Trees Forever Board of Directors


Board Executives and Officers



Brad Morgan

Board Chair & Vice President
Alliant Energy – Cedar Rapids, IA 


Brad is the Regional Director of Operations for Alliant Energy with an office in Cedar Rapids. He has worked in several locations across Iowa in his 30 years with Alliant Energy. Brad served as a member of the Trees Forever Finance Committee before becoming a full-fledged board member. Brad also serves on the board of directors for the Indian Creek Nature Center and is a member of the Fairfax Lions Club. He enjoys spending time with family, gardening, landscaping, boating and golfing.


Shannon Ramsay

Founding President & Chief Executive Officer, Foundation Trustee
Trees Forever – Marion, IA


Shannon founded Trees Forever as a volunteer in 1989, and continues to lead Trees Forever with passion and dedication.  Recognized both nationally and locally for her leadership and accomplishments, Shannon was the 2011 recipient of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation and a Women of Influence Award from the Corridor Business Journal.  She serves on numerous boards and task forces, including the national Forestry Research Advisory Council, and is a member of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary.


Lu Barta Barron

Development Committee Chair

Linn County Board of Supervisors, retired - Cedar Rapids, IA


Lu Barron is retired from the Linn County Board of Supervisors after 18 rewarding years of public service.  She has chaired more than one dozen community boards including the Linn County Conservation Board where she was a champion for trail development. Lu enjoys adventure travel and recently completed the Coast 2 Coast Walk in England, the Dingle Way in Ireland, the Laugavegur route in Iceland and several hikes in New Zealand and the Faroe Islands. She also enjoys golfing, birding, gardening and cooking, and now wants to spend her time on behalf of the environment.


Dave Blankenship

Board Vice Chair & Secretary

Transamerica, retired - Cedar Rapids, IA


David was a senior vice president at Transamerica in Cedar Rapids, coordinating business strategies and initiatives across the company’s Global Funds Group. Prior to retiring, he was also a president of the AEGON/Transamerica Foundation. He is active on the executive board of the Boy Scouts and in many non-profits that work with young people, and is a strong believer in teaching mentoring skills.


Kathy Engelken

Education and Outreach Committee Chair

Illinois Campus Compact, retired - New Vienna


Kathy Engelken is a service learning and civic engagement consultant. Prior to her retirement from Illinois Campus Compact (ILCC) in 2015, she served as the executive director for 15 years. Kathy also was on the Illinois State founding board of ILCC in 1992. Kathy previously taught junior high and high school English, and also served as a youth minister in Iowa and Illinois. She also served as a minister at Waubonsee Community College and Northern Illinois University. Kathy held various positions at Rockford (IL) College starting at 1991, including campus minister, dean of students, and vice-president for student affairs.


Brent Tegels

Finance and Performance Metrics Committee Chair & Treasurer
Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. – Hiawatha, IA


Originally from Fonda, Iowa, Brent is a longtime Cedar Rapids resident, and a graduate of the University of Iowa. He currently works as an Accounting Supervisor for Honkamp Krueger & Co. in Hiawatha, IA. His career in public accounting has afforded him the opportunity to work with local non-profits including Habitat for Humanity and the United Way. In his leisure time he enjoys golfing and boating with his family. Brent is also a member of the 100+ Men Who Care: Hawkeye Chapter, and the AICPA’s Young Professionals network. 


Mark White

Governance Committee Chair

Syngenta Crop Protection - Macon, MO


Mark is the Regulatory Stewardship Manager for Syngenta.  The role includes managing water quality issues as well as engaging with groups that align with Syngenta’s stewardship goals. With a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Missouri, Mark has been involved in the agriculture industry his entire career. He previously was Executive Director of the Environmental Resources Coalition (ERC), an affiliation of the Missouri Corn Growers Association that, with partnering organizations, implemented one of the largest public/private water monitoring programs in the Midwest.

Board Members At Large



Teri Copler

True North – Cedar Rapids, IA


Teri Copler radiates enthusiasm and positive energy, something she vows to bring to the Board of Directors. She grew up on a farm near Vinton, Iowa, and remembers her Father shedding tears over the loss of trees after a storm. Having spent many years in the insurance field, Teri is a Senior Benefit Advisor with TrueNorth Companies and has held leadership positions on many nonprofit boards.


Doug Boe

US Bank - Marion


Doug Boe hopes to bring his love of the outdoors and financial experience to Trees Forever. As a Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending at US Bank in Cedar Rapids, he travels across Northeast and North Central Iowa as a banking relationship manager responsible for all aspects of his client’s lending, depository, treasury management and international banking needs.  A Minnesota native, Doug attended St. Thomas College in St. Paul.


