Our board represents a cross-section of our community and is a holistic advocate for our cause. Its members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization so that funds raised directly affect results.
Founder & President
The Mississippi River was literally Chad Pregracke’s back yard while growing up near East Moline, IL. After spending his summers shell diving, Chad, son of two river enthusiasts, began to realize how neglected the rivers were with the unsightly and toxic accumulation of trash along their banks. At the age of 17, Chad started making calls to government agencies to notify them of the problem, assuming someone would take care of it. Year after year passed by and the problem only worsened. In 1997, Chad decided that if no one else was going to clean up the river, he would.
In 1998 at the age of 23, Chad founded Living Lands & Waters. Today, the organization has grown to include a full staff and fleet of equipment. The crew averages nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries. Chad has expanded the mission of the organization to include Student Educational Workshops, the MillionTrees Project, Adopt-a-River Mile, Invasive Species Removal, Alternative Spring Break and the Great Mississippi River Cleanup.
Before retiring in July 2017, after 41 years in the grain and transportation business, Rick recently served as President of Cargo Carriers, a business of Cargill, Inc. with oversight of Cargill’s barge and marine operations in North America. At the same time, he also served as Senior Vice President of Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America for Cargill. He serves on the Waterways Council and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Seamen’s Church Institute and National Grain and Feed Association. Rick graduated with honors from Kansas State University with a degree in business management. He and his wife, Deb, live in Paducah, Kentucky.
Alain retired from LafargeHolcim in June 2017. He held many positions during his nearly 34 years with Lafarge, including Plant Manager of the Buffalo, Iowa plant between 1999 and 2007. He has an engineering degree from Ecole des Arts et Métiers in France and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. Alain met Chad in 2000 and served on the Board of LL&W from 2002 to 2007. He was the Chairman from 2003 to 2007. In 2008, Lafarge moved Alain and his wife Cathy to Atlanta, then to Lyon France in 2012, and to Michigan in 2015. After Alain retired, they decided to move back to the Quad Cities in July 2018 to be near their grandchildren and many friends they made in the QC.
Mark Werning is the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of BankORION, Orion, Illinois. He joined the Board of LL&W in January 2007, served six years, rejoined in 2014, and serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He graduated from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa in 1980 with degrees in Management and Economics, and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking with an Audit major in 1986. Mark serves on Boards or Committees of numerous non-profit organizations. Mark lives in Bettendorf with his wife Deb and three children. His family loves the outdoors and enjoys being involved in many environmental and conservation projects.
Bucky is a retired lawyer who has resided in the Philadelphia suburbs for 50 years. He graduated from Amherst College in 1975 and the Villanova University School of Law in 1981. Bucky worked in private practice, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and with Lockheed Martin Corporation for 25 years, specializing in litigation and compliance. A 2006 chance meeting with Chad Pregracke led to his becoming a Living Lands & Waters supporter and volunteer, and now a member of our board!
Even though Gary received a BS in Natural Resource Management, he fell directly into a high school teaching position. There he spent 34 years fine tuning an Environmental Science program that earned multiple national recognitions. His primary focus has been on empowering students to impact local water quality decisions. He earned a MSed from NIU where he is now an adjunct instructor. Currently, he is the President of Friends of the Fox River where he is responsible for annually connecting thousands of students with their local streams. He is excited to have the opportunity to be part of the LL&W team.
Paul is currently the Vice-President of Transportation at Archer Daniels Midland and works closely their Trucking and ARTCo teams. He grew up on a farm in LaSalle County, attended Illinois State University where he graduated in 1988 with an Agri-Business business. He immediately went to work for ADM and just recently celebrated his 33rd anniversary. Jim and his wife live in Decatur, Illinois and have 4 grown children and 5 grandchildren.
Josh has been Executive Vice President for Marquette Transportation Company over Engineering and Procurement since 2017. His current responsibilities consist of all CAPEX, maintenance and repair, new construction, and all procurement pertains to a fleet of 130+ vessels, etc. Josh got his start in the industry after he graduated from Ole Miss in 1998 and moved to New Orleans where he started dispatching boats for Eckstein Marine from 1998- 2001. In 2001, he moved to Paducah and started in sales and logistics for Marquette. In 2011. Josh moved into operations and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Engineering by 2012. Josh has been married to his wife Amanda for 16 years and has three kids - Shep 14, Eliza 12, and Vivie, 6. Besides his family, his two passions are tow boats and skiing; and he skis every chance he can.
Jason is a Vice President and Commercial Leader for Cargill’s Rivers Region within their North American supply chain. He started with Cargill in 1993 out of college and has been in the grain business ever since. He held a variety of merchandising positions early in his career in Council Bluffs, IA and Toledo, OH, before moving to Minneapolis in 1995 where he’s lived since. Jason has spent most of his Cargill career on or close to the river system. He spent 2 years trading CIF soybeans, and 6 years trading CIF/FOB corn. He led Cargill’s specialty grains business which at the time was all export oriented through the river system. Jason spent 3 years in a corporate role leading risk management oversight for trading activities in our global agricultural supply chain businesses. In 2011 he became general manager of our Upper Miss and Mid Miss river assets, along with our business in Southern MN. In 2013, during a consolidation, he added our Northern Illinois river locations. In 2016, Cargill reorganized again, and Jason is now responsible for all of Cargill’s river-based elevators. Jason grew up in Mankato, MN and attended college at St. John’s University in central MN. He is married with 3 kids (20, 16, 13). As a family they enjoy downhill skiing, travel, hiking, spending time with their extended families, and are huge MN sports fans.
Kelly is the Director of Human Resources for Ingram Barge Company. She started with Ingram in 2012 in the Barge Maintenance and Repair department, where she was able to get hands-on experience and begin to learn the industry. She has held a variety of positions in Claims and Human Resources throughout her career. Kelly has spent most of her career in Paducah, KY, before moving to Nashville, TN, in 2022. Kelly has been an active member of the Paducah Propeller Club and WIMOs organization, serving as Vice President of the Board and a Mentor, respectively. Kelly grew up in Paducah, KY, and attended college at Murray State University. She is the co-owner of two Barre studios, and an avid tennis player. She enjoys traveling and hiking with her golden retriever, Scout.