Ken Babcock, Chairman of the Board

Ken Babcock of Jamestown worked for MDC from 1970 through 1997. He worked as a waterfowl research biologist, Assistant Chief and Division Chief of Wildlife Division, and Assistant Director from 1989-1997. After retiring from MDC, Ken went to work for Ducks Unlimited until recently retiring and moving back to Missouri. Ken readily said “yes” when asked if he would serve on the MCHF Board. He is a member of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Midwest and Southeast Associations of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Mississippi Flyway Council and Technical Section, The Wildlife Society and the Corps of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board.

Carroll Wilkerson, President

Carroll Wilkerson is a partner with Wilkerson & Reynolds Wealth Management and a Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed, Inc. He was a financial advisor for the past 28 years. Mr. Wilkerson received a bachelor’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri in Columbia in May of 1984. Upon graduation, he worked for the Department of Conservation at the Fountain Grove Conservation Area. He began his career with Waddell & Reed in August of 1985 in Kansas City. In 1987, he moved to Columbia and established and managed the Waddell & Reed office. Since then Mr. Wilkerson held various positions with Waddell & Reed including Financial Advisor, District Manager and Division Manager. He received the Certified Financial Planner™ certification in November 1993. Mr. Wilkerson has always had a passion for the outdoors. He is an avid hunter, especially of white tail deer. Some of his most enjoyable days are spent in northeast Missouri on the family farm observing and hunting deer. He has been very active in the past with Boys Scouts of America and served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 6 in Columbia. He assisted and watched his three sons obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. He is also an active supporter of Ducks Unlimited. He and his business partner were the main sponsor of the Women for Wetlands program in Columbia for several years. Mr. Wilkerson is also a member of the NRA and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. He and his wife Judy have been married 25 years and have 5 children: Ryan, Eric, Adam, Kelly and Ashley.

Bruce Sassmann, Vice-President

Bruce Sassmann and his wife, Jan, have restored the 120 acre Osage County Prairie Star Restoration Farm. Their efforts and energies since 2009 have earned them the MDC Private Land Services partnership award, the Missouri Quail Forever Aldo Leopold Award, the Missouri Wildlife Society G Andy Runge Award, and the Conservation Federation Wildlife Conservationist Award. They welcome a variety of individuals and groups to interact with the restored landscape. Bruce is retired from a century old family business. He was active on the city council of his community and continues to be part of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission. His undergraduate degrees are biology and chemistry. Bruce and Jan are life members of the Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Conservation Federation of Missouri and Quail Forever.

David Reynolds, Treasurer

David Reynolds received a BS degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Industrial Safety from University of Central Missouri (formerly Central Missouri State University) in Warrensburg, MO. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) and worked with universities setting up and running two safety degree departments as well as managing the safety program at City Utilities of Springfield. Mr. Reynolds and his wife, Janice, have been married 42 years and have two daughters and one grandson. Mr. Reynolds was also involved in several short term mission trips, building 15 churches around the world, including in Brazil and Kenya, Africa. Mr. Reynolds formerly served seven years on the MCHF Board, including one term as President of the Board. He served on the Board of Directors for the Ozark Regional Land Trust, campaigned for a tax on soft drinks for funding of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), served on the James River Watershed Committee, and spearheaded an effort that raised $150,000 to purchase 391 acres at Cedar Gap, Missouri, which was donated to MDC in the late 1990s. Mr. Reynolds completed the Master Naturalist program and is a certified Master Naturalist through MDC and the University Extension Service. Dave and Janice are also lifetime members of the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

J. Miles Sweeney, Secretary

Miles Sweeney of Springfield practiced law from 1972 until 1984, when he was appointed Associate Circuit Judge by Governor Kit Bond. He was subsequently elected without opposition. In 1990, he was appointed Circuit Judge by Governor Ashcroft and has since been elected without opposition. He served 9 years as Presiding Judge of Greene County and was on the Presiding Judges Executive Committee. Miles is an ardent outdoorsman and an avid hunter and fisherman. He is excited to serve on the MCHF Board, saying of all his community service activities, this is the very kind of organization and cause he prefers.

Board Members

Steven Bradshaw

Steven W. Bradshaw grew up farming with his grandparents in Laclede County, on the family farm that he still owns and enjoys. Having the privilege of hunting and fishing at a young age, Mr. Bradshaw’s love of the outdoors flourished.  In his teenage years Steven became an accomplished marksman in archery and competed in many area tournaments.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree from College of the Ozarks, where he met his wife Shawnda.  They have been married 25 years and together have three daughters that have become outdoor enthusiasts, largely influenced by Steven’s sharing his passion for boating, hunting and fishing. Over the last 20 years, Bradshaw’s career developed in banking and he currently works as a Commercial Lender for Simmons Bank. Mr. Bradshaw is a member of the NRA, board member/treasurer of the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club and was excited when he was named the local Chairman for Missouri National Archery in Schools Program (MoNASP) State Tournament in Branson.  Because he enjoyed bowhunting in his youth, Steven saw MoNASP as a tremendous program and quickly took the opportunity to be involved.  With his involvement in MoNASP, Bradshaw felt honored to further invest in conservation by serving as a MCHF board member.

