has consistently demonstrated leadership, a strong work ethic and the ability to succeed in the face of challenges. As director of events fundraising, she relishes her role in helping her colleagues develop professionally, ensuring successful chapter events and promoting Delta’s mission on the local and national levels.
“I enjoy having a variety of responsibilities and working with a diverse amount of people,” she said. “Each day brings different opportunities. There is never a day that doesn’t offer some surprises.”
Additionally, Lawrence is the program director of Camp ReCreation, a summer camp for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her two sons, skiing, fishing, boating, sitting around a campfire, and hunting ducks, geese, pheasants and doves.
Raised in rural Bowman, North Dakota, Lacee Dutchak moved to Bismarck after college graduation. Soon thereafter, a community connection led her to Delta Waterfowl: Her pastor’s wife told her that a Delta employee had mentioned an opening at the organization for an events coordinator.
“It was divine intervention,” Dutchak quipped. “I’ve enjoyed working behind the scenes, offering support to our regional directors as they work with volunteers to hold successful fundraising events. It’s motivating to witness chapters ‘on fire’ after they see their hard work pay off at an event — especially since they can use 15 percent of their revenue locally to promote duck hunting and waterfowl conservation.”
Dutchak adds that Delta offers an outstanding workplace environment for working parents.
“Everyone at Delta is very understanding when it comes to taking leave for my kids, whether it’s because they’re sick or due to a school closing,” she said.
In her spare time, Dutchak enjoys activities with her children and dog, Remington, going to the movies and cheering on the Minnesota Vikings.
Nicole Anderson credits her family and upbringing in the small town of Wilton, North Dakota, for instilling in her a love of hunting and wildlife. As a high schooler, she helped support her local chapter of Delta Waterfowl, then further pursued her interest in conservation by studying zoology, fisheries and wildlife at North Dakota State University.
After graduating in 2014, she was working as a bat and avian fatality research technician when she saw an opening for a fulfillment specialist at Delta Waterfowl.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” she said.
Given Anderson’s determination and ability to remain upbeat while overcoming challenges, she was promoted to event coordinator in 2017.
“With my background in hunting and science, I’m motivated by the fact that when I help local chapters hold successful events, it supports Delta’s waterfowl research,” Anderson said. “I feel the coolest thing about research is it’s always evolving, which leads you to continuously try new ideas and techniques. It makes my heart happy.”
Anderson enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching North Dakota State football, and hunting ducks, pheasants, doves and white-tailed deer. She’s particularly fond of hunting the river bottoms of central North Dakota.
“I love that I can see all different kinds of wildlife,” she said. “On any given day, I can see mule deer and whitetails, ducks, geese, turkeys, bald eagles, coyotes, foxes and badgers.”
Born in the United States and raised in Canada, Cher Gottfredsen began at Delta as a part-time office assistant, but her strong work ethic, willingness to learn and witty disposition earned a promotion to her current role.
“I am proud to contribute my talent and flair to help the Event, Development and Membership departments perform in unison to provide the funding that makes it all happen,” Gottfredsen said.
She cherishes being involved with an organization that truly values it mission. Though Gottfredsen does not hunt on a regular basis, “unless you count shoes,” she says, she’s hunted with Delta employees and had an especially enjoyable duck hunt in Tennessee on property owned by William Yandell, Chairman of the Delta Waterfowl Board of Directors. She has yet to shoot her first duck, but hopes to bag her favorite bird, the wood duck.
When not at work, she enjoys watching and playing sports, reading, fashion and spending time with her family.
A career path is often determined by networking, and that was certainly true for Maria Kincaid. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she lived in many areas of the country before returning to her home state to attend Louisiana State University. While earning a bachelor of science degree in natural resource ecology and management with a focus in conservation biology, she studied under Frank Rohwer, now president and chief scientist of Delta Waterfowl. A strong recommendation from Rohwer assisted Kincaid in securing the role of event coordinator for the organization.
