Delta Waterfowl Staff

Executive Staff

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.

Dr. Frank Rohwer

Dr. Frank Rohwer

President and Chief Scientist

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.

frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org

Tim Beckler

Tim Beckler

Chief Financial Officer

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.

tbeckler@deltawaterfowl.org

Joel Brice

Joel Brice

Chief Conservation Officer

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 had heard 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 with The Duck Hunters Organization. He is responsible for duck production (Predator Management, Hen Houses, etc.), research and education, HunteR3, marketing, and communications at Delta.

Ground-breaking research and education on duck production and habitat conservation in the prairie pothole region is a hallmark of Delta’s mission and vision. Brice oversees the scientists and technicians who plan and execute that research. He considers this among his most rewarding work in many ways.

As chief conservation officer—a title acquired with more than 20 years of experience at Delta—his oversight extends to the organization’s HunteR3 programming, including First Hunt and the University Hunting Program. These initiatives are designed to address the issue of hunter retention, recruitment, and reactivation in the United States and Canada.

“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 is also an avid western hunter and enjoys fishing, camping, horseback riding and hiking with his wife and children.

jbrice@deltawaterfowl.org

John Devney

John Devney

Chief Policy Officer

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.

jdevney@deltawaterfowl.org

Jason Tharpe

Jason Tharpe

Chief Development Officer

Jason Tharpe grew up an avid waterfowler in the town of Bastrop, Louisiana. 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.

jtharpe@deltawaterfowl.org

John Davis

John Davis

Senior VP of Development

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.

jdavis@deltawaterfowl.org

Jim Fisher

Jim Fisher

VP of Canadian Policy

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.

jfisher@deltawaterfowl.org

Todd Burns

Todd Burns

VP of Major Gifts

Delta Waterfowl has hired Todd Burns as development director for the Midwest region, as the organization continues to grow strong support for its conservation, hunting and waterfowl research programs.

A lifelong waterfowler, Burns will focus on major gift procurement in the upper Mississippi Flyway, particularly in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. He brings more than two decades of experience in business development and non-profit fundraising to Delta, including more than 14 years of major gift procurement at universities in Wisconsin and Illinois. His interest in The Duck Hunters Organization stems from a 2018 youth waterfowl hunt with his daughter.

“It was then that I asked myself, ‘Why am I not using my knowledge and skills to enhance the sport I love?’” he said. “It was just a matter of time before the development director position at Delta Waterfowl was posted.”

Dr. Scott Petrie, chief executive officer, praised the unique qualifications Burns brings to Delta Waterfowl.

“Todd’s exceptional skills, record of accomplishment and passion for waterfowling make him a perfect fit,” he said. “I am certain he will help Delta continue to reach new heights.”

Burns lives in Illinois with his wife, Amy, sons Grayson and Joshua, and daughter, Aubrey. He most frequently hunts dry fields with his chocolate Lab, Piper, but best enjoys opportunities to slip on a pair of chest waders.

“There is a mystique about slipping into the water, with the unsure footing, and melting into the the reeds at the marsh’s edge,” he said. “Add a little steam coming off the water and whistling wings overhead, and well, you’ve found what I call ‘home’.”

To discuss donation options or planned giving, please contact Burns at (815) 953-1049 or tburns@deltawaterfowl.org.

Jeffrey Howell

Jeffrey Howell

VP of Major Gifts

A lifelong resident of Memphis, Tennessee, Jeffrey Howell was hooked as a kid on the south’s mallard hunting opportunities, particularly in rice fields and flooded green timber. After attending 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 and know that we are laser-focused on what matters for waterfowl. I’m incredibly grateful and honored to 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.

“I want to see Delta grow substantially over the next decade,” he said. “So much can happen when all of us who are interested in conservation can band together 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 snow skiing in Colorado, 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.

Howell can be reached at jhowell@deltawaterfowl.org.

Becky Sicble

Becky Sicble

VP of Operations

A native of Bismarck, North Dakota, Becky Sicble joined Delta Waterfowl as its human resources manager in August 2020.  Becky brings a deep understanding of human resources practices and principles from her 20-plus years of experience.  In addition to having earned her master’s degree in business management, she also has her SPHR and SHRM-SCP professional certifications.  Becky takes great pride in partnering with others to positively advance the business culture, overall performance, and employee engagement efforts to achieve the organization’s established objectives.

Becky and her husband, Dusty, have long been supporters of The Duck Hunters Organization, and they annually look forward to attending various Delta regional events banquets.  When Becky learned that Delta had an opening in the human resources department, she was immediately drawn to the opportunity.

“I already knew about the amazing team of people that work for Delta and what their organizational values were, so it was an easy decision for me,” she said. “I already felt I was part of their broader, community-based team!”

Becky and Dusty live just east of New Salem, North Dakota, where they maintain a small hobby farm and take every opportunity to enjoy the North Dakota outdoors with their two children.

bsicble@deltawaterfowl.org

Scott Terning

Scott Terning

VP of Events

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.

sterning@deltawaterfowl.org

Policy and Government Affairs

Cyrus Baird

Cyrus Baird

Senior Director of Government Affairs

“Cyrus had all the attributes we were looking for in making this important hire,” said John Devney, senior vice president of policy for Delta Waterfowl. “He is a dedicated waterfowl hunter and experienced policy professional who will marry his passion for ducks and duck hunting with his understanding of how to impact policy. We are confident Cyrus will prove to be an invaluable resource to Delta volunteers, members and duck hunters on the policy issues that impact them in their states and communities while also pressing Delta’s policy priorities.”

Baird is an avid duck hunter and an experienced natural resources policy professional. He has spent his career advocating on behalf of outdoorsmen and women while working to implement policy and advocacy strategies at the local, state, federal and international levels. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries biology from Clemson University.

Baird has worked on issues such as repealing Sunday hunting prohibitions in the Atlantic Flyway, opposing public hunting closures, and conservation funding for Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports.

“Delta has some of the most passionate members and supporters anywhere!” Baird said. “I’m excited to help build off that passion and channel it into advocating for our priorities at the local and state levels for all things ducks and duck hunting. After all, Delta is The Duck Hunters Organization. I love how we incorporate the full circle … from the science and on-the-ground habitat conservation, to the First Hunt initiatives and University Hunting Program … to defending duck hunting across North America.”

Baird grew up hunting deer, rabbits and turkeys in Virginia, but didn’t take his first ducks until he was a teenager. However, he says that pulling the trigger on his first pair of mallards hooked him for life.

“Today,” he said, “spending time in the blind with friends and family is my absolute favorite thing in the world.”

Baird works from Richmond, where he resides with his wife Megan, their daughter Charlotte and golden retriever Caroline.

cbaird@deltawaterfowl.org

Brian McRae

Brian McRae

Director of Government Affairs - Canada
Christopher Hoon

Christopher Hoon

Manager of Government Affairs - Pacific Flyway

From hunting over his family’s rice fields near Sacramento, California, to advocating for hunters’ rights in the Pacific Flyway, Christopher Hoon has a deep-seated and well-rounded perspective for securing the future of ducks and duck hunters.

“Working for Delta is a dream job because I get to help ducks and duck hunters everyday while working with a team of like-minded individuals,” said Hoon.

Hoon attended the University of Oregon, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science with minors in economics and anthropology while playing rugby for the university. His background in public affairs and political sciences, along with his family’s background in agriculture, give him a unique outlook on the multitude of issues facing the Pacific Flyway and duck hunters today. 

“The issue of hunting is something that is under considerable attack in the United States, especially in my home state of California,” said Hoon, who is proud to be on the front lines for advocating and supporting policy that helps other hunters and the waterfowl he loves. 

This position allows Hoon to bring together all of his passions regarding politics and hunting into one package, giving him the opportunity he was most excited about when joining the team—contributing to an organization that supports ducks and duck hunting. Throughout his life he has stuck to his roots of waterfowl. 

“My favorite place to hunt is over rice, in a barrel blind,” said Hoon, “My favorite waterfowl would have to be teal, I think they’re a lot of fun to hunt and taste great, too.”  

During the off season he also enjoys fishing for trout in the Sierra Nevada or working on classic cars and boats; his pride and joy is his 1977 F-350. He also has a personal side kick, a yellow Lab named Ricky. 

choon@deltawaterfowl.org

Program Staff

Dr. Chris Nicolai

Dr. Chris Nicolai

Waterfowl Scientist

Nicolai is a renowned biologist with more than 30 years of waterfowl research experience, serving since 2010 as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 8 (California and Nevada) migratory bird biologist and arriving to Delta Waterfowl in November 2019. As waterfowl scientist, Nicolai will accelerate the expansion of Delta’s research program across all four flyways, and advise the waterfowl management leaders of tomorrow — Delta Waterfowl’s student research technicians.

“As the world leader in waterfowl research, Delta Waterfowl is thrilled to welcome Dr. Nicolai,” said Dr. Scott Petrie, CEO and chief scientific officer of Delta Waterfowl. “He is truly an elite-level waterfowl biologist, and his talent and expertise make him the perfect fit to substantially increase the capacity of Delta’s research program.”

A lifelong waterfowl hunter raised in Minnesota, Nicolai enrolled in Vermilion Community College in 1991 as an aviation major. However, three weeks into his first semester, the discovery of a classroom full of duck wings put him on a new path.

“I was fascinated by ducks and even knew all their scientific names, yet somehow I didn’t realize you could make a career out of waterfowl biology,” Nicolai said. “I changed my degree the next day and never looked back.”

Nicolai honed his newfound passion as a Delta Waterfowl student research assistant during the summer of 1996, studying nesting redheads under the tutelage of Dr. Frank Rohwer, now president and chief scientist of Delta Waterfowl. In 2010, Nicolai earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Nevada, Reno. He went on to study waterfowl across the continent, publish dozens of peer-reviewed works, and establish himself as a foremost expert on waterfowl banding/tracking, hunter-harvest modeling and other critical science. He’s also considered the only biologist to have captured or banded every species of ducks, geese and swans native to North America.

