John V. Faraci, Jr., Chairman of the Board
John V. Faraci, Jr. is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of International Paper. He served previously in the positions of president, as well as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Mr. Faraci joined International Paper in 1974 and held various financial, product management, planning and general management positions in the industrial packaging, consumer packaging, paper, wood products and forest resources businesses. He served also as chief executive officer and managing director of Carter Holt Harvey (a former International Paper majority-owned forest products company in New Zealand).
Mr. Faraci sits on the board of United Technologies Corp., PPG and Conoco Phillips. Mr. Faraci is a trustee of Denison University and the American Enterprise Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former board member of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation.
Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Trandahl joined NFWF in November 2005 after serving on Capitol Hill for 23 years. As Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, a post he held from 1998 to 2005, he was the second-highest constitutional official in the House of Representatives and served as the chief legislative official. He led a highly specialized staff of 300 and oversaw an operating budget of more than $20 million. Prior to his election as Clerk, he served various members of the House and Senate and held numerous committee staff assignments.
Mr. Trandahl earned a B.A. in Government/Politics from the University of Maryland in 1987 and holds a Certificate in Management from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University. He currently serves on the boards of the Gill Action Fund, Jones Group, Arise Corporation, and The Arcus Foundation. Raised in Spearfish, South Dakota, Mr. Trandahl is the son of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. An avid outdoorsman, he has a life-long commitment to conservation.
Lila Helms, Executive Vice President, External Affairs
Lila Helms comes to NFWF from the United States Senate, where she served for more than 20 years. As Clerk for the Legislative Branch subcommittee, which funds Congress and the agencies that serve Congress, she managed legislation involving multiple federal agencies. She previously served as Clerk of the Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations subcommittee and worked for the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Oceans and Fisheries Subcommittee and the Subcommittee for Science and Technology. Ms. Helms began her career as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Ernest F. Hollings and holds a B.A. from the University of South Carolina.
Jennifer Simpson, Executive Vice President, Finance and Operations
Jennifer Simpson leads the finance and operations functions of NFWF, including investments, financial accounting and reporting, grants administration, Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts and compliance. Prior to joining NFWF, she was a Managing Director at The Gladstone Companies, a family of debt and equity investment funds. She has also held investment leadership roles at Morgenthaler Partners and National City Bank and began her career as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. For several years, Ms. Simpson served on the Board of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership Fund, a grant-making organization focused on raising and granting money in support of STEM education. She earned her B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University.
Thomas Kelsch, Senior Vice President, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
Tom Kelsch joined NFWF in 1998 and has served the Foundation as Vice President, Conservation Programs, Director of the Eastern Partnership Office, and Director of Conservation Education. He spent eight years as an environmental scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds and was Chief of the Wetlands Regulatory Policy Section from 1995 to 1998. He also has extensive experience as an environmental planner for a private consulting firm. Mr. Kelsch holds a B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture from Michigan State University and earned an M.E.S. in Environmental Studies from Yale University.
Timothy DiCintio, Senior Vice President, Impact-Directed Environmental Accounts
Timothy DiCintio directs NFWF’s IDEA department, which receives, manages, and disburses funds designated for specific conservation purposes. Most often these funds originate from court orders, settlements of legal or administrative cases, regulatory permits, licenses, or conservation/mitigation plans, although they may also arise from voluntary activities focused on proactive conservation. Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. DiCintio was an attorney-advisor in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, where he served as EPA’s national expert on Superfund financial assurance issues. He focused on corporate, financial, and insurance issues arising within EPA’s cleanup enforcement programs. As an attorney in private practice at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, he split his time between the firm’s environmental and, subsequently, corporate and finance practice groups. Mr. DiCintio received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Greg Knadle, Vice President, Government Relations
Greg Knadle manages NFWF’s relationships with federal government agencies. He joined NFWF in 2009 after six years on the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Previously, he served at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he managed the maintenance and operations budgets for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Mr. Knadle also worked on several national wildlife refuges in the Southwest, including Sequoyah and Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuges in Oklahoma, serving as a biologist, refuge manager, and federal law enforcement officer. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Science from New Mexico State University.
Eric Schwaab, Vice President, Conservation Programs
Eric Schwaab is responsible for leading and managing the implementation of the Foundation’s conservation programs across the nation, including management and oversight of programmatic activity, regional office development, and project solicitation and selection. Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. Schwaab was Senior Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer at the National Aquarium, where he provided leadership and management for the Aquarium's national conservation program. He has also served in several leadership positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, and as Resource Director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Mr. Schwaab holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from McDaniel College and a master’s degree in Environmental Planning from Towson University.