Kincaid supports the regional directors and event staff to hold successful chapter fundraising events.
“The volunteers are so passionate!” she said. “I really enjoy hearing about their great fundraising events, knowing that they can use a portion of the funds locally. I appreciate that the work I do in conjunction with the regional directors is helping give back to ducks and duck hunters on the local and national levels.”
When she’s not in the office, Kincaid enjoys spending time with her husband and their dogs, hiking, swimming, birdwatching and gardening. She’s also recently begun duck hunting.
“My favorite waterfowl are teal,” she said. “They’re pretty and they taste great.”
A North Dakota native, Kyla Mosbrucker discovered Delta Waterfowl while attending a chapter event banquet in Bismarck.
“I loved the energy of the whole room and everyone’s passion for working toward a common conservation goal,” said Mosbrucker, who became intrigued by career opportunities at The Duck Hunters Organization. “I was lucky enough to find a job posting that directly matched my experience, and I was elated to accept the position.”
Hired as a fulfillment specialist in 2018, Mosbrucker manages critical membership data from local chapter events held throughout North America. She thrives in this important role.
“I’m driven by the feeling of accomplishment I get after completing a difficult task,” she said. “The events team is wonderful to work with, and I love having a part behind the scenes here at Delta. One of my favorite aspects of working for Delta is the organization genuinely cares about its employees.”
When Mosbrucker isn’t in the office, you’ll find her kayaking, camping, hiking, traveling or cheering on her son at a hockey or baseball game. She also hopes to give duck hunting a try in the near future.
Bryan Leach grew up in DeRidder, Louisiana, and started duck hunting in the southwestern marshes of the state with his father at age 5. Decades later, he remains an avid duck and specklebelly hunter.
Leach’s history with Delta Waterfowl dates to fall 2002, when he became a member. The following year he joined a local chapter committee in LaFayette, Louisiana. The grassroots approach to waterfowl conservation inspired him, so when he moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 2006, he joined another committee, the Gulf Coast Chapter. By 2010, his skills and drive to succeed were recognized by Delta leadership, who invited him aboard as a full-time regional director.
“I really enjoy contributing to waterfowl conservation, so it means so much to me to be able to actually do it as my job,” Leach said. “Working with passionate duck hunters that have the same goals in mind is probably the most exciting. We have some really great people that volunteer for Delta.”
Leach owns three female black Labs: Belle, Rita, and his current duck dog, a 45-pound speedster named Brees.
“Brees is the best retriever I’ve ever owned,” he said. “I love watching her retrieve almost as much as I love to hunt waterfowl.”
When he isn’t hunting, Leach enjoys going to his camp near Thornwell with friends and family, and watching Louisiana State University football games.
After earning a Master of Science Degree in early childhood education from the University of North Dakota, Scott Terning moved from his hometown of Cokato, Minnesota, to Bismarck, North Dakota, to pursue professional opportunities. However, his career changed course when he attended a local conservation banquet and met an employee of Delta Waterfowl.
“He asked me to become involved in the newly established local Delta chapter, and I was all over that,” Terning said. “It’s a long story, but to keep it short and sweet, volunteering for the chapter led to a job offer in 2004, and the rest is history.”
Terning has skillfully advanced Delta’s chapter system across much of the U.S. prairies and beyond. He brings a variety of skills to the table, and his hard work, creativity and understanding of the duck hunting culture have brought innovative improvements to Delta’s grassroots network.
“The passion of our volunteers keeps me driving forward,” Terning said. “If not for them, Delta wouldn’t have its strong presence at the local level, where real impacts are made for youth and adult duck hunters and waterfowl initiatives. If it weren’t for volunteers’ local fundraising, Delta’s mission wouldn’t be succeeding for ducks and ducks hunters as effectively as it is today.”
Terning hunts ducks any chance he gets, starting with early season teal and transitioning to mallards over crop stubble. He especially enjoys hunting with his wife of 12 years, Beth, daughter Isabella, sons Ryan and Ethan, and black Lab, Kota.
