NFWF Leadership

Ms. Neuhaus’ early career included working in the healthcare and insurance fields, as well as the oil and gas industry where she was an Executive VP, Business Operations. In 2003, she had the opportunity to merge passion with profession, and purchased Backwoods Adventures. Until its sale in 2017, she managed the operations of its 10 retail locations, e-commerce site and the adventure travel division. She also launched Backwoods Collection, an exclusive line of clothing, luggage and accessories in 2007.

Ms. Neuhaus is currently back in the energy industry, serving as Chief Executive Officer for MDC, Inc. While maintaining significant operations in the oil and gas industry, MDC has diversified its portfolio under her leadership.

Passions include philanthropy, nonprofit board service and travel; and of course, her family: her husband David, their four sons and two grandsons.

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.

Dr. Bamford is responsible for advancing the Foundation’s mission through the creation and implementation of a comprehensive conservation vision, strategy and a metrics-based evaluation system for NFWF’s grant-making programs. She serves an important role in creating and leading NFWF’s conservation strategy by setting national and regional cross-cutting strategies, and by leading design, development and fundraising planning for the conservation strategy, as well as guiding the conservation policies and practices of the Foundation. Prior to joining NFWF, Dr. Bamford was acting assistant secretary for conservation and management for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In that role, she drove administration policy, programming, and investments for NOAA’s ocean, coastal and fisheries management. Her responsibilities spanned coastal resilience, marine protected areas, protected species, sustainable fisheries and coastal services. Dr. Bamford worked closely with members of Congress, other agency leaders, partner organizations, and local communities to develop policies and take conservation actions to ensure coastal and ocean stewardship. Dr. Bamford earned her doctorate in Organic Environmental Chemistry from the University of Maryland.

Tokunbo Falayi serves as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Foundation. In this role, Mr. Falayi provides leadership and oversight for the Finance, Accounting, Budgeting and Investment functions. In addition, Mr. Falayi serves as Treasurer for the Foundation. Mr. Falayi joined NFWF in 2003, and has worked in multiple roles and capacities in the Finance and Accounting function over the past 12 years. Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. Falayi was the Senior Accounting Manager at Special Olympics. Before Special Olympics, Mr. Falayi worked in public accounting with Arthur Andersen as a Senior Consultant on multiple business and financial consulting engagements. Mr. Falayi is a CPA and a Chartered Accountant. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and obtained his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Gloria Lett provides legal advice and guidance to the Foundation. Prior to joining NFWF, Gloria spent many years serving in various leadership roles at the U.S. House of Representatives, most recently as Deputy Clerk for the House. As Deputy Clerk she assisted the Clerk of the House leading an organization of approximately 240 staff members responsible for all aspects of the legislative operations of the House. Gloria previously served as the managing counsel in the Office of House Employment Counsel for the House. In that role she provided legal advice to Members of Congress and represented them and other employing offices before administrative bodies and in federal courts nationwide. Prior to working for Congress, Gloria was a corporate attorney for a large telecommunications company, an Assistant Corporation Counsel representing the District of Columbia in civil litigation, a Special Assistant United States Attorney handling criminal prosecutions, and an attorney for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Gloria earned her J.D. Degree from the George Washington University Law School and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y) at Stony Brook. 

Jody Olson supports leadership in the overall function of the Foundation and implementation of cross-department strategies. Prior to his current role, Mr. Olson served for over 20 years in the government relations department building and expanding conservation partnerships with federal agencies. Before joining NFWF, he worked on Capitol Hill serving as a legislative assistant and press secretary to a member of Congress. Mr. Olson holds a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech and a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University.

Prior to joining NFWF, Mr. Strodel served in several management positions in the legislative branch most recently as the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he led an organization of over 600 employees charged with executing the financial, information technology, procurement and other support service functions of the House, an entity with a $1.2 billion annual operating budget. He received his J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and his B.A. from Hobart College in Geneva, New York

Team Leaders

Drew Brown leads NFWF’s Information Technology department, providing direction and guidance for development and IT operations. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, Mr. Brown joined the federal government contractor workforce. Over the course of 16 years, Mr. Brown held several software development, architecture, and leadership positions, including running DevOps teams for High Performance Computer applications. In 2017, he transitioned to the commercial sector, developing solutions for banking, healthcare, insurance, and cryptocurrency applications. A travel and conservation enthusiast, Mr. Brown enjoys exploring the world and participating in volunteer activities that aid community development.

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.

Regional Office Directors

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 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.

Todd Hogrefe directs NFWF’s Central Regional Office in Bloomington, Minnesota. Previously he served as the Foundation’s Great Lakes Program Director and its Central Region Assistant Director from 2008 to 2016. In those roles, he led programs and built partnerships focused on the Great Lakes region, the Upper Mississippi River, and important bird habitats across the United States. Prior to joining the Foundation, Todd spent more than seven years as the endangered species specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and a wildlife biologist for the Utah Department of Natural Resources. In those positions, he worked on a broad spectrum of conservation issues, ranging from desert fishes recovery in the Colorado River basin to wolf management in the Upper Midwest. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Pennsylvania State University and an M.S. in Fisheries & Wildlife from Utah State University.

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.

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.