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Board and Staff

The Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors with experience and expertise in business, law, education, finance, engineering, science, biology, and natural resources management plus they all have a personal connection to and love of the natural resources of this special region of Minnesota. 

Leech Lake Board of Directors (2018)

Board Chair:  Tim Bremicker  brebarlake@gmail.com  Following a natural resource management education and a 42 year career with MNDNR in wildlife conservation starting as summer duck bander and rising to the position of Division Director , Tim wanted to continue his passion and commitment to the Woman Lake area by serving on the LLAWF Board since 2014. Five generations of his family considers the Mississippi, Leech and Boy Rivers headwaters to be the “center of the earth”. As an avid outdoorsman, Tim has explored, fished, hunted and trapped in most of the LLAWF work area in his lifetime. Most recently, Tim was named to the Minnesota Waterfowler Hall of Fame to add to his service awards from Ducks Unlimited, Minnesota Waterfowl Association and the Minnesota Conservation Federation.

Vice Chair:  Mary Ackerman  ackermanmac@gmail.com  Mary brings years of marketing and management expertise from her years at Macalester College and community mobilization and development experience from the Search Institute of MN. Having spent every summer growing up on Ten Mile Lake near Hackensack, she and her husband, Jim Reents, retired to the family cabin to live year-round. They are the founders of the Northern Water Alliance of MN described elsewhere on our website. Mary is also on the Board of  the Ten Mile Lake Association.

Secretary:  David Miller  dsmiller1001@gmail.com

Treasurer:  Nathan Lundeen  nathan.lundeen@gmail.com  As a Finance Consultant by trade, Nathan assists private and public organizations with developing and improving key reporting metrics, identifying trends that help directors make better cost control decisions, and highlighting areas of non-value added work to prepare for significant growth. Prior to Nathan’s consulting career, he held strategic planning positions at Mesaba Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Nathan and his family have a family cabin on Kabekona Lake and support the Kabekona Lake Foundation.

Randy Ferrin  Randy was a hydrologist and ecologist for the US Forest Service and National Park Service for over three decades. His last assignment was the Chief of Natural Resources for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. He has been visiting the Woman Lake area since the 1960's, and he and his wife Kathy have owned a lake place there since 1991. They donated a conservation easement on their property in 2012. He has served on the Boards of several non-profit conservation organizations. 

Robert Frink  Bob retired as CEO of Craford Company, a multi divisional company, focusing on mechanical contracting and manufacturing. After the sale of his majority interest in 2017 he became a part of an investor group developing and opening a brewery in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Ray Gildow  Ray Gildow is a retired vice president of Central Lakes College with campuses in Brainerd and Staples. He is a professional fishing guide in the Brainerd area and serves as host for Lakeland Currents, a program of  public affairs on Lakeland PBS. He is also an outdoor writer for Action Outdoors, a publication that is featured in about 22 newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Robert Karls  Bob is a hydrogeologist with over 40 years of experience in solving environmental challenges. He has spent 32 years in consulting but has also worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the US Geological Survey. Bob and his wife have been invested in a lifetime of experiences for their children and now grandchildren in the waters and woods of Aitkin County and he is passionate about the legacy that we will be leaving for future generations.

David Miller  David Miller grew up in Iowa and now lives in Minneapolis, where he practices law. His first summer experience in North Central Minnesota was in the late 1970s on Rush Lake–the smallest but prettiest lake in the Whitefish Chain. Since the late 1990s, he’s spent his summers traveling to Hackensack, first to Ten Mile Lake and later to Webb Lake. David serves on the board of Northern Waters Land Trust because the woods and lakes of North Central Minnesota have given him a glimpse of nature at its most elemental, and he wants future generations to be able to have that same experience.

Jim Miller  Jim is a retired CPA and partner in CliftonLarsonAllen LLP where he served as CEO and director during his 52 year career with the firm. He has also been active as an officer and director of the Ten Mile Lake Association, Tianna Country Club, St. Louis Park Chamber and Rotary Club and his church. Jim and his wife Pat have had a home on Ten Mile Lake for over 40 years, which is the Hidden Paradise for our large family.

John Percell  John is currently an Environmental Policy Analyst for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.  From 1978 until 2006, John was Director of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s Water Research Lab in Cass Lake Minnesota.  This Federally certified lab provided drinking water analyses throughout the Great Lakes States and specialized in the development of lake water quality management plans for Tribes, Counties and Lake Associations. John also served eight years in the Minnesota House of Representatives.


Leech Lake Staff

Kathy DonCarlos, Interim Executive Director/Land Conservation Coordinator,  has worked for the Foundation since 2016. Kathy began working on communications and membership, transferring to the Land Conservation Program in late 2017. Her current focus is on fee title acquisitions for conveyance to public agencies and recruiting and working with landowners interested in conservation easements.   

Kathy worked for the state of Minnesota for 28 years, retiring from the Department of Natural Resources in 2015. Through her 20 years working as a biologist for government agencies, Kathy focuses on the huge contributions that land and water protection provides for healthy fish and wildlife populations and resilient natural plant and animal communities.  How we care for land and water today is a gift for generations to come. 


John Sumption, Land Conservation Specialist,
retired from 33 years of service to Cass County as District Manager for the Soil and Water Conservation District and County Water Planner directing conservation programs. He later served as deputy director and director of the County Environmental Services Department (ESD).  John established lake monitoring programs, updated County ordinances, and helped establish over 20 lakes associations. During his tenure as director of ESD,  the County adopted the State’s first conservation development standards, worked in cooperation with Minnesota DNR to create the first model for identifying sensitive shorelines, enacted resource protection districts to protect sensitive shorelines, and secured eight conservation easements on over  four miles of shoreline.  Since 2010, John has served LLAWF as a land conservation specialist assisting private lakeshore owners in establishing conservation easements and completing acquisitions of high priority conservation lands.

Current search for new Executive Director - click here to view Job Description