Skip to main content
Lake County, Ohio - Soil & Water Conservation District

Board and Staff

     

    Board of Supervisors

    District Board members (supervisors) are respected conservation leaders elected by county residents to represent them in charting the course for soil and water conservation and natural resources management in their county. Associate supervisors are concerned citizens that officially volunteer their time to assist the Board and District. Board and associate supervisors serve together as a guide for the District, its staff and cooperating agencies in efforts to implement conservation plans which address the county's soil and water-related resources.

    Board supervisors are elected to a three-year term as public officials and serve without pay. They are protected from liability by laws which indemnify all SWCD supervisors from personal liability in any civil actions arising from involvement with the SWCD. The current Lake County SWCD Board members are:

    Thomas (Tom) Rowan, (2020) Concord Tom attended Lake Superior State University and has a degree in Natural Resources. Tom has worked for over 30 years in law enforcement. The majority was spent at the Ohio Division of Wildlife. At the Division he was a State Wildlife Officer, District Law Enforcement Supervisor and Assistant Chief to the Division of Wildlife. Tom retired from the Division of Wildlife in 2014. He started working part time for the Lake County Sheriff’s Offi ce in 2015 in the court services division as a Special Deputy. He is currently working as Chief Deputy for Geauga Sheriff’s office, and teaches part time at the police academies of Polaris Career Center, Kent State University and Youngstown State University. He is a member of the Lake County Rod and Gun Club, a life member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Whitetails Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited and the Wildlife Society. Thomas is also the president of the Ohio Game Protectors Association and the president of The Ashtabula Lakeshore 114 FOP Lodge. He is married to Sabrina, a teacher at McKinley Elementary school in Fairport Harbor. They have a daughter, Macey, who attends West Virginia University.

    Skip Dugan, (2020) Perry Twp Skip was raised on a 70 acre nursery in Perry. This is where he attained a lifelong respect for the land and open spaces. He has served on the Lake County Environmental Education Advisory Board, and is currently an Operations Manager at Lake Metroparks Farmpark. Some summer days he can be seen kayaking with his wife Annie on various stretches of the Grand River, enjoying the pristine scenery looking for eagles or turtles.

    Jeff Hyrne, (2018) Madison Twp Jeff is the President and CEO of LCN Holdings, a wholesale nursery based in Lake County, where he directs day-to-day operations. He is past-president of the Nursery Growers of Lake County, and has been involved in various aspects of the local nursery industry for over 25 years. Jeff, his wife and two children live in Madison, and he enjoys fly fishing in his spare time.

    Steve Reynolds, (2019) Mentor Steve is an Associate Professor of Biology, and previously was the Dean of the School of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, at Lake Erie College in Painesville. He is an aquatic ecologist with 20+ years of teaching and research experience. His research interests are in functional ecology and water quality, particularly, the impacts of heavy metals and non-point source pollution on stream fish and insects. Dr. Reynolds lives in Mentor with his wife and two small children. With them he enjoys musical evenings on the front porch, playing in the yard, and, as time allows, exploring Lake County and NE Ohio.

    Jen Smyser, (2018) Concord Jen grew up in Lake County and returned upon accepting a position as the Education Coordinator for the Lake SWCD. Later, she joined the staff of the Western Reserve RC&D to launch The Farmland Center in Northeast Ohio. Since then, she has focused on non-profit communications, grant writing and development at The Lakeland Foundation. While at the Lake SWCD, Jen worked closely with the Lake County Farmland Task Force and later served on the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy Board of Directors. She lives in Concord Township with her husband and three children, all whom enjoy numerous outdoor pursuits and the region’s bounty of fresh, local foods.

     

    Staff

    Staff members carry out the day-today duties of the District. They conduct site visits, review erosion and sediment control plans for new construction, advise community officials on natural resource issues, provide technical assistance to landowners, work with local consrvation groups to help them meet thier goals, develop and coordinate Non Point Source Implementation Strategy Plans, maintain disctrict accounts, publish bulletins and newsletters, provide classroom education, and maintain digital presence.  

    Dan Donaldson, (1995) District Administrator B.A. Environmental Management from Cleveland State University.

    Dan is responsible for daily operation and management of district staff, programs and services. He specializes in planning services for customers and the Board of Supervisors. He also assists local governments, landowners, and partner agencies with natural resource planning objectives, including special projects, ordinances, programs, and conservation easements. He serves as principal district contact and facilitator for public meetings and is responsible for program planning, administration, and grant writing. extension 2030; email ddonaldson@lakecountyohio.gov

    Maurine Orndorff, (2006) Watershed Coordinator B.S. Geography from Ohio University , M.A. Geography from Kent State University.

    Maurine became the Watershed Coordinator in January 2011, after her Agricultural Programs Technician position was eliminated through budget cuts. The District received a 4-year planning grant from ODNR to hire a watershed coordinator to improve the Arcola Creek Watershed, and Maurine is working with the community to develop a watershed action plan. Residents have been affected by frequent flooding, routine periods of drought, and limitation of economic and recreational opportunities. Having a watershed action plan will enable the community to be eligible for state and federal funding for projects to reduce flooding, repair stream channels and address other water quality issues. extension 5863; email morndorff@lakecountyohio.gov

    John Niedzialek, (2012) Resource Protection Specialist B.S. Conservation of Natural Resources and M.A. Geography from Kent State University.

    John serves the District as a part-time Resource Protection Specialist, assisting with site plan reviews and inspections on construction sites. He recently retired from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and continues to serve as volunteer coordinator of the Western Reserve Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D). John also teaches Earth Science at Lakeland Community College. extension 5860; email jniedzialek@lakecountyohio.gov

    Chad Edgar, (2000) Resource Protection Specialist B.S. Geology from Ashland University.

     

    Chad has a well-rounded and unique skill set that has been developed throughout his career in conservation and natural resources which spans nearly 20 years in Northeast Ohio. Chad started his career at the SWCD office as the Urban Stream Specialist where he managed the Headwater Habitat Evaluation project and was the district’s GIS technician. He later assisted with the implementation of the NPDES Phase II compliance program. Chad has also worked with clientele, contractors and regulatory agencies in numerous states as project manager for a private environmental consulting firm. He is responsible for NPDES Phase II compliance activities and is the main point of contact for Lake County residents with technical natural resource issues. extension 2032; email cedgar@lakecountyohio.gov


    Natalie Gertz-Young (2013) Education/Information Coordinator B.A. Psychology from The College of Wooster, and M.S. Environmental Science with Environmental Education specialization from Antioch University New England.

     

    Natalie plans, coordinates and is responsible for the District’s major education and public outreach programs. This includes school programs, spring and fall stream monitoring, Envirothon, annual tree sale, Rain Barrel and Rain Garden workshops and other public displays and programs. Natalie is dedicated to increasing awareness of and taking action to preserve Lake County and the greater Northeast Ohio region’s natural resources. extension 2033; email ngertz-young@lakecountyohio.gov