Board of Visitors

The Board of Visitors advises and assists the director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies in accomplishing the Institute's mission and vision. The board helps build relationships between the Nelson Institute, individuals and organizations; counsels on strategies and opportunities; and aids in obtaining financial, physical and human resources.

Current Members

Matt Dannenberg photo
Matt Dannenberg is Field Director at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) and a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. WLCV helps elect pro-conservation candidates to state offices and promotes public policy that benefits public health and our natural resources. In this role, Matt manages a team of community organizers that build relationships and environmental leadership all across Wisconsin. In 2012, Matt developed the WI Native Vote program which encourages civic engagement and tribal members to vote and run for office. Matt graduated UW-Madison in 2010 with a BA in Political Science and a certificate in Environmental Studies. During his time at UW, Matt was member of the UW Spirit Squad and he brings that enthusiasm to his work each day fighting to keep Wisconsin's environment the envy of the nation.


John Francis Photo
John Francis (Cape May, N.J.) is known the world over as the Planetwalker. In 1971, Francis witnessed an oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The effects of the spill compelled him to stop using motorized vehicles. Several months later, to end the arguments he found himself getting into about the power of one person's actions, he took a vow of silence. His non-motorized lifestyle lasted 22 years and his silence 17. During that time, Francis walked across the United States, earning a B.A at Southern Oregon State College, an M.S. in environmental studies at the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in the Nelson Institute Land Resources program. After graduation Francis wrote oil spill regulations for the U.S. Coast Guard for a year, but was then drawn back to travel, sailing and walking through the Caribbean and the length of South America as a goodwill ambassador to the World's Grassroots Communities for the United Nations Environment Program. He is currently back on the UW-Madison campus, serving as a visiting associate professor of environmental studies. He is also an education fellow at the National Geographic Society and the author of Planetwalker and The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World.


Lynn Hobbie Photo
Lynn Hobbie (Madison, Wis.) is a Senior Vice President at Madison Gas and Electric Company. MGE is an investor-owned utility in Wisconsin that serves the Madison and Dane County communities. Her responsibilities include marketing, energy products and services, corporate communications, economic development, residential, business and community services and web services. Lynn has worked at MGE for 30 years. She has an undergraduate degree in History and a Master of Science degree in Land Resources/Energy Policy and Analysis, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lynn was the recipient of the 2014 Nelson Institute Distinguished Alumni Award.

Her current board service includes the Board of Directors for 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Statewide Energy Efficiency and Renewables Administration, and she is a member of the City of Madison's Sustainable Transportation Master Plan Committee. She has served previously on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Public Utilities Institute and the Energy Center of Wisconsin.


Bruce Kahn Photo
Bruce Kahn (New York City), serves as director and senior investment analyst at Deutsche Asset Management, a leading climate change investor. In this role, Kahn conducts and publishes white papers on key industry, policy and strategic topics; advises investment managers on climate change-based strategies; educates clients; and develops new investment products across the asset management platform. Kahn joined the company in 2008 with 20 years of experience in environmental research, most recently as it relates to investments. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, he managed assets at CitiSmith Barney's Private Wealth Management Group in sustainability investments, including agribusiness and clean tech. Kahn received a Ph.D. in Land Resources from the Nelson Institute. He served in the Peace Corps for four years as an agricultural extension agent in Cameroon and has subsequently worked on agribusiness projects across the globe.


betsy Otto Photo
Betsy Otto (New York City), is the Director of WRI's Global Water Program. Over the past several years at WRI, she has led development of Aqueduct™, a global water risk assessment and mapping tool to inform private and public sector investment and water management decisions. Betsy works with the Water Program team to develop and apply tools and information, and to engage business, NGOs and governments for positive change in managing water resources worldwide. Betsy also works with staff across WRI to incorporate water considerations and sustainable solutions for cities, energy, governance, finance, and climate adaptation purposes.

Betsy has more than 20 years of experience working on water resource management, ecosystem protection, and urban water systems. Over the past two decades, she has worked to promote sound land and water planning and urban water infrastructure systems that incorporate upstream ecosystem services, green infrastructure designs in cities, and integrate drinking water, stormwater and wastewater management. Prior to joining WRI, Betsy developed successful clean water and water supply programs for American Rivers in Washington, DC, where she worked closely with mayors, utilities, federal agencies and Congress to promote smart water policies and drive public and private investment toward more sustainable water infrastructure solutions.

Betsy earned a Masters in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin's Nelson Institute, a MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg School, and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois. From 2006-2007, she was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, where she studied international water management, urban infrastructure, and water and sanitation issues.

Watch an interview of Betsy on E&E TV: WRI's Otto assesses China's water risk.


