2020 VIRTUAL CONVENTION

Speaker Bios

KEYNOTE

Sonny Perdue
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C.

Sonny Perdue came by his knowledge of agriculture the old-fashioned way: he was born into a farming family in Bonaire, Georgia. From childhood, and through his life in business and elected office, Perdue has experienced the industry from every possible perspective. Uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator, and governor of Georgia, he became the 31st United States Secretary of Agriculture on April 25, 2017.

As a youngster growing up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in rural Georgia, Perdue never fully realized that the blessings of purposeful, meaningful work would serve him as well as they have in life. When he was a young boy feeding the calves and plowing the fields, he was an integral part of the workforce on his father's farm. As the son of a mother who was an English teacher for 42 years, he benefitted from her teachings as well – not just by instilling in him the beliefs he still holds dear, but also by lending him an appreciation and respect for language and proper grammar. But more than anything in his life, it was the family farm which shaped Sonny Perdue. He has lived and breathed the exhilaration of a great crop and the despair and devastation of a drought. He learned by experience what his father told him as a child, "If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you."

Perdue has been married to Mary Ruff Perdue for 45 years and has four adult children and fourteen grandchildren. He and his wife have served as foster parents for eight children awaiting adoption. Perdue remains a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot and avid outdoor sportsman.

William "Bill" C. Ansell
President, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico
Galveston, Texas

Bill is an Assurance and Tax Partner with Ham, Langston & Briezina, LLP. A practicing CPA for over 35 years, he has significant experience in individual and estate tax planning. Bill 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; DUI Regional Vice President for Region 8; DUI At-Large Member; DUI Regional Vice President for Region 4; TX State Chairman; TX State Recruitment Chairman; TX State Treasurer; and an Area Chairman. Bill and his wife Libbie are Ducks Unlimited Inc. Benefactors, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Benefactors, Ducks Unlimited Canada Life Sponsors, Grand Slam Life Sponsors and Silver Feather Society. They are also members of DUMAC's John E. Walker III Society.

Paul R. Bonderson, Jr.
At-Large Board Member, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Sunol, California

Paul currently serves as an At-Large Member of Ducks Unlimited's Board, Chairman of the Board's Executive, Nominating and Board Governance Committees, WAT Trustee and a member of Ducks Unlimited de Mexico's Board. Paul previously served as Ducks Unlimited's 43rd President followed by a 2-year term as Chairman of the Board.

Most generous philanthropists, Paul and his wife Sandi are Ducks Unlimited Inc. Diamond Legacy Sponsors, Diamond Feather Society members, Grand Slam Diamond Sponsors in Perpetuity, Ducks Unlimited de Mexico Legacy Sponsors, and Ducks Unlimited Canada Diamond Sponsors in Perpetuity. They are also current members of DUI's President's Council and DUMAC's John E. Walker III Society – the highest annual giving program for both organizations.

Paul was the co-founder and Vice President of Engineering for Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. and is now retired to his home in Sunol, California. His interests include hunting and managing his hunting property, Bird Haven - a 2,500-acre ranch in the Butte Sink near Colusa. In addition to his outdoor interests, Paul enjoys restoring and collecting antique cars and hot rods.

Harold Cannon, Jr.
Senior Vice President (Advisory), Youth & Education
Knoxville, Tennessee

Harold is the co-founder and President of Cannon & Cannon, Inc. and in May was appointed Director of Engineering for the city of Knoxville.

No stranger to public service, Harold previously was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam as a Commissioner and eventually as Chairman of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. Harold earned his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Tennessee.

A long-time volunteer and Major Sponsor, Harold was elected in May as the Senior Vice President (Advisory) for Youth & Education. He has also served as Regional Vice President and At-Large on the Board and as Chairman, Sponsor Chairman and Campaign Chairman for his home state. Harold and his wife Angie are recognized as Heritage Sponsors, Silver Feather Society and President’s Council members.

Dr. Karla Guyn
Chief Executive Officer, Ducks Unlimited Canada
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Karla is the Chief Executive Officer of Ducks Unlimited Canada. Raised in Calgary, Alberta, she credits her love for the outdoors to time spent in southwest Alberta on her grandparents’ cattle ranch.

Karla has worked for Ducks Unlimited Canada since 1998 focusing on the incorporation of science into conservation planning. She has held both national and regional positions and has worked on the development of conservation vision documents, setting policy and operational guidelines for conservation managers, developing the first decision support system (DSS), the completion of several strategic and business plans, adaptive management, and major gift fundraising.

Karla received a technical diploma in Wildlife from Lethbridge College, a B.Sc. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Biology from the University of Saskatchewan.

Karla lives on an old farmstead north of Winnipeg with her husband and energetic yellow Labrador Retriever. She spends her free time traveling , hiking, hunting, and learning the art of fly fishing.

Kevin Harris
President, Ducks Unlimited Canada

Kevin Harris was elected President of Ducks Unlimited Canada in June 2019. Kevin is Chair of the Personnel Policy Committee, a member of the Nominating and Investment Sub-Committee, and an Ex-Officio member of all other Committees. Kevin worked at Irving Oil Limited for the over 20 years. Currently he is self-employed in the real estate, construction and property management business plus has several A&W Franchises throughout Eastern Canada. Kevin has been a DUC member for over 30 years, volunteering on several dinner and fundraising committees.

Kevin is Chair of the Miramichi Salmon Association and a member of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. He has served on the Boards of Hammond River Angling Association and is former Chair of the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust. Kevin is also former Chair of the Wildlife Habitat Canada National Board, and a Provincial DUC Continental Campaign Cabinet Member.

