Board of Directors
Itasca Waters is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The full Board meets quarterly and the Executive Committee, consisting of the officers and committee chairs, meets on a monthly basis. The board consists of both voting and non-voting technical advisors.
Dave Lick, President
Dave is retired as principal owner of Itasca Reliable Insurance Agency, Inc., has a B.S. degree in biology, a minor in chemistry, past president of Itasca Coalition of Lake Associations, responsible for septic compliance for Wabana Township Lakes, past board member for Advocates for Family Peace, lifetime member of Izaak Walton League, current member of Minnesota Power's Citizen Advisory Board, active organizer of Citizens Advocating Responsible Power Production “CARRP,” public school science teacher for four years, and he directed Youth Conservation Corp camps for the USFS for two years.
Dave’s additional Interests are extensive international travel, forest landowner, sustainable forest management from 1994 to present converting 70 acres back to white pine, beekeeper, gardener, woodworker, avid bike rider and cross country skier, canoeist and scuba diver. He is married and has two children.
John W. Zimmerman, Jr., Vice President
John has served on the IWLP board for the last five years. He leads our planning initiatives keeping us on point and directed and he has also been involved in our ongoing work with Itasca County focused on their assuming a leadership role in Water Resources. He was recruited by us because of his experience with the Wabana Chain of Lakes Association - where he served as historian, newsletter publisher and most recently as President. Professionally, John had a career in human resources. He also has served effectively as a both a coach of senior managers and a mentor of younger ones while managing his unit’s communications, media relations, administration and security functions.
John has been an active volunteer. Before retiring he served on United Way board and Children's Home board in New York where he was employed. Locally, in addition to his IWLP and lake association activities, John has been an active volunteer and board member with the Itasca County Historical Society where he has just been elected president of their board.
Personally, John shares that he spends way too much time working on his family’s genealogy but that he also enjoys woodworking, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing, reading and history. Alida and he have been married 36 years, raised three children, and live happily on Trout Lake.
Patricia Leistikow, Finance Chair and Treasurer
Pat was born and raised on a farm in SE Iowa, attending University of Northern Iowa earning a degree in Accounting. She has been employed as a CPA auditor for Fox & Company for five years, accounting supervisor for ISD 318 for 12 years, and CFO for Itasca Community College, Rainy River Community College, and Northeast Higher Education District for 9 years upon retiring in October 2013. She also took nine years from working outside the home to raise two young children, but kept busy with consulting and volunteering.
Pat has been involved with IWLP since the beginning, first serving on the Advisory Group for the setup of the Itasca Community College Water Lab and joining the Board as Finance chair in July 2013.
Pat also serves on her Church’s Finance Council and the Board of Youth for Christ-Campus Life.
Pat and her husband, Rod, spend vacations enjoying the United States especially Colorado and the Caribbean. At her home on the lake, she loves to swim, fish, and kayak.
Jan Sandberg, Secretary
Jan joined the IWLP Board in 2012 and helps ensure that the board’s work is kept on track. She compiles the annual report and assists in running the Itasca County Aquatic Invasive Species committee. Jan and her husband, Richard, bought a cabin on Pokegama Lake in 1986.
Since retiring as a program evaluator with the Office of the Legislative Auditor in 2007, she spends much of the summer at the lake. She makes Minneapolis her urban home, serving on the Minneapolis Charter Commission.
Katie began serving on the IWLP Board in 2016. She was born and raised in Deer River, MN and grew up with a love for being on the water. She pursued this passion and graduated from UW-Superior with a bachelor’s degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Biology and Fisheries with a minor in GIS. During college, she worked at the Lake Superior Research Institute performing various aquatic research projects on the great lakes. During this time, she realized how precious lakes and streams are and how easily they can be disrupted. Katie began her career at Minnesota Power in 2008 as a chemist and has since transferred positions and is now an operator at the plant.
Katie is an avid outdoorsman who loves fishing, hunting, harvesting wild rice & making maple syrup. Because of her love for the outdoors, she wants to help preserve and protect the waters of Itasca County for future generations to come.
Dennis graduated with a degree in Fisheries Management from the University of Minnesota in 1969. In December of 1969, he was hired as an Aquatic Biologist by the Minnesota DNR (Conservation Department then) stationed at the St. Paul Fish Hatchery. He was assigned to cold-water fish culture trouble shooting to modernize the practices of the time. Projects involved application of animal breeding science to fish selection and breeding, trout diet testing, and water recycling for fish culture. He also had a field project on the Grindstone River near Sandstone. In summer 1975, he was transferred to southeast Minnesota, stationed at the Crystal Springs Fish Hatchery. He was assigned to field work designed to investigate success/failure of wild brown trout reproduction in local streams. In 1979, he was transferred to Brainerd and assigned to fish community studies in area lakes. In 1987 he was promoted to the Regional Fisheries Management position in Grand Rapids. That position included oversight of fisheries management field stations in northeastern Minnesota. He retired in August 2002.
