SENIOR CONSERVATION ADVISOR
Address: 12119 Stratford Drive, Suite B, Clive, IA, 50325
Dave has more than 40 years of professional leadership experience in natural resource conservation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and in the private sector. Starting as a conservation aid in Missouri helping a technician survey and design terraces, Dave worked in numerous locations throughout the United States, culminating his career as Chief of the NRCS from January 2009 to December 2012. As Chief, Dave led, directed, and managed the nation’s largest private lands natural resource conservation organization. At his time as Chief, NRCS’s annual budget exceeded $4 billion, employed almost 11,000 professional staff, and worked out of 2,800 offices across the United States and its territories.
During his time as Chief, Dave’s North Star encompassed three goals: 1) Make conservation more accessible; 2) Engage new partners in supporting conservation; and 3) Develop and test new approaches that provide farmers, ranchers, and their communities with a more varied set of tools and incentives.
To this end, he was responsible for several innovations in conservation programs including the development and implementation of natural resource initiatives. These initiatives were unique in that the Agency moved away from its previous way of evenly distributing funding across the country (regardless of resource issues) to shifting funds to specific areas to solve precise resource concerns. By increasing both funding and technical assistance on identified resource issues, the Agency began the long process of reversing and solving many of the Nation’s most vexing resource problems.
Dave was directly responsible for initiating 15 landscape initiatives, focusing on a variety of regionally important resource issues from wildlife species, such as the greater sage grouse and lesser prairie chicken, to water quality in Mississippi River Basin, Great Lakes, and Chesapeake Bay, to iconic landscapes such as the New England forests and North Central wetlands.
Dave was also responsible for moving NRCS toward Soil Health and under his leadership the Agency launched the first Soil Health information campaign in 2012.
Dave has also spent significant time on Capitol Hill. In 2001 he served on a detail to Indiana Senator Richard Lugar and helped developed the conservation title of the 2002 Farm Bill. In 2007, he was detailed to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s office in Washington, D.C., where he helped craft the conservation title of the 2008 Farm Bill.
Currently, Dave serves as president of Ecosystem Services Exchange which focused on advancing edge-of-field conservation practices to improve water quality. He is also partner in the 9b Group, a benefit corporation dedicated to conservation and the sustainability of our natural resources.
Dave is married, has two grown children, one grandson, and three rescue dogs. Dave refuses to watch TV, believes that dogs are the most wonderful species on Earth, and still marvels that he somehow managed to graduate from the University of Missouri.