Beth Hicks

Urban Community Concepts - Des Moines, IA


Beth Hicks owns Urban Community Concepts, a project management company focused on sustainability and community development clients.  She brings more than 20 years’ experience in community development and sustainability, including working for an environmental engineering firm, the Iowa DNR, a Wisconsin recycling nonprofit, Rebuilding Together Greater Des Moines, and Keep Iowa Beautiful. In 2007, Beth co-founded Center on Sustainable Communities, a residential green building nonprofit. She currently serves as a community coach with three neighborhoods (Capitol East, Capitol Park and MLK Jr. Park) on the east-side of Des Moines collectively named Viva East Bank and runs the Meredith Corporation Rebuilding Together work day.


Jim Newcomb

Advanced Systems, Inc., retired - Cedar Falls, IA


Before retiring in 2012, Jim served as the president and CEO of Advanced Systems, Inc., based in Waterloo, Iowa. Jim is an active graduate of the Master Woodland Manager and Iowa Community Tree Steward courses. In 2013, Jim was named the chairman of the North Cedar Natural Resource Project (NC NRP), a natural wildlife and bird sanctuary that serves as an ongoing learning center for the North Cedar School. He was also honored with a Trees Forever 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Award.


Tracy Peterson

Black Hills Energy - Grimes, IA

Tracy is Vice-President of Iowa Operations for Black Hills Energy, the sponsor of the Trees Forever Power of Trees program. He has more than 30 years of experience in the natural gas industry. Tracy lives in Adel, where he is very active in his community, ranging from Assistant Boy Scout Master to volunteer firefighter. He enjoys getting outdoors kayaking, biking and especially horseback riding on trails.


Andrew Pittz

Sawmill Hollow Family Farm - Missouri Valley, IA


Andrew is co-owner and “farmer-in-chief” at Sawmill Hollow, the first aronia berry farm in the United States, in Missouri Valley, Iowa. He has led initiatives to help beginning farmers get started and share best practices. Andrew has been recognized nationally for his leadership in farming, sustainability, and entrepreneurship, and hopes to bring his passion for buffers and conservation to Trees Forever.


Chuck Spencer

Growmark – Bloomington, IL 

Chuck is the director of government affairs for GROWMARK. He previously worked in the area of legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau. Chuck has also chaired the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) governmental affairs committee and served on its conservation and environment subcommittee.


Margo Underwood

Underwood Consulting – Clear Lake, IA

Margo is president of Underwood Consulting, a business that provides resource management and public relations services to communities, businesses and non-profits. She has over 20 years of experience working with communities to help them develop solid waste plans. A resident of Clear Lake, Margo chairs the Iowa Natural Resource Commission and is the Keep Iowa Beautiful Hometown Pride Community Coach for communities in Pocahontas County.

Trees Forever Staff Representatives to the Board of Directors (elected by the staff to serve annual terms)



Carl Barnhart

Roadways Manager – Marion, IA

Carl is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a B.A. in public relations with a minor in journalism. Being a born-and-raised Iowan, he is excited to work with communities to make enhancements in our great state! Trees Forever’s environmental focus aligns well with his love of the outdoors, as he likes to spend time kayaking, fishing and camping throughout Iowa. Carl lives in Marion with his daughter.


Jeff Jensen

Field Coordinator NW Iowa

Jeff is Program Manager for Trees Forever’s Working Watersheds: Buffers and Beyond program in Iowa, and is a Field Coordinator for Northwest Iowa. He has a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and has worked in the field of sustainable agriculture for several years.  Jeff is also a little nutty, being active with the Iowa Nut Growers Association, Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation, and Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative (UMHDI).  He grows and markets hazelnuts from the family farm in Northern Kossuth County. 

Foundation Trustees



Scott Peters


Peters Law Firm, retired - Council Bluffs, IA


Scott joined the Trees Forever Board of Directors in 1998.  He recently became a Trees Forever Foundation Trustee, helping us reach goals for our endowment.  He has provided challenge gifts for annual campaigns and hosted Legacy Society receptions.  Since touring the Bear Creek National Buffer Site north of Ames, Iowa, Scott has been an avid promoter of planting buffers for water quality and wildlife habitat.  A now-retired trial lawyer, Scott’s legal specialty was product liability. He considers serving on nonprofit and college boards his civic duty.  