Denise Brown

Denise Brown serves as the Executive Director for the Missouri Lawyer Trust Account Foundation. From June 2001 through April 2008, Ms. Brown served as General Counsel and Assistant Director overseeing policy development, outreach programs and capital improvements statewide for the Missouri Department of Conservation. She also served as primary negotiator for federal hydropower licensure proceedings. She served as staff attorney for the Missouri General Assembly from January 1997 through June 2001. Ms. Brown graduated from Drury University with a B.A. in Business Communications in 1987 and from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1991.

Jeannie Chambers

Jeannie Chambers grew up on a fifth generation farm in northeast Missouri. She received a B.S. in Nursing from Truman State University and a Master’s in Nursing from SUNY at Buffalo, New York. She taught nursing at Truman State and University of Missouri, Columbia. She began her nursing career as an instructor in child health and spent 23 years in private practice at JCMG, Jefferson City, practicing adult oncology. She is a landowner and is active in the family cattle operation in northeast Missouri. She enjoys hunting and fishing and is a Life Sponsor of Ducks Unlimited and a member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. She co-founded Columbia’s Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Youth Program in 2003 and continues to serve as co-chair of the committee. For thirteen years she and her husband Glenn partnered to educate children and adults about the Missouri Department of Conservation’s river otter restoration program in Missouri.

Russell Giron

Russell Giron lives in Lee Summit, Mo. He grew up in New Mexico where he played football for his high school team, which won the state championship in 1977. He attended school at Eastern New Mexico University and New Mexico State University. He helped his parents build a trucking company in New Mexico from 1976 to 1986. He then moved to Kansas City in 1986 and started his own trucking company, which he still owns and operates today. Russell was active in the Boy Scouts of America with his son, Nathan. They went to Camp Bartle in Osceola, Mo. several years in a row. They lost their son in 2016 and started Nathan‘s Catch as a memorial fund. They work with James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area and MCHF to supply free fishing rods and tackle boxes to kids who attend the wildlife area’s Family Outdoors Day in September. Their son love to fish, so they love to give kids the opportunity to fish with their own gear.

Rick Holton, Sr.

Rick Holton, Sr. was born in Saint Louis and spent time as a child on his grandparents’ farm in St. Clair playing in nearby streams.  This experience initiated his passion for conservation and clean rivers.  He graduated from Saint Louis University in 1970 and served as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve.  From 1971 to 2011, Mr. Holton worked in the financial services industry and, since 2011, has served as Chairman of the Board for Holton Capital Group (HCG), a St. Louis-based, family company that invests in early stage technology and life science companies, as well as later stage private equity buyouts and real estate.  In addition to previous service as a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Mr. Holton has served on the board of American Rivers, D.C. and Boys Town of Missouri.  He also co-founded the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, founded the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance and served as committee chair for Ladue Creeks.  He recently worked with Ducks Unlimited to establish a perpetual conservation easement on his family farm – Over and Under – which borders the Mississippi River in Saint Charles County.

Dr. Wayne Morton

Dr. Wayne Morton was born in southeast Nebraska and raised on a farm. He attended Lewistown High School in Nebraska and the University of Nebraska from 1964-1968. In 1972, he graduated from the University of Nebraska Medicine School. He became board certified in Family Medicine in 1975 and practiced family medicine in Osceola, Missouri from 1975 to present. He served as President of local medical staff and served as President of the West Central Medical Society. He was a member of the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) Board of Directors for over 10 years and also served as President and Vice President of the MPF. Dr. Morton is a member of the North American Grouse Partnership, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Missouri Conservation Federation, Native Plant Society, Garden Club, State Tech Committee, Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) and is currently President of the MoBCI Foundation. He also served two terms on the State Park Advisory Board. Dr. Morton lives on a cattle farm, owns a prairie by Cole Camp, Missouri and leases a 620-acre prairie by Taberville, MO. He is restoring a savannah glade complex on his land in Osceola and has completed over 150 acres of restoration thus far.

Marilynn J. Bradford, Ex Officio

Marilynn Bradford of Jefferson City currently serves as Chair of the Missouri Conservation Commission. Mrs. Bradford was appointed by the Governor to the Commission in 2013. She is a central Missouri native with a lifelong interest in the outdoors and a proven commitment to public service, having retired from more than 20 years in state government, working primarily in community and public relations.  She holds degrees from Columbia College and Lincoln University, has advanced leadership training from locations across the nation, and has worked extensively with state and national foundations developing grant funding for Missouri initiatives.

Bradford is an avid fly-fisher who enjoys Missouri’s numerous fishing opportunities, among other outdoor activities.

Sara Parker-Pauley, Ex-Officio

Sara Parker Pauley has served as the ninth Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Pauley’s selection effective November 1, 2016.

A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She previously served as Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She worked as project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm, and as a deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She was an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, teaching a course in natural resource policy and administration.

Pauley began her professional career as a Policy Analyst with the Missouri Department of Conservation from 1993-1996. Over the years, though her career path varied, it has never strayed far from her personal desire to be engaged in the stewardship of Missouri’s natural resources.