Carl Korfmacher Photo
Carl Korfmacher (Evansville, Wis.) is the Vice Chair of the Nelson Board of Visitors. His is also Principal and owner of Korfmacher Resources, LLC, a consultancy dedicated to supporting and developing businesses, programs, and concepts that drive innovations in sustainable land use, green technologies, and conservation initiatives. He is the former President and CEO of Applied Ecological Services (AES), one of the world's leading ecological consulting firms. He helped found The Earth Partners, LP and served on its board of directors. This innovative partnership is dedicated to using the forces of regulated capitalism to restore ecological health on a large scale. He holds a Master's Degree in landscape architecture from Kansas State University and a Certificate of Business Leadership and Strategic Marketing from the University of Wisconsin's School of Business. Throughout his career he has continued to focus on the intersection of science and design to resolve conflicts between humans and nature.


George Reistad Photo
George Reistad (Madison, Wis.) is an alumnus of the Nelson Institute and joined the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in late 2013 as the Associate Policy Director. He has helped empower and educate stakeholders on numerous sustainable agriculture and food system policies on the State and Federal level, including the USDA FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the WI DATCP Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Program, and the USDA NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program. George is a Wisconsin Local Food Network Board Member and also currently co-chairs the Diversity Committee of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, where he is working closely with other NSAC members and staff to build a racial equity lens into the Coalition's strategic planning, policy-setting process, and policy issue committees.


Jeff Rudd Photo
Jeff Rudd (Madison, Wis.) began serving on the Board of Visitors in December 2014. He has a PhD from the Nelson Institute's Environment & Resources Program. He also has a JD, and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Philosophy. He currently makes and manages long- and short-term investments in equity and commodity markets. He enjoys hiking, hunting, and other activities that give him the opportunity to be outdoors, preferably with his wife and step-son.


Strigel Photo
Mike Strigel (Monona, Wis.) is President and Executive Director at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, Wisconsin. Since joining the staff in early 2016, he leads efforts to instill Leopold's conservation legacy in more than 50,000 visitors per year. A Wisconsin native, Mike is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor's degree in Communication and the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master's degree in Land Resources from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. His previous field experience with The Prairie Enthusiasts, the International Crane Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other organizations has taken him through the prairies, savannas, forests, and wetlands of Wisconsin and the Midwest as well as stints in the forests of southern Oregon and northern California. Mike most recently served as executive director of Gathering Waters: Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts. Prior to coming to Gathering Waters in 2007, Mike spent eight years at the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters where he was Executive Director since 2003. At the Academy, Mike directed a national conference in 1999 celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, one of the personal highlights of his career.


Tisha Schuller Photo
Tisha Schuller (Boulder, Colo.) consults private clients from fortune-500 energy companies to non-profit environmental organizations energy policy, business strategy, politics, and community engagement. She also serves as the Strategic Advisor for Stanford University's Natural Gas Initiative. In this role, she works with companies and stakeholders to interface with Stanford's diverse faculty conducting research in the areas of sustainable development, technology innovation, climate policy, and geopolitics. She conducts public speaking and consulting focused on deescalating the energy wars, helping companies and organizations understand the polarized landscape and navigate successful strategies. Tisha most recently worked as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association in one of the most dramatic and contentious times for energy development in Colorado's history. Prior to COGA, Ms. Schuller served as a Principal and Vice President with Tetra Tech, a national environmental consulting and engineering firm for 15 years. She has a B.S. in Earth Systems with an emphasis in Geology from Stanford University.


Sal Troia Photo
Sal Troia (Madison, Wis.) is the Chair of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors. He has always enjoyed being outdoors in nature and is an avid cyclist and bicycle racer. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration with honors in accounting from UW-Madison and was a bank executive in the banking business for 28 years. Troia has been on many professional and business boards during his banking career and has served as president for a number of them. Since his retirement, his interests have turned to the environment and the lakes. Troia is a member of the Bascom Hill Society and a past member of the Board of Directors of Friends of the UW Arboretum. He has been an active member of the Yahara Lakes Association Board, having served as its President in the past and currently as its Treasurer. Sal has also been a strong supporter of the Wisconsin Association of Lakes Board for 11 years, where he has served as its treasurer and as a member of its executive committee. Troia is also a member of the Porchlight Inc. Board of Directors where he sits on the Executive Committee and is chair of the Finance Committee. Porchlight provides solutions to homelessness in the Dane County area.


