April 23-27, 2007
Hyatt Regency
Crown Center
Kansas City, Missouri

Plenary Session Speakers


l Richard L. Hughes

l Colonel Michael A. Rossi

l Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock

l Mark Myers

l Alan Wentz

l John B. Askew

l John D. Hoskins

l Tom Christensen

Farm Bill

l Vince Shay
Robin E. Heard
l Roger Wolf

Partnering for Sustainable Success

l Larry Gerry
l Robert Johnson
l John Flicker

Priorities and Measures for Restoration

l John Paul Woodley, Jr.
l Les Ramirez

Plenary Session Coffee Restoration House Introductory Session

l Dale Hall

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Opening Plenary Session Speakers

Richard L. Hughes is President & CEO at the Kansas City CVA. Prior to joining KCCVA, Rick held positions at the Indianapolis CVA, Marriott Corporation and Lodge of the Four Seasons. Rick is the Founder and Co-Chair of the Kansas City Regional Destination Alliance. He serves on the Board of the Kansas City Downtown Council and is a member of ASAE, PCMA and MPI. Rick received his B.A. from Southwest Missouri State University.

Colonel Michael A. Rossi, a native of northern California, was commissioned an Engineer officer from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1982. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from M.I.T., a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University and is a registered Professional

Lieutenant General Carl A. Strock, was born in Georgia and grew up in an Army Family. He enlisted in the Army and received his commission as an infantry second lieutenant following graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1972. After completing Ranger and Special Forces training, he served primarily with infantry units before transferring to the Engineer Branch in 1983. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and a master's degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer.

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Mark Myers is a past president and board member of the Alaska Geological Society; a certified professional geologist with the American Institute of Professional Geologists; a certified petroleum geologist with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists; and a licensed geologist with the State of Alaska. Mark received his doctorate in geology from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and his B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

Alan Wentz has been Senior Group Manager for Conservation Programs for Ducks Unlimited, Inc., a private, nonprofit, international organization headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, since July, 1994. Alan received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Management from the University of Michigan in 1976, M.S. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University in 1971, and B.S. in Agriculture (major in Biological Conservation and minor in Economics) from Ohio State University in 1969. 

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John B. Askew, a sixth generation family farmer, lives on the family’s
Century Farm near Thurman, Iowa.  Mr. Askew is currently serving as Regional Administrator for EPA Region 7, where he leads the oversight of federal environmental programs throughout Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.  Before his appointment as Regional Administrator, he was President of the Iowa Soybean Association.
John holds a BS in Agronomy from Iowa State University.

John D. Hoskins is the seventh director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. Mr. Hoskins has been with the Department since 1977, having served as Conservation Agent, Regional Protection Supervisor, Chief of General Services and Protection Division Administrator. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with biology major, and completed his Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Tom Christensen is the Deputy Chief for Programs for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Mr. Christensen is responsible for developing national policies and establishing and promulgating programmatic rules, guidelines, and procedures for the Agency’s conservation programs.  Mr. Christensen graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Forest Management. He received a M.S. in Renewable Natural Resources Conservation from the
University of Connecticut.

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Farm Bill Plenary Session Speakers

Vince Shay is The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Program Director for Upper Mississippi River. (UMR) In his previous position as TNC’s Nebraska State Director, Shay was instrumental in growing the program from three to thirty employees and increasing its assets to more than $20 million. In his current position, Shay works with a collaboration of  TNC’s Midwestern states to develop conservation strategies that link state programs in collaborative fundraising, policy, and partner development. Shay is a graduate of Wright State University.

Robin E. Heard, a native of Louisiana, received her B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Phi Kappa Phi, from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1976 and joined the then Soil Conservation Service in Louisiana. She moved to Georgia in 1977 and held the positions of Budget Officer, Personnel Director, and Resource Conservationist. She held the position of EWP Coordinator during the 2 years of cleanup from Hurricane Alnerto which devastated much of Georgia in 1994. While in Georgia, Heard attended graduate school in Forest Resources at the University of Georgia.

In 1995, Heard moved to Utah to become Assistant State Conservationist. In 1997, she accepted the Deputy State Conservationist position and moved to Pennsylvania where in June 2001 she accepted the State Conservationist position. In April 2006, she accepted the position as Division Director for Easement Programs Division in Washington, D.C.

Heard has received special recognition and numerous awards including 2 USDA Honor Awards. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts (PACD), National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS), Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and the Nature Conservancy.

Heard lives in the Washington, D.C. area where she spends her spare time hiking, kayaking, traveling, and caring for her 3 dogs and a blue and gold macaw.