“We’re already making memories to last a lifetime that will hopefully be passed on to our grandchildren as well,” he said.
Raised in Garner, North Carolina, Chris Williams developed a passion for coastal diver hunting early in life. It remains his favorite form of waterfowling.
“The sights and sounds of the Carolina marshes make it hands-down one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Williams said “I most enjoy hunting over a huge diver spread and sharing the blind with close friends, Delta committee volunteers and our children.”
After serving in the U.S. military and working seven years for the delivery arm of Papa John’s Pizza, Williams joined Delta nearly two decades ago as its original Atlantic Flyway regional director. His professional drive, direct communication style and courageous defenses of waterfowling have made him a critical asset to duck hunters in the East.
“I am most passionate about the continuation of our sport,” Williams said. “I’m very involved in policy and advocacy matters, all while concentrating on finding new ways to promote duck hunter recruitment and retention. I’m motivated by the volunteers I deal with daily. Seeing their desire to make a difference is what drives the truck home on those late-night road trips.”
Williams lives in Kenly, North Carolina, with his wife, three boys and a pair of black Labs. When he isn’t hunting canvasbacks or at a Delta Waterfowl event, you’ll find him coaching his sons’ baseball teams.
Since 2011, Jeff Adams has served as chairman of Delta’s Willard Peak Chapter in Brigham City, Utah. In addition to leading outstanding local conservation and hunter recruitment efforts, he assisted in the formation of three other Delta chapters. The skill, savvy and determination he demonstrated led Delta Waterfowl to offer him the role of regional events director for the western United States in 2017.
“As a volunteer, I bleed Delta Waterfowl every spare moment,” he said. “Waterfowl hunting is my absolute passion. I want to help other people have opportunities to experience it, too.”
Adams found Delta through a youth hunt he and his son participated in on the Great Salt Lake, and has been dedicated to the organization ever since. Increasing the number of chapters in the Pacific Flyway and recruiting new hunters through Delta’s chapter-delivered First Hunt program are top priorities, Adams said.
“Delta’s Waterfowl Heritage Fund sets the organization apart by allowing chapters to do projects locally, whether it’s nest structures, hunter access work or hunter recruitment programs,” he said.
Adams hunts all manner of waterfowl, from ducks to swans, but he most enjoys pursuing snow geese.
“My favorite place to hunt snows is the marshes surrounding the Great Salt Lake,” he said. “I am blessed to live in an area where we have access to hunting a variety of magnificent waterfowl species.”
Named “Conservationist of the Year” by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in 2016, Adams also served for eight years in the United States Marine Corps. He lives in Brigham City, Utah, with his wife of 25 years, Jenni. The couple has two grown children.
John Clements brings a strong conservation background to Delta Waterfowl. He recently retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, where he worked as chief conservation officer for the province. He also served as a conservation officer for 17 years in P.E.I., including six years as chief.
“I want people to recognize the value of hunting to conservation,” he said. “I really believe in the future of hunting, and I see an opportunity to get involved with a new generation of duck hunters.”
As a regional director of Delta Waterfowl, Clements works with chapters in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland/Labrador to conduct successful fundraising events to support Delta’s mission to produce ducks and ensure the future of duck hunting throughout North America.
“I most enjoy meeting new duck hunters, seeing kids smile when we take them hunting for the first time and watching people get excited about Delta’s programs,” he said. “I want to leave a path for youth hunters to follow. If we provide kids with positive experiences, when they’re adults they’ll contribute back to ducks and duck hunters.”
A native of P.E.I., Clements began hunting black ducks, geese and teal with his father when he was 14 years old. In 2000, he started a youth workshop in P.E.I., during which Delta Waterfowl took root on the island.
“About 100 kids a year take part in the event, and it’s still going,” he said.
Clements lives in Ancaster, Ontario, with his partner, Tracey, and a yellow Lab. He has five children, including two step-sons.