Rebecca Wodder Photo
Rebecca Wodder (Fairfax, Va.) is a nationally known environmental leader whose career in conservation began with the first Earth Day. As president of the national river advocacy organization, American Rivers, from 1995 to 2011, she led the development of community-based solutions to freshwater challenges. From 2011 to 2013, she served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Previously, Rebecca was a Vice President at The Wilderness Society, and a Legislative Assistant to Senator Gaylord Nelson for environmental and energy issues. In 2010, she was named a Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by Outdoor Life Magazine. In 2014, she received the James Compton Award from River Network. As a Fellow with the Center for Humans and Nature, Rebecca explores how communities enhance their resilience to climate impacts via sustainable approaches to rivers and freshwater resources. She serves on the boards of River Network, the Potomac Conservancy, and is a member of the Advisory Council of Marstel-Day. Wodder earned a B.A. in biology and in environmental studies from the University of Kansas, and an M.S. in Landscape Architecture and in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



Emeritus Board Members

Lynn Broaddus Photo
Lynn Broaddus (Wauwatosa, Wis.) is the Past Chair of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors. She also chairs the board of the River Network in Portland, Oregon, is a trustee for the Water Environment Federation, is President of Broadview Collaborative, Inc., her first private sector endeavor, and serves as a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institute. Prior to launching her own firm in 2014, Lynn was Director of the Environment Program for The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread in Racine, Wisconsin. In that role, she was responsible for shaping the Johnson Foundation's environmental programming, which placed an emphasis on the freshwater crisis facing the United States. Lynn has also held leadership roles with Milwaukee Riverkeeper, The Nature Conservancy, and NatureServe. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia, her Ph.D. from Duke University, and an M.B.A. from UW-Milwaukee. Lynn has two sons, both of whom are currently enrolled at UW-Madison; one pursuing a law degree and the other pursuing an undergraduate degree focusing on environmental studies.


Jay Carlson Photo
Jay Carlson (Madison, Wis.) is a long-time friend and supporter of Gaylord Nelson and the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He received his BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965 and his JD, with honors, from the George Washington University in 1970. Jay recently retired from a long legal career in Washington, DC where he served in a number of capacities, including that of Assistant General Counsel for Litigation with the Federal Energy Administration and most recently, Senior Counsel at Miller & Chevalier Chartered. Jay served several terms as a regular member of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors. In April 2013, to thank him for his years of dedicated service to and on behalf of the Nelson Institute, Jay was awarded the title of Emeritus Board Member by Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. Jay is the first person to hold this honorific title.


Sonnet Edmonds Photo
Sonnet Edmonds (Atlanta, GA) is an Attorney at Taylor English Duma LLP, practicing in the field of energy law. From 1998 until early 2011, Edmonds was a Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Mirant Corporation (which was renamed GenOn Energy, Inc. as of December 2010). In that role, she was responsible for providing transactional, environmental, and other legal support to the company's electric generating assets across the United States. Prior to Mirant, she was an Attorney at law firms in Kansas City, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. Sonnet received her B.A. (1989) and J.D. (1993) from UW-Madison and is involved with several energy and legal professional associations. She is the past Chair of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors.


James Knight Photo
James Knight (Madison, Wis.) is the President of Bradshaw-Knight Foundation, which supports organizations that unite the advancement of sustainable means of life on the planet with the maintenance of communities of human scale, social and economic justice, and ethical treatment of animals. He received his M.S. in Quaternary Studies at the University of Maine, Orono. Knight is involved in urban agriculture and films about environmental justice. In summer 2015, to thank him for his years of dedicated service to and on behalf of the Nelson Institute, Jay was awarded the title of Emeritus Board Member by Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. Jay is the third person to hold this honorific title in the Institute.


John Nelson Photo
John Nelson (Madison, Wis.) is Chief Technical Officer of Global Infrastructure Asset Management LLC, a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Wisconsin Foundation, and the former Chair of the Nelson Institute Board of Visitors. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the UW Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. John has formerly provided service to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in a variety of other capacities, including membership on the Development Team for the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery and as member and chair of the College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Board. Nelson received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UW-Madison and is the former CEO of an engineering firm. In April 2014, to thank him for his years of dedicated service to and on behalf of the Nelson Institute, John was awarded the title of Emeritus Board Member by Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. John is the second person to hold this honorific title in the Institute.


Tia Nelson Photo
Tia Nelson (Madison, Wis.) is Managing Director of the Outrider Foundation's Climate Change Program. Previously, she served as director of the Climate Change Initiative at The Nature Conservancy and received the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Protection Award in 2000. Nelson is a graduate of UW-Madison, a conservationist and an environmental education advocate. She is the daughter of the late Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. In Summer 2015, to thank her for her years of dedicated service to and on behalf of the Nelson Institute, Tia was awarded the title of Emeritus Board Member by Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. Tia is the fourth person to hold this honorific title in the Institute.


Elizabeth Treacy Photo
Elizabeth C. Treacy (Chicago, Ill.) is president and chief strategist of Treacy Marketing Group. Her company, headquartered in Chicago, specializes in transformational business and brand strategies for companies at an inflection point. Industries served include manufacturing, health care, education, foodservice, hospitality/design, technology, financial and professional services and real estate. Treacy's community outreach efforts include pro bono marketing and consulting for numerous local and national not for profits. In addition, Treacy is a former trustee and marketing committee member of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, a member of the Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Commercial Real Estate Women. She also sits on the Board of Visitors of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Treacy earned an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a bachelor of arts in history from Colorado College. She is an avid traveler and has lived, worked and studied abroad.