Kevin McAleese

Kevin McAleese mail_outline President & CEO

Kevin assumed overall leadership of Sand County Foundation in July 2015. In his 20 years with the Foundation, he has overseen all aspects of planning, program implementation, and personnel and financial management. Kevin also founded the Cooperative Sagebrush Initiative (CSI) in 2007, an award-winning 11-western state public-private partnership to balance energy production, ranching, and habitat protection, and served as President of its Board of Directors until 2013. He led a ten-year program in the Lake States and Northeastern US to enhance the regeneration of important hardwood forests that support rural economies and abundant wildlife. He has organized and facilitated regional, national, and international conferences among landholders, resource managers, and scientists. He holds a BS in engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an MA in history from Catholic University in Washington, DC.

Brent Haglund Ph.D.

Brent Haglund Ph.D. mail_outline Chief Scientific Officer

Brent earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Georgia where he studied with Eugene Odum and Frank Golley. His research interests have been in ecosystem level effects of weather modification, fire management and wildlife populations. Brent was ecological consultant to the Wisconsin Legislative Council on non-point water pollution, was a member of the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission, was a member of the Executive Committee of the Wisconsin Public Utility Institute, and was a private sector conservation advisor to the Cabinet of Premier Nick Greiner, New South Wales, Australia. He is author of “Wild Wisconsin” and co-author of “Hands on Environmentalism.” During more than 40 years of volunteer and professional work in conservation and environmental improvement, he has focused on the roles and opportunities of private landowners.

Christina Schellpfeffer

Christina Schellpfeffer mail_outline Vice President – External Relations

Chris leads Sand County Foundation’s communications and development programs. She joined the foundation in 2013, bringing more than 20 years of experience in marketing, strategic communication and stakeholder relations to the organization. A former journalist, she covered government, public policy and politics for nearly ten years at the Wisconsin State Capitol as Managing Editor for the Wisconsin Radio Network. As a partner in an advertising agency with a special emphasis on brand development, she consulted with organizations across the U.S. on marketing and communications issues, and led successful public relations programs securing prominent national media coverage. Her work spans industries and issues ranging from food production and medical research to environmental science and economic development. 

Craig Ficenec

Craig Ficenec mail_outline Program Director

Craig joined Sand County Foundation in 2013 as a soil and water program director. He worked for seven years with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, first in California as an agricultural engineer, then in Wisconsin as coordinator of a multi-county resource conservation and development council and as statewide manager of easement and financial assistance programs. Craig also managed conservation initiatives for a non-profit organic farming business incubator program in California, evaluated watershed planning projects as a M.S. thesis in Peru, and developed domestic water projects as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras. His experience includes agricultural conservation partnerships in watersheds of the Great Lakes, Monterey Bay, and the Andes.

Lance Irving

Lance Irving mail_outline Leopold Conservation Award® Program Director

Lance took the helm of Sand County Foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award Program in 2016 after more than 15 years of experience in the outdoor sporting goods industry, and prior to that as a professional wilderness hunting and fishing guide. As chief sales and marketing officer at two outdoor manufacturing companies, most recently Martin Archery, Lance became a recognized leader in the industry for successfully indentifying market needs and expanding the customer base by focusing on clearly defining a brand message and forming strategic partnerships. His work has been profiled in trade publications and television programs, and he has been honored with several high profile sales and marketing awards.

Casey Langan

Casey Langan mail_outline Communications Director

Casey joined Sand County Foundation in 2018 with more than 20 years of experience in agricultural communications. He previously served as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's executive director of public relations and spokesperson. Prior to that, he was a legislative assistant researching policy matters, and a newspaper reporter covering agricultural and rural issues. Casey first came to appreciate agriculture and rural landscapes on his grandparents' dairy and tobacco farm in southern Wisconsin. He remains passionate about telling the stories of those who advance conservation on private, working land.    

Ya-Wei (Jake) Li

Ya-Wei (Jake) Li mail_outline Director of Biodiversity - Environmental Policy Research Center

Jake is the Director of Biodiversity for the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, a fiscally-sponsored project of Sand County Foundation. Jake, a nationally-recognized Endangered Species Act expert, develops innovative policies that improve the speed and scale of endangered species conservation. Jake spent eight years growing the endangered species policy program at the Defenders of Wildlife, as Vice President and Director. He previously represented the regulated community as an environmental lawyer at Latham and Watkins, LLP.

Tim Male Ph.D.

Tim Male Ph.D. mail_outline Executive Director - Environmental Policy Innovation Center

Tim leads the Environmental Policy Innovation Center, a fiscally-sponsored project of Sand County Foundation. Tim has 15 years of experience working on national policies that create more innovative, effective, and incentive-focused approaches to wildlife conservation, drought response, finance for water supplies and quality, and agricultural stewardship. His experience includes two years as Associate Director for Conservation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality from 2014 to 2017. A scientist by training, Tim is also a former city council member. 

Greg Olson

Greg Olson mail_outline Field Projects Director

Greg joined Sand County Foundation in 2010 as coordinator of a watershed nutrient management project in the West Branch of the Milwaukee River. In 2013, he began overseeing all field activities for water quality and nutrient management work. Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Mich., Greg has a degree in Wildlife Biology and Management from Central Michigan University. From 2004 to 2010, he worked in wetland, prairie, and forest restoration and research. Prior to Sand County Foundation, Greg worked for Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Geological Survey.

Holly Perrotti

Holly Perrotti mail_outline Director of Operations

Holly’s comprehensive Sand County Foundation role encompasses office management, executive assistance and program support.  She has several years of experience in executive assistant roles with senior leaders of non-governmental organizations. Prior to joining Sand County Foundation in 2013, Holly served for five years as an administrative assistant to the President & Vice-President of the American Postal Workers Union in Washington, DC where she assisted with board meetings, meeting and convention preparation, member outreach and contract agreements. Holly holds a B.A. in English Literature from Gustavus Adolphus College.


Alex Echols

Alex Echols mail_outline Special Projects

Alex started his environmental career on Capitol Hill, where he delivered numerous key environmental innovations like the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill, Dept. for Nature Swaps, and an extensive rewrite of bilateral and multilateral foreign aid programs. Alex subsequently worked for a trade association where he used market incentives to encourage the use of recyclables. He spent six years at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as Deputy and ultimately Acting Executive Director. In 2001, he set up his own consulting firm to help industry, landowners, the conservation community and government deliver more conservation for their dollar invested. Alex works extensively with the philanthropy and corporate communities to develop conservation programs that fit the host institution’s core values. He also has extensive experience in the selection and structuring of boards to create organizational allure and capacity.

Karen Sweet

Karen Sweet mail_outline Leopold Conservation Award® – California and Utah

Karen conducts outreach to the California agriculture community and interested organizations to promote the Leopold Conservation Award program throughout the states of California and Utah. She is owner of Sweet Conservation and Agricultural Services in Livermore, Calif., and is the former Executive Officer of the Alameda County Resource Conservation District. Karen operates a cattle ranch with her husband, Darrel, on the eastern edge of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Craig Utter

Craig Utter mail_outline Leopold Conservation Award® – Nebraska

Craig conducts outreach to the agricultural community and interested organizations to promote the Nebraska Leopold Conservation Award program.