Staff

The Montana Land Reliance is headquartered in Helena, Montana, with satellite offices in Bigfork and Bozeman.

Kendall Van Dyk

Managing Director

Helena, MT

Kendall joined MLR in 2010 and has spent much of his professional career working in non-profit conservation, most recently with Trout Unlimited. Kendall was raised on a family farming and ranching operation near Three Forks, MT.  In 2006, Kendall was elected to the Montana House of Representatives and in 2010 was elected to the Montana State Senate. He began with MLR in Billings as the organization’s Eastern Manager, and is now in Helena serving as a Managing Director. Kendall has a B.A. in Political Science from Montana State University-Bozeman.

Kendall and his wife, Christina have two young children, Grace & Henry.  Kendall can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Jordan Vana

Managing Director

Helena, MT

Jordan Vana is one of MLR’s three managing directors. Prior to MLR, Jordan worked with a number of leading conservation organizations in the West, including Colorado Open Lands, Colorado Conservation Trust, and the Green River Valley Land Trust in Wyoming (now part of the Jackson Hole Land Trust). Jordan began his career as an attorney in Billings, where he helped clients with tax planning, estate planning, and commercial transactions. When not working, Jordan enjoys volunteering, skiing, fishing and hunting. He earned a B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a J.D. from University of Wisconsin Law School.

Jordan can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Katie Stokes

Managing Director

Helena, MT

Katie Stokes joined the MLR team in 2020 as the Development Manager. In 2022, Katie’s position transitioned to include finance and operations, and she currently serves as one of MLR’s three Managing Directors. Prior to MLR, she worked for over 10 years within the nonprofit sector in marketing, operations, and development. Katie holds a B.A. in Wildland Interpretation with a minor in Biology which she received from the University of Montana Western.

Katie can be reached at the Helena office or via email at [email protected]

 

Will Trimbath

Stewardship Director

Helena, MT

Will joined The Montana Land Reliance as Stewardship Director after 10 years of environmental consulting experience, specializing in wetland and stream ecology, environmental permitting, and threatened and endangered species surveys. During a break from his consulting career, Will worked seasonally for guest ranches as a fly-fishing guide and ranch hand, and for the Forest Service as a fisheries technician and wildland firefighter. Will received a B.S. in Environmental Science/Aquatic Resource Management from Virginia Tech. Will enjoys fishing and hunting all of the diverse landscapes that Montana has to offer.

Will can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Paul Burdett

General Counsel

Helena, MT

Paul became MLR’s attorney in 2022. He started his career as a litigation attorney at Goetz, Baldwin & Geddes, P.C., in Bozeman (now Goetz, Geddes & Gardner). He has worked for the Montana Supreme Court and the First Judicial District Court in Lewis & Clark County. He has deep roots in Montana agriculture as the descendent of homesteaders near Wolf Point, and is third-generation on his family’s farm and ranch. Prior to law school, he guided fly-fishing trips down the Smith River. He received his J.D. from the University of Montana Law School.

Paul can be reached at the Helena office or via email at [email protected].

 

Melanie Brock

Philanthropy Manager

Missoula, MT

Melanie joined MLR as the Philanthropy Manager in 2023 with two decades of Montana fundraising and public service experience. She has assisted nonprofits, elected officials, universities, economic development organizations and associations in fundraising goals, public and government affairs, strategic outreach and event planning. Melanie holds a B.A. in Communications from Susquehanna University and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Montana. She spends her free time hiking, skiing, golfing, and paddle boarding Montana’s mountains, rivers and valleys with her teens and dog.

Melanie can be reached at the Missoula office or via email at [email protected].

 

Brad Hansen

Eastern Manager

Helena, MT

Brad Hansen grew up working summers on his grandfather’s produce farm in Northern Utah. After earning a M.S. in environmental history from Utah State University, Brad moved to Helena, Montana. He worked for Carroll College and for the Montana Historical Society before joining MLR. Brad has volunteered for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) oral history project “From the Ground Up: Montana Women and Agriculture,” and in 2018 published the book Nothing Like Riding a Good Horse in New Country: Memoirs of a Woman Outfitter in Montana based on the life of Mary Faith Hoeffner, one of the earliest female outfitters in the Bob Marshall Wildernesses. Brad lives and works in Helena, but manages MLR’s projects in Eastern Montana.

Brad can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Kathryn Kelly

Greater Yellowstone Manager

Bozeman, MT

Kathryn was raised on the Kelly family ranch along the Gallatin River outside Bozeman. She lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for several years and is an alumni of the University of Alaska where she majored in biology. She had a successful career in real estate, title insurance, escrow administration, management, and teaching in California’s Bay Area before returning home to Montana. As a regional manager with MLR, Kathryn’s responsibilities include working with private landowners to create conservation easements, public education and outreach efforts and fundraising. Before joining the Reliance in 2014, Kathryn was involved with MLR for many years as a supporter and volunteer. She and her parents donated conservation easements on the family ranch to MLR in 2001 and 2007. Kathryn serves on the board of The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators (AGAI) working to protect the Gallatin River system through it historically decreed agricultural water rights. She enjoys reading, volunteer work, and exploring the history and backroads of Montana.

