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.
Rick Kapsner has been in the transportation and supply chain industry since 1989, holding leadership positions in both asset and non-asset 3PL companies. Currently, Kapsner is Executive Director of Business Development for C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., one of the largest third-party logistics companies in the world. In his current role, Rick is responsible for customer strategy and solution design. Kapsner has been a key team leader in the development of C.H. Robinson’s global Managed TMS® solutions. He co-authored “Options to weigh when choosing a TMS solution” for Supply Chain Strategy newsletter from the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. Kapsner holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Rick and his wife, Cari, have two girls and reside in Edina, MN. Rick was introduced to LLW (and inspired) on a flight from Minneapolis to Grand Rapids, MI when he sat next to Chad Pregracke.
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.
Even though Gary received a BS in Natural Resource Management, he fell directly into a high school teaching position. There he spent 34 years fine-tuning an Environmental Science program that earned multiple national recognitions. His primary focus has been on empowering students to impact local water quality decisions. He earned an MSed from NIU where he is now an adjunct instructor. Currently, he is the President of Friends of the Fox River where he is responsible for annually connecting thousands of students with their local streams. He is excited to have the opportunity to be part of the LL&W team.
Bill Wallace resides in Bettendorf with his wife Vicki. Their daughter, Claire, is a freshman in high school. Bill graduated from Drake University with degrees in Marketing and Economics and has been in the beer wholesale business for over 40 years. He recently sold his business and is looking for his next adventure. Bill has served on several boards including the Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Vera French Community Health Center, Vera French Foundation (serving as president for three years), Eastern Iowa Recycling Center and the Rivermont Collegiate Board and is currently serving on the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Board and the National Beer Wholesale Association. Bill enjoys hiking, golfing, volunteering and traveling.
Jeff Becker is vice president of operations for the Agricultural Services business unit of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM), one of the world’s leading agricultural processors. In this role, he oversees a network of more than 200-grain elevators, 100 processing plants, various port facilities and an extensive crop transportation network encompassing barges, railcars, trucks and trailers. Prior to assuming his current role in 2013, he served as the company’s vice president, North American Grain, overseeing grain, edible bean, and rice-milling operations.
During his 29-year tenure at ADM, Becker has held a series of operations leadership roles, serving at various times at company locations in Illinois and Missouri. His emphasis on safety has been a hallmark of his leadership; he has repeatedly helped the company reduce recordable incident rates while delivering strong financial results and lowering operating costs.
He is a member of the board of directors of Living Lands and Waters, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and navigability of U.S. inland waterways.
Joanne Howard currently serves as Manager, Energy & Climate Strategy for John Deere. In this role, she leads strategic climate, carbon, and energy management activities while helping to shape company policy in these areas. Joanne joined John Deere in 2001 as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt and has moved through positions of increasing responsibility including Corporate Environmental Staff Engineer, Corporate Environmental Audit Program Manager, and Climate Manager. Her previous employment experience includes General Electric where she worked as a Black Belt with GE Capital in Barrington, Illinois and as a Chemical Program Manager with GE Aircraft Engines in Evendale, Ohio. Joanne also worked in environmental consulting for Parsons Engineering Science focused on environmental remediation. She has a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and Masters of Environmental Engineering from Clarkson University; a Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University, and is a Registered Professional Engineer. Joanne is current Chair of the John Deere Political Action Committee (PAC), member of the Figge Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee, and past At-Large Executive board member with the Iowa Industrial Energy Group (IIEG). Joanne, her husband Brian, son Logan (9 years old, 4th grade), and bulldog Bella reside in Bettendorf, Iowa. Joanne grew up in Canastota, New York. Work has moved Joanne to Cincinnati, Chicago, Davenport, Singapore (for three great years), and now to Bettendorf. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and watching her son’s sporting events.
Mark Werning is Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of Triumph Community Bank, Bettendorf, 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.