Anthony Chatwin, Ph.D., Marine and Coastal Conservation
Dr. Chatwin leads NFWFs Marine and Coastal Conservation team. He joined NFWF in 2008 with more than ten years’ experience at The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Law Foundation. Dr. Chatwin has served on several advisory committees to NOAA, including the U.S. Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. In 2012, he was appointed Chairman of the Maryland Oyster Advisory Committee. At NFWF, Dr. Chatwin established the Fisheries Innovation Fund, a public-private partnership that supports effective participation of fishermen and fishing communities in the implementation of sustainable fisheries in the U.S. Dr. Chatwin earned his doctorate in Biological Oceanography from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Ian Davidson, Bird Biology and Conservation
Ian Davidson has worked throughout the world on a range of conservation issues that are central to NFWF’s mission, in locations throughout North America, West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2000, he joined BirdLife International as regional head of the Americas and spent a decade implementing conservation at globally important bird areas (IBAs) and in critical ecosystems throughout the Western Hemisphere. Part of this work entailed an extensive inventory of IBAs in North, Central and South America. From 2009 to 2014, he served as Executive Director of Nature Canada.
David Lawrence, Ph.D., Freshwater Fish Conservation
Dr. Lawrence is a fish biologist and freshwater ecologist specializing in the conservation of aquatic ecosystems. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, where he was a Northwest Climate Science Center fellow. His doctoral research investigated the interactive effects of climate change, land-use alteration, and invasive species on Pacific salmon in rivers of the Northwest. Dr. Lawrence also worked as a staff scientist at the University of Washington and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, and as a fisheries consultant at Marine Research, Inc., based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. His fieldwork has taken him to the high seas in Alaska, coastal rivers in the Northeast, the marshes of the Gulf coast, and high desert rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Lawrence earned his M.A. at Boston University and B.S. at Benedictine University in Illinois.
Regional Office Directors
Amanda Bassow, Director, Northeastern Regional Office
Amanda Bassow, director of NFWF's Northeastern Regional Office in Washington, D.C., managed the Foundation's Chesapeake Bay restoration programs from 2006-2013. She joined NFWF after nine years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, serving in the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation and as a community watershed coordinator in EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program office. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.
Jonathan Birdsong, Director, Western Regional Office
Jonathan Birdsong, director of NFWF’s Western Regional Office in San Francisco, California, brings more than 15 years of experience in brokering strategic, non-traditional initiatives in the public and private sectors that benefit natural resources. Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. Birdsong worked for BlueWater Strategies, a boutique consulting firm in Washington, D.C. where he focused on natural resources, agriculture, energy and irrigation efficiency policies. From 2002 to 2010, he worked for U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson of California, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Birdsong handled energy, natural resources, western water and agriculture policy for the Congressman and, for the last seven years of that time, was the Congressman's legislative director, responsible for managing legislative strategy and staff. He has a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University.
Jay Jensen, Director, Southern Regional Office
Jay Jensen, director of NFWF’s Southern Regional Office in Washington, D.C., brings more than 15 years of public policy and executive management experience in conservation efforts to his role. Prior to joining NFWF, Jensen served as the associate director for land and water ecosystems for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), where he had land- and water-policy responsibility for the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Prior to his service at CEQ, Mr. Jensen served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he had oversight responsibility for the U.S. Forest Service. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the Council of Western State Foresters/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, and was Senior Policy Advisor for the Western Governors Association. Mr. Jensen also worked on lead up to the 2002 Farm Bill as lead forestry advisor for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. Mr. Jensen holds a degree in Biology and Geography from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s degree in Forest Science from Colorado State University.
Donn Waage, Director, Central Regional Office
Donn Waage directs NFWF’s Central Regional Office in Bloomington, Minnesota. Before joining NFWF in 2001, he was senior vice president-public relations at U.S. Bancorp, the nation’s largest banking firm. He previously served as Associate Director of The Denver Foundation and was the first executive director of the W.M. Berger Fund, which works to connect youth to nature. Mr. Waage chaired the Mayor’s Committee on Stapleton Tomorrow, which created a plan to redevelop Denver’s Stapleton airport site into a model sustainable environmental community, and later served as director of development and community relations for the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation. He earned a B.A. in Geography from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from The American University.
Chris West, director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, Colorado, brings more than two decades of conservation experience to his new position. Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. West served as the executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), one of the nation’s leading land conservation organizations that now protects more than 450,000 acres on 300 working ranch properties statewide. Prior to his work with CCALT, he served as the first executive director of the Douglas Land Conservancy in Castle Rock, Colo. At that time, Douglas County was the fastest growing county in the nation and a national example of how conservation can succeed at the same time as rapid growth. Mr. West served on the board of directors of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts from 1998 to 2005 and was the president of that board from 2001 to 2003. He also serves on the Land Trust Alliance National Leadership Council and chairs the governor-appointed Colorado Easement Oversight Commission. Mr. West has an undergraduate degree in Geology from Colby College and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Policy and Economics from Duke University.