News & UpdatesRecent updates from America’s Watershed Initiative.
SEPT. 26, 2022
Contact: Kim Lutz, Executive Director, America’s Watershed Initiative
America’s Watershed Initiative: Building on “All of Mississippi” Momentum
Rainy Shorey, Caterpillar Supply Chain Expert and Organizational Manager, to Serve as New Chairman of AWI
ST. LOUIS – Sept. 26—Rainy Shorey, a 16-year veteran of Caterpillar, Inc., with “lean master black belt” experience in organizational management and a strong supply chain background, was elected this week as chairperson of America’s Watershed Initiative, a non-profit based in St. Louis and serving as a voice of the Mississippi River and its basins.
America’s Watershed Initiative hosted its board of directors and partners at the Missouri Botanical Gardens on Monday evening, followed by an AWI annual meeting Tuesday at the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, East Alton, Ill. where Shorey took the helm.
Dan Mecklenborg of Ingram Barge will continue in his role as board president and Larry Weber of the University of Iowa engineering school will become board chairman emeritus.
“I am excited to join AWI as board chair at this remarkable time for the watershed, and to lead AWI to be the trusted voice and partner for all of the Mississippi River basins, from the Appalachians to the Rockies and from the North Woods to the Gulf Coast.”
The slate of new AWI officers includes:
Board President: Dan Mecklenborg, Ingram Barge (Ret.), Nashville, TN
Board Chair: Rainy Shorey, Caterpillar, Peoria, IL
Vice Chair: Kristen Wallace, Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, Minneapolis MN
Treasurer: Charlie Hess, Brown and Root, New Orleans, LA
Secretary: Rachel Orf, National Corn Growers Association, St. Louis, MO
AWI’s Officers serve two-year terms and Shorey will begin her next two years of AWI service as chair.
“We are a vibrant organization building on the momentum set forth by Larry Weber, our most recent chair from University of Iowa,” said Kim Lutz, executive director. “I am so pleased to have Rainy, a woman with 10 years of experience in our organization, take the reins and move AWI forward to help us serve the entire watershed.”
AWI’s Board of Directors is well-positioned to help its many partners address their needs— whether it’s by helping advance forward-looking infrastructure improvements or supporting the development and dissemination of critical data that measures the watershed’s economic and environmental health and its drivers throughout all its subbasins, added Lutz.
Rainy Shorey joined Caterpillar in 2007 and spent the first half of her career there as an Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Professional and Manager in Central Illinois. After serving seven years overseas as a Project Manager and New Products Implementation Manager in Poland and Japan, Rainy returned to Illinois in 2020 to her current role as a Lean Master Black Belt. Prior to joining Caterpillar, Rainy worked as a Professor of Natural Sciences at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan and Illinois Central College in Peoria, Illinois.
She has extensive laboratory and field research experience, including international projects based in remote locations such as Kenya and the North Slope of Alaska. Rainy holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from Alma College. She completed both her master’s and dual Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University in the areas of Fisheries and Wildlife Management; and Ecology, Evolution and Behavioral Biology.
Outgoing AWI Chairman Larry Weber is the director of the University of Iowa’s IIHR – Hydroscience & Engineering unit, he also co-founded the Iowa Flood Center, an academic center devoted solely to flood-related research and education helping Iowans prepare more effectively for flood events. Larry will continue to serve on AWI’s board of Directors.
Dan Mecklenborg will continue to serve as the AWI board’s president. A founding member of the AWI board and one of the organization’s earliest and strongest advocates, Mecklenborg most recently served as its chair from 2019-21. Dan Recently retired as senior vice-president and chief legal officer of Nashville-based Ingram Barge Company, which transports commodities throughout the nation’s inland waterways.
America’s Watershed Initiative (AWI) is a collaborative organization working with hundreds of businesses, government, academic, and civic organizations to find solutions for the challenges of managing the Mississippi River— and the more than 250 rivers that flow into it— to ensure America’s watershed remains viable for future generations. Learn more at AmericasWatershed.org.