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Walt Breitinger began his career as an environmental activist while studying biology at Valparaiso University in the mid 1960’s. While “thinking globally,” Breitinger began to “act locally” by playing a key role in Eco-Vote and Save the Dunes Council in the 1970’s; Duneland Recycling and People Against Hazardous Landfill Sites in the 1980’s; Duneland Sierra Club, Shirley Heinz Environmental Fund and Lakes Area Concerned Citizens in the 1990’s and by inspiring youth through coaching Valparaiso Science Olympiad teams and the Earth Awareness Club. Nationally known for his demonstrations of alternative fuels, Breitinger now serves on the board of the South Shore Clean Cities program. His family’s low-impact lifestyle has been featured in multiple news articles and inspired many to reduce consumption and pollution while increasing their commitment to health, education, and the environment. In 2003, Breitinger received the Indiana DNR Honorable Mention for Conservationist of the Year and in ’04 and ’06 the South Shore Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Champion Award. Breitinger has served as president of the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group, Inc. for the past 10 years and as a founding member of the Friends of Silver Lake. He currently sits on the board of the Mayor’s Pathway Committee, the Energy Task Force, Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy, the Advisory Board of the Shirley Heinz Environmental Land Trust, serves as board member and V.P. of the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District, is an active member of the Indiana Lakes Management Society and newly appointed council member of Hoosier Environmental Council. Breitinger’s national and international activities include rainforest preservation in Central America and lobbying for energy conservation initiatives. Breitinger’s work-day occupation focuses on brokering, teaching and speculating in currencies, grains, metals, and other natural resources as President of Breitinger & Sons, Commodity Futures Brokers. He lives with his highly supportive & tolerant wife, Cynthia, and has raised three sons in a non-air-conditioned historic home in downtown Valparaiso.
Jim Rowe, Vice President
Owner/manager of Rowe-Ling Nursery located on West Long Lake Road, Jim is an avid canoeist, kayaker, mushroom hunter, and lake and river conservationist. Jim’s knowledge of trees, mammals, and aquatic life, along with his willingness to speak out against environmental infractions have been invaluable to our group’s success.
Jim, along with his family, serves as an excellent example of practicing what he preaches – instead of just complaining or waiting for others to help, collecting trash thrown into waterways and along roads. Jim’s late father, Phil Rowe, served on our board for over ten years and was the inspiration for our Treasured Chain of Lakes Book.
Warren Webb, Treasurer
Warren owns and operates Will Webb Associates, Inc., a manufacturer of process automation for steel mills and alsoWebbfoot Land Management, LLC, which provides vegetative restoration projects in wetlands, woodlands, and prairies in Northwest Indiana. Warren holds a BS degree in botany from Purdue University.
A lifelong resident of our Long Lake, Warren enjoys duck hunting and fishing with his son, Larkin and labrador,Mady. Warren has served on the board of the North American Waterfowl Conservation Act for the Kankakee River Drainage for over 10 years while acting as our trusted bookkeeper and treasurer.
Warren’s Dad, Will, served as the president of the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group in the early 1990’s prior to our incorporation.
Susan Swarner, Secretary
Susan Swarner is currently a graduate student in the MED I.L. program for art education at Valparaiso University. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. Her hobbies include nature photography and working on her mom's nature preserves. She has been the secretary of the Valpo Chain of Lakes Watershed Group for two years. She grew up on Long Lake and lives there presently.
Susan’s creativity has been greatly appreciated as she has volunteered at multiple events to provide children’s face painting.
Her photography will be featured on an up-coming Valpo Chain of Lakes calendar. Susan resides on the south side of Loomis Lake.
Porter County Liason:
Kevin Breitzke, Porter County Surveyor
Kevin Breitzke has been a life-long resident of Valparaiso. A graduate of the VU School of Engineering, Kevin is a licensed professional engineer and surveyor and has worked in the field for over 25 years. He is one of the founding directors of the Northwest Territory Resource Conservation District and is Co-Chair of the Environmental Management Policy Committee of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, of which he is a commissioner. Kevin is also an officer of the Kankakee River Basin Commission. He has served as Porter County Surveyor since 1997. During weekends, Kevin coaches soccer and teaches Sunday school.