Idaho Rivers United has an active volunteer board of directors that works closely with the organization's staff to preserve and restore the state's rivers. Board members help protect rivers by serving as fund-raisers, watchdogs, advocates, organizers and public opinion leaders. They also establish policies and positions for the organization.
The board recruits new board members who can represent membership from different parts of Idaho. Our board members hail from all corners of the state.
Idaho Rivers United Board of Directors 2016
John Wells, President
John and his wife Pam have been residents of the Wood River Valley since 1975. John’s working life has been spent owning and running hospitality and resort property management businesses. His love affair with, and concern for, rivers began with an introduction to fly fishing in the 1970s, evolved to floating rivers for fishing and came to full fruit with an exposure to whitewater and the Middle Fork of the Salmon in the 1980s. Now John is most likely to be found with a paddle, oar, fly rod or shotgun in hand on any number of Idaho’s rivers both near and far.
John has been a member of IRU since 1992, after serendipitously ending up on a Selway River trip with IRU’s first executive director, Wendy Wilson. Past non-profit experience includes presidencies of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber of Commerce. He is also a past chair of the Idaho Travel Council. A native of Illinois, he came onto the IRU Board in July 2010.
LuVerne Grussing, Vice President
LuVerne Grussing has worked and played on Idaho rivers for over 30 years. He spent nearly his entire professional career managing public use of the Lower Salmon River for the Bureau of Land Management. LuVerne served as national president of the River Management Society for 12 years, and is currently on the Board of Directors for Idaho Rivers United. LuVerne is an avid salmon and steelhead fisherman, and a peripatetic boater of Idaho rivers. He lives on the Clearwater River near Juliaetta, contemplating the lessons and stories told by the river as it passes by.
Pete DeLuca, Vice President
Pete DeLuca grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he spent his early years fishing, hunting and enjoying the clear, free-running rivers. After high school, college the Air Force and law school, he settled in Oregon. There, Pete continued to enjoy fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead. After 30 years in Oregon working as Assistant Attorney General and, later, as an agency leader, Pete retired. He and his wife, Jean, moved back to Idaho and settled in Boise in 2005.
In 2010 Pete joined the IRU Board of Directors. In addition to his IRU activities, Pete also serves on the boards of Trout Unlimited and The North Umpqua Foundation. He and Jean split their time between Boise and their home in the Wood River Valley where Pete continues to fish whenever he can.
Andy Munter, Treasurer
Andy is a 30 year resident of the Wood River Valley and has owned Backwoods Mountain Sports in Ketchum since 1983. He is a Duluth, Minnesota native and started his advocacy habit promoting wilderness designation in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the mid 70's. Andy has served on the board of IRU since 1999. Now he can often be found running Idaho's rivers from the Owyhee to the Selway in his kayak or raft and never tires of promoting wild rivers and wild salmon recovery.
Buck Drew, Secretary
Buck Drew recently sold his Ketchum dental practice affording him even more time in the outdoors. He sees it as a true blessing to live in Idaho with all the incredible beauty its mountains, rivers, and forests offer. Buck believes that, if a region gains value for its unique resources, then Idaho has some of the most desired land and water on the planet. This is why he works hard to protect Idaho's river resources. Buck believes every Idahoan should be committed in some way to protecting their Idaho turf.
Tom Stuart has been an IRU member since 1991, and served as IRU Board President from 1994-2000. He retired in 1997 from the U.S. Air Force and the Idaho Air National Guard as an aviator, flight instructor, and Human Resources officer. For many years, he owned and operated a rental cabin business on the banks of the Salmon River in Stanley.
Tom is a lifelong fisherman, dedicated to protecting rivers that remain healthy, and restoring rivers and fisheries that have been damaged, particularly Idaho's Salmon River. He has worked on salmon and steelhead recovery since 1990 in local, state, regional, and national venues, and actively continues that work for IRU today. His home is in Boise, although summer months find him in Stanley and McCall much of the time with family.
