Here are the keynote speakers for the 85th National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Click here to view the agenda and speaker bios in PDF format.
Former NFL football quarterback, College Football Hall of Fame Inductee, Philanthropist, Outdoor Enthusiast
Archie Manning's name is synonymous with football, but his appeal goes well beyond his athletic achievements. Known for a warm personality, his drive and sense of humor, Archie, is also a commercial spokesperson for numerous national companies.
Born in Drew, Mississippi, Archie attended University of Mississippi where he was named an All-American Quarterback. As the second player drafted to the NFL in 1971, Archie spent his career playing for the New Orleans Saints where he received numerous honors throughout his professional career.
He and his wife Olivia reside in New Orleans and have three sons, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli. They are the proud grandparents of four boys and five girls. Cooper's son, Arch, recently committed to the University of Texas. Archie and his boys have enjoyed many sunrises from the duck blind and are frequent visitors at Fighting Bayou Hunting Camp in Leflore County, Mississippi.
Edwin R. "Rod" Rodriguez, Jr.
President, Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Rod spent over five decades working with institutions, foundations, individuals, and families to manage their wealth, cash flows, and estate planning. He currently serves as President of The Gustaf W. McIlhenny Foundation and has been highly active in the leadership of Tabasco and the McIlhenny family holdings on Avery Island, Louisiana. A leading foundation partner in Ducks Unlimited's conservation program in Louisiana, the McIlhenny Foundation is recognized as a Legacy Sponsor.
Rod is a member of the board and recent past chair of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and serves on the board of the National WWII Museum. Rod is a member of the historic Louisiana duck hunting lodge, the Bayou Club, and has pursued fish and game around the world.
Dr. Stephen "Steve" E. Adair
Chief Scientist, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Steve is Ducks Unlimited's Chief Scientist, a role he assumed in March 2021, and serves as the organization's leader on waterfowl and habitat science, providing vision and direction for DU's science needs throughout North America and maintaining DU's standing as a scientific authority in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. A longtime wetlands biologist, Steve was most recently DU's National Director for Conservation Strategy. He also served as Director of Operations for the Great Plains Region. Steve began his tenure with Ducks Unlimited, Inc. in June 1997 at the national headquarters where he helped lead the development of Ducks Unlimited's carbon sequestration, land protection and contract compliance programs. Steve received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from Utah State University, his M.S. in Wildlife Management from Texas A&M University, and his B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas.
William "Bill" C. Ansell
President, Ducks Unlimited de México
Bill is an Assurance and Tax Partner with Ham, Langston & Briezina, LLP. A practicing CPA for over 35 years, he has extensive experience in individual and estate tax planning. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.
Bill's passion for wetlands and waterfowl conservation has called him to serve as a Ducks Unlimited volunteer for more than three decades. In June 2019 at the Annual Convention in Hawaii, Bill was elected President of Ducks Unlimited de Mexico. He also continues to serve as an Assistant Treasurer on the Ducks Unlimited Inc. Board and as a Director on the Ducks Unlimited Canada Board. Previous volunteer leadership positions include Vice President and Treasurer, DUMAC; Regional Vice President; At-Large Director; State Chairman; State Recruitment Chairman; State Treasurer; and Area Chairman. Bill and his wife Libbie are Ducks Unlimited Legacy Sponsors Silver Feather Society members, Grand Slam Diamond Life Sponsors, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Gold Legacy Sponsors and Ducks Unlimited Canada Diamond Life Sponsors. They are also current members of DU's President's Council, DUC's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society.
National Executive Director and CEO, Ducks Unlimited de México
Eduardo joined Ducks Unlimited de México in 1984 and in 2012, his title with the organization was upgraded to National Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. A biologist who specializes in wetlands and waterfowl, Eduardo collaborates with national and international organizations to develop wetland projects and build capacity in Mexico. He also spearheads international partnerships to support waterfowl management and research. Eduardo also serves as the Chairman of the National Advisory Subcommittee for the Conservation, Management and Rational Use of Waterfowl and their Habitats, and as a member of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee, National Wetland Committee, National Commission of Protected Areas, and multiple state wildlife councils. In 2018, Eduardo was honored with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan's International Canvasback Award.