Kimm Harris

IPC of Iowa Inc. – Cedar Rapids, IA
Associate Professor, Tippie School of Business, University of Iowa
Former Chair, Board of Directors and Trustee


Kimm Harris is the president of IPC of Iowa Inc. and an instructor at the University of Iowa Tippie School of Business. She previously taught as an adjunct at Mount Mercy University and Kirkwood Community College. She was a partner for Open Systems Inc. in Minneapolis and a manager for Midwest Processing Center.  She is a passionate businesswoman with the ability to create a vision for the future, to transform ideas into action, and to connect individuals across a broad spectrum of industries and nonprofits.


Nancy Lowenberg

US Bank – Cedar Rapids, IA
Former Chair, Board of Directors and Trustee


Nancy is the vice president of commercial banking at US Bank. She is also the president of the Area Substance Abuse Council Board. Since 1998, she has contributed many hours of service to the Trees Forever Board of Directors and Foundation.  Nancy and her husband Randy always make gifts to the Trees Forever Foundation in lieu of sending flowers as a way to memorialize friends and family members--they see their contributions as a fund that will literally grow forever.



Janis McFarland

Syngenta Crop Protection – Greensboro, NC


Janis is the director of regulatory affairs for North America for Syngenta Crop Protection. She is responsible for product registrations and the stewardship of Syngenta’s Crop Protection products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. She has lent her expertise to many boards including the Weed Science Society of America and several U. S. Department of Agriculture committees and panels. Janis has co-authored many publications and worked on research, stewardship and education programs involving university scientists, and agricultural and commodity groups. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Trustees Emeritus



Robert J. “Bob” Latham

Latham & Associates – Cedar Rapids, IA
Former Senior Vice President for Iowa Electric (now Alliant Energy)

Founding Member and Former Chair, Board of Directors

Bob was a founding board member of Trees Forever and early on established a named Trees Forever Endowment Fund. Bob’s vision for a model tree-planting program resulted in the first Trees Forever community program. In 1990, Bob was a senior vice president for Iowa Electric (now Alliant Energy), and helped establish Trees Forever as the ideal partner organization for utility tree programs. Bob was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award winner in 2005.



Harry Stine

Stine Seed Company - Adel, IA


Harry is president of Stine Seed Company and a renowned plant geneticist, and has been a longtime friend to Trees Forever. For more than 20 years, Harry has served as a board member and/or foundation trustee. In 2016, Harry was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award Winner. 


Board Members/Trustees In Memoriam 



Marty Andreas

Former Marketing/Development Chair
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) - Decatur, IL

Marty first helped Trees Forever launch the Illinois Buffer Partnership more than 15 years ago. Then a top executive with ADM, Marty brought enthusiasm and lots of time, resources and energy to Trees Forever. Marty served on the Trees Forever Board of Directors and Foundation for more than 15 years. After retiring, Marty moved back to his home on Lake Macbride in Iowa. Most recently, Marty made a major challenge gift to the Trees Forever Planting A Better Tomorrow Endowment Campaign.  In 2015, Marty was recognized as a Trees Forever President’s Award Winner. His family selected Trees Forever as a recipient of his memorial gifts.


Robert Stevenson

Former Finance Committee Chair
LMS North America

 A resident of North Liberty, Iowa, Robert was incredibly passionate about the Trees Forever mission, serving as both a board member and trustee for 20 years. Professionally, he served as finance manager of LMS North America for 25 years. . Robert guided Trees Forever on financial matters by serving as the chair of the board of director’s finance committee, He also helped grow Trees Forever’s endowment while serving as a trustee and chair for the foundation. His family selected Trees Forever as the recipient of his memorial gifts.

Trees Forever Board of Advisors



Andy Lennette

Cedar Rapids, IA


Andy is former vice president of investor relations for the Forestland Group. He was formerly associate director of private equity for AEGON/Transamerica. With a background in both finance and forestry, Andy has brought a great deal of expertise to his position as chair of the board’s finance committee. Andy has also been helpful in reviewing Trees Forever’s lease arrangements and examining future office options. 


Brent Oleson

Linn County Board of Supervisors – Marion, IA 

Brent is an attorney and a member of the Linn County Board of Supervisors. His board work focuses on education and advocating for state legislation promoting the protection of Iowa’s trees and forests. A resident of Marion, Iowa, Brent notes that Trees Forever is important to him as it is a way of passing the legacy of trees and the outdoors to his children.


Karmen Wilhelm

Van Meter Inc. – Cedar Rapids, IA


Karmen is vice president of marketing at Van Meter Inc., where she leads the company’s branding and marketing initiatives.  Previously, Karmen managed Van Meter’s clean energy initiatives and held a position with Alliant Energy in energy efficiency, conservation and customer service. A resident of Marion, Iowa, her community involvement has also included Iowa's Future Cities Competition, America Reads, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Linn Mar Community Schools and the Cedar River Soccer Association.