“I have a lot of passion for waterfowling,” he said. “I feel like I’m back home with Delta.”
Levi Daniel, of Lowell, Arkansas, has a hunger for starting new local chapters to support The Duck Hunters Organization. A Missouri native, Daniel became involved in Delta Waterfowl when his hunting club hosted the Arch Chapter in St. Louis for a First Hunt event.
“I build on my contacts in the waterfowl hunting world to bring knowledge about Delta Waterfowl to areas that don’t currently have chapters,” he said. “A lot of people in the region have heard of Delta, but don’t really know about our programs or how much the organization does for duck hunters.”
Daniel graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and obtained a Master’s degree in business from William Woods University. He has four years of sales experience in the lumber industry, and importantly, a passion for duck hunting. He particularly enjoys hunting waterfowl in dry fields.
He is married, and the couple has three young children. When Daniel isn’t in a treestand or duck blind, you’ll find him on a soccer field with his family.
Jason Douglas of Aubrey, Texas, owes his zeal for waterfowling to a devoted mentor.
“I grew up with a single mom for most of my childhood,” he said. “As a young boy, my uncle in Arkansas would take me hunting about once per year and send me hunting magazines and books that I would study. Then when I was 12, my mom married my step-dad — though I don’t say the ‘step’ part — and he took me waterfowl hunting several times a year, which allowed me to experience what I’d read. Once I was old enough to drive, my hobby turned into my obsession.”
Douglas’ father is also responsible for introducing him to Delta Waterfowl. In the fall of 2009, he accepted an invitation from him to attend the Lone Star Chapter of Delta Waterfowl’s event banquet.
“I filled out the white card to join the committee and the rest is history,” Douglas said. “I’d never heard of Delta Waterfowl until that evening.”
In 2013, he left his position in project management at a Fortune 500 company to join Delta as a regional events director. Given his path to duck hunting, Douglas was especially drawn to Delta’s First Hunt and other youth programs.
“I now look for ‘little Jason Douglas’ — youths that share a similar upbringing as me — and help provide them with hunting opportunities,” he said. “I am so proud to work for Delta, because of what we give back to our local chapters, kids, veterans and local communities.”
In addition to hunting waterfowl with his black Lab, Ruger, Douglas enjoys fishing, sailing, motorcycling and off-road racing.
A fourth-generation duck hunter and father of three, Nic Hampton awaits the migration along the Mississippi River from his home in Burlington, Iowa. He became involved with Delta Waterfowl in 2012, when he founded and became co-chair of the Burlington-based Aldo Leopold Chapter. His successful leadership of the chapter, service in the U.S. Navy and 15 years of sales experience made him a great fit when Delta expanded its roster of regional directors in 2014.
“My goal is to continue growing new chapters across Iowa and Nebraska, and spreading the word that Delta Waterfowl really is The Duck Hunters Organization,” he said. “I especially love meeting new people through the chapter system and talking about their passions for waterfowling and the different styles of hunting in their areas.”
Hampton takes professional pride in helping local chapters introduce new duck hunters to the sport and boost duck production in their region.
“There’s nothing better than seeing Delta’s Hen Houses and wood duck boxes actually being used and making more ducks,” he said. “I’m also very happy and feel fulfilled when our chapters help youngsters become proficient with duck and goose calls, when I see a youth hunter shoot their first duck or goose, or seeing the smile on a kid’s face when he or she wins a gun at one of our chapter events. It hits home, because I have kids and was introduced to hunting when I was very young also.”
When he’s not working, you’ll find Hampton fishing during the summer months and duck hunting with his black Lab, Boone, as much as possible during the fall.
“I love hunting the Mississippi River for puddle ducks and divers, but grew up mainly field hunting for big honkers in Iowa and Illinois,” Hampton said. “My favorite duck is the drake wood duck, because in my opinion it’s the most beautiful and delicious.”