Ken Anderson retired as principal from Boise High School in spring 2011. A native of New Jersey, he moved with his wife to Pocatello to pursue a master’s degree in archaeology. In 1980, he completed his teaching certification, taught social studies and coached three sports at Alameda Junior High. In 1984, he completed his administrative certificate and became the assistant principal of Highland High School. Four years later he accepted the position of assistant principal of Boise High and served in that capacity for ten years until being hired as principal in 1998. After 23 years at Boise High he is content to be retired and pursuing other interests.
Ken and his family have always enjoyed the Idaho wilderness by running rivers, mountain biking, hiking and skiing. He feels fortunate to live in Idaho and to participate as an IRU board member, and he is grateful for the opportunity to work to restore and maintain high water quality and protect Idaho's free flowing rivers for generations to come.
Cherie was born and raised in Lewiston, Idaho and is an avid angler and hunter. Her passion for catching salmon and steelhead is surpassed only by her love of fly fishing. Cherie is a past-president of the Idaho Wildlife Federation and past vice-president of the Idaho Sportsman’s Caucus Advisory Council. She’s been actively involved in advocating for wild salmon protection throughout the region, and has testified before several state legislative and congressional committees on wildlife issues of concern to Idahoans.
Cherie has sustained a successful real estate career of 34 years and has been licensed in four states. She has achieved many real estate designations and received many production awards. For the year 2010 she was awarded the Realtor of the Year for the Ada County Association of Realtors. She has volunteered in many different capacities, serving the real estate industry at the local and state levels. In her spare time, Cherie enjoys horseback riding, golf, music, gardening and rafting.
For more than 30 years Steve Jones has been testing the surging currents of the Salmon, Snake, Lochsa and other well-known rivers throughout Idaho and around the West. In 1984 he co-founded Cascade Raft Company and began guiding on Idaho’s Payette River.
In the late-1980s Steve joined the effort to stop dams on the north and south forks of the Payette. That work with IRU’s predecessor, Friends of the Payette, was the catalyst for Steve’s ongoing work to protect and restore the rivers of Idaho. In the early 1990s, Steve served on the founding board of Idaho Rivers United.
Steve sold Cascade Raft Company in 1997 and moved to McCall to work in real estate. There, he raised two stepsons and continues to enjoy rivers, working part time as a guide, promoting Nordic skiing and finding his way onto private river trips any time he can.
“Rivers are what created a path for me,” he says. “Rivers took me from ski bum to river guide to businessman. Rivers taught me how to take care of people, to make sure they are safe and how to manage employees. That is why I want to give back to the rivers with my place on the board of Idaho Rivers United.”
Roger Rankin, Ph.D.
Roger is a professor emeritus at Idaho State University in Pocatello. According to Roger, “Idaho is blessed with free flowing rivers, wilderness, and fish; future generations have the right to enjoy them in a pristine state, and Idaho Rivers United is the vehicle to promote and insure this happens.”
Philip is an accomplished attorney who is founder and owner of Gordon Law Offices, a small Boise law firm with a highly eclectic and diverse mix of cases. He also teaches law at the Concordia University School of Law in Boise.
A graduate of Williams College and the University of Idaho College of Law, Philip is a 1976-1977 recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship and attended the "Diploma in Graduate Legal Studies" program at the University of Stockholm in Sweden. He capped his Fulbright year by penning a dissertation on the Swedish land use doctrine known as "Allemansratt," which gives the public the right to make non-injurious recreational use of most private land.
After returning to Idaho, Philip practiced in the small towns of Council and McCall for 10 years and moved to Boise in 1987. One thread running through his 34 years of practice has been criminal defense. Since 1989, Philip has had a very extensive class action case load. He has been liaison counsel on virtually every major securities fraud case brought in his district, as well as numerous products, employment and other class action cases, including a number of successful class cases brought in the state courts.
Phil enjoys alpine skiing and is a former member of the National Ski Patrol. He also enjoys whitewater rafting and is formerly licensed by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board as a whitewater guide on the Snake, Salmon and Payette rivers.
Jerry Lee is the Principal/COO of TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering in Moscow. Terra Graphics specializes in Civil Engineering, Environmental Services, Consultation, natural systems assistance (watersheds stormwater, wetlands mitigation and restoration) and mine reclamation. Jerry is a big fan of Idaho's rivers, particularly the Clearwater River system.