Chairman of the Board, Ducks Unlimited Canada
After spending more than 20 years with Irving Oil Limited, Kevin is self-employed in real estate, construction, and property management. He also has several A&W Franchises throughout Eastern Canada. Kevin has been a DUC member for more than 30 years, volunteering on several dinner and fundraising committees. Elected in 2019 as Ducks Unlimited Canada's 44th President, Kevin currently serves as the organization's Chairman of the Board and as a member of Ducks Unlimited Inc.'s Development Committee. Kevin and his wife Marilyn are Ducks Unlimited Canada Heritage Sponsors and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Life Sponsors.
Kevin has served on the Boards of Hammond River Angling Association and is a former Chair of the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Habitat Canada National Board. Kevin and his family reside in Rothesay, New Brunswick, where they enjoy hiking, kayaking, hunting, and fishing.
Director of Operations, Southern Region, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
As a Director of Operations, Jerry oversees Ducks Unlimited conservation programs in the 13-state Southern Region. In addition to maintaining more than two million acres of wetland habitat, the programs enhance, restore and/or protect 50,000 acres of wetland habitat annually. Jerry joined DU in 1999 as a remote sensing and GIS analyst working on conservation planning in the Southern Region. He served as GIS and Remote Sensing Manager from 2001-2005 and worked to evaluate the status of waterfowl habitats in the Region. In 2005, Jerry was promoted to Director of Conservation Programs for Louisiana. In 2008, he became the Director of Conservation Programs, South Mississippi Flyway (AR, LA, MS, TN, KY, and AL), and in 2012 his responsibilities shifted to cover LA, TX, NM and OK. Prior to joining DU,he worked for the USAF as a GIS Manager and the State of Kansas on NASA-funded research on greenhouse gas emissions. He is a member of the Wildlife Society and received his B.S. and M.A. from Kansas State University
Rogers "Rog" S. Hoyt, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
A Texas rancher by profession, Rog was elected Ducks Unlimited Inc.'s 44th President at the 80th National Convention in June 2017. A member of the DUI Board since 1996, Rogers now serves as Chairman of the Board and as a member of multiple national committees, as a Wetlands America Trust Trustee and on the boards of both Ducks Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico. Over the last three decades as a DU volunteer, his prior appointments include: President, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico; Senior Vice President, Membership; Senior Vice President, Event and Volunteer Management; Flyway Senior Vice President; Regional Vice President and State Chairman.
Rogers and his wife Camille have one son, Tres, an artist. They are recognized as Ducks Unlimited Inc. Gold Benefactors, Silver Feather Society members, Grand Slam Diamond Sponsors in Perpetuity, DUC Diamond Sponsors in Perpetuity, and DUMAC Diamond Heritage Sponsors. They are also current members of DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society.
Clark D. Lauritzen
Chairman and President, First National Bank of Omaha
In 2017, when he became First National Bank of Omaha's Chairman and President, Clark Lauritzen became the sixth generation of his family to helm the organization, as well as one of the youngest heads of a U.S. financial institution. Previously, Clark served as President of First National Investment Banking and prior to that as a commercial lender for First National Bank of Omaha. Before joining First National, Clark worked at Goldman Sachs in New York and Chicago in the Investment Banking Division's Financial Institutions Group. Clark serves as a director of FNN and First National Bank of Omaha. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and his B.A. from Princeton University. Clark is an avid sportsman, conservationist and DU supporter and First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) is a strong philanthropic partner. In 2015, DU welcomed FNBO to its Corporate Partner Program when it announced the launch of the new FNBO Ducks Unlimited Visa Card, the only card that allows members, with every card purchase, to provide automatic financial support to DU's waterfowl and wetlands conservation program. FNBO is recognized as a Diamond Legacy Sponsor.
Chief Executive Officer, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam is a hunter, angler, and lifelong advocate for conservation and agriculture. Prior to joining DU, he was elected to two terms as Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Central Florida-based 12th Congressional district. Adam is a fifth- generation Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Food and Resource Economics. He has also been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and served as a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
A native of Bartow, Adam is a fifth generation Floridian who grew up among the citrus groves and cattle on his family's ranch in the central part of the state. Adam and his wife Melissa reside in Memphis with their four children.