Kathryn can be reached at the Bozeman office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Chad Klinkenborg

Southwest Manager

Bozeman, MT

Chad joined The Montana Land Reliance as Southwest Manager in January 2023 after 15 years of experience in land and wildlife conservation. He received a BS in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana in 2008. Prior to MLR, Chad worked for the Assoc. of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, and most recently, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust. He is passionate about protecting wild landscapes and working lands in Montana and has extensive experience creating collaborative partnerships and executing complex land transactions. When not pursuing impactful conservation work, Chad can be found roaming the abundance of public lands around Bozeman in pursuit of elk, trout, or that next glorious Montana sunset.

Chad can be reached at the Southwest Montana office or via email at [email protected].

Mark Schiltz

Western Manager

Bigfork, MT

Mark received his B.S. in Geology from Western Washington University. Mark’s background includes nearly 10 years in placer gold mining and exploration and 20 years managing his family farm in Bigfork.  He began working for MLR in 1999 as a land steward, monitoring more than 55 conservation easements in northwestern Montana.  Mark joined MLR full-time in 2008 to manage the western office in Bigfork. His responsibilities include public education and outreach, fundraising and assisting private landowners achieve their conservation goals.  In addition, his family, with the assistance of MLR, permanently protected two pieces of their property in Bigfork, including their tree farm, with conservation easements.

Mark can be reached at the Bigfork office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Will Peete

Conservation Project Specialist

Livingston, MT

Will joins MLR after 18 years in conservation, environmental, and real estate law related pursuits.  After spending almost every summer in Montana visiting his father’s family in Billings, Avon, Helena, and Bozeman, the state of Montana has always felt most like home.  Following stretches in 17 other states with The Nature Conservancy, Working Lands Trust, Piedmont Land Conservancy, EPA, Purple Land Management, Range Resources, and Massey Ferguson-AGCO, as well as volunteering for the Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Montana Freshwater Partners, Will is excited to be conserving working lands full-time again.  Will spent 2 years at Montana State University-Bozeman in Bio-Resources Engineering before transitioning to Natural Resources Policy and Forestry Management at NC State University, followed by a JD/MBA at Wake Forest University.  In his free time, he enjoys whitewater kayaking, skiing, hiking, hunting, and pretending to ranch in his gardens and tree farm.

Will can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Matt Bell

GIS Coordinator/Land Steward

Helena, MT

Before joining the team at MLR, Matt spent four years on Montana’s Amphibian and Reptile Inventory Crew, three years restoring aquatic habitats for the U.S. Forest Service on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, and six years adjudicating water rights with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. He joined MLR staff as GIS Coordinator / Land Steward, managing MLR’s geospatial data and web mapping services. In his spare time Matt is an education volunteer with Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks specializing in bat and amphibian programs. Matt has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.

Matt can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Becky Stearns

Bookkeeper

Becky is a lifelong Helena resident with the exception of the 3 years she lived in Florida with her husband.  She and her husband have one son in Helena and she has a stepson who lives out of state.  Before coming to The Montana Land Reliance, she worked at another local non-profit for over 9 years.  She joined the MLR team in 2002 as the bookkeeper in the Helena office.  She is currently responsible for many of financial duties including payroll, investment duties, and many other financial aspects of MLR along with clerical duties and other day-to-day operations.   She loves spending time traveling, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities with her husband, son, and other family and friends.  Becky can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected]

Bri Nottingham

Stewardship Coordinator

Helena, MT

Bri Nottingham joined the MLR team in 2020 as the Stewardship Coordinator. Bri grew up in Helena and learned the importance of the outdoors at an early age. She went to school in Colorado, moved to Austin, Texas, and then traveled through South America. She met her husband, returned back to Montana, and was introduced to fly fishing, another big passion. They have two young daughters, Everett and Scottie, and now more than ever, Bri wants to protect the land, fish, and wildlife in her state for generations to come.

Bri can be reached at the Helena office or via email at [email protected]

 

Tony Smith

Southwest Land Steward

Helena, MT

Tony joined MLR in 2023 as the Southwest Land Steward. He is the fourth generation of his family from the Helena area and is passionate about conserving Montana’s open spaces and working landscapes. Prior to MLR, Tony spent 17 years with the U.S. Forest Service. First, as a wildland firefighter, and the last 10 years working in range and invasive species management on the Helena and Townsend Ranger Districts. He graduated with an A.A.S. from Helena College in Fire & Rescue and a B.S. in Resource Conservation with a minor in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana.

In his spare time Tony can be found exploring Montana’s backcountry with his wife, Lyndsay, along with their multiple horses, mules, and dogs.

Tony can be reached at the Helena office or via email at [email protected]

 

Mark Szczypinski

Eastern Land Steward

Roundup, MT

Mark brings over 25 years of natural resource experience to MLR, having worked with private consulting firms, and multiple state and federal gov’t agencies.  He joined MLR in 2023 after working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) for 12 years, the majority of that time working on a sage-grouse research project near Roundup, MT.  He continues to volunteer with FWP monitoring prairie grouse and is a Bowhunter Education Instructor.  He is passionate about the outdoors and everything that can be found there.  In his spare time, Mark can be found outdoors hiking, hunting, fishing or simply relaxing. Mark has a B.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science from Penn State University.

Mark can be reached at (406)431-0416 or via email at [email protected]