Board of Directors
Steve Mowry, Chairman of the Board
Steve Mowry, a partner of Von Erdmannsdorff, Mowry and Bartlett law firm of Kansas City, is a past president of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. During his term as president with that organization, he organized the Smithville Lake Prairie Revitalization Project in Clay County. He also began a Missouri chapter of the North American Grouse Partnership, and is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited. In July 2009, Field and Stream magazine recognized Mr. Mowry as a "Hero of Conservation" for his prairie conservation and revitalization efforts in the Mystic Plains Conservation Opportunity Area in Adair and Sullivan Counties. Of his award, he is quick to praise public agency staff and private landowners for making prairie restoration a reality in northeastern Missouri. In addition to his conservation leadership efforts, Mr. Mowry also is the founding member and organizer of the Sarah McCoy Foundation, which provides educational opportunities to young people in Clinton, Buchanan and Andrew Counties.
Jim Carson, President
Jim Carson graduated from the University of Missouri School of Businesss in 1969 then spent two years in the Army with a tour in Vietnam. Upon return from Vietnam Jim started to work in the family construction business and continues to work as the company transitions into it's third generation. Jim and his wife Ginny have lived on the family farm in Lawrence County for many years where Jim has, with the help of the Missouri Department of Conservation and various incentive programs such as EQIP and WHIP, transformed the 400+ acres into a farm where wildlife and commercial farming and cattle raising not only coexist but where they benefit each other. Jim has been an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, backpacking, hiking and anything else outdoors since he was a child roaming these southern Missouri hills. His love of conservation and wildlife management continues to this day.
Carroll Wilkerson, Vice-President
Carroll Wilkerson is a partner with Wilkerson & Reynolds Wealth Management and a Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed, Inc. He has been a financial advisor for the past 28 years. Mr. Wilkerson received a bachelor’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri in Columbia in May of 1984. Upon graduation he worked for the Department of Conservation at the Fountain Grove Conservation Area. He began his career with Waddell & Reed in August of 1985 in Kansas City. In 1987, he moved to Columbia and established and managed the Waddell & Reed office. Since then Mr. Wilkerson has held various positions with Waddell & Reed including Financial Advisor, District Manager and Division Manager. He received the Certified Financial Planner™ certification in November 1993. Mr. Wilkerson has always had a passion for the outdoors. He is an avid hunter, especially of white tail deer. Some of his most enjoyable days are spent in Northeast Missouri on the family farm observing and hunting deer. He has been very active in the past with Boys Scouts of America and served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 6 in Columbia. He assisted and watched his three of sons obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. He is an active supporter of Ducks Unlimited. He and his business partner have been the main sponsor of the Women for Wetlands program in Columbia for several years. He is also a member of the NRA and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. He and his wife Judy have been married 25 years and have 5 children: Ryan, Eric, Adam, Kelly and Ashley.
Ann Sullins, Secretary
Ann Sullins, of St. Louis, grew up in a hunting and fishing family in West Plains, Missouri. Her lifelong love of the outdoors was nurtured by the woods surrounding her childhood home, and the diverse wildlife and crystal clear streams of the Ozarks. Today, Ms. Sullins carries out her strong interest in conservation efforts through service on the Confluence Greenway Advisory Board and as chair of the Advisory Board for The Trust for Public Land – Missouri. Ms. Sullins joins the Foundation board with more than 20 years of experience in community affairs and public service. She is the former Vice President, Director of Community Relations for Commerce Bank, St. Louis, where she directed the corporate and foundation charitable giving efforts for eastern Missouri and central Illinois. Among her current civic roles, Ms. Sullins serves on the boards of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Opera Theatre of St. Louis and is a board member of the Gateway Center for Giving. Previously she served nine years on the Clayton Board of Education where she was president for three years. She is a 2001 Woman of Achievement and is a graduate of Leadership of St. Louis.
Dave Erickson, Treasurer
Dave Erickson of Columbia earned a Master's degree in wildlife management from Pennsylvania State University in 1977. In 2009, he retired after 33 years with the Department of Conservation. His first job with the Department of Conservation was as a wildlife research biologist working with furbearing mammals. Dave worked as a researcher for seven years, and as a research supervisor for two years. He also worked in a variety of other capacities for the Department, including as a special programs supervisor, an assistant chief of Wildlife Division, the first administrator of the Department's Administrative Services Division under Director Jerry Conley, as Wildlife Division chief under John Hoskins, and finally as an assistant director where he oversaw the Department's resource division operations. In 2009, Dave was honored with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' highest award, the Seth Gordon Award. He also received the E. Sydney Stephens Professional Wildlife Award from the Missouri chapter of The Wildlife Society in 2006 and the G. Andy Runge Award from the same organization in 2006.
Ken Babcock of Jamestown worked for MDC from 1970 through 1997. He worked as a waterfowl research biologist, Assistant Chief and Division Chief of Wildlife Division, and Assistant Director from 1989-1997. After retiring from MDC, Ken went to work for Ducks Unlimited until recently retiring and moving back to Missouri. Ken readily said “yes” when asked if he would serve on the MCHF Board. He is a member of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Midwest and Southeast Associations of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Mississippi Flyway Council and Technical Section, The Wildlife Society and the Corps of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board.
Don Johnson of Festus served as a member of the Conservation Commission from 2007 - 2013. He was president of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) from 2006 until his appointment to the Conservation Commission. He is active in the National Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited. Mr. Johnson is Vice President of Human Resources at Suddenlink Communications in St. Louis. He was recently honored by Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as one of the four finalists for the 2012 Budweiser Conservationist of the Year.
