Founder & President
The Mississippi River was literally Chad Pregracke’s backyard while growing up near East Moline, IL. Chad’s vision, charisma, non-stop work ethic and natural leadership have garnered him an abundance of awards and honors over the years. Most notably, Chad was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service (America’s version of the Nobel Prize) in June of 2002. Chad accepted this award in the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. with other award recipients Rudolph Giuliani, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Lilly Tartikoff. Chad was also honored to be named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Whenever he can get away from his rigorous work schedule, Chad enjoys fishing, hunting, skateboarding, windsurfing and recycling used and salvaged materials by incorporating them into new projects.
Tammy earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Western Illinois University and has served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and Peace Corps volunteer. A part of the crew since 2002, she’s the maternal leader of Living Lands & Waters. Tammy holds key roles in the organization that include: grant writer, coordinator of the many LL&W events, assisting with cleanups and even cooks some bomb meals on the barge for the crew. If all of that isn’t impressive enough, as Chad‘s wife, she’s the Yin to his Yang, the peanut butter to his jelly, the honey in his beehive, the stars in his sky and the one who reminds him not to forget Pork Chop on a river island. She consistently brings a positive attitude and her loyal companion, Travis (a.k.a. mama’s boy who never leaves her side), to work with her every day. When Tammy isn’t dedicating life and limb to LL&W, she loves cutting a rug, listening to live music, cooking and hanging with friends and family.
Educational Facilitator / Crew
Mike, aka Nozzy, began as a volunteer in 2005 and was asked to join the crew in 2007. Mike graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2000 with degrees in history and teaching. Before joining the Living Lands & Waters team, he worked as a teacher in his hometown of Rock Island, IL. Much like the mighty paddlewheels on the majestic steamboats of yesteryear, Nozzy propels the crew to greatness. His knack for motivational speaking and his go-getter attitude have earned him the nickname “Coach.” His words have inspired thousands of volunteers at hundreds of river cleanups. Mike takes his coaching to the classroom as the Education Facilitator, teaching students about the importance of our nation’s rivers, clean water and recycling. In his spare time, Nozzy enjoys lifting weights, reading, seeing live music and picking up garbage.
JOHN BOSTROM (J.B.)
Instead of pursuing a job as an international male model, one of the best looking crew members in the history of LL&W, John (J.B.), travels America’s rivers aboard our barge. He’s a quick learner and jack-of-all-trades. His duties include spinning tunes in a jon boat on the Mississippi River and keeping LL&W’s engines running and props turning. J.B. volunteered with LL&W for several years and participated in an Alternative Spring Break which all led to his employment with LL&W in 2011. He graduated from Black Hawk College in 2009 and attended Western Illinois University. In his spare time, J.B. enjoys doing sound and lights for local QC band favorite The Dawn, sailing and avidly following American Ninja Warrior.
Multi-Media & Project Coordinator
Dan started as an LL&W volunteer in 2010 and, after participating in two Alternative Spring Breaks and completing an internship, he was invited to officially join the staff crew in May of 2013. He’s known as a modern day renaissance man with many talents. He’s creative and adds innovative ideas to many brainstorming sessions. He’s a professional disc golfer, technologically savvy, guru of trash collecting, a soccer goalie, skateboarding whiz, snowboarder, sage photographer, prospective American Ninja Warrior and he plays one mean kazoo. He loves traveling and listening to live music.
Serving as the keeper of the checkbook, Shelly carries the responsibility of payroll, expenses and record keeping for the organization. She joined the LL&W office staff in the fall of 2013 and has a fun sense of humor and organizational and business skills that have added checks and balances to the operations. Shelly might be the kindest, sweetest, most giving person on the crew – but if anyone misses turning in his or her timesheets, Shelly will come a-looking. She and her husband Roger have two children. In her off time, Shelly enjoys watching her kids’ sporting events and serving as their full-time taxi driver.
Marketing Manager & Project Coordinator
Leah moved away from Salem Massachusetts to join the LL&W crew after graduating from Salem State University with a degree in business. She attended Alternative Spring Break in Memphis two years in a row where she collected every abandoned hair clip in the Mississippi and earned herself the nickname “Flair.”
Leah worked at an up-and-coming marketing firm in Boston prior to joining the crew. She’s looking forward to learning new, unconventional skills, exploring the mysterious Midwest (maybe catching a river monster?) and bringing some new ideas and knowledge to the table.
In her spare time, Leah enjoys lifting things up and putting them down, drinking coffee and getting lost. Her 10-year-plan includes obtaining several French bulldogs and living in a tiny home.
Office Manager & Sponsor Relations
Crystal, an East Moline native, earned a marketing degree from Northern Illinois University. She spent 16 years in corporate sales and marketing in Chicago and Raleigh before discovering that her love of writing could also be a career. She has the unique skill set of being able to sell pet rocks and then be able to write a best selling novel about the experience. She’s done neither but, if she did, it would ROCK!
She excitedly joined the LL&W team in February of 2017 as the master of all things social and web, including spider webs, things with webbed feet and also the ability to recite from start to finish the novel Charlotte’s Web. In February of 2018, she instead took on the role of tracking Chad which takes the combined skills of Dog the Bounty Hunter and Angela Lansbury’s character Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote.
