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.
Joan Nephew — Operations Director
From 2007 until beginning a phased retirement in late 2013, Joan Nephew was the Society’s executive director. Prior to joining the Society, she was president of the Institute for Environmental Assessment, executive director of the Environmental Resource Council, and executive vice president of the Minnesota Institute of Public Health. In those roles, she managed environmental health programs, worked with industry and government, and oversaw environmental health and safety policy for schools and other institutions.
Scott Branch – Operations Assistant
Whitney Canton – Project 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.
Alex Gehrig — Program Manager
Alex works on a number of citizen engagement projects for the Freshwater Society including the Healthy Lakes and Rivers Partnership. He has an M.S. in Natural Resource Management but his education really got underway after he spent four years serving in the Peace Corps where he learned to appreciate the important connection between water resources and the people that use them.
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.
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
Jeanne Prok – Program Manager
Lauren Sampedro – Project Assistant