Kevin and his wife Marilyn and their family reside in Rothesay, New Brunswick. Kevin's interests include hiking, kayaking, hunting and fishing.

Rogers “Rog” S. Hoyt, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Victoria, Texas

A Texas rancher by profession, Rog was elected Ducks Unlimited Inc.’s Chairman of the Board in May during the organization’s first-ever ‘virtual’ Board of Director’s meeting. He previously served as DU’s 44th President.

A member of the DUI Board since 1996, Rogers also continues to serve on 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 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 DUI Benefactors, Silver Feather Society members, Grand Slam Sponsors in Perpetuity, Ducks Unlimited Canada Sponsors in Perpetuity, and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico’s Heritage Sponsors. They are also current members of both DUI’s President’s Council and DUMAC’s John E. Walker III Society – the highest annual giving programs for both organizations.

Adam Putnam
Chief Executive Officer, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Memphis, Tennessee

On April 1, 2019, Adam Putnam became Ducks Unlimited’s Chief Executive Officer – only the 6th executive staff leader in the organization’s 82-year history.

A lifelong hunter, angler and conservationist, he attended his first DU event at age 16 and has long believed in and supported DU’s mission. He most recently served as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture where he worked to protect and promote the state’s $120 billion agriculture industry, managed 1.3 million acres of state forest and spearheaded the protection of 50,000 acres of working lands.

Prior to serving as Commissioner, Adam was elected to five terms in the US House of Representatives. During his tenure on the Hill, he was Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, a member of the Agriculture, Financial Services and Rules Committees, Republican Policy Chairman and Republican Conference Chairman.

A native of Bartow, Florida, Adam is a graduate of the University of Florida and 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 of 20 years, Melissa, have four children.

Douglas “Doug” A. Schoenrock
President, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Huntsville, Alabama

During an unprecedented virtual meeting of Ducks Unlimited’s Board of Directors in May 2020, Doug Schoenrock was installed as Ducks Unlimited’s 45th President. Doug, a native Tennessean, is an avid outdoorsman, waterfowler, and wildlife advocate.

A member of the Ducks Unlimited Board of Directors 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, Senior Vice President for Youth and Education. Doug spent 22 years with the Sara Lee Corporation. For the past 12 years, he has worked with four former Sara Lee colleagues operating Savannah Food Company, a leading manufacturer and marketer of home-style hushpuppies and authentic southern side dishes. Doug attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he achieved both a Bachelor and Masters of Science Degree.

Doug and his wife, Linda, reside in Huntsville, Alabama and have two daughters, Lauren and Eve. They are recognized as Ducks Unlimited Inc. Diamond Heritage Sponsors and Grand Slam Sponsors in Perpetuity. They are also current members of both DUI’s President’s Council and DUMAC’s John E. Walker III Society – the highest annual giving programs for both organizations. Linda is a former employee of DU NHQ.

Joseph “Joe” R. Sivewright
President and CEO, Nestle Purina PetCare Company
St. Louis, Missouri

Joe Sivewright is President and Chief Executive Officer at Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. Joe began his career with the Company in 1985 as Product Manager for Purina® Cat Chow®. In 1987, he was named Product Manager for New Cat Food Products and was appointed to the position of Product Manager for RyCrisp Crackers, Hot Ralston Cereal and Chex Snack Mix in 1989. He became Business Director for Store Brand Cereals, Food Service Group and Branded Specialty Group in 1990 and Business Director of Store Brand Pet Food in 1993.

Joe later was appointed Vice President and Worldwide Director of Sales and Marketing for the Pet Products International division of Ralston Purina Company. He was named Vice President, Global Strategic Business Unit, after Nestlé S.A. acquired Ralston Purina in 2001. He was appointed to the position of President, Nestlé Purina PetCare-Latin America and Caribbean in April 2004. Joe was named President, North American Pet Foods, in January 2012, and he assumed his current position on Jan. 1, 2015.

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.

Aurelia Skipwith

Aurelia Skipwith
Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Aurelia Skipwith is an American attorney, businesswoman, and biologist serving as the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. She was confirmed by the Senate as director on December 12, 2019, by a 52–39 vote, and is the first black director of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Skipwith received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Howard University in 2003. She also received a master's degree in molecular genetics from Purdue University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Skipwith began her career at Monsanto in 2006 as a lab technician and worked her way to a position as sustainable agriculture partnership manager. Following her work at Monsanto, Skipwith completed law school and had a brief career as a research and legal intern at the United States Department of Agriculture. She also served as an intellectual property consultant for the United States Agency for International Development.

For a period of time, Skipwith worked at Alltech, an organization based in Nicholasville, Kentucky which specializes in animal nutrition and algae production. She later co-founded AVC Global, an agricultural supply blockchain company in early 2016.

Dr. Karen Waldrop
Chief Conservation Officer
Ducks Unlimited Inc.

Dr. Karen Waldrop is DU’s Chief Conservation Officer - a role she assumed in November 2019. Karen will serve as a strategic leader and member of DU’s executive leadership team. Karen 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. In addition, she serves as an Executive Council member of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative.

Wendell W. Weakley
Treasurer, Ducks Unlimited Inc.
Oxford, Mississippi

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. The Weakleys are recognized as DUI Benefactors, Gold Feather Society members, Grand Slam Diamond Life Sponsors and current members of both DUI’s President’s Council and DUMAC’s John E. Walker III Society – the highest annual giving programs for both organizations.

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. He and his wife Sue 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 recreational property in Arkansas.