“I’ve had numerous roles in my career, but waterfowl scientist of Delta Waterfowl is my dream job,” Nicolai said. “I look forward to furthering Delta’s legacy of groundbreaking science, and working on high-level research that benefits ducks and duck hunters.”

Nicolai works from Delta’s Bismarck, North Dakota, headquarters. He lives with his wife Amy, daughters Grace and Emily, and Labrador retriever Hutch (registered as Nicolai’s Branta hutchinsii, a reference to the scientific name of cackling geese).

Nicolai can be reached at (701) 989-4888 or cnicolai@deltawaterfowl.org.

Matt Chouinard

Matt Chouinard

Waterfowl Programs Director

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.

mchouinard@deltawaterfowl.org

Mike Buxton

Mike Buxton

Waterfowl Programs Director

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.

mbuxton@deltawaterfowl.org

Ryan Kroeger

Ryan Kroeger

Regional Biologist - Canada

Ryan Kroeger’s interests have always circled back to wild things—especially waterfowl. Growing up in Oklahoma City, he had known for a long time that he wanted to work in the field of conservation or wildlife research. In following this dream, Kroeger attended Oklahoma State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a master’s in environmental science.

Joining Delta Waterfowl in July 2023 as a Canada-based regional biologist, Kroeger enjoys that his role allows him to apply his education, job experience and passion for waterfowl. His core responsibilities include assisting the Duck Production team in the growth and management of Delta’s Hen House and Predator Management programs across Canada’s three prairie provinces.

“I am absolutely thrilled at the chance to give back to the animals which have given so much to me,” Kroeger said. “I am particularly excited about contributing to Delta’s efforts to implement proven strategies to improve waterfowl nesting success in prairie Canada.”

When he isn’t working, Kroeger enjoys bowhunting and, of course, hunting ducks, particularly over small waters.

“Little marshes you can shoot all the way across have often made for some exceptionally memorable mornings,” he said.

Although Kroeger’s favorite duck to hunt is the northern pintail, his favorite wild game to eat includes green-winged teal and venison backstrap. Outside of hunting season, he loves to fish, practice Brazilian jiu jitsu, shoot 3D archery, and work with reining horses.

Kroeger is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he lives with his two Labrador retrievers, Millie and Sage.

rkroeger@deltawaterfowl.org

Jacob Bushaw

Jacob Bushaw

Field Research Manager

A combination of destiny and desire delivered Jake Bushaw to the Delta Waterfowl R3 coordinator position in spring of 2021. He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and previously worked for Delta as a summer technician and then as a graduate student for the last six years. It was always his hope to end up working for Delta, and the opening for an R3 Coordinator provided the perfect opportunity.

Bushaw says that one of his favorite things in life is taking out first time waterfowl hunters and seeing their expressions as they watch that first group of ducks come in over the decoys. He said, “That’s why I love it all – recruitment, retention and reactivation work – teaching people what it means to be a duck hunter.”

His years of work for Delta gave him a hands-on, from-the-ground-up appreciation for the work Delta does. Professionally, he’s known for his graduate work using drones and thermal imaging cameras to conduct breeding duck research in southern Manitoba. Bushaw has an undergraduate degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Valley City State University and a Master’s in renewable natural resources from Louisiana State University.

Just as he’s focused his professional preparation and career on wildlife, Bushaw’s personal life is equally involved in all-things outdoors. His free time is spent hunting, fishing and pursuing other adventures outside. He said, “It may sound cliché, but I could never give up hunting and fishing. It’s a huge part of my life and now my career path! I am a huge sports fan, too, so it would also be difficult for me to give up both playing and watching sports.”

Despite having had the opportunity to travel and hunt widely in pursuit of his education and work, his favorite place to hunt is right at home in North Dakota. And he’ll usually be found in the company of this three-year-old, “idiot” black Lab, Rogue.

jbushaw@deltawaterfowl.org

Stephen Sowell

Stephen Sowell

R3 Program Manager

Growing up in the farmlands of western Washington, Stephen Sowell joined The Duck Hunters Organization with a perpetual passion for sharing his love of hunting and the outdoors.

He graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Mary, which led to a career that has included roles with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game as well as a previous stint as Delta Waterfowl’s R3 coordinator before a brief return to Alaska with his family.

“I am most passionate about Delta’s University Hunting Program,” he said. “In my opinion, the UHP is one of the most impactful programs we have because it not only serves as a hunter recruitment tool, but it is also informing the views of the next generation of wildlife managers. The seeds we plant today—by educating future wildlife managers—will have a positive impact on hunting throughout North America for the next generation and beyond.”

When not working on Delta’s R3 programs, you can find Sowell hunting, fly fishing, or camping with his wife Jessamyn and their five kids.

“My favorite way to spend a weekend is to recreate outdoors in our public lands, preferably hunting waterfowl,” he said.

He also enjoys spending time with his black Lab, Tank, and claims that if he had one last day to go hunting, he would spend it on the beach, eyes primed for a passing harlequin.

ssowell@deltawaterfowl.org

Alan Cattrysse

Alan Cattrysse

R3 Coordinator - Canada

Alan Cattrysse’s passion for the outdoors started early. His father began taking him duck hunting when he was just four years old. By the time he was 14, he was guiding waterfowl hunters on Lake St. Clair near where he grew up in Chatham, Ontario. He attended Michigan State University playing varsity baseball for all four years. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, he returned home to become a full-time waterfowl guide.

The traits of hard work, self-drive, competitiveness and team play are among those for which Cattrysee is known. He said, “I’m always looking to learn and be better and seek creative ways to be successful.”

He’s excited about the prospect of working as Delta’s HunteR3 coordinator in Canada because he recognizes it as an opportunity to contribute to the world of waterfowl hunting that has already given him so much. Cattrysee said, “I am very passionate about working for a company that goes about their business the right way, helping others and making a change for the future. Waking up every day, knowing you are making a difference, makes it extremely easy to go to work. I look forward to sharing my knowledge, passion and experiences with hunters across Canada to help recruit new hunters, which is going to make a difference in the future for waterfowl and wildlife conservation.”

As you might expect, when he’s not working, chances are you’ll find him hunting or fishing somewhere. Among his favorites are mallards, geese and white-tailed deer. He enjoys ice fishing for perch and open water fishing for crappies and walleyes. He competes in bass tournaments on Lake St. Clair. In the springtime, he chases turkeys, too. He enjoys making memories from all these pursuits with family and friends, and especially celebrating them with big fish fries and wild game dinners.

Forced to pick one kind of waterfowl hunting as a favorite, Cattrysee said it would be public land mallard hunting on the big waters of Lake St. Clair. He says that hard-hunted, late-season mallards bring out the best in him as a hunter as well has his two black Labradors Gauge and Teal.

acattrysee@deltawaterfowl.org

Aidan Flores

Aidan Flores

R3 Coordinator - TX, AR, LA, OK, NM, AZ

The son of a Texas game warden, Aidan grew up on Texas’s south coast where he was able to experience and appreciate the waterfowl world. Early on, he started hunting with Captain Dana Smith whom he considers a “second father figure” in his life. Smith fostered his passion for hunting that turned into a passion for waterfowl, wetlands and the conservation of natural resources, as well as his career path.

He received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and a master’s degree in fish and wildlife biology and management from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Aidan says, “After working in wetlands across the country, and growing in my career, I knew Delta’s HunteR3 was the perfect opportunity to give back and light the fire in new hunters so that they could also experience the waterfowl world, it’s history and importance in conservation.” He is most passionate about working to recruit new hunters and seeing the fire in their eyes when they come to realize their new love for the waterfowl world.

His favorite hunting is on the coastal Texas flats, particularly Redfish Bay. He says that there’s nothing like running an airboat through those saltwater marshes. Although redheads are considered the king of ducks there, he adds that he’s always looking for the lone wigeon mixed into those big flocks! When it’s not hunting season, Aidan’s still out running those same flats looking for elusive, skinny-water redfish.

Aidan’s canine waterfowl hunting partner is an unusual choice — an English pointer named “Kimber.” He says, “She’s a total spaz, and always surprises people with her ability to bird hunt on land or in the water!”

aflores@deltawaterfowl.org

Danielle Helbling

Danielle Helbling

Administrative Programs Coordinator

Raised in Bismarck, North Dakota with a passion for waterfowl hunting, Danielle is a natural to join the Delta team.

Danielle has two associate degrees – one in liberal arts and one in general science from Bismarck State College. She especially enjoys working in a team environment “where everybody may have different ideas you never thought of.”

She is married and enjoys waterfowl hunting with her husband. Her favorite hunting is on her grandparent’s farm for deer. She says, “I love to go hunting there. There are many deer blinds on their property which they have built.”

On a weekend when Danielle is not hunting you may find her camping or kayaking. She says she would find it impossible to give up, “Food! My favorite is pasta!”

Asked for the name of her dog, she says, “I don’t have one … YET!” with strong emphasis on the y-e-t!

dhelbling@deltawaterfowl.org

Administrative Staff

Becky Bargmann

Becky Bargmann

Controller

Life on a farm and ranch in northeast Montana laid the foundations of hard work for Becky Bargmann. Even then, she had a passion for accounting and was encouraged by a high school business teacher to enter the field.

She attended the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where she earned a double major in accounting and business administration.

“It’s a great field,” she said. “A business always needs a person to stay on top of the financial aspect of things.”

Bargmann worked at Farm Credit Services for 15 years, doing accounting and payroll for farms and ranchers, but decided she needed a change. She said that the role at Delta Waterfowl presented the perfect opportunity, and it has been a great fit.

When she’s not working, Bargmann spends time with family, which includes her husband and three children ages 8, 10, and 12.

“During the summer, you will find us at the lake camping, boating and fishing. We love to hike and enjoy looking for new national and state parks to check out on our summer vacations,” she said. “In winter, you’ll find us busy with 4-H archery and then the summer fair season. Our daughter shoots trap, so that keeps us busy in the spring. Our kids run our lives.”

Bargmann completed her hunter safety certificate, but so far has limited her pursuits to gophers in the back yard with a .22 or BB gun. She drew a deer tag for the fall, so bigger game seems to be in her near future.

bbargmann@deltawaterfowl.org

Dawn Hoff

Dawn Hoff

Human Resources Coordinator

Dawn Hoff was born in Branson, Missouri, and moved to North Dakota at a very young age, living the majority of her life in the town of Bismarck and later graduating from Bismarck High School.

