Chad Pregracke, Founder & President
The Mississippi River was literally Chad Pregracke’s back yard while growing up near East Moline, IL. After spending his summers shell diving, Chad, son of two river enthusiasts, began to realize how neglected the rivers were with the unsightly and toxic accumulation of trash along their banks. At the age of 17, Chad started making calls to government agencies to notify them of the problem, assuming someone would take care of it. Year after year passed by and the problem only worsened. In 1997, Chad decided that if no one else was going to clean up the river, he would.
In 1998 at the age of 23, Chad founded Living Lands & Waters. Today, the organization has grown to include a full staff and fleet of equipment. The crew averages nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries. Chad has expanded the mission of the organization to include Student Educational Workshops, the MillionTrees Project, Adopt-a-River Mile, Invasive Species Removal, Alternative Spring Break and the Great Mississippi River Cleanup.
Terry Becker, Chair
Mr. Becker graduated from Colorado College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He spent a year with the Colorado Department of Wildlife, conducting research on raptors, banding young prairie falcons and osprey. In 1977, Mr. Becker established his own company, a building supply business located in the ski destination of Summit County, Colorado. Terry began his career at Riverway Co. in 1982 and sold his share of the Colorado business in 1983. He was named President of Riverway in 1992 and added the title of Chief Executive Officer in 2003. Riverway Co. was sold to Ingram Barge Company in April, 2005. During his career, Mr. Becker served in numerous leadership roles with Waterways Council, The American Waterways Operators, The National Waterways Conference and The Marine Transportation Council. He continues to serve as a Trustee of the National Waterways Foundation. Terry served six years on the Living Lands & Waters Board of Directors before enthusiastically returning in 2013. He is currently the Board Chairman.
As the Senior Vice President of Membership for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Rene is responsible for investment dues and non-dues revenue for the Chamber. Her primary focus is to provide resources that advance business growth in the region. She joined the Chamber six years ago after serving as the Development Director of the River Music Experience. It was there that her path crossed with Chad, where the partnership between Living Lands & Waters with River Roots Live Music festival was born. Rene serves on the Board of Regents for the U.S. Chamber and is actively involved in the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Locally, she’s a vocal supporter of the HAVlife Foundation, YMCA and an advocate of live music, still committing both time and resources to the River Music Experience. She has two children and resides in the Quad Cities.
Mark Werning is Chief Operating Officer & Secretary of American Bank & Trust, Davenport, Iowa. He joined the board of LL&W in January 2007, served six years, rejoined in 2014, and serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He graduated from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa in 1980 with degrees in Management and Economics, and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking with an Audit major in 1986. Mark serves on boards or Committees of numerous non-profit organizations. Mark lives in Bettendorf with his wife Deb and three children. His family loves the outdoors and enjoys being involved in many environmental and conservation projects. Please help us clean up our rivers and waterways – encourage children to get involved!
Fred Oelschlaeger is a native of Rock Island, IL. and is currently a Regional General Manager and Assistant Vice President for Cargill AgHorizons based out of St. Louis. He has held various roles with Cargill in operations, IT, and commercial management since graduating from the University of Illinois in 1991 with a degree in Business Administration. Fred has a passion for the river system and has worked and overseen facilities on the Snake, Columbia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee rivers during his career with Cargill. Fred met Chad and the team in 2004 and has been a fan and volunteer of LL&W ever since. Fred is the current chair of Farm Safety for Just Kids, a non-profit organization committed to education and safety of children in rural America. He also serves on the U.S. Grains Council. Fred resides in Chesterfield, MO with his wife Karol and four children.
Andrew is Assistant General Counsel for Ingram Barge Company, a position he has held since mid-2014. On a day-to-day basis, Andrew handles a wide range of legal matters, including negotiating and drafting commercial agreements, incident response, employment law, and government relations issues. Prior to joining Ingram, he worked in private practice for eight years at Hill Rivkins in New York City, and Fowler Rodriguez in New Orleans and Houston. Andrew splits his college football loyalty between Ohio State, where he received an undergraduate degree in English in 2003, and the University of Tennessee, where he received his J.D. in 2006; although he was a Buckeyes fan long before he ventured south for law school. He resides in Nashville, Tennessee, along with his wife, daughter, Murphy (a retriever mix/ace running buddy) and Millie the cat.
Mr. Adrian first joined Marquette in 1986 as a dispatcher in the traffic department and was promoted to manager of the traffic department in 1991, VP of sales and Logistics in 2001, and EVP of Sales and Logistics in 2008 before assuming his current role as Executive-Vice President in 2010. As EVP of the River division, Mr. Adrian has primary responsibility for both vessel and barge P&L’s and develops synergies for Marquette’s sales efforts across all divisions of the Company. The Sales and Logistics and Operations departments at River division all report directly to Mr. Adrian. Mr. Adrian has been active in many industry organizations and currently sits on the boards of the River Industry Executive Task Force and the American Waterways Operator’s Midwest Region.
Lorri has been with John Deere since 2007 and currently has the role of the Global Environmental Manager, a position she has held since 2016. The major focus of her role is environmental compliance with global laws and regulations. Prior to joining Deere, she worked for Alcoa for 12 years and was a remediation consultant for ICF Kaiser Engineers. Lorri graduated from Texas A&M University and the University of Iowa. Lorri resides in the QCA with her husband, two children and two dogs.
Kathleen, a QC native and SAU alum, moved back to the area in 2015 after living 17 years in Denver, CO. She manages Terracon Consultants eastern Iowa/Western Illinois office out of Bettendorf, Iowa. Terracon is a multi-discipline consulting engineering firm specializing in environmental, facilities, geotechnical and materials services. Kathleen worked for Kinder Morgan Inc., one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America, for 15 years while in Denver, lastly serving as Director of Procurement and Administration. She also worked as Senior Director of Strategic Relationships for Mile High United Way. Kathleen is a Junior Achievement Board Member and serves in many other voluntary capacities as well. Her strong philanthropic nature combined with her concern for the environment make. Kathleen a great fit for the LL&W board!
Bucky is a retired lawyer who has resided in the Philadelphia suburbs for 50 years. He graduated from Amherst College in 1975 and the Villanova University School of Law in 1981. Bucky worked in private practice, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and with Lockheed Martin Corporation for 25 years, specializing in litigation and compliance. A 2006 chance meeting with Chad Pregracke led to his becoming a Living Lands & Waters supporter and volunteer, and now a member of our board!