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Members and agencies

Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council

The GCC consists of the heads of all state agencies with some responsibility for groundwater management plus a Governor’s representative.

The state agencies include the Departments of Natural Resources (DNR); Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP); Health Services (DHS); Transportation (DOT); Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS); the University of Wisconsin System (UWS); and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS). The agency heads have appointed high–level administrators who have groundwater responsibilities to sit on the Council.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) – James Zellmer (Chair)

Jim Zellmer oversees the Drinking Water & Groundwater, Office of Great Waters and Water Quality programs in the Department's Environmental Management Division.

Jim has over 30 years of experience working both in Central Office and the Green Bay field office. Before becoming Deputy Division Administrator in May 2016, Jim served in a temporary assignment as Deputy Director of the Waste & Materials Management Program. He worked for 20 years in the Green Bay office as a Plan Review Engineer, Field Supervisor and an Integrator. Prior to that, Jim worked in Central Office in the Drinking Water & Groundwater Program.

Jim's education includes a B.S. in Water Resources from UW-Stevens Point and a Master's Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UW-Madison.

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) [exit DNR] – Robby Personette

Robby Personette is currently the Administrator for the Division of Agricultural Resource Management within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Robby most recently served as the Director of Agrichemical Management and has served in various roles at DATCP for nearly twenty years. These roles include Agrichemical Programs Section Manager, Field Supervisor, Environmental Enforcement Specialist and Pesticide Certification and Licensing Program Manager. Robby Personette has extensive experience in building relationships with stakeholder and federal entities, as well as guiding regulatory and field-based compliance areas.

Department of Health Services (DHS) [exit DNR] – Dr. Sheryl Bedno

Dr. Sheryl Bedno is the Chief Medical Officer/State Epidemiologist in the Department of Health Service’s Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health. She spent most of her public health career in the federal government. Dr. Bedno was most recently the senior occupational medicine consultant at the US Department of State and served over 20 years in the US Army. While in the Army, Dr. Bedno led large public health departments, providing clinical, industrial hygiene and environmental health services for the installations. She spent two years in Kenya establishing disease surveillance programs and was also deployed to Afghanistan where she worked on a variety of public health and occupational medicine programs. Dr. Bedno is board certified in both Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Public Health/General Preventive Medicine. She earned her medical degree and doctorate in public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her undergraduate degree in international studies at the Johns Hopkins University.

Department of Transportation (DOT) [exit DNR] – Barry Paye

Barry Paye, M.S., P.E., is the Director of the Bureau of Technical Service for the Wisconsin DOT. He oversees the environmental, materials, subsurface exploration and real estate programs for WisDOT, as well as several other programs. Barry has worked in various construction and technical support roles since starting with WisDOT in 2006. He has his BS and MS in Civil Engineering from UW-Madison, specializing in materials & construction management. Barry is a licensed Professional Engineer in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He has a passion for materials, and how the geology and minerology of the state plays a role in many of WisDOT’s environmental and construction activities.

University of Wisconsin System (UWS) [exit DNR] – Dr. Christy Remucal

Dr. Christy Remucal is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Interim Director of the University of Wisconsin Aquatic Sciences Center (UW-ASC). The UW-ASC is the home of two federal-state partnership programs, the UW Sea Grant Institute and the UW Water Resources Institute. Each institute supports multidisciplinary research, education and outreach for the protection and sustainable use of Wisconsin’s water resources and operates as strong regional and national networks. Remucal holds an MS (2004) and a PhD (2009) in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a BS (2003) in Environmental Engineering Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the fate and transformation of organic contaminants in aquatic systems.

Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS) [exit DNR] – Dr. Susan Swanson

Dr. Susan Swanson is the Wisconsin State Geologist and Director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey (WGNHS). The WGNHS conducts natural resources surveys and research to produce information used for decision-making, problem-solving, planning, management, development, and education. Swanson holds a M.S. and Ph.D. in hydrogeology and a M.S. in water resources management, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before becoming the WGNHS Director, she was a professor of geology and Weeks Chair in Physical and Human Geography at Beloit College. Earlier in her career, Swanson worked as an environmental consultant and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho. Swanson’s research and publications examine groundwater-surface water interactions, preferential groundwater flow through sedimentary bedrock aquifers, and the hydrogeology of springs. She is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and received the 2023 Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Section of the American Water Resources Association.

Department of Safety and Professional Services [exit DNR] – Bradley Johnson

Bradley Johnson, P.E., is the Director of the Bureau of Field Services for the Department of Safety and Professional Services where he is involved in evaluating, improving and implementing the business model and mission for the Bureau’s programs. He was previously the Section Chief for the POWTS, Fire Prevention Health & Safety and Stormwater programs. Prior to his current position with DSPS, Brad was employed by the Wisconsin DNR as a Waste Management Engineer and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce as a Section Chief. He also serves on the Waste Facility Siting Board and the Wisconsin PFAS Action Council.

Bradley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and is registered as a Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Governor’s Representative [exit DNR] – Steve Diercks

Steve Diercks is a third generation Wisconsin potato and vegetable grower, born and raised in Antigo. He has a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With son Andy, Steve owns and operates Coloma Farms, with over 2700 acres of potato and vegetable crops in central Wisconsin. Steve is an agricultural industry leader at the forefront of research on and development of sustainable agricultural practices. Coloma Farms has been at the center of numerous collaborative projects with UW scientists to evaluate sustainable farming practices. He is a member of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Board of Directors and serves on its Research Committee. Nationally, he has represented Wisconsin on the US Potato Board. “As the Governor’s Representative,” Diercks says, “I appreciate the opportunity to share examples of industry collaboration to achieve Wisconsin’s important groundwater management recommendations — and seek broad input from all concerned parties to determine potential solutions to groundwater issues.”