Prior to joining The Duck Hunters Organization, she spent 16 years as the owner and operator of her home daycare business before moving on to more administratively-focused positions. This change in career and yearning to make a difference led her to find Delta Waterfowl.

“I am most passionate about helping others, engaging employees in the culture, and helping them to succeed,” she said. “I love to work within a team that supports the common goal for all, whether that be employee appreciation events or simply showing daily appreciation.”

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time anywhere but inside.

“I love to travel when I can, particularly to warm destinations,” she said. “Anything outdoors in the nice weather including kayaking, swimming, and boating among others. I also enjoy spending time with my three adult children, weekend getaways with friends to Deadwood, or doing yardwork at home.”

If there was one thing she could not give up, it would undoubtedly be her children and her family.

dhoff@deltawaterfowl.org

Tammy Urness

Tammy Urness

Executive Administrator - Development

Tammy Urness is the executive coordinator at the Delta Waterfowl headquarters in Bismarck.

Originally from Booneville, Mississippi, Urness moved to North Dakota about 13years ago to be closer to her grandchildren whose parents were stationed at the Air Force base in Minot.

“I was working in the gas and oil industry when I saw the posting for the job with Delta,” she said. “Somehow, I just knew this would be a wonderful opportunity, and was I ever right. From the moment I walked in for the interview there was a feeling of ‘being at home with family.’ I was so happy when they called and offered me the job.”

Personally, and professionally, Urness enjoys helping people however she can. For 20 years previous to moving north, she was a nurse.

In her free time, she enjoys fishing, but says as a southern girl at heart, you’re not likely to catch her out on the ice staring down a hole! She has 4 Labrador retrievers that take up a good bit of her time. She also enjoys grilling out and entertaining friends.

Urness says she hasn’t hunted waterfowl, but concludes that thought with an all caps, italicized, “… YET!”

She can be reached at turness@deltawaterfowl.org.

Lyndsay Witt

Lyndsay Witt

Executive Administrator

Lyndsay Witt was raised in South Dakota, later attending North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, North Dakota, and brings over 15 years of administrative and management experience to The Duck Hunters Organization.

“When I saw an opportunity at Delta Waterfowl I jumped at it because of my love for the outdoors, wildlife, and hunting,” said Witt. Professionally, she is most passionate about making a difference in the organization and for people she works alongside, as well as being part of something great.

When she is not working, you can find her enjoying the abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities that the Dakotas have to offer.

“I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, ice fishing, and driving my side-by-side in the Black Hills,” she said. “I also really love to go sit in my warm, cozy deer blind. I can get quite competitive about getting the biggest wall mounter if I drew a buck tag that year.”

Her passion for hunting is strong, but she also greatly enjoys being a homebody, favoring spending time with family and her dog, Sassie, a parti Yorkie. She says that if there was one thing it would be impossible for her to give up, it would likely be coffee.

lwitt@deltawaterfowl.org

Alissa Eberle

Alissa Eberle

Administrative Specialist

Development: Major Gifts and Annual Giving

Sean Stone

Sean Stone

Senior Director of Major Gifts

Raised in Dallas, Sean Stone’s passion for hunting, fishing, and enjoying the diverse terrain of Texas first began at the side of his uncle. That same love of the outdoors, wildlife, and the conservation of both has encouraged him to gravitate towards those with similar passions.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to spend time with those who have a love for nature and sport, and at the same time share what I’ve learned over many years in the conservation world with them,” Stone said. His career includes more than two decades of experience in development for the “hook and bullet” industry.

“I like to take every opportunity to advocate for conservation, proactive management, and replenishment of our environment and resources so that we can continue to enjoy the outdoors for many years—and many generations—to come,” Stone said. “I am excited about Delta Waterfowl’s mission and focus, and I’m thrilled to share it with as many outdoorsmen as will listen.”

As an avid outdoorsman himself, Stone has had the opportunity to hunt across North America, the North and South Platte regions being a few of his best-loved experiences. During the hunting season you will find him in the fields or marshes, but when the season hits a close, he spends his days casting a fly rod or watching his youngest son play baseball.

“We are also big fans of college athletics,” Stone said. “Cheering on my alma mater, Texas Tech University, or my adopted alma mater (wife’s alma mater), Texas A&M, and often traveling to College Station from Houston when we are able to attend football, basketball, or baseball games.”

Stone resides in Houston, Texas with his wife, three sons, and family dog “Aggie”—a Labrador and golden retriever mix that seems to have misplaced the retrieving trait, unless it is for a tasty treat.

sstone@deltawaterfowl.org

Scott McGuigan

Scott McGuigan

Senior Development Director

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.

smcguigan@deltawaterfowl.org

Will Beaty

Will Beaty

Development Director

Will Beaty is the Delta development director for the Houston/New Orleans region undertaking the leadership role in major gift fundraising in southeast Texas and Louisiana.

He holds a business and marketing degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Before joining Delta he most recently served as sales and marketing director at Ecosystem Renewal, LLC, where he managed 14 wetland mitigation sites in Texas and Louisiana, leading all sales marketing efforts. Concurrently, he also functioned as President of BBB Farms, LLC, a successful land and asset management company with assets in agricultural commodity cropland, conservation land development and wetland habitat management.

Delivering excellence in sales/business development and marketing strategies is the hallmark of his sales/marketing executive career. He brings a wealth of knowledge in sales/marketing, and is excited to combine his knowledge and experience with his passion for duck hunting and conservation.

Beaty and his family reside in Waller, Texas a small community northwest of Houston. When it comes to the waterfowl hunting on the Texas Gulf Coast, he has a rich history of guiding and operating one of the largest waterfowl outfitting operations, Central Flyway Outfitters, Inc.  His passion for waterfowling now runs strong with his son, who manages and operates that business today.

Delta looks forward to considerable major gift growth in Southeast Texas/Louisiana, under Beaty’s leadership.

wbeaty@deltawaterfowl.org

 

 

 

Michael Coleman

Michael Coleman

Development Director

Born and raised south of St. Louis, Michael Coleman grew up playing soccer and hockey, later falling in love with the outdoors. His introduction to the sport of waterfowl followed his high school graduation, and after attending a number of Delta Waterfowl events, he became hooked on the organization’s science-based approach.

Coleman’s background includes a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, followed by a valuable career in the point-of-purchase beverage industry where his focus revolved around sales, leadership, and furthering relationships.

As a staunch outdoorsman and area native, he comes to Delta with an extensive understanding of the St. Louis duck scene and a relentless devotion to the future of duck hunting.

“I am very passionate about leaving the world a better place for my two sons and am eagerly awaiting the days when we can enjoy a day together in the field,” Coleman said. “Professionally, I am most excited about helping the St. Louis community come together to put one million more ducks in the air each year.”

After work and on the weekends, you are likely to find him on a body of water, whether that is playing hockey on the ice or fishing, waterskiing, and hunting across the great state of Missouri with his wife and family.

“Of course, family comes first when thinking about what I couldn’t give up, but hockey and hunting are a very close second,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoy a duck blind hunt where breakfast is rolling in the back and mallards are working in the front, but it would be hard for me to pass up a timber hunt at Duck Creek or a layout blind in a field of silhouettes with good company.”

Michael Coleman works for The Duck Hunters Organization from his home base in St. Louis.

mcoleman@deltawaterfowl.org

Blake Fahmie

Blake Fahmie

Development Director - Pacific Flyway

Born and raised in Lafayette, California, Blake Fahmie discovered his love for the outdoors and hunting at a young age, starting his hunting journey at age 10 with his father in the Suisun Marsh and the Sacramento Valley. This early exposure sparked a passion that has driven his career and personal interests.

“I am most passionate about getting new hunters involved, protecting our hunting rights, and increasing the waterfowl population,” Fahmie said. “Just being able to do what I love on a daily basis.”

His impressive scholastic background includes a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, where he was also a collegiate national clay shooting champion from 2009 to 2012. His achievements include winning the California state trap shooting championship by hitting 199 out of 200 targets and receiving a shooting scholarship to Lindenwood University.

Additionally, Fahmie is a seasoned expert in hunting and firearm safety, with a particular focus on encouraging new hunters to embrace outdoor pursuits and working towards increasing the waterfowl population.

When he’s not working for ducks and duck hunters, he can often be found engaging in his favorite outdoor activities, such as shooting trap and sporting clays, snowmobiling, and wake surfing. He also has two loyal dogs at home, a chocolate Lab named Emma and a silver Lab named Charlie.

bfahmie@deltawaterfowl.org

Kevin Kress

Kevin Kress

Development Director - Pacific Flyway

Kevin Kress grew up in Northern California, splitting his time between San Francisco and the Sonoma Valley. Many of his friends were associated with Delta, so when the opportunity knocked for him to join The Duck Hunters Organization, he answered.

Kress joins the Delta Waterfowl team with a deep scholastic background including a double-major in political science and philosophy from California Lutheran University, a Juris Doctorate from Empire College of Law, as well as having been a graduate of Stanford University’s Design School program. Throughout his career, Kress has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and professional experience in business development, particularly in the firearms industry, which will be put to work for ducks and duck hunters.

“I am excited to work on the future of duck hunting in the state of California,” he said. “We have such a rich history of tradition and dedication to the land here in our state, and my work with Delta will help protect those traditions for years to come.”

Kress is a seasoned waterfowler who loves the outdoor life. He and his family own two dogs; a boerboel named Moose, and a drahthaar named Rogue. In his free time, he takes to a variety of different activities.

“You might find me playing music in the local town band, doing some acting in the local theatre, hunting of course with family and friends, and you might even find me at the local fair, showing our pygmy goats,” Kress said. “No matter where I might be, I will be there with my family enjoying time we are able to share together.”

kkress@deltawaterfowl.org

Brian MacGregor

Brian MacGregor

Development Director

Brian MacGregor is the development director for Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Brian comes to Delta with a long background in philanthropic leadership in social services and higher education. Most recently, he enjoyed tremendous success in a senior development role with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and a masters in human services from Murray State University.

