Staff

Office Location
7831 East Bush Lake Road, Suite 302 | Bloomington, MN 55439
Phone: 651-224-2880

 

Kirsten Wallace Overlook at Ohio River Confluence

Kirsten Wallace

Executive Director

Mobile: 763-349-1264

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Kirsten Wallace was appointed executive director of UMRBA in 2017, following over 10 years focusing on the Association's ecosystem, navigation, and flood initiatives.  Kirsten works with UMRBA's member states to develop regional positions, advocate the states' collective interests before Congress and the federal agencies, and facilitate and foster interagency coordination, cooperation, and communication.

Kirsten serves on the Board of the Interstate Council on Water Policy, America's Watershed Initiative, and the National Waterways Foundation.

Kirsten's favorite spot on the river is from the view of the pilot house, especially passing by tributary confluences.

Photo of Lauren Salvato on the water

Lauren Salvato

Policy and Programs Director

Mobile: 763-349-2843

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Lauren Salvato has been with the Association since 2018 and focuses on clean water and ecosystem restoration initiatives. She convenes the Water Quality Executive Committee and Task Force, Interstate WQ Monitoring Program efforts, including coordinating the Reaches 8-9 pilot, and WLM initiatives. Lauren serves on the Board of the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District.

Her favorite place in the Upper Mississippi River Basin is the Driftless Area. 

Andrew Stephenson

Andrew Stephenson

Policy and Programs Director

Mobile: 763-349-2071

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Andrew Stephenson joined UMRBA as Policy and Programs Director in fall 2018.  He focuses on UMRBA’s ecosystem-related work as well as flood risk and sediment management planning, aquatic nuisance species, external communications, and advocacy on behalf of the five states’ shared interests.  Andrew has predominantly been working to facilitate state-federal collaboration on the Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program.

Andrew enjoys exploring the trails through the hardwood forests, steep bluffs, and flat bottomlands of the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park.

Natalie Lenzen

Natalie Lenzen

Operations Manager

Mobile: 763-349-2049

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Natalie Lenzen joined UMRBA as Operations Manager in spring 2022, maximizing and strengthening the internal capacity of the Association as a well-respected, high-impact organization.  Natalie works on all things administrative, assists in external communications, and arranges our meetings and workshops.  She supports the UMRBA Board and staff in advancing the states’ priorities and regional programs and projects.

Natalie enjoys cooking and traveling with her family.  She also spends a lot of free time fishing and riding trails with her husband.  Natalie has two daughters and a son as well as a Dogo Argentino named Duke.

Brian Stenquist River Overlook in Davenport, Iowa

Brian Stenquist

Deputy Director

Office: 763-349-0925

After many years being involved with UMRBA and UMRBA's partners for many years.  Brian officially joined UMRBA's staff team as its Deputy Director in 2023.  In this role, Brian transforms UMRBA’s strategic goals into highly impactful processes and outcomes and promotes integration and collaboration among UMRBA individual programmatic efforts as well as related efforts led by UMRBA’s partners.  

Brian comes to UMRBA with over thirty years of experience in Mississippi River management issues.  Brian is founder of a boutique consulting firm known as Meeting Challenges, which has allowed him to serve a wide range of clients engaged in important and complex collaborations.  He also had a very productive career as a strategic planning and communications supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

Brian is honored to be a part of the UMRBA team and to work for an organization whose purpose is to support the interstate collaboration necessary to ensure high quality multi-purpose management of the Upper Mississippi River for present and future generations.

Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis

Mapping and Spills Program Director

Mobile: 763-349-0986

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Mark Ellis took on the role of Mapping and Spills Program Director in 2017 after 10 years as the Inland Sensitivity Atlas Project Coordinator.  Mark directs the UMR Hazardous Spills Coordination Group and works with state, federal, tribal, local, and private sector partners to increase prevention of and preparedness for spills of hazardous materials in the region.  He also leads mapping work to support USEPA Region 5’s Inland Sensitivity Atlas.

Mark enjoys sightseeing and hiking the trails along the Mississippi River bluffs at Effigy Mounds National Monument, near Harper’s Ferry, Iowa.

Ken Petersen

Ken Petersen

GIS and Planning Specialist

Mobile: 763-349-0398

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Ken Petersen joined UMRBA in the spring of 2023 as a Mapping and Planning Specialist.  In this role, Ken assists in building and updating the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

Ken is a lifelong learner and an avid observer of the natural world.  He especially enjoys photographing wildlife and landscapes.  A favorite spot on the Mississippi River is Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.

Photo of Tyler Leske

Tyler Leske

Mapping and Planning Specialist

Mobile: 763-349-0396

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Tyler Leske joined UMRBA in 2016 as a GIS and Planning Assistant.  Tyler works on the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois and assists with the creation of site-specific spill response plans on the Mississippi River.

Tyler is an avid fisherman, chasing walleye in Pool 2 and Pool 4 all year long.

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Sam Hund

GIS and Planning Assistant

Mobile: 763-349-3110

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Sam is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a Bachelors of science in Geography and a minor in Climatology. He joined UMRBA as a Mapping and Planning Specialist in May of 2023.  Sam works on the Inland Sensitivity Atlas for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. He hopes to learn new mapping techniques and deepen his understanding of extreme weather phenomena.

Sam loves fishing, cooking, and going to Cars and Coffee events.