NLI Board of Trustees and Affiliations
“Perhaps nobody before us had seen the need or been able to set aside natural areas. And those that follow will no longer have the chance. They will only be able to care for what we leave them.” ~ George B. Fell
Electrical Engineer Manager, Sundstrand /UTAS (retired)
Engineer, Ingenium Technologies (retired)
President, LMA Techworks (retired)
Executive Director, Kane County Forest Preserve (retired)
President and Chief Investment Officer, Investors Management Group (retired)
Immediate Past President
Attorney, Ray A. Ferguson & Associates, Ltd
Judy’s love of nature began at an early age through trips to northern Wisconsin, since her Grandfather and Mom loved to fish. While they spent their days on the lake, she and her sister spent it in the woods – exploring every nook and cranny. In sixth grade, her class spent a few days at Camp Lorado Taft exploring the land around Blackhawk Statue. Old roots run deep.
She has been fortunate to hold four uniquely different jobs in her work life, retiring as Deputy County Administrator in 2004. Highlights of her county work included coordinating the county’s Balanced Growth Initiative and the Green Communities Environmental Vision. Once retired, she consulted for two years with the county Economic Development office and then went on to create MarketWorks, a small business specializing in print marketing, photography and event planning.
In 2016 she was elected to a second term as a Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Commissioner, and she also serves as an Associate Director of the Winnebago County Soil and Water Conservation District.
Judy previously served on the NLI board and is a past President. She has continued to be very involved with NLI by serving on several committees, coordinating silent auctions, and chairing the biennial Party on the Prairie fundraiser. Judy feels that the work of NLI is extremely important to the sustainability of the region.
John R. Cook, III
Landscape Architect and Designer, John R. Cook Associates
John is a landscape architect who has worked with the private and public sectors for decades and brings a scope of knowledge and understanding about how a natural environment can be enjoyable and encourage healing of the mind and body.
President/Owner of Kishwaukee Holdings
Ed was born and raised in Rockford but now resides in Genoa, IL (DeKalb County). He grew up in the city but always migrated to the country and, in particular, the family cabin along the Kishwaukee River. Ed is following in the footsteps of his father, Gordon G. Eggers, who was a previous NLI president during the Nygren Wetland acquisition. A love of international travel and the outdoors led Ed on a 30+ year career in the agricultural seed business. He directed international seed activities for DEKALB Genetics and ultimately owned, with his wife, Sunfield Seeds, Inc. based in the Sacramento Valley of California which primarily produces hybrid sunflower seed and utilized up to 60,000 bee hives per season. They now own several Colorado food operations which focus on natural and gluten free and are run by family members. Being involved with NLI gives Ed a nice conduit to transition from a successful business career to a non-profit alternative for the benefit of future generations. Ed is an avid sportsman who enjoys hiking, skiing, canoeing, sailing and many other outdoor activities. He has a BS from Colorado State University in Ag Business with a minor in Agronomy and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School.
Broker, Dickerson & Nieman Realtors
Bill served for three years on the Campaign Committee for the Gordon G. Eggers Fund, an Endowment for the Nygren Wetland Preserve, prior to joining the NLI board in June 2019. Now, in addition to serving on the board, Bill is a member of the Land Conservation and Resource Development Committees.
Retired, Environmental Science Educator
Urban Planner, Gary W. Anderson Architects
Co-Owner, Lindstrom Travel
Charlie was introduced to the Natural Land Institute by board member Jim Pemble in January of 2005 with his first visit to Nygren Wetland. It was to see the progress of the Raccoon Creek restoration to its original meandering stream. Soon after he began volunteering to maintain the row of Iron Weed at the Nygren Wetland nursery. The next year he joined the NLI Board and began his 6 year term assisting with Party on the Prairie and Wine at the Wetland. After taking a few years off he is back on the board and is Chairman of the Marketing & Membership Committee. His love for nature came from growing up in Rockford on Aldeen Park…90 acres of woods, streams and fields. As his mother always says, “Aldeen Park was an excellent babysitter for Charlie”.
Daniel L. Swift, M.D.
Physician, Rockford Urological Associates (retired)
Retired, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Nancy Williamson retired June 2018 after serving 19 years with Illinois Department of Natural Resources as a Regional Watershed Coordinator and was “Green Cities” Campaign Manager for the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, and Conservation 2000 grant administrator for twelve years, working with private sector Ecosystem Partnerships in Northern Illinois. She served for seven years as co-chair of the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Team, and founded the Sustainable Watershed Action Team, which worked with private grant funding to advance green infrastructure planning, watershed planning, and resource-sensitive development with multiple local jurisdictions across northern Illinois.
Nancy served for five years on the board and as President of the McHenry County Conservation District, and 15 years on the McHenry County Conservation Foundation and on two referendum committees, ultimately bringing $141.5 million in open space funding to McHenry County, IL.
Nancy was a recipient of the 2010 United States Department of Interior “Partners in Conservation” Award for her work with Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure and received the award again in 2012 for her role in helping establish Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. She currently serves as Board treasurer for Friends of Hackmatack NWR. She is an accomplished graphic artist/illustrator and helps many not-for-profits with free or cost effective graphic design, including interpretive signage at NLI’s Nygren Wetland Preserve.
President, Midwest Packaging and Container
Rob Young was born and raised in the country at Everbold Farm in Kirkland, Illinois and has had a curiosity and passion for the natural world from a young age. An avid outdoor adventurer, Rob has sought out natural beauty in places such as New Zealand, California, Utah, Arizona, Georgia and Virginia, but when he is home you can find him hiking along a Northern Illinois trail. Professionally, Rob is the owner and President of Midwest Packaging and Container, a tennis teaching pro at Forest City Tennis Center, and the assistant editor of FutureSox.com. Rob is a 2015-2016 alumni of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce Leadership Rockford Program, a member of Next Rockford, and Vice President of the Rockford Young Professionals Meetup group.