The development director role with the Duck Hunters Organization is the next step in a career Brian has devoted to service and to making big ideas become reality. He said, “I’m passionate about walking shoulder to shoulder with incredible people who want to make a difference in the world as we know it. Listening to their hopes, dreams and stories – then sharing ideas on how we can partner to make it happen.”

He lives in Byron, Minnesota which is near Rochester where he grew up. Even when he’s not “on the job” Brian is devoted to service as he is president of the Byron Community Foundation, director of the Byron First Responders and a captain on the Byron Fire Department. He also loves to spend time with his two grandchildren who live nearby. His favorite hunting spot is a farm just down the road from his home.

bmacgregor@deltawaterfowl.org

Dave Messics

Dave Messics

Development Director

Memories of hunting, fishing, Jacques Costeau, and Marlin Perkins set Dave Messics on a life’s path destined to be intertwined with conservation. He grew up in the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania learning about wildlife in every way he could.

Later, Messics earned a wildlife sciences degree with an environmental resource management minor from Penn State. He spent the next 30 years working for non-profits, mostly in the conservation arena.

As a lifelong waterfowler, he considers joining the Delta family to be the capstone of his career.

“I am able to get out of bed every morning knowing I’m helping to advance waterfowl conservation and to put more ducks over our decoys in the fall,” Messics said. “I consider that a true blessing.”

Those who have come to know Messics along his career path appreciate his passion for the outdoors, trustworthiness and impeccable integrity.

When he’s not developing major donors for Delta Waterfowl in the Atlantic Flyway, you’ll likely find him on the water in one way or another. He enjoys fly fishing, and of course, duck hunting.

“I love hunting canvasbacks and bluebills,” Messics said. “It doesn’t really matter where, as long as I’m in good company.”

For many years, that good company was his now 12-year-old yellow Lab, Winston. Sadly, while the family was on vacation years back, Winston lost a leg in an accident.

“He recovered remarkably well and could run as fast on three legs as he did on four, Messics said. “He just couldn’t stop on a dime. We don’t let him run much any more now for fear of injury to one of his good legs, but we spent countless days in the fields and blinds in our younger days. He’s the best dog ever!”

Reach him at dmessics@deltawaterfowl.org.

 

Scott Vance

Scott Vance

Development Director

Staunch conservationist, hunter, and angler, Scott Vance grew up spending his days lost in the beauty and tranquility that is western North Carolina, and fueling what would become a nearly 30-year (and counting) career in conservation.

Graduating with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from East Carolina University and a Master’s degree in Wildlife Toxicology from Clemson University, it was ultimately one of his greatest passions—waterfowl and waterfowl hunting—that led him to The Duck Hunters Organization in the role of development director.

“Delta waterfowl embodies everything I love and stand for as an outdoorsman,” Vance said. “It seems extremely fitting that I would land here with this flock after learning so much about the non-profit conservation world through other organizations.”

The smell of autumn riding atop a crisp wind marks Vance’s favorite type of hunting—early season, specifically in Canada or the Dakotas. “It just seems like those early season hunts have such electricity and energy from the ducks, the dogs, and especially from the hunters,” said Vance, sometimes getting so caught up in watching the birds work, that he does not even bother to shoot. His enthusiasm translates to his every day.

“I am extremely passionate about leaving a strong and lasting legacy for the next generation of conservationists and hunters,” Vance said. “My work helps ensure that not only will we have places to hunt and abundant waterfowl to enjoy and pursue, but that we will also have new generations of hunters who are not only safe and knowledgeable, but also deeply appreciate and cherish the opportunities provided and sacrifices of those before them.”

His beloved hunting partner, ‘Hydro’, passed in 2019. A special and renowned dog, throughout his lifetime he was a five-time Master National Retriever, inducted into the AKC Retriever Hall of Fame, and even beyond that, an incredible companion.

“I have no idea how many thousands of ducks (Hydro) brought back to me in his 11 years of hunting, but it was my honor to take each one from him,” Vance said. “He was the most amazing crippled duck finder that I have ever seen and I pray the memories made with him will never fade from my mind. They are truly some of the most treasured times I’ve ever spent afield.”

Outside of the office, you can find Vance and his son busy pursuing something in the water, woods, or wetlands.

svance@deltawaterfowl.org

Whittlee LaMontagne

Whittlee LaMontagne

Director of Development Operations

Her connection with the outdoors is important to Whitlee LaMontagne. She grew up in Mandan, North Dakota. She loves spending time with her family in outdoor activities. That includes floating up or down the Missouri River and hanging out on its many sandbars.

On other days, she can be found working hard in the barn or traveling to horse shows around the United States and Canada taking care of her family’s five Arabian horses. She also enjoys spending time with their two toy Australian shepherds named “Obi” and “Lando.”

“My husband introduced me to Delta Waterfowl after he worked with them during an annual audit,” LaMontagne said. “My role as Director of Development Operations gives me the opportunity to work with an incredible group of people each day with the same goals in mind. I am very detail-oriented, and really like to make a difference in what I do.”

She is a liberal arts (music) graduate of North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additionally, she has more than five years of finance and facilities management experience.

Professional development, improving her skills, and the ability to serve the cause better are all important to LaMontagne.

“I’m known for my outgoing personality and my ethic to work hard and do good work,” she said.

While she doesn’t hunt herself, LaMontagne said she appreciates the fruits of the hunters’ labors and enjoys stories about hunting. She loves to learn about Delta members’ hunting histories and passions.

What are two things she couldn’t give up?

“That would be Coca-Cola and T.J. Maxx,” she said.

wlamontagne@deltawaterfowl.org

Julie Lagro

Julie Lagro

Senior Database Coordinator

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.

jlagro@deltawaterfowl.org

Lexi Steinbrecher

Lexi Steinbrecher

Database Coordinator

Born and raised in northern Colorado, Lexi recently relocated to Bismarck with her husband. Her passions for helping people and making a difference, as well as her personal enjoyment of hunting, brought her to Delta Waterfowl. She holds a degree in psychology from Colorado State University.

When she’s not at the office, chances are high you’ll find her on the golf course – when Bismarck’s weather permits, of course. She also enjoys visiting new breweries, pretty much any and all outdoor activities and especially paddle boarding with her dog “Chappie” and her husband. (Chappie’s a border collie/dalmation mix.)

Lexi enjoys turkey and deer hunting most of all, particularly on her family’s ranch near Shamrock, Texas in the eastern part of the Texas panhandle.

She says, “I am excited to see where and how far I can go within this organization.”

lsteinbrecher@deltawaterfowl.org

 

Shelby Deichert

Shelby Deichert

Donor Engagement Coordinator

Deichert is a North Dakota native who grew up just across the river in Mandan.

She is excited about the opportunities for her at Delta Waterfowl to provide ideas to deliver a positive impact for the organization. “I am most passionate about helping others and working in a team environment,” she said. “Through my attention to detail, organization and polish, I think I will bring great motivation and new ideas to the table.”

Deichert is married with two children, and they reside in Bismarck, North Dakota. She says she’s not currently a hunter, but her husband loves hunting especially on their property.

Asked what it would be impossible for her to give up, her one word answer is quite clear. “Shopping,” she said.

She can be reached at sdeichert@deltawaterfowl.org.

Cory Henderson

Cory Henderson

Development Fundraising and Grants Coordinator

Born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, Cory Henderson now resides near Colorado’s southwest border, where he remains a steadfast hunter, outdoorsman, and an important part of The Duck Hunters Organization.

“My favorite hunting is in the rice fields or marshes of southeast Texas,” Henderson said. “While I don’t get to do this as often as I did when growing up, hunting ‘back home’ always helps remind me of where this love and passion for duck hunting came from.”

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, his desire to positively impact waterfowl for the future generations ultimately led him to Delta Waterfowl.

“Delta Waterfowl has always been an organization I have admired for its focus on duck hunting, research, and its conservation approach,” Henderson said. “I am passionate about fundraising and the important role it plays in making impactful programs possible, and I’m excited to be a part of Delta’s fundraising efforts to continue and expand the impact made on waterfowl conservation.”

When he is not working, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors alongside family and friends, whether it be hiking Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, fly fishing a trout stream, or chasing ducks and deer.

Henderson also has a black Lab named Finn, and when it comes to his favorite species of waterfowl, he can’t get enough of gadwalls, cupped up and ready to land in the spread.

chenderson@deltawaterfowl.org

Marketing and Communications

Brad Heidel

Brad Heidel

Senior Director of Corporate Relations

Hired in February 2018, Brad Heidel handles the organizations marketing, 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 & Delta Waterfowls Duck Hunters Expo. 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 Scot Petrie, Chief Executive Officer.  “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 over decoys and more hunters on the water.”

He lives just NW of Madison, Wisconsin, with wife, Karen, and a pair of Labrador retrievers, Snoop Dogg and Burger.

bheidel@deltawaterfowl.org

Bill Miller

Bill Miller

Communications Director

Since age 11, Bill Miller knew he wanted to be an outdoor writer. He discovered that there were people whose career it was to head to Canada in the fall and hunt their way south filing newspaper reports as they went. As soon as he read that, it’s all he wanted to do!

Throughout high school and college, he tailored his education to achieve this goal. He graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in environmental communications from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Before finding a TV news job, he was hired as the associate editor of a budding hunting magazine in Minneapolis. For the next 28 years, he was with that publishing company, working his way up to the executive team as VP, media development and production, responsible for the editorial, art, production and television/video departments for 12 magazines. His work along the way included editor of North American Hunter magazine and host of their television shows on ESPN, Outdoor Channel and more.

Yet, Miller always had one passion: to simply be an outdoor writer.

“That’s what I love about my position at Delta. I’m finally a day-in, day-out writer,” he said. “It’s what I always wanted to do. Best of all, I get to do it in the company of a terrific group of people and for causes I believe in deeply. What could be better than to be the staff writer for The Duck Hunter’s Organization?”