Roger Wolf is directly responsible for the design, development and administration of  environmental programs and projects. He works to build successful collaborations with allied partnerships and provides assistance with educational and policy efforts on conservation and the environment. Roger is most well known for his leadership in a program called Certified Environmental Management Systems for Agriculture (CEMSA). Initiated in 2001, CEMSA is a voluntary program that
provides farmers with metrics for monitoring, measuring, and validating a farm’s environmental performance.

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Partnering for Sustainable Success Plenary Speakers 

Larry Gerry is currently Director of the CERP Planning Department at the South Florida Water Management District. CERP is the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program, a $10.5 billion ecosystem restoration effort that includes Lake Okeechobee, the coastal estuaries, and the greater Everglades ecosystem. The South Florida Water Management District is a 50/50 partner with the US Army Corps of Engineers in implementing the restoration program. Mr. Gerry has over thirty years of experience in environmental consulting and state government, with an emphasis on coastal systems, wetland restoration and project management. He is currently responsible for managing project planning efforts, pilot studies, and the long-term monitoring and assessment activities for the Everglades Restoration Program. Mr. Gerry has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Marine Science from North Carolina State University.

Robert J. Johnson is the President of the Wildlife Habitat Council, an international organization that works with private landowners, primarily corporations, to manage the unused land on their property for wildlife habitat. Since 1995, Mr. Johnson had served as the Executive Vice President of WHC. For the past ten years under his direction, WHC has established ground-breaking programs that focus on public participation and community education, migratory bird and pollinator habitat, watershed protection and riparian restoration, revitalization of green spaces and urban lands and ecological reuse of contaminated properties. He has helped the organization form key initiatives through partnerships with agencies and conservation groups.

Mr. Johnson began his career as an oceanographer for the U.S. Naval Ship R&D Center. Next, he worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holding various positions, including Aquatic Branch Chief, where he was responsible for managing the development and implementation of programs to protect and improve the quality of lake, coastal and wetland resources. There he produced the first report required by Congress under the 1972 Clean Water Act on the status of the nation’s estuaries. Afterwards, Mr. Johnson worked for over ten years for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which operates nuclear, fossil and hydroelectric power production facilities and manages a major river system for economic development. From his position, Mr. Johnson helped shape major public policy statements on national environmental laws and other programs, such as watershed stewardship, pollution control and wetlands restoration.

Mr. Johnson holds a B.S. in physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and a M.S. in oceanography from New York University. His civic leadership spans over 40 years of service and various honors, such as President of the North American Lake Management Society, Board Member of the Center for Watershed Protection and Member by Appointment of the County Executive to Montgomery County (MD) Water Quality Advisory Panel. He was presented with an Outstanding U.S. EPA Service Award and was the recipient of a Secchi Disk award by the North American Lake Management Society, the highest honor that the society bestows on an individual member for outstanding service.

John Flicker has been President of National Audubon Society since 1995. During that time he has more than doubled the size of the organization, primarily by expanding programs at the state and local level. Prior to Audubon, John Flicker worked at The Nature Conservancy for 21 years. During his tenure at the Conservancy, he held various positions around the country such as Great Plains Director, Florida State Director, General Counsel, and Chief Operating Officer. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and law degree from William Mitchell College of Law.

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Priorities and Measures for Restoration Plenary Speakers

John Paul Woodley, Jr., the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), is responsible for the supervision of the Army’s Civil Works program, including programs for conservation and development of the nation's water and wetland resources, flood control, navigation, and shore protection. Mr. Woodley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Lee in 1974. Mr. Woodley also attended the Law School at Washington & Lee, where he received his Juris Doctor degree cum laude in 1977. 

Les Ramirez is a principal in KRT Consultants, LLC a company that assists the federal government, Native American governments, and traditionally under-represented communities in economic development and impacts analyses, governmental program operations and assessments, and legal, financial, market, regulatory, natural resources and environmental issues. In a separate capacity he is also an attorney engaged in private legal practice representing Native American governments and organizations as general counsel and as special counsel for natural resource, land use, environmental compliance, constitutional development, governmental affairs, clean energy, facilities and infrastructure construction and economic development matters.
He also works with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (the Udall Center) on a Task Force for the design, establishment, and training of a network of Native American Environmental Dispute Resolution Practitioners, and with the Hazardous Substances Research Centers for the South and Southwest, (a consortium of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Louisiana State University, Rice University, the University of Texas, and Texas A&M University) assisting and promoting the environmental remediation of contaminated waters, river and groundwater sediments, and reclaimed industrial “brown-fields” sites.

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Plenary Session Coffee Restoration House Introductory Session

Dale Hall is the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A career Fish and Wildlife Service employee, Hall previously served as Regional Director for the Service's Southwest Region, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In that capacity, he was responsible for directing the Service's fish, wildlife, and habitat conservation, protection, and enhancement activities in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Hall received a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky, and a master's degree in fisheries science from Louisiana State University.

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