Douglas "Doug" Schoenrock
President, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Doug is the Director of Foodservice Sales and Marketing for Savannah Food Company and a graduate of the University of Tennessee. A native Tennessean, outdoorsman, waterfowler and turkey, elk and deer hunter, Doug was elected Ducks Unlimited's 45th President at DU's first-ever ‘virtual' Board of Director's meeting in May 2020. A member of the Ducks Unlimited Board since 2002, he previously served as First Vice President, At-Large Member, Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications, and Senior Vice President for Youth and Education. Doug is also a Wetlands America Trust Trustee and member of the Ducks Unlimited Canada Board.
Doug and his wife Linda, a former Ducks Unlimited staff member, are recognized as Ducks Unlimited Inc. Diamond Heritage Sponsors, Grand Slam Sponsors in Perpetuity, and current members of both DU's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society. The Schoenrocks reside in Huntsville, Alabama, and have two daughters.
National Director of Event Fundraising & R3 Programs, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
As the National Director of Event Fundraising & R3 Programs, David oversees all operational components of DU's event fundraising system and youth-based engagement objectives, including the organization's Scholarship, Varsity, University and DU TRAP programs. On staff since 1999, David started as a Regional Director in North Carolina and moved on to supervisory roles that took him across the entire southern part of the United States, central Great Lakes, and national event marketing and media relations responsibilities. Prior to joining the ducks, David was a sales and operations manager for Royal Cup Coffee. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from Auburn University.
Dr. Rex Schulz
Secretary, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
A longtime resident of Quincy, Illinois, Rex is a pathologist with Blessing Health System. He earned his medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Rex and his wife Lori are Ducks Unlimited Inc. Benefactors, Silver Feather Society members, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Diamond Life Sponsors, and current members of DU's President's Council. A longtime volunteer leader, Rex has served as DU Board Secretary since 2020 and sits on the Executive, Personnel Policy, Management, Nominating, Enterprise Risk Management and Marketing/Communications committees. He is a former At-Large Member, Advisory Senior Vice President for Event and Volunteer Management and Membership, State Chairman and State Council Chairman. Additionally, Rex is a past recipient of Ducks Unlimited's "Wings of Innovation" award for his assistance designing and implementing a successful fundraising technique to compliment the event fundraising program.
Joseph "Joe" Sivewright
Director, Wetlands America Trust
Joe Sivewright recently retired as Chairman of St. Louis-based Nestle Purina PetCare for the Americas. During his more than three decades with the organization, Joe served in numerous marketing and leadership roles including Chief Executive Officer from 2015-2020. During his tenure, Nestle Purina PetCare has become a philanthropic leader to Ducks Unlimited. Recognized as Diamond Legacy Sponsors, Purina supports several key initiatives, including Iowa's Prairie Pothole Program, and are a member of the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Program. In October 2020, Nestle Purina was awarded the Ducks Unlimited Corporate Conservation Achievement Award, which recognizes corporations from the U.S., Canada or Mexico that have made remarkable contributions to wetland conservation and environmental stewardship in North America.
Longtime supporters of Ducks Unlimited, Joe and his wife Susie are Heritage Sponsors. Joe was elected as a Trustee of Wetlands America Trust in 2017 and is a member of the famed Dardenne Duck Club and Waterhen Lodge in Canada.
Charles "Chuck" F. Smith, Jr.
First Vice President, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Chuck was elected First Vice President of Ducks Unlimited's Board of Directors in 2020, WAT Trustee in 2018 and is a member of the Ducks Unlimited Canada Board. He now also serves on the Executive, Personnel Policy, Board Governance, Management, Nominating, and Corporate Relations Committees and is Chair of the Audit Committee. Prior Board positions include Secretary, At-Large Member, Regional Vice President, and Assistant Treasurer, as well as state-level appointments to State Chairman and State Council Chairman. He also played a key role in bringing Ducks Unlimited's headquarters to Memphis. Chuck and his wife Susan are Ducks Unlimited Inc. Diamond Legacy Sponsors, Grand Slam Life Sponsors, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Diamond Life Sponsors and Ducks Unlimited Canada Life Sponsors. They are also current members of DU's President's Council, DUC's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society. Chuck is the Founder and Chairman of National Guard Products. An avid waterfowler and angler, he is also the owner of Circle T Duck Club near Stuttgart, Arkansas - a property protected in perpetuity through a conservation easement held by Wetlands America Trust – and a member of the historic Menasha Hunting and Fishing Club in Turrell, Arkansas. Chuck is also a member of St. Hubertus, an international hunting fraternity.
