Steve Woods – Executive Director
Steve Woods joined Freshwater in December 2013 as executive director. He is a civil engineer who previously was one of two assistant directors of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, a $60 million a year state conservation agency. From 1987 to 1999, he was a consulting engineer in the Minnesota office of MWH, a global environmental consulting company. He also worked two years as a research analyst in the former Division of Waters in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Minnesota, and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University. Learn a bit more about Steve by reading a Star Tribune interview published shortly after he was appointed.
Or read a short q-and-a in which he reveals he’s an extrovert, a cyclist, a sailor and an optimist about the Freshwater Society’s ability to protect Minnesota’s water.
Scott Branch – Operations Assistant
Whitney Canton – Administrative Assistant
Whitney began at the Freshwater Society in December 2013 as a Development intern, and, in April 2014 she transitioned to Project Assistant. She communicates with our members, donors, and sponsors and also assists in raising money for various programs. Whitney has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the College of Saint Benedict. In her spare time she enjoys being on the lake with her family, knitting, doing yoga, and playing basketball.
Deirdre Coleman – Program Coordinator
Deirdre Coleman has been with the Freshwater Society for 3 years and has a B.S. in Biology, Society and the Environment. As a Program Coordinator she works on a number of Freshwater’s programs and mainly the Master Water Steward Program. Dedicated to water in her career as well as personal life, Deirdre is usually found in town or up north on some body of water when she is not in the office.
Julie Fliflet, CPA – Director of Finance and Administration
Julie has over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and has specialized in the nonprofit sector for her entire career. She is a CPA, and started her career in public accounting working as an auditor in the nonprofit division for a large CPA firm, then subsequently held positions directing the finance and administration activities for several nonprofits in the Twin Cities metro area before coming to the Freshwater Society.
Darrell Gerber – Research and Policy Director
Darrell Gerber joined Freshwater in August 2014 as Research and Policy Director. He studied Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University, North Carolina State University and Georgia Institute of Technology and attended the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota to study Science, Technology and Environmental Policy in 2005 and 2006. He was at Clean Water Action from 2007 to 2014 as the Water Program Coordinator working on a variety of issues including the Great Lakes, agricultural water pollution, drinking water, invasive species, and budget issues.
Jen Kader – Program Manager
Jen Kader joined the Freshwater team in September 2015 as Program Manager with a background in community organizing and environmental work. She received her BA in International Relations from Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, as well as a certificate in Community-Based Development from Colorado State University. Currently, Jen is pursuing her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the Humphrey School for Public Affairs with a concentration in Community-Based Resiliency. She is also a graduate of the 2013 class of Master Water Stewards. Beyond the office, she enjoys gardening, cooking, canoeing, biking, playing lots of ping pong and Scrabble (and the Tuba!), and is active in her neighborhood.
Peggy Knapp — Director of Programs
Peggy Knapp grew up in the mountains of Washington State, on the Columbia, Wenatchee, and Icicle rivers. After a career as an improvisational comedian, science journalist and environmental educator, Peggy joined the Freshwater Society in 2011 as the Director of Programs, leading the organization’s citizen engagement initiatives. She spends every possible moment gardening, biking, baking, and trying to learn to play ukulele.
Christopher Prok – Operations Manager
Chris joined the Freshwater Foundation in 1999. He manages the daily operations of the 52,000 sq.ft. Gray Freshwater Center. His previous years of working in building maintenance, and his personal desire to contribute to enhancing the environment led him to the Foundation. While growing up, Chris was fortunate to spend many weekends in Northern Minnesota, either up at the family cabin, or camping at numerous State Parks. Multiple trips out west to the mountains fueled his love for the outdoors. He enjoys spending time boating with his family on Lake Minnetonka.
Jeanne Prok – Program Manager
Jeanne joined the Freshwater Society in 1998. She studied biology and chemistry at the University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences. Jeanne is the Executive Editor of the MN Weatherguide Calendar and is also involved in education of chloride pollution in MN’s water. Her and her family enjoy being in or on water as much as possible.
Alex Van Loh– GreenCorps Member
Alex is our 2015-16 GreenCorps member. His service is focused mainly on the Master Water Stewards Program and its expansion. He grew up in southern Minnesota, attended high school in Duluth, and earned a degree in biology from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. He spent last year living abroad in Germany, teaching English through the Fulbright Program. His free time is spent making music, running, eating cheese in any form, and laughing as much as possible.