Prior to his current role, Matt Kneisley was one of Delta Waterfowl’s hardest working volunteers. In 2010, he helped found the Lancaster Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, the first local chapter in Pennsylvania — a foothold that’s led to numerous chapters throughout the state. Additionally, he coordinated Delta’s Northeast Advanced Volunteer Program from 2012 to 2014. But Kneisley wanted more, explaining to chief operating officer Jason Tharpe that he desired a full-time role.
“Jason issued me a challenge,” Kneisley said. “Start enough chapters in the Northeast that he’d be forced to hire another regional director.”
So, from 2011 to 2014, Kneisley assisted in the formation of dozens of new chapters in his region and helped several existing chapters to further flourish. Meanwhile the Lancaster Chapter, with Kneisley as chairman, launched Delta Days — a massive, annual event for new waterfowlers that remains a blueprint for other chapters’ youth and First Hunt events. Tharpe made good on his promise, hiring Kneisley in March of 2014.
“To me, Delta is not work, but family, and from my Delta coworkers to our volunteers, my family has now expanded into the hundreds,” Kneisley said. “Professionally, I’m most motivated by Delta’s hunter recruitment efforts. I live for introducing newcomers of all ages and genders to the outdoors, seeing the excitement of first-time hunters and the close bonds formed by the experience.”
Kneisley is also a third-generation decoy carver. He grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and made weekly trips with his father to famed decoy carvers’ shops in Havre de Grace, Maryland, including those operated by Madison Mitchell, the Jobes family, Bill Collins, Jimmy Pierce, Paul Gibson and Pat Vincenti. His wife, Kerri, is the executive director of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum.
In addition to carving his own decoys, Kneisley further keeps waterfowling traditions alive by operating a bushwhack boat and body booting for canvasbacks on the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.
Raised on a farm in central Alberta, Emily Lamb has a degree in wildlife and forestry conservation as well as animal sciences. She arrived at The Duck Hunters Organization by way of Delta’s Calgary Wild Wings Chapter, where she volunteered for a number of years before applying for the position of regional director.
“I’m passionate about representing the hunting community and dispelling the misinformation that the general public is fed by questionable sources,” Lamb said. “It’s exciting to change someone’s perception of sportsmen. Hunting is conservation, and hunters deserve that story to be told.”
Lamb speaks from experience. Despite lacking an outdoors mentor, the self-taught hunter and angler is also regarded as one of the most skillful trappers in Alberta.
“I have always believed that to speak on a topic, I need to have experienced it for myself,” she said. “I pushed to gain skills in hunting and trapping, and I believe that gained me a reputation of integrity in the professional world and gives me the confidence to never back down when representing the conservation community.”
When Lamb isn’t hunting with her black Lab, Tony, she enjoys “cooking good food for good people,” gardening, camping, playing music and reading.
Long-time regional director Scot Marcin has spent his career launching and revitalizing local Delta Waterfowl chapters across much of the United States. More recently, the rapid expansions of Delta’s event staff and chapter system have led Marcin to concentrate his efforts on his home state of Tennessee and Kentucky.
“I’m highly motivated by seeing Delta volunteers achieve their goals and make a difference in the lives of duck hunters and future hunters,” Marcin said. “I value that Delta Waterfowl gives people the ability to help make ducks and protect waterfowl hunting for the next generation.”
After attending college at Tennessee Technological University, Marcin volunteered for his local chapter of Delta Waterfowl. His talents and passion were soon noted by Delta staff.
“I’ll never forget when I was given the opportunity to join the Delta team,” he said. “I believe in giving back to the sport, not just taking. It means the world that I’m able to do just that through my profession.”
When he isn’t working with Delta volunteers, Marcin enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his family, working on the farm or hunting ducks with his black Lab, Ripple.
“If I had to choose a favorite style of hunting, it would be busting greenheads in flooded timber,” he said.
