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Flathead Conservation District Board of Supervisors:

Ronald Buentemeier

Chairman, Supervisor (term expires December 31, 2018)

What is your professional background?

I graduated from University of Montana School of Forestry in 1964 with honors. I worked for 44 years for F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Company as a Forester-Land Manager, with the last 6 years as Vice President Manager of the Half Moon operations.

Why do you serve on the board?

I serve on the board because it gives me another avenue to be involved in conservation, or the wise use of our resources. To have a healthy community we must have a healthy economy, which means we must use our resources. Helping people do what they want to with their land but do it in the right way so the resource is protected.

Pete Woll

Vice Chairman, Supervisor (term expires December 31, 2020)

What is your professional background?

I am a life-long valley resident, born and raised on the same farm where I currently grow hay and raise cattle. I was an engineering technician for the United States Forest Service in the Flathead Valley, designing and building roads for over 30 years. I have served on the County Weed Board for many years and have been a Supervisor for the FCD Board for over 20 years. I have also been a member of the Montana Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) State Board for over ten years and president for the past four years.

Why do you serve on the board?

I like to give back to the people of the valley, helping to get good conservation projects on the ground that include wise use of our natural resources. I like the whole Conservation District package of on the ground projects, and education of children, teachers and landowners.

Dean Sirucek

Secretary/Treasurer, Supervisor (term expires December 31, 2020)

What is your professional background? I have B.S. degree in Soil Science from Montana State University, and did post-graduate studies in Forest Ecology also at MSU. I worked professionally as a soil scientist from 1975 until 1993 for the Montana Division of Forestry, Gallatin National Forest, Helena National Forest, and Flathead National Forest. From 1993 until 2011, I was a hydrologist on the Flathead National Forest. During my career I worked on three National Forest Soil Surveys, environmental reviews of many types of projects (e.g. timber sales, road construction, grazing), conducted stream restoration projects, completed riparian-wetland mapping, and did post wildfire rehabilitation projects.

Why do you serve on the board? I serve on the Conservation District board to stay somewhat involved in the work I did professionally for over 35 years. Hopefully, I can share some of the things I have learned over my career with others in the community. The educational programs and the inter-agency water quality programs are my primary interests at FCD.

Mark Siderius

Supervisor (term expires December 31, 2018)

What is your professional background?

I was born and raised in the Flathead Valley on the same farm where I currently live and farm. I studied diesel mechanics at Northern Montana College in Havre and now, in addition to farming, I do contract and forestry work.

Why do you serve on the board?

I came on to the board to fill a vacancy and discovered that I really enjoyed the knowledge and experiences I was gaining as a board member. The Conservation District helps landowners find a way to get their projects done in a way that works for them and still protects the resource. I enjoy working with landowners to find these solutions. I also like to see local landowners benefit from our cost share programs and scholarships.

Verdell Jackson

Supervisor (term expires December 31, 2018)

What is your professional background?

I have a Master’s degree in business and vocational education and taught vocational subjects at the high school and college levels. I was also the state director of vocational education and curriculum specialist in Alaska and served as superintendent of Flathead Christian School for 4 years. I served as a Montana state legislator for 16 years.

Why do you serve on the board?

During my legislative experience I worked on water issues.  The conservation district helps people to prevent damage to their property and to water when they do projects on their land.  The work is interesting and of great benefit to people. Helping people with projects on their land and supporting education programs interests me the most.

John Ellis

Appointed Supervisor, Whitefish (term expires December 31, 2019)

What is your professional background?

After graduation from high school, I attended Washington and Lee University and received a B.A. Degree in History and Spanish in 1971. Three years later I graduated from Emory University Law School. In September, 1974 I entered on active duty in the United States Army and served 4 years, first as an Infantry Officer and then as Judge Advocate General Officer. After discharge from the Army in 1978, I returned to Atlanta, Georgia and practiced criminal defense law in private practice at the Federal Defender Program and with the DeKalb County Public Defender until my retirement in 2007.

Why do you serve on the board?

I enjoy supporting programs involving the preservation or restoration of streams including re-vegetation of riparian areas that have become damaged by poor agricultural, forestry or construction projects. It is important to me to help the public understand the purposes of the stream preservation act and to get them to understand that conforming their projects with the law is in their best interests in the long run.

Lori Curtis

Appointed Supervisor, Whitefish (term expires December 31, 2019)

What is your professional background?

I am a scientist, educator, and writer. I have a Master of Science in Conservation Biology and Bachelor’s in Business Management. I have spent the last 7 years as Science & Education Director for the Whitefish Lake Institute after many years of running a professional consulting firm.

Why do you serve on the board?

I believe I have the duty as a citizen of this watershed to protect and preserve our precious resources. The FCD board provides an opportunity to engage with diverse stakeholders in the activities surrounding soil, water and other natural resource issues, and to join my fellow board members as a voice of reason for those resources. I am most interested in programs that help educate young citizens of the watershed and projects that engage students of all ages in on-the-ground conservation activities.


Valerie Kurth

Resource Conservationist

Valerie spent more than 10 years in academic teaching and research before coming to FCD in 2014. She studied forest ecology (soils, ecosystem ecology, and mycology) while earning her Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University, and she has taught college-level courses in ecology and environmental science. Prior to graduate school, she spent many field seasons doing botanical surveys around the western U.S., including Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument. 

She loves traveling, gardening, and many outdoor activities.

Hailey Graf

Assistant Conservationist

Hailey worked for the Forest Service in wildlife biology before returning to the University of Montana for a Master of Science degree in Resource Conservation. Her background also includes working as a Public Information Officer for the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team. She is originally from the Flathead Valley and is an avid sailor and lover of Flathead Lake.

Ginger Kauffman


Ginger worked in private, county, and federal sectors before coming to the Flathead Conservation District in 1995. Her main duties include 310 & bookkeeping, while also providing administrative assistance to resource staff and the district board.

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