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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. 


Main Photo: Front (left to right) Dave Schneider, Maggie McGill (Chair), Bob Frink, Tom Rogge (Past Chair). Back (left to right) Al Griggs (Secretary), John Valen (Vice-Chair), Bob Iversen (Treasurer), Kathy Plante, David Miller. Inset Photo: (left to right) Randy Ferrin, Don Evans, Bob Adams 


Lindsey Ketchel, Executive Director
Lindsey Ketchel has over 15 years’ experience with environmental and land-use nonprofit organizations. She recently transitioned from her role as executive director for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. She held that position for 5 years where she led the organization in restructuring, regional branding and coalition development. She has a wide range of non-profit experience and spent ten plus years working for the State of Vermont Forestry and Agriculture Departments.

On a personal note Lindsey purchased a home on Trillium Lake between Hackensack and Longville and already is thoroughly enjoying Minnesota. She is honored to help grow and expand conservation efforts to ensure LLAWF protects the ‘best of the best’ habitat in this region and helps preserve the resources upon which our recreation, quality of lives, and economic sustainability depend.

John and Paula

Paula West, Project Manager, has over 35 years professional experience working on water and natural resources protection. She was the executive director of the Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation from 2007 to 2014 and continues to assist with project management. Prior to 2007 she was executive director of the Minnesota Lakes Association for seven years and has held various other positions working on water resources protection and conservation programs, including 10 years with the Freshwater Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Iowa State University and has been an active volunteer with local, state, and federal lake management organizations for over 30 years.  Her love of lakes and this region’s resources grew out of childhood experiences and annual family vacations “up north to the lake" near Brainerd, Minnesota.

John Sumption, Land Conservation Specialist,
is retired from 33 years of service to Cass County where he served as District Manager for the Soil and Water Conservation District and County Water Planner directing conservation programs. He later served as deputy director and since 2006 as 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 (8) conservation easements on over  four (4) miles of shoreline.  Since 2010, John has served LLAWF as a land conservation specialist assisting private lakeshore owners in establishing conservation easements. John is a 1973 graduate of the University of Minnesota and lives on a farm near Longville, Minnesota with his wife, Lissa, where they operate a community-served agriculture business. 

Kathy DonCarlos, Communications and Membership Coordinator, has worked for the Foundation since 2016.  Kathy worked for the state of Minnesota for 28 years, retiring from the Department of Natural Resources in 2015.  Through her 40 years working as a biologist for government agencies, Kathy recognizes 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.