Alycia Overbo, Communications Planner – Minnesota Department of Health
Alycia Overbo is a PhD Candidate at University of Minnesota in the Water Resources Science program. She holds a Master of Science in Public Health degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Olaf College. Alycia’s current research is on sources of chloride in Minnesota and their impacts on groundwater and surface water quality. She works as a Communications Planner for Minnesota Department of Health in the Drinking Water Protection program and is an adjunct faculty member at St. Catherine University.
Brooke Asleson, Chloride Coordinator – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Brooke Asleson has worked at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency since 2007 where she works collaboratively with federal, state, local partners, and research institutions in to protect Minnesota’s water resources. Since 2009 Brooke has been working on chloride and water quality issues at the MPCA. The core of that work has been developing partnerships with a wide variety of professionals to develop strategies that reduce chloride while maintaining public needs. Prior to working for the MPCA, she obtained her Master’s degree in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota.
Day One – New Directions in Chloride
Scott Kyser, Environmental Engineer – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Scott works at the MPCA as a wastewater engineer. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from UMN. He previously worked in consulting and has worked the past six years at the MPCA in wastewater permitting and water quality standards rulemaking.
Elise Doucette, Policy Specialist – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Elise has worked at the MPCA for 15 years, first in the Metro area as a permit writer and compliance staff for wastewater treatment and now statewide as a Policy Specialist. She has spent the last 2 years advancing the permitting options for wastewater permittees.
Emily Jones, Pollution Prevention Specialist – Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
Emily Jones is a Pollution Prevention Specialist at Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. Her work is focused on reducing pollutants to the sewer system through education, program development and administration, and work with community stakeholders. Her specific focus areas include chloride reduction, mercury minimization, and coordinating the District’s tours program. She has previously worked as a water quality specialist at Clean Wisconsin and a technical writer at Epic. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and majored in biology and life sciences communication.
John Graupman, P.E., Principal Environmental Engineer – Bolton and Menk
John is a graduate of South Dakota State University with 24 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment. He has extensive experience in treatment of Minnesota’s “hard” groundwater and resulting chlorides from home softeners.
Scott Schiesser, Minnesota Water Quality Association
Scott Schiesser has been working in the water treatment industry for over fourteen years in various positions with Driessen Water, Inc. Currently he serves as the Director of Residential Sales & Marketing for 25 locations in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, and Texas.
Scott is actively involved within his local community as well as serving as the current President for the Minnesota Water Quality Association. He has also served on the Culligan International Marketing Subcommittee, Creative Task Force and Commercial Subcommittee. Additionally, Scott created and organized the Minnesota Chloride Task Force which is committed to helping dealers address this important topic of chlorides statewide.
Jeffrey Hill, Minnesota Water Quality Association
Jeffrey Hill is the former owner of Robert B. Hill Co. in Minneapolis, a company formed in 1958. Jeff has a BA in Chemistry and was an early Master Water Specialist (CWS-VI) with the Water Quality Association. Robert B Hill Co. is a manufacturer of water softeners and filters and is a servicing dealer for commercial and industrial equipment. The company delivers salt to commercial facilities. He was interested and involved in water conditioning at 18, repairing timers and designing electrical components. He spent a year in salt delivery, installation and service before attending college. After a time in sales Jeff established and became President of CarbonAir Services, an environmental water treatment company working with Minnesota’s Health Department on emergency water treatment for contaminated municipal wells. He also worked on remediation of groundwater contaminated with oil, gasoline, and industrial solvents across ten states. Jeff has been on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Water Quality Association for many years and was a Minnesota Governor’s appointment to the Plumbing Advisory Board. He and holds a Minnesota Water Conditioning Master license and has held a Minnesota electrical license. Jeff serves on the WQA Board of Directors. Jeff’s activities now focus on industrial system design, currently focusing on water conservation and reducing salt use in evaporative cooling towers. He also devotes time to training and government affairs with the and the Minnesota Water Quality Association.
Aicam Laacouri, Research Scientist – Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Aicam is a research scientist with the MN department of agriculture in the division of pesticide and fertilizer management. He is the Clean Water Research Coordinator. Aicam attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota. At the MDA, he is the Clean Water Research Coordinator, and works on topics related to crop nutrient management, precision agriculture and soil health.