As you can imagine, Miller is first and foremost a hunter, having hunted and/or wingshot competitively in 46 states and seven provinces over his career. He also enjoys fishing, clay target shooting, land management and geocaching — which is another form of hunting he’ll ramble on about for hours if you let him!

He and his wife currently own one English springer spaniel named “Karat,” although Miller is proud of a mantle full of hunt test and trial awards earned by Labs: Sadie, Belle, Huck, Dixie and Callie.

bmiller@deltawaterfowl.org

Jessica Rockeman

Jessica Rockeman

Marketing Director

Jessica Rockeman is an experienced digital media developer, educator, and marketer. Driven by her interest in conservation, hunting, and wildlife, she takes pride in providing the best CX digital experiences possible. As a digital content creator, her goals include outreach and sharing Delta Waterfowl’s outstanding programs and professional expertise. In addition to her primary job duties, Jessica serves as a Humanities North Dakota board member and has been recognized as an ADDY award winner, and holds multiple awards for digital campaigns and virtual experiences.

Paul Wait

Paul Wait

Senior Manager of 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 CallerWisconsin 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.

pwait@deltawaterfowl.org

Kyle Wintersteen

Kyle Wintersteen

Magazine Editor and Communications Writer

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.

kwintersteen@deltawaterfowl.org

Bryce Seefeldt

Bryce Seefeldt

Assistant Director of MarComm

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.

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.

bseefeldt@deltawaterfowl.org

Carrie Lapka

Carrie Lapka

Art Director

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.

clapka@deltawaterfowl.org

Christy Sweigart

Christy Sweigart

Staff Writer

A native of Colorado, Christy Sweigart was raised in a hunting-oriented family in the foothills of the Black Forest. Her innate passion for the outdoors encouraged an introduction to waterfowl hunting, and eventually shaped her career as staff writer for The Duck Hunters Organization.

Sweigart graduated from Colorado State University in Fort Collins with a degree in natural resource tourism and a minor in business administration. It is through her undergraduate course work that she secured the position as Delta’s first communications intern in the summer of 2021. The internship experience included a trip to North Dakota, where she encountered the prairie pothole region in its unique summer splendor.

“There were more ducks than I could count. You name it, we saw it,” Sweigart explained. “I was able to witness and get hands-on with some of the research going on in North Dakota as part of a writing assignment, and I have been hooked on the organization and the cause ever since.”

As staff writer, she assists with the creation of a wide variety of communications materials for multiple departments within the organization.

“It becomes easy to get down to work when you are surrounded by people who are passionate about a valuable cause,” Sweigart said. “I am grateful that every day I get to research and write about the topics that fuel my passion for waterfowl, conservation, and the outdoors, and communicate with the wide range of Delta members that make the organization’s mission a success.”

When the season kicks off, you can find her in a panel blind alongside the river—steamy breakfast burrito in hand and eyes primed for a passing greenhead. During the off-season, she spends her time soaking up the outdoors either boating, hiking, traveling, or spending time with friends and family, as well as her dog (Nikita) and two horses (Fancy and Reba).

csweigart@deltawaterfowl.org

Cole Gendreau

Cole Gendreau

Digital Media Creator

Bismarck, North Dakota, native, Cole Gendreau first began hunting with his father and grandfather on parcels of his family’s land. From there, his passion and creativity paired with his love for the outdoors and placed him in the realm of outdoor media creation.

“I am most passionate about being creative,” Gendreau said. “Whether it is through film or photography, I am excited by being able to capture moments in creative and visually pleasing ways and to be able to share those moments with others.”

His background includes schooling from the University of Mary in Bismarck, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in communication and media production with a minor in art. His university experience also happens to be where he became acquainted with The Duck Hunters Organization.

“I visited Delta Waterfowl for a school project and met the media creator who had come before me,” he said. “So, when I saw the job opening, I was instantly interested and applied.”

His role includes creating relevant and on-brand media for the organization, from photography to film and more. His history of hunting and love for the outdoors made him a perfect fit for the role—though, he claims upland as his favorite type of hunting.

“Because of the location of our family land, I grew up pheasant hunting and it is still my favorite thing to hunt,” said Gendreau. “As I got older and busier, it got tougher to travel back to that area, so I got into duck and goose hunting around Bismarck and fell in love with it.”

When he is not working, you can find him spending time with his family, fiancé, and 90-pound Bernedoodle, Summit,—or somewhere outdoors, hiking, hunting, or golfing.

cgendreau@deltawaterfowl.org

Michael Kordek

Michael Kordek

Digital Content Coordinator

Growing up in northern Illinois, Michael Kordek’s introduction to hunting stemmed from experiences collected over the course of his college education. His passion for hunting and experience in the marketing realm would prove to be the combination responsible for his search for a career in conservation and the outdoors.

Graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s in marketing, a minor in business communication, and a master’s in communications studies, Kordek comes to The Duck Hunters Organization with valuable agency experience, where he focused on marketing brands in the outdoor and hunting industries.

“I look forward to contributing to Delta by increasing the social media following and providing those communities with content that displays the organization’s mission, and to inspire all duck hunters to support the organization,” Kordek said.

In the fall, when he is not hard at work with a hand in the organization’s digital content, you’ll find him in a duck blind or patiently waiting for geese to work a field. But, come spring, Kordek is occupied with yet another love—“chasing gobblers.”

“I am obsessed with turkey hunting,” Kordek said. “There is just nothing that comes close to the beauty of springtime in the turkey woods waiting for gobbles. But, as for waterfowl hunting, geese on a good feed are a rush!”

Kordek is based out of the Bismarck office where he plans to get a dog of his own, possibly a Lab, tough enough to bite back at the Bismarck winter.

mkordek@deltawaterfowl.org

Ashley Praus

Ashley Praus

Digital Content Coordinator

Ashley Praus grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, where her journey with Delta Waterfowl began. She started attending Delta events with her husband in 2010 and, after graduating with a degree in graphic design from Bismarck State College, she embarked on her career with the organization.

“Between my love for the outdoors and my passion for creativity and design, this is the perfect job for me,” Praus said. “I love being a part of the Delta Waterfowl team and being able to share my creative talents with this great organization.”

Outside of work, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities year-round. In the summer, she loves to spend time on the boat with her husband, Brad, their daughter, Aspen, and their two dogs. She also enjoys fishing, camping, and hunting —especially hunting spring turkey, where she can watch them strut around and make their way into the decoys.

“I also enjoy bow hunting,” she said. “I love sitting in the tree stand in peace and quiet and just watching everything from above. I definitely find bow hunting to be a challenge which, in turn, makes the few times I’ve been able to harvest a deer with my bow very rewarding.”

If there was one thing that would be impossible for her to give up, it would be evening walks with her two dogs: Newt, a black Lab, and Rena, a German shepherd.

apraus@deltawaterfowl.org

Kristen Heggenstaller

Kristen Heggenstaller

Expo Coordinator

Kristen Heggenstaller grew up in Round Hill, Virginia and attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA on a scholarship, where she studied marketing and management with a focus on sports management. Following graduation, she worked for the National Rifle Association organizing tradeshows, executing annual meetings, and the Great American Outdoor Show. It was there that she met her husband, who introduced her to skeet shooting, deer hunting (bow, rifle, and muzzleloader) and turkey hunting, which she has come to love.

Once her children were in school, Heggenstaller decided to make a career change that focused on planning smaller-scale fundraising events and marketing. She joined Delta in November of 2023 as Expo coordinator and says that she’s excited to be back in the hunting, shooting, and outdoor industry.

“I love working hard to plan all the details of an event and seeing it come together in the end,” she says. “I love to see the faces of attendees—who may never have been to a show like ours—walk in the doors and be amazed at what they’re seeing.”

When she’s not working, you’ll find Heggenstaller running half marathons and trail races, in the woods hiking or hunting, or doing yard work—anything that gets her outside.

“We spend a lot of time exploring the game lands in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania,” Heggenstaller says. “We have a treeing squirrel dog named Gus whom we hunt with often—there’s nothing like the sound of a hound on a tree! I’ve always wanted to duck hunt, but I’ve never had the opportunity. Hopefully, I can change that soon!”

kheggenstaller@deltawaterfowl.org

Development: Events

Lisa Lawrence

Lisa Lawrence

Senior Director of Development Operations

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.

llawrence@deltawaterfowl.org

Lacee Dutchak

Lacee Dutchak

Development Manager

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.

ldutchak@deltawaterfowl.org

Nicole Robins

Nicole Robins

Development Manager

Nicole Robins 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 Robin’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,” Robins 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.”

Robins 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.”

nrobins@deltawaterfowl.org

Esther Bristol

Esther Bristol

Development Coordinator

Esther Bristol grew up moving between North Dakota and Utah, and later graduated from Brigham Young University – Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Following her graduation, she moved back to North Dakota at the end of 2020, and as her career evolved, she found herself at Delta Waterfowl.

“I love getting to meet new people and connecting over their needs,” she said. “I love chatting about what makes them happy and trying to be of service in any way that I can. I have had a wide range of jobs in multiple fields and there is always something to talk about with everyone I meet.”

When she is not working, she is either out trying to get a good photo of the northern lights (and capturing great images of wildlife instead) or at home working on her latest crafting obsession.

“I enjoy creating new things, even if they don’t usually turn out the way I want them to,” she said. “The process is what is fun for me.”

Her favorite type of bird to see out-and-about is a pelican, and though she doesn’t have a dog just yet, she looks forward to getting one in the future.

ebritsol@deltawaterfowl.org

Amanda Brusseau

Amanda Brusseau

Development Coordinator

Amanda Brusseau grew up on a farm just south of Dickinson, North Dakota. The land just south of her home is still her favorite place to deer hunt.

“The crops provide great habitat and the deer in recent years have been great!” she said. “I have yet to go waterfowl hunting, but I have no doubt it is in my future.”

Following her recent graduation from The University of Mary near Bismarck, North Dakota, with a degree in communications, she is looking forward to implementing organizational and streamlining practices to help The Duck Hunters Organization conquer its mission.

“I have always been interested in conservation and in event organization, so getting to merge the two at Delta just seemed like the perfect opportunity,” Brusseau said. “It’s going to sound nerdy, but I love organization within a company. To be able to find processes and solutions to streamline projects or events is what keeps me motivated.”