Delta Waterfowl welcomed Brian Moyse as a regional events director in the Upper Midwest in January 2018. Moyse works with chapters in Illinois and Indiana to conduct successful fundraising events to support Delta’s mission to produce ducks and ensure the future of duck hunting throughout North America.
He lives in Rockton, Illinois, but his waterfowl hunting roots stem from living during childhood on the St. Lawrence River in New York. Moyse also lived in northern California for eight years, where he experienced the gamut of waterfowl hunting in the Pacific Flyway.
“I’ve gotten so much out of waterfowling personally,” he said. “As a regional director for Delta, I have the opportunity to have an impact and give back to waterfowling.”
Moyse has worked as a pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales representative, and also trained retrievers professionally for 10 years.
He’s looking forward to building relationships with existing chapter leaders and working to grow strong support for Delta to advance conservation programs and recruit new hunters.
“I’m excited to help chapters make a difference for ducks and duck hunters on a local level,” Moyse said.
A talented decoy carver, Moyse is also a family man. He’s celebrating 25 years of marriage to his wife, Tracy. The couple has a 23-year-old son, Ben, and a 2-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, Gus.
Born and raised in Middle Tennessee, just south of Nashville, Garrett Trentham moved to North Carolina in high school and attended North Carolina State University. While enrolled, he began volunteering for the Triangle Chapter of Delta Waterfowl and oversaw its climb to the Atlantic Flyway’s top chapter and No. 3 nationwide in fundraising. During that time, he also spent a summer as a Delta Waterfowl research technician in North Dakota and Saskatchewan, studying Predator Management under Mike Buxton, waterfowl programs manager for Delta Waterfowl.
Trentham’s talent, work ethic and knowledge of Delta Waterfowl make him an outstanding fit in his regional director role.
“Starting from the ground and working my way up at Delta has allowed me to have a foundational understanding of what drives us as The Duck Hunters Organization,” Trentham said. “That makes it much easier for me to communicate our vision and goals to average duck hunters. I’ve seen so much of the work we do first hand, from Predator Management and Hen Houses as a research tech, to fighting Sunday hunting bans in the Atlantic Flyway and helping to coordinate First Hunt events as a volunteer.”
A passionate duck and snow goose hunter, Trentham relishes the opportunity to help Delta secure the future of waterfowl hunting.
“From day one, my motivation for getting involved with Delta was to ensure that 100 years from now, we still have duck hunters introducing our sport to the next generation,” he said. “Our chapters make that a priority 365 days per year. Working alongside them to attain their goals is extremely rewarding.
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.”
As a third generation Delta Waterfowl employee, The Duck Hunters Organization is in Kevin Ward’s blood. His grandfather, Edward Ward, was a gamekeeper at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station at Manitoba’s Delta Marsh, while his father, Peter Ward, worked with Delta’s first chief scientist, Albert Hochbaum, on numerous ground-breaking advances in waterfowl science.
While he was a teenager, Ward worked part-time at the Delta Waterfowl Research Station, performing building and grounds maintenance duties. After studying biology at the University of Minnesota and University of Texas, he became a full-time employee in 1973, making him Delta’s longest-serving employee.
“I do just about anything at Delta Marsh along the lines of maintenance, including vehicle repair, woodworking, construction and electrical work,” Ward said. “More recently, I am best known for building the Delta Hen Houses that increase nesting hen survival and nest success in the prairie pothole region. I also manage areas of the marsh to provide enhanced habitat for the fall migration. It excites me to see the hundreds of green-winged teal and other dabblers select my managed sites, knowing I made them more attractive to migrating waterfowl and birds in general.”
Ward enjoys birdwatching, studying plant and animal communities, and hunting canvasbacks, redheads and scaup at the Delta Marsh. He’s owned numerous retrievers over the years, and most fondly recalls a black Lab, Skip.
“She had an amazing nose,” Ward said. “One spring, she began digging in a snowdrift along the marsh road and came running back with a cell phone that a Delta student had accidentally dropped the previous fall.”