Daniel Kaiser, Associate Professor and Extension Soil Fertility Expert – University of Minnesota
Daniel Kaiser grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Northeast Iowa. He attended Iowa State University where he received his Masters and Ph.D. degree in soil fertility researching phosphorus and potassium placement for corn and soybean and phosphorus management using poultry litter. Currently he is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota where he has a broad research program related to nutrient management for commodity crops in the state of Minnesota. His current research focuses on the use of soil testing and plant analysis for corn, soybean, and spring wheat, sulfur management in crop rotations, starter fertilizer use in corn, and the use and development of GIS based technologies for managing crop nutrients.
Carolyn Dindorf, Vice President – Fortin Consulting
Carolyn Dindorf is a limnologist and Vice President of Fortin Consulting where she has worked for the past 17 years. She holds a Master’s degree in biology with a limnology emphasis from St. Cloud State University. With the help of turfgrass and environmental experts, Carolyn and Fortin Consulting staff developed the Turfgrass Maintenance with Reduced Environmental Impacts class and manual used for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency certification program. She has worked with turfgrass experts and researched turfgrass maintenance practices to keep the materials up to date. Carolyn has been training contractors, city staff and property managers on practices to reduce environmental impacts from turfgrass maintenance as well as winter maintenance since the start of these programs. She has coauthored several books and manuals and has written four pesticide applicator manuals for the Department of Agriculture and UMN Extension, including the Category E: Turf and Ornamentals Pesticide Safety Education Manual.
Steve Clark, Field Scientist Manager – EnviroTech Services
Steve joined EnviroTech Services in 2012. He earned his Analytical Chemistry PhD from the University of Arkansas and completed post-doctoral studies at the Applied Physics Department at Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden. His current emphasis is to extend laboratory dust control and road stabilization experimentation into real world testing and monitoring.
Day Two – Snow and Ice Management
Claire Bleser, District Administrator – Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District
Claire Bleser is the District Administrator for the Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District. She has over 15 years experience in water resource management. Her time at Riley is spent managing and restoring lakes, creek and wetlands. Prior to her time at Riley, Claire was the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Nine Mile Creek Watershed District. At both Riley and Nine Mile, Claire worked on Chlorides focusing on winter best management practices and engaging all. She holds two bachelor’s degrees in International Integrated Studies with Honors, and International Economics; a master’s degree in Middle East Studies focusing on water conflicts in the Middle East, and a doctorate in Water Resource Science with a minor in conflict management. Her work in both social sciences and natural sciences allows Claire to reach multiple audiences. Claire is also currently serving her second year on the Board of Directors on American Water Resources Association and holds the Treasurer/Secretary position.
Andy Kietzmann, Sales Territory Manager – Force America, Inc.
Andy has worked for FORCE America for 14 years and has spent the last 6 years working with States, Cities and counties on reducing and recording salt usage. This is accomplished by making sure that they have the proper equipment to fight storms effectively and efficiently. This includes state of the art spreader controls to automated salt brine makers, and mobile resource management solutions.
Andy Kraemer, Roads Operations Manager – Hennepin County Public Works
Andy is the Road Operations Manager for Hennepin County. He has worked for Hennepin County for 9+ years, and has plowed snow for 20+ years. In his time as a plow operator Andy has seen amazing strides in the last 8 years for material reduction. Andy’s role for Hennepin County allows him to help immensely with this reduction. New materials, new equipment, and new reporting has helped Hennepin County track and test what works best for the safety of their users and the environment.
Gary Johnson, Professor – University of Minnesota
Gary Johnson is Professor of Urban and Community Forestry at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. Since he joined the faculty in 1992, he has focused much of his research, writing, and outreach in the area of urban tree health and physiology, including minimizing deicing salt damage to trees.
Jeff Vander Zwaag, Highway Maintenance Supervisor of Boone and Jefferson Garages – Iowa Department of Transportation
Jeff Vander Zwaag started with the Iowa DOT in 1988 as an Equipment Operator where he spent his first 12 years at the Ames Iowa DOT shop. In 2000, he was promoted to a Highway Maintenance Supervisor for the Boone and Jefferson Garages. Jeff oversees 7 employees in Boone and takes care of 225 lane miles with 7 trucks and 6 employees in Jefferson that take care of 250 lane miles with 6 trucks.
