Staff

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

Lois Delger-DeMars

Managing Director

Helena, MT

After working for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation for ten years, Lois joined the MLR staff in 1985. Over the course of time, Lois has preformed a variety of functions dealing with the financial accounting and project related activities of MLR. Currently, her job includes supervising all administrative functions (i.e., clerical, financial accounting, day-to-day operations, etc.) and managing easement projects (i.e., drafting easement documents, working with landowners, legal counsel, county planning boards, etc., to obtain information and negotiate easement language, tracking project activities, final completion of easements, etc.)

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

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]

Christian Dietrich

General Counsel

Helena, MT

Before coming to MLR, Christian worked at a small law firm in Helena for five years, where he specialized in conservation and nonprofit law and counted MLR among his favorite clients.  He grew up in Missoula and graduated from Yale University and the University of Montana School of Law.  After law school, he worked in private practice and as a law clerk for Montana Supreme Court Justices W. William Leaphart and Beth Baker.   Christian is the co-author of Conservation Easements (American Bar Association, 2011), speaks frequently on conservation easements for continuing education programs, and serves on the national Conservation Defense Advisory Council.  He is married to his law school sweetheart, Michelle, and enjoys hiking to backcountry hot springs in any and all weather conditions.

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

Will Trimbath

Lands Manager

Helena, MT

Will joined the Montana Land Reliance as Lands Manager 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]

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]

Kim Cook

Administrative Assistant

Kim started with The Montana Land Reliance in March of 2006 and is the administrative assistant for the Helena office.  Kim was raised in Montana until she was 16 then moved to South Dakota.  Kim graduated from Gregory High School in 1990 in Gregory, South Dakota and attended college at Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City, South Dakota, with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration.  Kim moved back to Montana in 2001.  Kim is married and has four daughters and four grandchildren.  Kim enjoys camping, shopping for antiques, and spending time with her family.  Kim can be reached at the Helena office or via e-mail at [email protected].

Jessie Wiese

Southwest Manager

Big Sky, MT

Originally from rural North Dakota, Jessie has spent the last 16 years in the great state of Montana. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Biology from Montana State University with an emphasis on soil science and plant ecology. She has worked in the science and non-profit conservation communities for the last 9 years, most recently with the Big Sky Institute and as Director of the Big Sky Community Organization. Jessie is thrilled to be working with MLR in southwest Montana to assist private landowners with achieving their conservation goals. Jessie enjoys hiking, skiing, biking, camping and long river trips.

Jessie can be reached at the Big Sky office or via e-mail 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]

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]

Katie Stokes

Development Manager

Helena, MT

Katie joins MLR as the new Development Manager. Prior to MLR, she worked for over 15 years in marketing and development, 10 of those years within the non-profit sector, most recently with the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Katie holds a B.A. in Wildland Interpretation with an emphasis in Biology which she received from the University of Montana Western. In her spare time, Katie enjoys spending as much time as possible exploring Montana’s wide open spaces.

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

 

Bri Nottingham

Stewardship Coordinator

Helena, MT

Bri Nottingham joined  the MLR team as our new 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 a young daughter, Everett, 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]