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District Program Manager
Join us in welcoming our new District Program Manager! Derek earned his Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources & Environmental Science with a concentration in Emerging Environmental Issues from Purdue University. He also has an Associates of Science in Agriculture. His work experience includes working as an Environmental Compliance Technician at Camp Atterbury and interning with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Derek grew up in Indianapolis and currently lives in Rensselaer with his Australian Kelpie, Queenie. Derek enjoys hiking with his dog, fishing, and horseback riding.
Shelby was born and raised in Rensselaer, graduating from RCHS in 2014. She attended Saint Joseph's College and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting with a minor in Economics from Marian University in 2018. After college, she lived in Indianapolis where she worked in Higher Education. She enjoys reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with her dog, Samson. Shelby is excited to be back in Rensselaer and able to give back to the community that she loves.
Carolyn Ahler is the Watershed Outreach Coordinator for the Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lower Kankakee Watershed Initiative, which is a joint venture of the Jasper County and Newton County Soil and Water Conservation Districts. She updates our social media accounts as well as manages our websites. Carolyn coordinates meetings and outreach events and assists Sheila Schroeder and Rose Morgan (Newton County SWCD) whenever possible. She lives in Jasper County with her husband Jacob and children.
Mark Jordan has lived the majority of his life in Jasper County. He was born and raised on the family farm growing corn, soybeans, hay & purebred beef cattle. He left Jasper County to attend Purdue University where he earned a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering. Mark’s twenty year engineering career started at John Deere in Ottumwa, IA. He then spent eight years working for FMC on specialty vegetable harvesters in Hoopeston, IL. He wrapped up his engineering career with nine years at Caterpillar in Lafayette as Engineering Manager of core engine components. Mark served on Purdue’s Engineering Alumni Board as Vice President and currently serves on the Jasper County 4H Council. He is also participating in the Leadership Jasper County Purdue Extension program.
He and his wife, Heidi, have three children and have since moved back to Rensselaer to help manage the family farm. They have implemented many conservation practices into their farm management program such as: filter strips, cover crops, no-till, grassed waterways, windbreaks, and conservation grazing methods. Mark enjoys many outdoor activities with his family including camping, downhill skiing, and 4H.
Lana Zimmer has served on the Jasper County SWCD Board for sixteen years. As an experienced grant writer, her primary contributions have been focused in that area. As a lifelong resident of Jasper County, Lana resides with her husband Tom on the family farm in Jordan Township along with Iroquois River where they have restored more than 3 acres of tall grass prairie and are also growing and wholesaling produce and specialty crops. Lana is a retired professor from Saint Joseph’s College where she taught in the Education Division specializing in science education. Her primary interests include sustainability education, sustainable agriculture, and place-based, experiential learning. Lana has broad knowledge and experience in many conservation practices, and hopes to continue to bring awareness to the community about the many ways individuals can help protect and preserve the quality of our soil and water while at the same time sustaining economic development.
Mark Kingma is a lifelong resident of Jasper County. He has been married to his wife, Linda, for 34 years and enjoys spending time on the water, particularly Lake Michigan. He also manages to get on the golf course on occasion. In addition to farming, Mr. Kingma is a seed corn sales representative for Asgrow/Dekalb and has served on the Jasper County Farm Bureau board for 6 years. He has been implementing various conservation practices on his fields for many years including no-till, cover crops, and buffer strips.
Jim Martin was first elected to the Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District in 2008 and
became the chairman in 2011. Jim has served as the District Director for the Indiana Association
of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Jim also served on the State Soils Board task force: Conservation 2016 and Beyond, a study group formulating policy for the future conservation programs for Indiana SWCDs. Jim has attended numerous seminars, trainings, and conferences representing the Jasper County SWCD. Jim was active in the construction of the Science Education building for the SWCD at the Jasper County Fairgrounds, donating countless hours toward the building's completion.
Jim is a life long resident of Wheatfield and Walker Townships and has served his community in
volunteer organizations for many years.
Derek Luchik lives in Wheatfield, IN and works for The Nature Conservancy as a professional Land Steward. In that role, he manages about 2,000 acres of property throughout a good portion of Northwest Indiana, but spends most of his time in Jasper County. He graduated from Purdue University in May of 2012 with a degree in Forestry. Derek has a heightened interest in natural areas conservation & restoration, sustainability, land use history and natural history. Some of his hobbies include photography, hiking, camping, woodworking, and reading in the evenings. He hopes to bring valued knowledge to the board while learning a lot about the collaborative efforts for soil and water conservation in Jasper County and Indiana.
United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service Staff