Robert Ellis, Highway Maintenance Supervisor of Williams and Iowa Falls Garages – Iowa Department of Transportation
Bob Ellis joined the Iowa DOT in 2008 as a highway technician Associate in the Williams Maintenance Garage, which is located at the Junction of US highway 20 and Interstate 35. In 2012 he was promoted to Equipment operator senior. While in this position for 7 years Bob was also an asphalt paver operator and a crew leader for winter operations. In 2019 he assumed the role of Highway Maintenance Supervisor of the Williams and Iowa Falls Garages. He supervises 23 employees and maintains over 500 lane miles of roads. Just some of his snow equipment fleet consists of 18 plow trucks, 7 brine trailers, 1 semi tanker, multiple tractors with snow blowers and 2 Wheel loaders.
Jordan Smith, Owner – Smith Lawn and Landscaping and Voigt Smith Innovations
Jordan started his landscaping and winter maintenance company in 2007 while attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St Peter. In 2010 he graduated and officially started Smith Lawn and Landscape. As things have evolved the business has shifted to a focus on commercial and specifically commercial winter maintenance services. As one of Minnesota’s first contractors to completely abandon the use of granular de-icing products, Jordan and his staff at Smith Lawn have a unique view of the use of liquids and salt usage reduction in the commercial realm. As a company, they have not spread granular product (except for the sake of testing/research) since 2012. In addition to the local landscape and winter maintenance business, Jordan travels the county meeting with and talking to other winter maintenance contractors about the use of liquids and best practices in the contractor realm.
Craig Eldred, Public Services Director – City of Waconia Public Works
Craig Eldred serves as the Public Services Director for the City of Waconia within the Seven-County Metro Area of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota. Craig has been with Waconia as the Director for 10 year with previous winter maintenance experience in Iowa as a Maintenance Technician and Director; then again as the Street and Utilities Supervisor at the City of Prior Lake, Minnesota for Eight years.
Craig is active in assisting with training and activities relate to effective snow removal operations. Recently accepted appointment to the APWA Winter Maintenance Sub-Committee to support training and education of winter maintenance operations. Hours outside of work Craig enjoys time with family, fishing with a dependable boat or stream fly-fishing; landscaping and a Daniel Silva book as time permits.
Kris Holzknect, Assistant Superintendent of Operations – Anoka County Transportation Division
Kris Holzknecht has served as Assistant Superintendent of Operations for the Anoka County Highway Maintenance Department for 13 years. In this role, Kris aids in crew assignment delegations, prepares budgets, selects and purchases all equipment for the Department, as well as all materials necessary to maintain safe roadways. Kris also serves on the Board of Directors for the annual Minnesota Fall Maintenance Expo in St. Cloud, MN.
Kris has worked in the public sector for 42 years, starting at age 15. Of those years, 36 have been with the Anoka County Transportation Division, first serving in the Sign Shop until 1997, before transitioning to Highway Maintenance.
Chris Cheney, Maintenance Operations Superintendent – Minnesota Department of Transportation
Chris Cheney is a seasoned “hivernant” living in the “upper country”, along the North Slope of the Laurentian Divide in northeastern Minnesota, where the waters flow towards Hudson Bay.
Chris is now in his 34th year working for District One of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he is presently the Maintenance Operations Superintendent. District One comprises nearly 25 % of the land area of the state of Minnesota and is home to some of the most pristine waterways in the United States. From Voyageurs National Park, to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, to the scenic “North Shore” of Lake Superior, and including the Rainy River drainage basin, the St. Louis River and Lake Superior drainage basins and the St. Croix and Mississippi drainages; it’s little wonder that Chris strives to balance the critical need to keep the roadways safe for the motoring public with a sincere concern for the environment.
On the personal side, Chris with his wife Carol and two sons operate Flintlock Farm, where they raise heritage breeds of livestock and poultry, as well as work with sight hounds and terriers. Chris is passionate about history, is an avid historical re-enactor and loves 18th and 19th century folk music.
Erica Sniegowski, Program and Project Manager – Nine Mile Creek Watershed District
Erica Sniegowski serves as the Program and Project Manager for the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District, located in the Twin Cities. She implements the District’s education program and grants program and oversees District projects. Erica earned her MS in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota and her BS in biology from Iowa State University.
Congratulations to the 2020 Salt Symposium Leadership Award winners!
|City of Hopkins, MN
|City of St. Cloud, MN
in Honor of Maintenance Supervisor Tom Zabinski
|Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District
|City of Morris, MN
|Leader in Research
University of Minnesota
|Leader in Property Management
||Epic Systems Corp.