Chip McGeehan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in fisheries and wildlife management at the University of Missouri – Columbia. He went on to pursue a career in business, but remains dedicated to wildlife management and conservation. He sustainably grazes herds of bison on his 1,000-acre ranch along the James River in Webster County, where he also hosts annual hunting and fishing opportunities. He enjoys bow hunting and angling, and he is very active in the recruitment of youth hunters. He served as a Missouri Conservation Commissioner from 2005 to 2011 and was instrumental in the Department’s elk restoration program. He is a lifetime member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and serves on the Federation’s board of directors.
Lowell Mohler was born and raised on a farm near Oregon, Missouri, and is a 1958 graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in agriculture. Following military service he worked for both the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Agriculture and then joined the Missouri Farm Bureau retiring as Chief Administrative Officer in 1996. He was awarded the Master Conservationist Award by the Department of Conservation in 2000 for his longtime efforts in bringing agriculture and conservation interests together. Lowell was appointed Missouri Director of Agriculture in 2001 and served until appointed a member of the Missouri Conservation Commission in 2003. He was a strong supporter of youth programs, wetland expansion and habitat development during his years on the Commission and continues those same interests today. Mr. Mohler is a longtime member of Ducks Unlimited, the Conservation Federation and the National Rifle Association and enjoys hunting and fishing whenever possible. He continues to be active in the family farming operation on the Missouri river near Jefferson City and also farms in Holt County, Missouri.
Dr. Wayne Morton
Dr. Wayne Morton was born in southeast Nebraska and raised on a farm. He attended Lewistown High School in Nebraska. He attended University of Nebraska from 1964-1968. In 1972, he graduated from the University of Nebraska Medicine School. He became board certified in Family Medicine in 1975 and has practiced family medicine in Osceola, Missouri from 1975 to present. He has served as President of local medical staff and has served as President of the West Central Medical Society. He has been a member of the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) Board of Directors for over 10 years. Dr. Morton has served as President and Vice President of the MPF. He is a member of the North American Grouse Partnership, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Missouri Conservation Federation, Native Plant Society, Garden Club, State Tech Committee, Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) and is currently President of the MoBCI Foundation. He has also served two terms on the State Park Advisory Board. Dr. Morton lives on a cattle farm, owns a prairie by Cole Camp, Missouri and leases a 620-acre prairie by Taberville, MO. He has been restoring a savannah glade complex on his land in Osceola and has completed over 150 acres of restoration thus far.
Bruce Sassmann and his wife Jan have restored the 120 acre Osage County Prairie Star Restoration Farm. Their efforts and energies since 2009 have earned them the MDC Private Land Services partnership award, the Missouri Quail Forever Aldo Leopold Award, the Missouri Wildlife Society G Andy Runge Award, and the Conservation Federation Wildlife Conservationist Award. They welcome a variety of individuals and groups to interact with the restored landscape. Bruce is retired from a century old family business. He has been active on the city council of his community and continues to be part of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission. His undergraduate degrees are biology and chemistry. He and his wife are life members of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and Quail Forever.
J. Miles Sweeney
Miles Sweeney of Springfield practiced law from 1972 until 1984, when he was appointed Associate Circuit Judge by Governor Kit Bond. He was subsequently elected without opposition. In 1990, he was appointed Circuit Judge by Governor Ashcroft and has since been elected without opposition. He served 9 years as Presiding Judge of Greene County and was on the Presiding Judges Executive Committee. Miles is an ardent outdoorsman and an avid hunter and fisherman. He is excited to serve on the MCHF Board, saying of all his community service activities this is the very kind of organization and cause he prefers.
Jim has been a biologist, educator and administrator for most of his life. Formerly with the Missouri Department of Conservation in endangered species, natural history and education, Jim helped develop and supervise natural history programs, nature centers and conservation education programs across the state. In his current position as part of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision at UM-St. Louis, he works with Forest Park Forever to develop education programs to connect people to nature in the 1,200-acre urban park and the greater St. Louis region. Jim has recently served on the boards of directors for the OpenSpace Council of Greater St. Louis and the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, a group that researches, re-enacts and interprets the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He is currently a member of the boards of Audubon Missouri and the St. Louis Audubon Society, and cooperator with the Confluence Greenway, a confederation of interests supporting conservation, recreation and heritage activities around the confluence of the big rivers near St. Louis.
Don Bedell has been a member of the Conservation Commission since 2009. Mr. Bedell is an accomplished businessman, avid conservationist and enthusiastic sportsman. He is a Life Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, a Life Member of Quail Unlimited, Inc., a Sustaining Member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, a Diamond Sponsor of the National Wild Turkey Federation and a Life Member of Safari Club International. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Science in Animal Nutrition with a double minor in biochemistry and wildlife. He is owner of B&B Boats and Bikes in Sikeston and B&R Marine & Cycle in Batesville, Ark. He has founded and run numerous other businesses, primarily in healthcare/nursing home management. He serves on numerous boards of directors and is an advisory board member to the Southeast Missouri State University College of Health and Human Services.
Robert L. Ziehmer
On January 15, 2010, Bob Ziehmer assumed the duties of Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, serving as the Department’s eighth Director since its formation in 1937. He believes that citizen input and involvement are critical to conservation. One of his top priorities as Director will be maintaining the citizen confidence and support that have made Missouri a national conservation leader. A native of California, Missouri, Mr. Ziehmer currently resides there with his wife and daughters. He began his Conservation Department career in 1991, and holds bachelor and master’s degrees in fish and wildlife management from the University of Missouri – Columbia.