When she is not at work, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family or spending time in the kitchen.

“I love cooking and trying our different types of recipes!” she said. “I also like to go on walks, attend different Bis-Man (Bismarck-Mandan) events, and go back to Dickinson to help on the farm.”

If there was one thing she could never give up, it would be music. Her music taste is broad; she always has a playlist of some sort going.

abrusseau@deltawaterfowl.org

Kyle Tribble

Kyle Tribble

Development Coordinator

California-native, Kyle Tribble was raised outside of Sacramento, made a temporary home in Kansas, and found his way to Delta Waterfowl after moving to North Dakota. His previous experience in the waterfowl industry with The California Waterfowl Association made him a great asset to the Delta Team.

“Working in the waterfowl industry has given me the opportunity to travel across North America and visit some really amazing places,” said Tribble. “I am passionate about promoting conservation and the love for the outdoors and am excited to show how generating donations can preserve habitat and future hunting opportunities for generations to come.”

Outside of work and dependent on the time of year, Tribble stays busy with a variety of outdoor activities.

“Outside of hunting season, you can catch me working on my yard, training my dogs, and watching or playing golf,” he said. “In hunting season, you can find me at the local public marsh with my dog just enjoying the outdoors. Coming home with some birds is just the cherry on top.”

He has three dogs, a black Lab named Quin, an Australian shepherd named Trixie, and a corgi named Piper.

ktribble@deltawaterfowl.org

Erika Gallaway

Erika Gallaway

Development Coordinator

Born and raised in Grand Forks and later Bismarck, Erika grew up hunting and fishing in the Midwest, primarily for upland game and deer.

After receiving her Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice Studies and Psychology, Erika moved permanently to Bismarck, where she worked in corrections and emergency preparedness and response before starting a career with Delta Waterfowl.

Erika serves as a 2nd Lieutenant with the North Dakota Wing of Civil Air Patrol, conducting volunteer search and rescue flights. She hunts now more than ever, spending time in the field with her boyfriend and their yellow lab, Moose. In her free time, Erika looks forward to working on their 5-acre homestead.

egallaway@deltawaterfowl.org

Jill Kline

Jill Kline

Development Coordinator

Jill was born and raised in Bismarck. Although she isn’t a hunter, she was always curious about Delta Waterfowl, often passing by the building while walking with her family.

She has a CDA in childhood special education and a certification in Consumer Relations. Jill feels confident that she can apply her skills – especially her determination and positivity – to succeed in her role as a Development Coordinator.

“I look at every day as an opportunity to grow and learn,” she says.

On a sunny day, you can find her tending to her flowerbeds, walking by the river, or visiting a zoo or amusement park with her family. When she’s not spending time outside, she also enjoys crafting, cooking, and baking at home. She’s usually with her son, her nieces and nephews, and her ten-year-old dog, Luna.

jkline@deltawaterfowl.org

Shalee Martin

Shalee Martin

Development Coordinator

Shalee grew up on a farm near Robinson, North Dakota where she was introduced to hunting at an early age. She says, “I was searching for a new career opportunity and saw the chance to be a part of Delta’s flock.”

She has always had a passion for the outdoors including hunting and fishing. She has an Associate of Science degree from Bismarck State College. Shalee recognized the development coordinator position at Delta as a way to exhibit her deeply instilled work ethic and the fun, positive energy she brings to the table.

When she’s not at the office, chances are high you’ll find Shalee playing softball, basketball, volleyball, working on craft and sewing projects, or on the water. Her favorite way to spend the weekend is hanging out with family or friends and enjoying being an aunt to three amazing youngsters.

When it comes to hunting, she most enjoys deer hunting on the old, family farm near Robinson. And she’s the proud companion of a half-Lab, half-border collie named “Lucy.”

smartin@deltawaterfowl.org 

Michael Biewer

Warehouse Coordinator

Michael Biewer is a long-time Delta volunteer who began working with the Delta chapter in Minot, North Dakota, when he was just 17, later transitioning to work with the Valley City Delta chapter. He comes to The Duck Hunters Organization with nearly 15 years of valuable, hands-on service and experience.

“It’s exciting to turn my enthusiasm and drive for making a positive impact into a career,” he said.

Biewer holds two degrees: an associate in wildlife management from Dakota College at Bottineau, and a bachelor’s in wildlife and fisheries management from Valley City State University. His volunteer experience paired with his scholastic background made him the perfect addition to The Duck Hunters Organization.

Outside of work, you can find him and his wife spending time in the great outdoors, taking part in a variety of activities and hobbies.

“When there is a hunting season open, I try to be out for it, no matter what it is,” he said. “I enjoy fishing now and then, and the wife and I like to go out to eat at new places and old favorites, as well as going out to the local brewery.”

He has a flat-coat retriever named Lophy, and his favorite place to hunt is in the Badlands of North Dakota, where he is on the lookout for big game and turkeys.

mbiewer@deltawaterfowl.org

Development: Regional Directors

Bryan Leach

Bryan Leach

Director of Events

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.

bleach@deltawaterfowl.org

Chris Williams

Chris Williams

Director of Events

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.

cwilliams@deltawaterfowl.org

John Clements

John Clements

Senior Regional Director - Canadian Team

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.”

jclements@deltawaterfowl.org

Nic Hampton

Nic Hampton

Senior Regional Director - North Team

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.”

nhampton@deltawaterfowl.org

Matt Kneisley

Matt Kneisley

Senior Regional Director - Atlantic Team

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.

mkneisley@deltawaterfowl.org

Garrett Trentham

Garrett Trentham

Senior Regional Director - South Team

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.

gtrentham@deltawaterfowl.org

Jeff Adams

Jeff Adams

Regional Director - AZ, CO, NM, NV, UT, Southern ID, WY

Beginning in 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 bled Delta Waterfowl every spare moment I had,” he said. “Waterfowl hunting is my absolute passion. I want to help other people have opportunities to experience it and I have enjoyed carrying that passion into the role as an employee of the Foundation as well.”

Adams found Delta through a local youth education event he and his son participated in near 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 those are nest structures, hunter access work, or hunter recruitment programs,” he said.

Adams hunts all manner of waterfowl, from ducks to swans, but he gets his most enjoyment out of helping others have an experience they wouldn’t otherwise get to have during waterfowl season.

“My favorite time of year has come to be the month of November,” he said. “I am fortunate to have the chance of getting a good number of hunters out to hunt Swans over decoys during this particular month, helping them to have a solid memory in harvesting this trophy. Together with this, we are fortunate to have a large amount of public access allowing us the chance to hunt a variety of magnificent duck species as well.”

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 over 30 years, Jenni. The couple has two grown children and two grandchildren.

jadams@deltawaterfowl.org

Bill Dougan

Bill Dougan

Regional Director - Western Canada (MB, SK, AB, BC)

Bill Dougan was born and raised in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He and his wife Paula moved to Cochrane, Alberta, in 2014 to be closer to their four daughters and grandchildren. He began hunting waterfowl at age 10 when he first ventured out with his father, grandfather and brothers on the fields, marshes and coastlines of PEI.

Even before officially joining the Delta team, Bill had a substantial history with The Duck Hunters Organization. Along with his friend Kevin Arsenault, he was instrumental, in 2003, in forming the second-ever Delta chapter in Canada. He designed and created the Delta Waterfowl mentorship program on Prince Edward Island in 2007. Bill has also been involved with the youth waterfowl workshop on PEI as the target shooting coordinator and goose and duck calling instructor. That event is among the largest one-day youth waterfowl workshops in North America with more than 120 kids taking part every year.

His professional career began as a sports department manager for “Hometown Hardware” in Charlottetown. He went on to work as a distribution manager for Retail Gas in PEI and then material coordinator for Internal Energy Services in northern Alberta. Most recently, prior to joining Delta, he was manager of volunteer and corporate fundraising with Ducks Unlimited Canada. He was also an officer in the Charlottetown Trap and Skeet Club and chairman of “Gun for the Cure,” which raised thousands for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Bill is also a recognized name in the contest duck and goose calling world as a competitor, promoter and judge. His accomplishments include:

  • Eastern Canadian Open goose calling champion (2005)
  • Runner-up in 2-man goose team championship (2005)
  • Championship team 2-man goose for Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • First chairman and organizer for Eastern Canadian calling championship (2005)
  • Decades of calling contest judging, including Canadian calling championship for goose and duck (2013) and Atlantic calling championship for goose and duck (2014)

He believes deeply in the pillars and the cause of Delta Waterfowl. “I believe Delta Waterfowl is the future of our waterfowl heritage,” he said. “The landscape of waterfowling as we know it would be a lot different than it is today if it were not for Delta. I love that I have been given the opportunity to be able to give back to my waterfowl heritage and help make a difference in my community.”

bdougan@deltawaterfowl.org

Carey Egeland

Carey Egeland

Regional Director - ND, SD, MT, WY, CO, NE

Growing up in southwestern Minnesota, Carey Egeland was introduced to waterfowl hunting at a very early age by his father.

“Waterfowl were few and far between in our area then, but I always enjoyed going,” he said. “My dad did a good job instilling a code of hunting ethics and conservation values.”

Egeland attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, as a wildlife and fisheries sciences major. It’s also where his true love of waterfowl hunting really took shape. He remembers great field hunts for mallards and geese.

While attending SDSU, he completed summer internships with Delta Waterfowl in Minnedosa, Manitoba, working under Mike Buxton in a Predator Management study. It inspired him to help start the Brookings Chapter of Delta Waterfowl. He was chairman for three years, until graduation and beginning a job with South Dakota Game Fish and Parks.

Egeland also managed 400 Hen Houses in southwestern Minnesota, an experience solidified his support of Delta’s programs.

“I got to see firsthand how they affected duck populations where I grew up hunting,” he said. “I always enjoy going back and doing Hen Houses with my dad in the winter.”

In Aberdeen, he connected with the local Delta chapter and became chairman for two years. He views this experience as true testament to the quality of people in the Delta family. One of his favorite parts of working with the chapter was conducting their annual youth hunt.