Kristin Bierle is the founder and executive director of the Alzar School in Cascade. Kristin grew up reciting Shakespeare while rappelling into caves and has sought to integrate academics, outdoor adventure, and cultural exchange ever since. Born and raised in North Carolina, Kristin began working out west on rivers during high school and eventually moved west for college. Kristin is an International Baccalaureate graduate, earned her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Economics, Education, and Spanish) and her Masters in Business Administration from Boise State University. Kristin was selected as the outstanding student of her graduating MBA class. She is a certified Wilderness First Responder, Swiftwater Rescue Technician (Advanced), ACA Whitewater Kayak Instructor Trainer, and Leave No Trace Master Educator.
Danielle is an Aveda Salon wwner and Realtor in Boise. She was raised in Aveda salons from the age of 4 and, as a national educator for Aveda, her mother helped instill a sense of environmental and social accountability. She runs community minded neighborhood salon with an emphasis on environmental stewardship.
Susan Troppmann has been practicing law in state and federal courts in Washington and Idaho for over 17 years. Her practice emphasizes employment and commercial litigation, including discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage claims, as well as non-competition/trade secret and contract disputes. She is a recognized expert in these areas and frequently speaks at legal seminars.
Susan’s practice includes representation of both employers and employees. She has successfully pursued and defended hundreds of claims for individual clients, private companies and public entities, including trials, hearings and arbitrations. She provides cost-effective and personal representation for individuals and businesses.
Susan is a member of the Spokane County, Washington and Idaho Bar Associations, and the Washington State Association for Justice (WSJA). She is a past president of the Spokane County Bar Association (SCBA), a co-founder of the SCBA Diversity Section, and serves on the WSAJ Diversity Committee. Susan received her law degree with high honors from Gonzaga Law School, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Denver, and graduated with honors from Bowdoin College.
Shirley Ringo is a former Democratic member of the Idaho House of Representatives, representing District 5B from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2014, serving a total of seven terms in the Idaho Legislature. Shirley was also a Democratic candidate seeking election to the U.S. House to represent the 1st Congressional District of Idaho, winning the Democratic primary on May 20, 2014.
Prior to her political life, Shirley was High School Math teaching, holding several leadership positions in the local, state, and national teachers’ associations. She chaired the Latah County Democrats for a number of years and is a board member of the Latah County AARP, and of the Disability Action Center.
John Heimer, Boise
John Heimer has lived and worked on the rivers of Idaho all his adult life. As a youngster growing up on a farm in Kansas his dream was to get to the mountains. He realized that dream by moving to Moscow, Idaho to attend the University of Idaho when 19 years old. He received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Idaho and immediately went to work as a fisheries biologist for the Idaho Fish and Game Department.
He spent 33 years with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as a fisheries biologist working in all areas of the state and retired in 1998. His duties have included water quality maintenance as a result of land management activities such as timber harvesting, mining and agricultural practices. He has been involved in hydropower licensing and many, many other river issues. John has lived and worked in all parts of Idaho.
In 1998 John started Boise River Tours, a nature rafting company operating on the Boise River in the west Boise- Eagle area. Subsequently, he sold the business in 2004 and now enjoys doing multiday rafting trips in Idaho's wilderness rivers.
Tom Kovalicky, Grangeville
Tom graduated from the University of Montana with a BS in Forestry, Wildlife Habitat Management and Range Resources (1961). He spent two years in the US Army, 9th Infantry Division and was a smokejumper with USFS, stationed in Missoula, Montana beginning in 1961. Tom spent 32 years with USFS retiring as Forest Supervisor. His career with the USFS brought him to National Forests all over Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, accumulating awards and honors for his hard work throughout. Tom has traipsed the globe over in his travels including but not limited to Russia, Siberia, Belize, China, the Arctic Circle, Mexico, SE Asia, Canada, Japan, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. In addition to serving on the Idaho Rivers United board of directors, he also spent four years on the board of the Idaho Outfitter and Guides Licensing Board, the University of Idaho Quest for Excellence, Board of the School of Forestry and Wildlife, and the National Smokejumpers Association. In 2006, Tom received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Montana, College of Forestry. Tom has a son and two grandkids and spends his retirement between Grangeville and Stanley.