Advisory Board

The Minnesota Sea Grant Advisory Board serves a vital role in keeping Minnesota Sea Grant in touch with the needs and concerns of Minnesota citizens, industries, communities, policymakers, and universities. The advisory board ensures that our research agenda, and education and outreach products and services meet the needs of Minnesotans.

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The purpose of our advisory board is to identify needs and opportunities that can or should be addressed by Minnesota Sea Grant programs, services and/or products and 

  1. To alert Minnesota Sea Grant to new trends or information that may affect its future;
  2. To help create new connections, collaborations, partnerships and funding opportunities that will potentially further Minnesota Sea Grant's mission or provide resources for programs;
  3. To advise on priorities and assist in defining program directions;
  4. To educate and inform decision-makers at the state and national level about the role and value of Minnesota Sea Grant programs to Minnesotans;
  5. To provide input to Minnesota Sea Grant review and monitoring processes, including strategic and implementation plan development and evaluation, periodic internal or national reviews, and research proposal review and prioritization.


The advisory board is composed of 15 to 20 community and institutional individuals representing a broad array of Minnesota, Great Lakes, and coastal interests.

  • Community members include community leaders, organization and/or industry representatives and citizens.
  • Institutional representatives reflect a cross-section of relevant tribal, state and federal management and research institutions. In most cases, representatives will be agency or organization directors, or their designees. To avoid conflict of interest, members may not be drawn from university units or institutions that typically compete for Minnesota Sea Grant research funding.

Current members

Deanna Bennett
Realtor, GRI, CRS, ABR
Messina & Associates Real Estate
Runs Deanna Bennet Real Estate Team
Duluth, Minnesota

Marianne Bohren
Executive Director
Western Lake Superior Sanitary District
Duluth, Minnesota

Deborah DeLuca
Executive Director
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
Duluth, Minnesota

Chad Hebert
Director of Farm Operations
Little Earth Urban Farm
Minneapolis, MN
Nov. 16, 2023 - present

Tricia Hobbs
Senior Economic Developer
Planning and Economic Development
Duluth, Minnesota

Dale Hoff
U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division
Duluth, Minnesota

Andy Hubley
Director of Regional Planning
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission
Duluth, Minnesota

Brandon Krumwiede
Great Lakes Regional Geospatial Coordinator
NOAA Office for Coastal Management
Duluth, Minnesota

John Lenczewski
Executive Director
Minnesota Trout Unlimited
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sonny Myers
Executive Director
1854 Treaty Authority
Duluth, Minnesota

Nicholas Phelps
Associate Professor
Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) Director
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota

Don Pereira
Retired Chief of Fisheries
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Cottage Grove, Minnesota

Jess Richards
Assistant Commissioner
Divisions of Ecological and Water Resources and Lands and Minerals
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Nancy Schuldt
Water Projects Coordinator
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Cloquet, Minnesota

Jim Sharrow
Retired Director of Port Planning and Resiliency
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
Duluth, Minnesota

Nelson Thomas
Retired Ecologist
U.S. EPA Mid-Continent Ecology Division
Duluth, Minnesota

Deanna Erikson
Reserve Manager
NOAA Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
Superior, Wisconsin


  1. Members are appointed by the Minnesota Sea Grant director.
  2. Members are approved by the University of Minnesota Duluth Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (EVCAA).
  3. The Minnesota Sea Grant director solicits nominations from current advisory board members for new members as needed. Committee membership should cover a broad range of interests and localities, but not every interest or locality can be represented on the committee at one time.
  4. Members must reside in and/or be actively engaged in activities in Minnesota.
  5. Members are asked to commit to a two-year term. Members may be appointed for additional consecutive terms.
  6. Institutional members may appoint a designee to represent their agency, subject to approval by the Minnesota Sea Grant director.


Advisory board members agree to use their experience and knowledge for the benefit of Minnesota Sea Grant programs by

  1. Actively participating in one to three meetings each year (additional meetings may be held as needed);
  2. Providing timely information and advice to Minnesota Sea Grant leadership at meetings and as desired throughout their term;
  3. Participating in review panels of research, extension, and/or other project proposals;
  4. Sharing their knowledge of Minnesota Sea Grant with their peers and colleagues.