“Putting in the work scouting and organizing was far outweighed by the smiles on the faces during and after the hunt,” he said.

As regional director, Egeland is responsible for enhancing the successes of programs, chapter development and event fundraising in the north-central region including North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

He can be reached at cegeland@deltawaterfowl.org.

Nathan Fields

Nathan Fields

Regional Director - IN, OH, MI

A lifelong waterfowl hunter, Nathan Fields’ fondness for the sport brought him to the doorstep of The Duck Hunters Organization. Beginning as a passionate volunteer in his home state of Indiana, he spent three years as a volunteer before applying his learned expertise to other chapters in the area in the role of regional director.

“What excites me most is continuing the traditions of duck hunting as well as preserving the resource to make sure that future generations will also get a chance to enjoy the sport of waterfowling,” Fields said.

Graduating with an associate degree in applied science from Vincennes University in Indiana, he has been a passionate waterfowler all of his life. When he is not working, you can find him on the lake, hunting, fishing, or “just enjoying the water.” His favorite form of hunting is field hunting cut corn out of an A-frame blind.

Fields works from his home base in Memphis, Indiana.

nfields@deltawaterfowl.org

Ben Haff

Ben Haff

Regional Director – OK, KS

Ben Haff hails from Sand Springs, Oklahoma, a town west of Tulsa that lies on the Arkansas River. He began his journey with Delta Waterfowl as a research assistant, sparking a lifelong connection with waterfowl and waterfowl hunters. He later graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of science degree in wildlife and fisheries ecology. Now, with two decades of experience in conservation—including a stint in the outdoor industry working with duck and goose decoys—Haff has dedicated a significant amount of time as a volunteer for various conservation groups.

“I am passionate about wildlife conservation and hunting heritage in general,” Haff said. “My specialty is all things waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. I am excited to support our team of dedicated volunteers as they work hard to help Delta Waterfowl achieve their goals. Together, we can enjoy, grow, protect, and pass on our favorite outdoor passion of waterfowl hunting.”

When not working, Haff enjoys the simpler things in life.

“I am a pretty simple guy,” he said. “In my free time, you’ll find me setting the hook, pulling the trigger, releasing an arrow, working with a retriever, enjoying time with family, attending our church, or coaching youth sports in my community.”

But when fall rolls around, he prefers to be on big water hunts on public land.

“I am admittedly a mallard snob,” Haff said. “Show me a cold, sunny day with a consistent wind, 100 super-magnum duck decoys, and a seasoned black Lab, and I’ll show you a happy version of myself.”

He has two bird dogs himself: a black Lab named Pearl, and a cocker spaniel named Copper.

bhaff@deltawaterfowl.org

Justin Higdon

Justin Higdon

Regional Director - LA

Louisiana’s Regional Director Justin Higdon has been a part of the Delta family since 2012: First as a volunteer, then as Chairman of the Northeast Louisiana committee in 2020 and 2021. He’s also been a member of the Delta Waterfowl Louisiana State Committee since 2018.

Higdon grew up hunting on public land refuges near his hometown of Monroe, Louisiana. “As a kid, the adventure of taking a boat ride or a four-wheeler was just as much a part of the fun as watching my first duck dog, Jake, make his retrieves,” Higdon remembers fondly. He went on to attend the University of Louisiana at Monroe and graduated in 2006.

His passion for hunting – and his love for duck dogs – are both lifelong. Now, Higdon hunts at his duck club in Collinston, Louisiana. He relishes the opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends and his two Labradors, Cash and Pearl.

He’s looking forward to the challenge – and adventure – of his new role at Delta. “I’ve made a lot of really good friends through Delta Waterfowl,” Higdon says. “I look forward to the opportunity to make new ones and I continue to expand my involvement with the Organization.”

When he’s not hunting ducks or training dogs, he enjoys traveling with his wife, Amy, and playing golf.

jhigdon@deltawaterfowl.org

Millard Houser

Millard Houser

Regional Director - WA, OR, Northern ID
Scot Marcin

Scot Marcin

Regional Director - TN, KY

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.

smarcin@deltawaterfowl.org

Nicholas Metrick

Nicholas Metrick

Regional Director - California

Nicholas Metrick was raised in a small farming town located on the California Delta, where his passion for waterfowl and wildlife grew and developed. He joins The Duck Hunters Organization with a strong business background, including a degree in business administration from California State University, Chico, with additional experience in marketing and sales programs.

But it was his relentless passion and constant research regarding waterfowl and hunting that led him to pursue a career in waterfowl conservation with Delta.

“I am most passionate about getting more people involved, whether that be a new hunter out in the marsh or boat for the first time, or someone who regularly hunts to join Delta Waterfowl and become a member to support getting more ducks out there each year,” Metrick said. “It is extremely motivating working with others who share a passion that is the same as yours, and waterfowl need all the help they can get right now. Their habitat is slowly disappearing, and it’s not coming back once it’s gone.”

When he isn’t working for ducks and duck hunters, you can find him spending time with family and friends or out in nature—whether that be doing something waterfowl related, backpacking or camping, working in his garden or playing around with photography.

“I try to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible,” Metrick said. “I feel that it’s vital to stay healthy physically and emotionally.”

Metrick favors hunting the variety of waterfowl that California offers and has two rescue dogs, a black Lab/German shepherd mix named Avvie, and a border collie/akita mix named Yeti.

nmetrick@deltawaterfowl.org

Brian Moyse

Brian Moyse

Regional Director - IL, IN, MI

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.

bmoyse@deltawaterfowl.org

Taylor Pahl

Taylor Pahl

Regional Director – WI
Mike Powell

Mike Powell

Regional Director - Southern MD, VA, NC, SC

Mike was born and raised in Smithfield, North Carolina — representing the sixth generation to live and work the same family farm. Immediately prior to joining the Delta team, he concluded a 25-year career with Caterpillar, during which he achieved a bachelor of science degree in business administration, graduating cum laude from the University of Mount Olive. Also during that time, he spent 12 years as the chairman of the Middle Neuse River Delta Chapter.

“I hope to bring more awareness of Delta Waterfowl to the region,” Mike said. “I really enjoy educating people about the organization. Being a chapter chairman and attending other events throughout the region have given me the opportunity to get to know a lot of the folks I will be working for in the field. I hope my experience as a volunteer in Delta over the years will help me contribute to the other chapters and volunteers. I know what it means to be where they are, and I think and hope they will see that I understand some of the struggles and triumphs associated with their chapter.”

He is married to his wife, Kim, and they have a daughter, Carson. Though Mike lives to be outdoors in the fall and winter, when he isn’t hunting you can find him making things with his hands — his grandfather and father taught him to weld and fabricate.

Asked what he could never give up, Mike said hunting rights would be on that list, and added family, close friends, church and freedom. His favorite place to hunt is NE NC with a couple of close friends who have a few stake blinds and invite him to come along. Hunting with friends and sharing experiences make any hunt a favorite. He hunts over and shares the devoted companionship of a Chesapeake Bay retriever named “Chic.”

mpowell@deltawaterfowl.org

Blake Schmirler

Blake Schmirler

Regional Director - Ontario

Growing up in the shadow of Niagara Falls, Blake Schmirler knew at an early age the course for his career. Working in the trades, his dream was to turn his passion for waterfowl into his everyday job. Without a biology background, he chose to get involved by volunteering on the fundraising side of the equation.

“I knew this was a way I could make a positive impact in supporting waterfowl,” he said. “It would also be a great way to learn, grow, and develop the skills needed to be a Regional Director. In January, 2019 I realized my goal, and have been enjoying every day since!”

The ability to share his personal adoration and passion for waterfowl and waterfowl hunting excites Schmirler. Passing it along to others and seeing them take off with it gives him great pride. He knows that he is making a difference in waterfowl conservation with every dollar raised.

He sees the most important attributes for a Delta regional director as a positive attitude and consistency.

“I always try to stay calm,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of ups and downs in this job, so being consistent is a priority.”

As for his personal hunting passion, Schmirler says he has a difficult time picking a favorite.

“It’s a tough call,” he said. “One of the great things about living in Ontario is that we have every style of waterfowl hunting available to us, from early season honkers in cut wheat fields to late-season sea ducks on Lake Ontario.”

If forced to choose, “It would be late-season canvasbacks and redheads on Lake Erie,” he said. “There is just something about having ice hanging off your boat and watching those flocks come into the decoys. I wait for those hunts all year long.”

Schmirler enjoys fishing with his dad, playing hockey and baseball, and getting out to ice-fish. More than anything else, he says he enjoys spending time with family and friends making great memories.

Contact him at bschmirler@deltawaterfowl.org.

Franz Schnabl

Franz Schnabl

Regional Director - AL, MS

Franz Schnabl began duck hunting at age 10 when his uncle took him to the blind for the first time. Growing up in Corinth in northeast Mississippi, abundant opportunity has fueled his 30-plus year love of waterfowl and hunting. In his desire to give back and make conservation a priority, he founded the Alcorn County Chapter of Delta Waterfowl in 2013.

Schnabl is a graduate of Corinth High School and studied forestry at Northeast Mississippi Community College. An entrepreneur at heart, he opened and managed several new businesses in his hometown.

“I’m extremely passionate about introducing youth and non-hunters to the sport,” he said. “I get excited by the enthusiasm and passion of Delta volunteers to preserve the heritage and future of ducks and duck hunting.”

A self-described “people person,” Schnabl brings knowledge of waterfowling and keen leadership abilities to his role as regional director for Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

“It’s all about motivating hunters to create their own local chapters to preserve the future of waterfowl hunting for future generations,” he said.

Schnabl’s favorite place to hunt is Canada, but hunting mallards in flooded timber is his favorite style of hunting. His favored hunting companion for many seasons was a now-deeply-missed English springer spaniel named Ringo.

If he’s not hunting or spreading the word about Delta, you can find him socializing with family and friends or traveling to exciting new places. His favorite way to spend the weekend is relaxing on the patio, grilling and entertaining guests. When you meet Schnabl, ask why he’s known to his friends as “Uncle Rico.” There has to be a good story in that!