Dennis’s interests include gardening, fishing (winter and summer), especially fly fishing for trout, deer and ruffed grouse hunting and nearly everything outdoors (includes birds, camping, camp cooking, etc.). His interest in environmental quality attracted him to IWLP. Prior to his University schooling, he spent three years in the Army, stationed for two years in northern Italy.
Kathy has represented IWLP as Education Chair from 2012 to present, when she joined the Board. In addition, Kathy works full time as an accountant, has two children, and volunteers on the Community Cafe Board and completed a two year training in "Leadership for the Century". Kathy enjoys spending time raising meat birds, pork, beef, and laying hens for the farm fresh eggs as well as raising vegetables. She also likes to paint with water color and oil, hunting, fishing, crafts, and spending time with friends.
John A. Downing
John is the Director of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program, a research scientist at the Large Lakes Observatory, and a tenured Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He was formerly a Regent’s Excellence Professor of Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology and Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University and ran one of the best-funded and long-standing research operations at that institution. His research and teaching dossiers concern many aspects of the aquatic sciences. His 150+ peer-reviewed books and journal articles cover diverse topics in limnology, marine science, environmental economics, and terrestrial ecology. His leadership experience has been as the Director of the Laurentian Biological Station (Montreal, Quebec), the co-founder of the Inter-University Limnological Research Group (Montreal, Quebec), Director of the Iowa State University Limnology Laboratory (Ames, Iowa), Chair of the Environmental Science Interdepartmental Graduate Program (Ames, Iowa), President of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and Chair of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (Washington, DC). He has founded and run several small businesses in the US and Canada. He has a long-standing record of success in securing research funding from federal, state, provincial, and local agencies. He maintains current international research collaborations with Canada, Brazil, and Holland.
John’s family has conserved and managed a shore-habitat and forest area in northern Minnesota for 108 years. He is a certified diver, a once-professional musician, and volunteers to help citizens across the US Midwest with local water quality concerns.
Patricia A. Gould St. Aubin
Patty was born and raised in Grand Rapids and a is second-generation Itasca County resident. She is a broker/owner of Itasca Realty Lakes and Homes with 33 years in the business. Patty taught pre-licensing Real Estate at Itasca Community College, Vermillion, Rainy River and Bemidji State University. She has lived on Pokegama Lake for 24 years and, prior to that, her family owned a cabin there. Patty’s Grandfather developed lakeshore and was an appraiser and an owner of a well drilling company here in Itasca County. Water, the lakes, and a responsibility for stewardship has been part of her entire life.
Patty has been on the IWLP Board since its inception and serves as its Membership Chair.
Bill was born and raised in Grand Rapids, graduating from Grand Rapids High School in 2002. He attended Itasca Community College for one year, and then moved to Minneapolis, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. After working in Career Services at the U for 5 years, Bill decided to move back home in 2011, and persuaded his fiancée, Katelyn, to join him. He returned to Itasca Community College, where he initially worked in the Engineering department, followed by a three year stint as the Director of Residential Living, before obtaining his current position as Director of Enrollment. In 2012, Bill married Katelyn on the Mississippi River at Showboat Landing.
Bill has always had a strong connection to our area's lakes and rivers. Having grown-up just a five minute walk from his Grandpa's aunt's 1930's cabin on Pokegama, young Billy, his sisters, and friends spent most of the summer in the lake and at the cabin. In his free time, Bill enjoys relic hunting at old logging camp sites, metal detecting for silver coins and other artifacts, nature photography, snorkeling area lakes and rivers, deer and bird hunting, having fun with his niece and nephews, and spending time with his dogs, cat, and wife at home.
Davin has been a Board member since 2014. He was invited to the membership as a County Commissioner, a position he has held since 2011. As a member of both Boards he is able to be a conduit for information flowing in either direction.
Davin is a resident of Cohasset where he was born and raised. He has been married 31 years and raised two children. He also has two grandchildren. He is an active outdoor enthusiast and holds the same concerns of many in our County, preserving our natural resources for our future generations. Growing up fishing on the Mississippi/Jay Gould area, he has personally witnessed the changes to our lakes that industry and residential development bring. Our grandchildren’s experiences will not be the same. An afternoon spent in the dark house at the intersection of these two bodies of water is much different than 40 years ago.
Davin is co-owner of Cohasset Mill and Lumber since 1998. He is also a member of Cohasset Fire Department for the past 24 years, currently starting his 10th year as Fire Chief. As a County Commissioner he sits on many committees and boards, one of which is the Mississippi Headwaters Board. These positions all contribute to a broader understanding of the needs of Itasca County. There is a delicate balance between preservation and future growth, and it is important our leaders gain experience and understand what can be at times opposing viewpoints.
Jan joined IWLP in 2017, and serves on the Public Relations Committee with her husband, Brian Whittemore. With Master degrees in Education and Counseling, Jan has a special interest in children and their families, having taught and participated in the establishment of a landmark elementary counseling program in a New York State school district. In addition, Jan was an officer with the NY State Counseling Association.
