Freshwater Society Board Members
Freshwater has committed board members who keep their eyes on our long-term goals and ask the right questions of staff to find sustainable ways of achieving our mission. They represent a broad array of experience and skills the organization frequently draws upon as we sow, grow, harvest, and occasionally plow under programs in our field. We invite you to meet them below!
Lisa Whalen, Minnetrista, MN, Chair
Ms. Whalen, appointed to the Freshwater Society Board in August 2011, owned and operated her own interior design business for 22 years. She is the Mayor of Minnetrista. She served on the Minnetrista City Council for 12 years, and represented Minnetrista on the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed Commission for 12 years — 10 of those years as its chair. She is immediate past chair of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District and serves on a number of the district’s advisory committees. In 2011, she served on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Task Force. She also is a member of the Hennepin County Surface Water Governance Task Force. Lisa is an active member in her church and her lake association up north.
Mike Hanson, Brooklyn Park, MN, Vice Chair
Mr. Hanson is president and CEO of Hunt Electric Corporation, where he has worked in various positions since 1985, and a licensed master electrician. He served as a governor of the St. Paul Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association and a representative and past president of Federated Electrical Contractors. Currently, he is a trustee at both Dunwoody College of Technology and Hunger Solutions Minnesota. Hanson earned a degree in electrical construction and maintenance from the Dunwoody Institute, and holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. He lives along the Mississippi River in Brooklyn Park.
Jeremy Duehr, Shakopee, MN, Treasurer
Mr. Duehr is an attorney with Fredrikson & Byron P.A. practicing environmental, real estate, and renewable energy law. Prior to joining Fredrikson & Byron, Jeremy worked as a fisheries biologist for two state agencies and as a consultant for regional and international consulting firms where he assisted clients with renewable energy projects, environmental assessments, wetland assessments, and watershed restorations. He has authored or co-authored ten scientific publications in the areas of fisheries, riparian buffers, water quality, and watershed restoration.
Valery Forbes, Secretary
Ms. Forbes is dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Previously, she served as director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and spent more than two decades at Roskilde University in Denmark where she was founding head of the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change. Forbes’ research extends across quantitative ecology and environmental management with particular focus on population ecology and modeling, fate and effects of toxic chemicals in aquatic systems, and ecological risk assessment. She received a doctorate in coastal oceanography and a master’s degree in marine environmental science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She serves on the editorial boards of several international journals and provides advice to a wide range of government and industry bodies.
Rick Bateson, Shorewood, MN
Mr. Bateson joined the Freshwater board in 2009. He assists buyers and sellers with real estate needs as an agent with Keller Williams Realty. He was previously an officer and executive at Best Buy and Musicland Group with responsibilities for all the development services. Prior to his corporate work, he operated a sole proprietorship as a builder/developer. He is a trustee and vice chair of the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center board. His interests include bicycling, telemark skiing, cross country skiing, hunting fishing, golfing, and woodworking.
Julie Blackburn, St. Paul, MN
Ms. Blackburn joined the Freshwater Society Board in late 2013. She has more than 15 years of professional experience leading watershed protection and restoration efforts and providing strategic management of natural resource programs. She is employed as a manager in the Minnesota office of RESPEC, a consulting and services firm focused on providing innovative solutions for natural resources, environmental planning and restoration, water quality, energy, mining, and information technology projects. Previously, she was assistant director for policy and programs at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, working with the legislature, local governments, and agencies regarding wetlands, drainage, and watershed management. Ms. Blackburn has also been administrator for two watershed districts in central Minnesota and was a board member of the Rivers Council of Minnesota and Minnesota Waters. She earned her master of science degree in systems ecology from SUNY-ESF/Syracuse University.
Todd Bolin, Deephaven, MN
Mr. Bolin leads Bolin Marketing, a firm founded by his father. His title in the company is president and chief operating officer, but he says that if he chose his own title it would come from a list that includes: “keeper of the flame, head cheerleader, point guard, change agent, plotter of meaningful courses.” If he wrote an autobiography he would want to title it “Building on Success.” He has been chairman of the board of governors for the Twin Cities chapter of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and was recognized as one of “40 under 40” emerging business leaders by CityBusiness magazine in 1998. He has been a board member of the Midwest chapter of the Children’s Miracle Network, and a Freshwater board member since 2002.
Ryan Godfrey, PhD, Eden Prairie, MN
Dr. Godfrey joined the Freshwater Society board in 2017. He is the senior vice president of 0perations at Tonka Water, an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of custom water treatment systems for both municipal and industrial customers in a broad range of applications. He leads the company’s operations organization, which includes production, project management, procurement, field services, customer service, quality management, and engineering functions. Dr. Godfrey holds a PhD and MS in condensed matter physics from the University of Maryland, and a BS in physics from the University of Minnesota. He also serves on the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee, which advises the Secretary of Commerce and the Environmental Trade Working Group on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand U.S. exports of environmental technologies.
Ryan Hurt, Excelsior, MN
Mr. Hurt joined the Freshwater board in 2015. He previously led strategic planning for Pentair, operating primarily within industrial segments focusing on water and energy. Ryan is originally from Annapolis, Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay, and has spent most of his life enjoying and appreciating life in close proximity to both fresh and salt water resources — a proud supporter of conservation along the way. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Hawaii Pacific University. Ryan has traveled worldwide as a member of the U.S. Air Force and while holding numerous positions in commercial business. He is an outdoor enthusiast, lacrosse coach, husband, and father of three boys.