For help reaching Chad, email her or, if you’re old school, you can send a message via carrier pigeon to the LL&W headquarters. Join the social conversations, now woman-handled by Leah, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
Safety Manager & Crew
Derek, aka Lil Scrap, started with Living Lands & Waters in the fall of 2017. Derek previously worked for Rock River Arms before living the tug life. One of his greatest life accomplishments is founding the Freshwater Mussels Gym (a weight room/secret elite social club in one of our basement barge chambers). When he isn’t working he enjoys fishing, hiking, snowboarding and, most of all, watching the Red Sox play. Derek, one day, aspires to be the next Master Chef but, right now, he will just stick to (rarely) doing dishes and caddying for Dan on the disc golf course.
Patrick Russell hails from Jerseyville, Illinois just outside of Grafton, Illinois - home of the legendary Beasley brothers and friends of Patrick. Pat got involved with Living Lands and Waters about five years ago helping out when the crew needed extra help. Pat is very handy, making him a valuable addition to the team. He often brings excellent ideas to the table when you can decipher them through his mumbling. His favorite part of the job is the positive atmosphere, traveling to new places, and meeting new people. In his free time, he manages his rental properties, goes to his place in the Ozarks, and flips houses. He is looking forward to making fun memories, new friendships, and maybe even love. Ladies that right this ruggedly handsome handyman is single and is coming to a river near you.
First of all, Rachel would like to apologize and is sorry for the content of her bio. Rachel is probably are most apologetic crew member she once apologized for apologizing. She also has been known to send apology letters to random people she has never met. She is sorry you are reading this right now. Speaking of sorry, it is also her favorite board game.
She is from a little town in SE Wisconsin, so yes she enjoys cheese, beer, the Green Bay Packers, and of course apologizing. During March 2019 Rachel volunteered with LL&W on ASB. This trip ultimately led to her joining the team as Educational Coordinator in July. Prior to moving to the Quad Cities, she was finishing up her undergrad studies at UW- Stevens Pointe where she received her Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Education. Rachel is constantly laughing, extremely positive, and always willing to help out where needed. During her spare time she enjoys backpacking, wildflower identification, showing all the crew pups love, and of course apologizing.
Director of Partnership Development
Kasey is the Founder and Executive Director of WIMOs (Women In Maritime Operations) Association, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting, advancing, and retaining maritime women through continuing education and networking. Prior to joining Living Lands & Waters, Kasey was awarded a “40 Under 40” award at the 2018 Inland Marine Expo in St. Louis, Mo., for her dedication and contributions to the inland marine industry. She also sat on the board of the Mississippi Valley Trade and Transport Council for three years as its youngest board member. From March 2019 through August 2019, Eckstein backpacked solo to 15 different countries. During her travels, Kasey, under the tutelage of Tibetan Monks, studied the ancient Kerliang Tibetian Kung Fu Style, which includes Shaolin Dragon Style Kung Fu. Kasey absorbed the Tibetan Monks teachings like a sponge and utilized them to go on to win the notorious underground Kumite fighting tournament made famous by the movie Bloodsport. The same day she won the tournament, she also completed a 20,000 piece puzzle of a needle in a haystack and gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to a baby seal, saving its life. She said it was her 32 most memorable day of her travels. In 2019, after her travels and fighting championship, Kasey returned to the Marine Industry to join the LL&W team.
If Travis could be summed up in one word it would be loyal…loyal at least to LL&W’s maternal leader, Tammy. Travis is smart enough to not stray too far from the gravy train. However, when he hears someone rummaging through the refrigerator, he will be the first to be by their side. Travis was discovered in Southern Illinois with a patty of liquid nail on his head. Travis puts the word “chill” in chiller and his exceptionally laid back personality is great for any campfire. A few of Travis’ accomplishments include: four-time champion softest fur coat at the National Fur Convention, fastest hot dog eaten North of the Mason Dixon line and a variety of firsts and seconds at the biannual Alaskan river dog bark off championship. Simply put, Travis is a god among dogs.
Meet our other friendly crew pups: Bailey, Pork Chop, Kota and Diesel.
After wandering the hills and valleys of Montana for eight months of his lonely puppy-hood, Pork Chop was taken in by the loving embrace of Chad and Tammy. Right away, it was apparent that he was made for life on the river. Never missing a boat or car ride, Pork Chop could be compared to a mix between Scrappy-Doo and Curious George. Pork Chop’s hobbies include wrasslin’, running full speed ahead (usually into Travis or Diesel) and catching flies in mid-air. The crew is extremely happy to have Pork Chop aboard!
Meet our other friendly crew pups: Bailey, Travis , Kota and Diesel.
Kota joined the crew in late March of 2018 at the young age of 4 months old. His humans JB and Leah snagged the little dude at a Joliet, IL herding rescue. Although he’s still learning how to conquer some tough obstacles such as high jumps, loud noises and rogue dryer sheets, he is quickly learning the fine art of “chillness” from OG’s Porkchop and Travis. He’s no stranger to cuddles and will curl up on anyone and anything just about everywhere. Rub his belly or throw him a bone and he’ll be your best pal forever.
Meet our other friendly crew pups: Travis, Bailey, Pork Chop and Diesel.