Contact him at fschnabl@deltawaterfowl.org.

Trent Scogin

Trent Scogin

Regional Director – AR

Born and raised in southeast Arkansas, Trent Scogin developed a deep love for the outdoors from an early age, tagging along with his dad on duck hunting trips on public lands. This early exposure fostered an unwavering passion for the sport and the natural resources that support it. After spending over 20 years in the insurance and banking industry, he decided to chase his dream of spending his days working towards positive outcomes for ducks and duck hunters.

“Delta Waterfowl is a muddy, boots-on-the-ground, grassroots organization, and I believe the programmatic work being done in the prairie pothole region through our Hen House and Predator Management programs is incredibly important,” said Scogin. “Plus, our HunteR3 program is critical to bringing the next generation of hunter-conservationists into the field and giving them a track to run on.”

When it comes to hunting, Scogin believes “The Natural State” can’t be beat.

“Standing in the Arkansas’ famed green timber, kicking water, and chasing mallards is my favorite place to be,” he said. “It never gets old.”

When he isn’t working, you can find him cheering on his kids at baseball or softball games or enjoying weekends at the camp, preparing for hunting seasons and working on various projects.

Additionally, Scogin and his family have a beloved 15-pound mini goldendoodle named Ivy. Although she’s not a working dog, she is a cherished family member who is always excited to greet the family when they return home.

tscogin@deltawaterfowl.org

Derron Wahlen

Derron Wahlen

Regional Director - MN, WI

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.”

dwahlen@deltawaterfowl.org

Ryan Watson

Ryan Watson

Regional Director - South TX

Growing up outside of Greenville, South Carolina, Ryan Watson remembers getting hooked on duck hunting after a thrilling harvest of greenheads, a pintail, and a wigeon on an exciting hunt with a Little League friend.

Watson attended Winthrop University for a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management which led him to his previous experience working with a non-profit. He also served in the United States Army after committing to ROTC and remains a part of the United States Army Reserves.

Although the majority of his background revolves around sports and the military, Watson’s love for the outdoors and his fond memories of wood ducks at shooting light and mallard quacks in the field brought him back to a job in conservation.

“I had enjoyed what I was doing, but there was still something missing,” Watson said. Through his journey to find a home in the conservation world, he was introduced to The Duck Hunters Organization. He had known from his first Delta event that becoming a regional director was his calling.

Watson particularly enjoys small water hunts in South Texas as the birds last stop before the coast; however, public land is his favorite style of hunting due to the reward that comes from all of the hard work. His favorite duck is a pintail, with a wood duck making its case for a close second.

In his free time, you might catch Watson and his “better half,” Callie, out on the Guadalupe River with a fishing pole. They also enjoy dove hunting and spending time with family. Other times you simply may not find him, as he chases deer, turkeys or hogs, and goes fishing and wing shooting deep in the woods or off the map.

Watson’s favorite part about his role is the community that comes along with the mission of The Duck Hunters Organization. “The friendships and development of Delta and myself that come with the position are priceless,” he said.

rwatson@deltawaterfowl.org

Stacy Whittum

Stacy Whittum

Regional Director - FL, GA

Stacy admits to coming to hunting later in life after growing up in northern Illinois and living in Florida for more than two decades. However, her passion for the outdoors and conservation now runs deep.

She was introduced to Delta Waterfowl in 2021 by a friend. She and her husband attended a meeting about starting a new local chapter and the next thing she knew, she was nominated to be its secretary. Through that experience she came to enjoy planning their banquet and spreading the word about Delta’s mission.

Stacy says, “I am passionate about getting people excited about conservation. I did not grow up fishing or hunting and took our wild spaces for granted. Now that I am older, I see how important it is to get more people to be advocates. We must in order to protect the future of hunting and duck populations. I hope I can show just a couple people that may have grown up like me that it’s not too late to get involved if it is something you are truly passionate about. Don’t be scared to jump right in; we are all here to support you!”

On weekends, you can find Stacy with her husband on their mud boat enjoying local rivers, springs and sandbars with their friends. She feels fortunate that they live surrounded by several WMA’s and public waterways that allow them to recreate 365 days a year.

As to her favorite kind of hunting, she says it is anywhere she is hunting with friends and adds, “I have walked into hunts before with strangers, and we have all left at the end as friends. I have met so many amazing people throughout the waterfowl community and have experienced many memorable hunts. We do everything from open water divers to hunting sites tucked in some brush in the middle of a cattle ranch. As long as there is good conversation and laughs, I’ll be there!”

She and her husband are owned by three dogs —black Lab “Doc”, Chihuahua “Luke” and Bloodhound “Festus”.

swhittum@deltawaterfowl.org

Ben Woolley

Ben Woolley

Regional Director - North TX

Ben Woolley grew up in Northeast Texas and has attended Delta Waterfowl banquets since the beginning days of the Greater Longview Chapter, one of the largest and longest tenured chapters in the area. In 2004, he won a youth model Charles Daly shotgun and to this day, he still holds it dearly in his possession.

Woolley graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in 2017, where his involvement and later career experience with relationship building and volunteer work was met with his relentless love for the pursuit of the outdoors. The combination to position him for success within The Duck Hunters Organization.

“I am extremely passionate about hunting, conservation, and duck hunting in particular,” said Woolley. “I truly believe in Delta’s mission and vision. I believe we can make a positive impact on the duck population for hunters to enjoy endless opportunity for generations to come.”

His passion had been ingrained in him at a young age. “I’ve got a couple of honey holes in my hometown that I love to hunt,” he said. “I have been hunting them since the days when I had to be carried on my dad’s back.” Outside of pursuing waterfowl, he is also an avid bowhunter.

“I am immensely excited to be here,” Woolley said. “Duck hunting is my passion, and I am thrilled to turn that into my career.”

When he is not working, you can find him fishing, hunting, playing music gigs with his wife, or spending time with his family and black Lab, Hutch, who is “the best dog on the planet, hands down.”

bwoolley@deltawaterfowl.org

Delta Marsh

Kevin Ward

Kevin Ward

Delta Marsh Building Maintenance and Service Manager

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.”

kward@deltawaterfowl.org

Amanda Szadkowski

Amanda Szadkowski

Delta Marsh & Facility Coordinator

Considering her deep love of ducks and the outdoors, working onsite at Delta Marsh is truly the dream job for Amanda Szadkowski.

“I am passionate about the ducks,” she said. “Working here keeps me learning every day. I love being a part of the whole process — from watching the ducks nest to watching the broods swim. I find every aspect is rewarding.”

Raised in the small village of Ethelbert, Manitoba, Szadkowski is an accomplished outdoorsperson. She’s a licensed trapper and hunting guide.

“I’m pretty darn good at it, too!” she said.

Szadkowski went to school for nursing and worked in long-term care for 15 years before her current position with Delta came along. She enjoys coming to work every day, and seeing the improvements, progress and possibilities of the Marsh.

It makes sense that Szadkowski’s favorite place to hunt is the Delta Marsh. She especially likes shooting canvasbacks and teal with her black Lab, Remington, by her side. She learned to hunt near St. Ambroise, Manitoba, and would love to travel more widely to hunt ducks. She’d also like to try hunting big game.

When she’s not on the marsh, you can likely find Szadkowski on the beach, on her quad, or spending time with her two daughters, family and friends. She’s also a heck of a cook!

aszadkowski@deltawaterfowl.org

Del Penner

Del Penner

Delta Marsh Property Director

Del Penner’s passion for the outdoors began in the small southern Manitoba community in which he was raised. He spent many childhood, summer days cycling the four miles to fish the Red River.

Although he was not raised in a hunting family, he felt a calling towards hunting even as a child. He built makeshift blinds in the family’s yard to pretend hunting migrating geese in the fall, and he explored surrounding farmlands with BB gun in hand. He took his hunter safety training at age 12 and purchased his first firearm at 14. Eventually, he took his first real goose over homemade decoys and blind – a memory Penner cherishes.

He says has fallen in love with hunting ever since and has been fortunate to hunt and fish in various locations in North America. He first became a member of Delta waterfowl as a gift from a friend whom he introduced to waterfowling. Penner added, “I have always deeply supported organizations and groups involved with preservation of hunting and habitat protection. It’s absolutely a dream come true for someone like me to be directly involved in promoting responsible hunting and habitat conservation especially with the support from an organization like Delta Waterfowl.”

Penner brings more than 15 years of experience in various trades and construction to his new position at Delta Marsh. He has faced adverse conditions and situations from the heat of a mine site in West Africa to the frigid north of Nunavut and all the logistical challenges that come with them. He says he’ll rely on the adaptability and resourcefulness he has developed to overcome challenges he anticipates in the job.

The outdoors is his favorite place to be, especially with his three boys and wife, Jackie. Some of his favorite hunts are stalking whitetails on the granite ridges of the Canadian Shield and early teal season in the marsh. All said and done, the thing Penner would never be able to give up is being outdoors and exploring new places.

dpenner@deltawaterfowl.org

Delta Waterfowl Center – Canada

John Rakoczi

John Rakoczi

DWC Sr. Maintenance & Fulfillment Specialist

Delta Waterfowl chapters and chairs across Canada count on John Rakoczi’s work to conduct successful events and raise maximum funds for the cause of waterfowl and waterfowl hunters. He said it’s what makes his job so rewarding.

“I like to see the end product of my efforts,” Rakoczi said. “I reach out to each chapter chair, then putting their events items together, shipping and tracking them, to make sure they arrive intact and in the right hands before each event.”

Rakoczi grew up on a tobacco farm in Norfolk County, Ontario, just a few miles north of the Delta Waterfowl Hunting Heritage & Conservation Center. He studied agri-business at Fanshawe College.

Prior to joining Delta, his career was focused on telecommunications, specifically on technical support and design of copper and fiber network devices. In his work now, Rakoczi calls on skills developed in standardization of equipment, tools and provisioning processes.

Rakoczi is an avid angler on both open water and hard water. He also enjoys boating and the occasional round of golf. He has the dream of one day owning a vintage Corvette Stingray.

cdnwarehouse@deltawaterfowl.org