Lili Tod McMillan, Orono, MN
Ms. McMillan, former mayor of Orono and serving over 10 years on Orono’s City Council, joined the Freshwater Society board in 2010. As a city council member, she helped win funding for Big Island Park in Lake Minnetonka and initiated an organics recycling program for citizens interested in reducing waste. She is a former director and secretary of the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District, representing Orono in decisions relating to the management of recreational, commercial, and riparian uses of the lake. She is a lifelong amateur ornithologist committed to preserving freshwater habitat for birds. She earned a degree in organizational behavior and management from Brown University.
Joan Nephew, Dayton, MN
Ms. Nephew was executive director of Freshwater Society from 2007 until her retirement in 2013. Previously, 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 these roles, she managed environmental health projects, worked with industry and government, and oversaw environmental health and safety policy for schools and other institutions. She holds a bachelor of science degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead and has completed graduate work in public health administration at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota.
Corrine D. Ricard, Wayzata, MN
Ms. Ricard joined the Freshwater Society board in 2012. She is senior vice president, Commercial for the Mosaic Company. Past roles within Mosaic and Cargill have included senior vice president of human resources, vice president of business development, vice president of international distribution, and vice president of supply chain. She joined Cargill in 1984 after earning a degree in finance from the University of Minnesota. She earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University’s Carlson School of Management in 1996. Her hobbies include skiing and horseback riding.
David Webb, Woodbury, MN
Mr. Webb is a portfolio manager at The Johnston Group. With over fifteen years of experience in financial services, he specializes in research and portfolio management as well as wealth transfer planning and risk management techniques. Webb started his career in Milwaukee at investment bank Robert W. Baird & Co. after earning a degree in real estate and finance from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1999. After graduating with a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, he joined Minneapolis-based Riverbridge Partners as a senior investment analyst in 2005. He is a holder of the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is also a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Minnesota. A recipient of the Eagle Scout Award, David enjoys volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America and spending time outdoors with his wife and three children.
Freshwater Foundation Board Members
David Knoblauch, Hopkins, MN, Chair
Mr. Knoblauch joined the Freshwater board in 2009. He has been a teacher, high school and college coach, developer, construction owner’s representative, and property manager. He believes freshwater is the linchpin to all conservation/environmental initiatives. He also believes education, participation, and raising awareness will help sustain, renew, and protect our freshwater resources for future generations. He is a member of Friends of the Boundary Waters, Boundary Waters Foundation, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, Deep Portage Environmental Learning Center, International Wolf Center, Three Rivers Park District, and National Parks Foundation. He is currently serving as a board member of the Cathedral Grove Fund at The Nature Conservancy, and the Encampment River Area Conservation Fund at Minnesota Land Trust.
Blyth Brookman, Excelsior, MN
Ms. Brookman, a member of the Freshwater Society board since 2002, is a financial advisor at a major brokerage firm. Raising her family on the shores of Lake Minnetonka increased her interest in water quality, the environment, and environmental education. She has been active in efforts by the St. Martins By-the-Lake Episcopal Church to assist needy people around the world.
Stuart E. Grubb, PG, Stillwater, MN
Mr. Grubb is a hydrogeologist and environmental consultant. He works with clients in mining, brownfield redevelopment, watershed management, and the water supply industry. His work has ranged from advising on large road construction projects with agencies such as the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Minnesota Department of Transportation to evaluating storm water and surface water infiltration rates for residential and commercial projects. He is a past president of the Minnesota Ground Water Association, serves on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Environmental Innovations Advisory Council and has been a member of the Freshwater Society board since 2006.
Kent Warden, Orono, MN
Kent Warden has been an Orono resident since 1974 and joined the Freshwater Foundation board in August 2012. He retired in 2011 after 22 years as executive director of the 500-member Greater Minneapolis Building Owners and Managers Association. Prior to that, he held positions in corporate facilities management, real estate investment analysis, and asset management for Minneapolis-based Northwestern National Life Insurance Company, and as director of property management for Rothschild Real Estate Company in St. Paul. He is a past board member of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Minnesota Taxpayers Association, and represented the commercial real estate sector on the Minnesota Construction Codes Advisory Council.
Richard S. Caldecott, Ph.D., Stillwater, MN
Dr. Caldecott, a University of Minnesota professor emeritus, helped organize Freshwater Society and has been a member or emeritus member of its board since 1969. He helped found the University’s College of Biological Sciences and served as its dean from 1965 to 1984. He earned a doctorate in genetics at the University of Washington and has served as a member, officer, delegate, or consultant to a host of organizations, including International Atomic Energy Agency, the first Atoms for Peace Conference, Argonne University Association, Biotechnology Feasibility Study Group, Partnership for Sustainability, and Carnelian-Marine-St.Croix Watershed board.
JoEllen Hurr, Long Lake, MN
Ms. Hurr served on the Freshwater Society board from 1989-2001. She is a former elementary school teacher who has committed her time and energy to public service and wise land use. She has been a member or officer of many groups, including Metropolitan Waste Control Commission, Lake Minnetonka Conservation District, and the citizens advisory committee of the North Shore Management Board. She served on the steering committee that helped establish the Lake Superior Coastal Program in 1999 and was the first elected chair of the council that manages the program. The Coastal Program is a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two governors appointed her to the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Barbara Luikens, M.D., Long Lake, MN
Dr. Luikens, a member of the Freshwater Society board since 2003, is a radiologist at Park Nicollet Clinic. She earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1984. Before becoming a physician, she worked as an interpretive naturalist at the Minnesota Zoo and was coordinator and development director for the American Heart Association. She is a member of a number of environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Smithsonian Museum, Minnesota Zoo, Science Museum of Minnesota, University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center and Three Rivers Park District.