An avid outdoors person, Jan met Brian while hiking with the Adirondack Hiking Club. Jan has a lifelong interest and concern for the environment, particularly after seeing the effects of acid rain on lakes in the Adirondacks. When Jan and Brian are not at their cabin in Remer enjoying retirement, they're camping and exploring in their Scamp.
Brian is the Itasca Waters Public Relations Committee chair. He is retired after a 40 year career in broadcasting as an executive, news anchor, and reporter. He was a Vice President/General Manager with CBS Radio and retired as General Manager of WCCO Radio in Minneapolis. Brian has been on national boards of the Radio and Television News Director Association and the consumer group Call For Action. He has served on the Minneapolis Downtown Council, the Twin Cities Communication Counsel, and the Prior Lake, MN, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is a volunteer/member at KAXE/KBXE Radio and produced the documentary series “Teachings From Turtle Island, Stories of Anishanaabe People.” He also served as a volunteer at The Raptor Center in St. Paul.
Brian lives with his wife Jan Best in their cabin on a small lake south of Remer. They enjoy camping in their Scamp, learning about Anishanaabe traditions and history, reading books and news, lake neighbors, and being outdoors. Brian and Jan met while hiking mountains in the Adirondack High Peaks area, and both are lifelong advocates for Mother Earth.
Tim was raised on the east side of the Iron Range, graduating from Virginia HS in 1966. He graduated from the University of MN with a BS in Chemical Engineering. Tim and his wife, Deena, raised their three children in south Minneapolis. In the 90’s they moved south of the Mississippi River to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Upon graduation from the U of M, Tim started work at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) as an Industrial Engineer. In 1975, he was promoted to manager in the Water Division. From 1979 through 1999 he served as a senior manager for all the major environmental programs at the MPCA (AQ, WQ, Superfund, HW, and SW). From 2000 through 2011 he served as an executive in the Commissioner’s Office. He served as Deputy Commissioner his last two years at the MPCA. During his 35 plus years as a manager, he spent considerable time working with, or testifying before, the MN Legislature. He also belonged to several national environmental organizations and chaired/led a variety task forces.
Tim and Deena bought a cabin on Shallow Lake in Itasca County in 2004. They built a new home on the site in 2011, and this became their full-time residence in 2015. Tim has been actively involved with the Shallow-Sand Lake Association Board for most of his years on the lake.
Tim has also been a member of, and worked with, several state and national peace and justice organizations dealing with poverty, homelessness and USA’s role in Central American countries. For pleasure, he has coached many boys and girls youth hockey teams over a 30 year period, being fortunate enough to coach two of three of his children and five of eight of his grandchildren.
Megan Christianson has been the Executive Director of Visit Grand Rapids since 2012. Christianson has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Concordia University, St. Paul Campus. She has 20 years of marketing, public relations, and trade industry membership/advocacy experience. Christianson currently serves as a Board Member of the Minnesota Arrowhead Association, and is the NE Minnesota representative on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. She is also a Blandin Foundation Community Leadership Alumni. Megan lives in Cohasset Minnesota with her husband (Chad) and their two children (Madison, 17 and Caleb, 15). She enjoys being on the lake, scrapbooking, and spending time with family and friends.
Harold E. Dziuk, Emeritus Board Member
As a young kid, Harold first learned to appreciate the wonders of nature on a small dairy farm in Benton County, MN. In addition to varied farm chores, he enjoyed riding his pony, playing cowboy, picking chokecherries, and learning to swim in Stony Brook, a small stream that crossed the pasture. He left the farm to embark on undergraduate and graduate studies in Veterinary Medicine and a career in teaching and research. His graduate studies were delayed for two years while he was on active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps at the Biological Warfare Laboratories, Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Professional Employment: Instructor, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Associate Scientist, General Electric Co., Hanford Atomic Products Operation, Richland, WA; Associate Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; Professor, Retired, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Lecturer, College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL; and Science Advisor, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, St. Paul, MN.
Activities in retirement: To allow more time for his interest in creating oil paintings, Dziuk retired from the University of Minnesota in 1990. He and his wife, Betty, resided on Big Sandy Lake in Aitkin County until 1999 when they moved to Itasca County’s Turtle Lake. Surrounded by abundant wildlife, beautiful forested shoreland and clean water, he learned that keeping lakes healthy required more active volunteers and partnerships with local governments and state agencies. He delayed becoming a full-time artist and became a shoreland volunteer in the following organizations: Big Sandy Lake Association, Big Sandy Area Lakes Watershed Management Project (Chair, Steering Committee), Minnesota Lakes Association (Board of Directors), Aitkin County Lakes Association, Itasca Coalition of Lake Associations, Turtle Lake Association and, beginning in 2006, Itasca Water Legacy Partnership (IWLP). His primary role in IWLP over eight years of service on the Executive Committee was to seek grants to support IWLP’s many initiatives.
Itasca Soil & Water Conservation District
U.S. Forest Service
RMB Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
Board of Water & Soil Resources
Itasca County Environmental Services