Dr. Scott Stephens
Director of Regional Operations (Prairies), Ducks Unlimited Canada
Scott is Director of Regional Operations for DUC's Prairie region where he works with DUC staff to deliver conservation programs and policy work across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. He has a Bachelor's degree from Northwest Missouri State, a Master's degree from Mississippi State, and a Ph.D. from Montana State University. Scott has been employed with DUC since 2010 and previously spent 15 years with DUI overseeing research and conservation planning across the Great Plains of the U.S. Scott has conducted research across the Canadian prairies, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi, and Maryland. His research focused on the landscape influences on demographic rates for grassland nesting birds and predictive models of landscape change.
Director of Public Policy (MT/ND/SD), Ducks Unlimited Inc.
A fourth-generation rancher, a published author, a former policy maker and an advocate for rural people and places, Ryan Taylor is DU's Director of Public Policy for the prairie states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Prior to joining Team DU in April 2019, Ryan was a North Dakota State Senator for three terms, one of which he served as senate majority leader. As a Bush Foundation Fellow, he attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and traveled to Norway to study public policies governing the country's well-respected oil and gas development. Ryan also served as State Director for Rural Development at the USDA. Ryan owns and manages Taylor Ranch, which was homesteaded by his family in 1903. He is a well-known speaker, performer, columnist, and author of the Cowboy Logic book series and recently joined the board of Starion Bank. He received his Bachelor's degrees in Agricultural Economics and Mass Communications from North Dakota State University.
Executive Secretary, Ducks Unlimited Inc. Executive Secretary, Wetlands America Trust
Dan Thiel serves as Executive Secretary of Ducks Unlimited, Inc, and Executive Secretary of Wetlands America Trust, posts he has held since 2008. Dan began his tenure DU in 2000 as National Director of Development following several years in philanthropy at Purdue University, Indiana State University, Arkansas State University, and the University of Memphis where he served as Vice President for Development. Dan studied Archaeology at the University of Tennessee, Purdue, and Indiana State and conducted field research in Honduras, Utah, Louisiana, and Indiana. Dan and his wife Ann Felice are Ducks Unlimited Inc. Benefactors, members of DU's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society. Their sons, Daniel and William, were founding members of the DU Varsity Chapter at Christian Brothers High School.
Dr. Karen Waldrop
Chief Conservation Officer, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Dr. Karen Waldrop is DU's Chief Conservation Officer. In addition to being a member of DU's executive leadership team, Karen is also Staff Liaison for the Conservation Programs Committee and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. She received her Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology/ Forest Sciences from Clemson University and both her M.S. in Wildlife Biology/Forest Resources and B.S. in Forest Resources from University of Georgia. Most recently, Karen served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She also has years of professional experience with waterfowl and migratory bird conservation and served as Kentucky's representative to the Mississippi Flyway Council and on the Executive Council of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. In November 2021, Karen was appointed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act Advisory Committee.
Wendell W. Weakley
Treasurer, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Wendell was elected Treasurer of the Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Board of Directors in May 2015 and stepped into his role as Secretary and Treasurer for Wetlands America Trust at that same time. Wendell served as an Assistant Treasurer from 2010-2015. Wendell and his wife Sue are recognized as Ducks Unlimited Inc. Benefactors, Gold Feather Society members, Grand Slam Diamond Life Sponsors, and current members of both DU's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker President's Society.
Wendell is the President and CEO of the University of Mississippi Foundation. Prior to this position, he had a 29-year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers as an audit partner working with numerous large corporations. The Weakley's have three adult daughters and reside in Oxford, Mississippi. An avid duck hunter, angler, golfer and dedicated volunteer, Wendell also enjoys spending time at his hunting property in Arkansas.