T.J. DeBates, Area Supervisor
T.J. came back to the metro area after a brief stint as the Fisheries Area Supervisor in Waterville, Minnesota. A native of Stewartville, MN., T.J. has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska (Go Huskers!) and a masters degree from South Dakota State University. Mr. Debates started his career as a fisheries specialist in the West Metro Fisheries office, then moved to the FiN program in East Metro Fisheries before being promoted to the Area Supervisor position in Waterville.
Jim Levitt, Assistant Area Supervisor
Jim Levitt moved from the lead worker position for the Fishing in the Neighborhood Program to be the assistant supervisor for the East Metro Fisheries office. Jim has been an avid fisherman and outdoor enthusiast all his life and enjoys spending time fishing local lakes, hiking, camping and photographing nature. A native of Michigan, Jim has a bachelors degree from Lake Superior State University and a masters degree from the University of Minnesota.
Donn Schrader, Hatchery Supervisor
Donn started with the DNR as a creel clerk. He has worked as a field technician in the metro area and as a hatchery technician in Lanesboro, MN before being appointed hatchery supervisor at the St. Paul Hatchery. Donn's duties include overseeing the hatching and distribution of Walleye fry, the hatching and rearing of Muskellunge and Hybrid Muskellunge. In addition to his hatchery duties, Donn is responsible for the preparation and operation of the state fair fish exhibit, one of the most popular exhibits at the annual event. Donn has a fisheries degree from the University of Minnesota.
Joel Stiras, Fisheries Specialist
Joel grew up in Brooklyn Park and obtained a degree from Bemidji State University. While in college, Joel worked as an intern at the fisheries office in Walker, MN. After graduation, Joel gained fisheries management experience in Florida, Indiana and North Carolina before returning to Minnesota as a member of the Central Region Aquatic Plant Management staff. Joel currently is responsible for monitoring the fish populations of the area's major rivers.
Tim Ohman, Fisheries Specialist
Tim is the lead worker in the Fishing in the Neighborhood program in the East Metro Fisheries area. A Marine veteran, Tim grew up in Wyoming, MN, and has been fascinated by fish and fishing his whole life. A 2002 graduate of Texas A & M University, Tim began his DNR career as a temporary employee in the Bemidji office assisting in the large lake program on Cass Lake and Upper Red Lake. Prior to transferring to the East Metro FiN staff, Tim worked in the Central Region Aquatic Plant Management program.
Will French, Fisheries Specialist
Will is an East Metro Fisheries Specialist and also spent a year as an Invasive Carp specialist in the same office. He is currently on a temporary assignement with the DNR Fisheries Research Unit working on a project A native of Madison, WI, Will received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree from South Dakota State University, and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. Will is an avid outdoorsman, and particularly enjoys turkey and waterfowl hunting, and fishing for panfish and Walleye in local lakes and rivers.
John Waters, Fisheries Specialist
John leads and coordinates the field work for monitoring invasive carp for the state of Minnesota. He is frequently found working on the Mississippi or St. Croix River looking for the presence of Bighead, Silver, or Grass Carp. In his free time he enjoys spending time outdoors and hunting.
Ben Larson, Fisheries Specialist
Ben Larson grew up in “god’s country”, Grand Marais, MN. He went to school at Bemidji State University where he obtained a BS degree in Aquatic Biology with an emphasis in Fisheries Biology. During his studies he spent 4 summers commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, Alaska. He also had an internship and was a laborer out of the Grand Marais Area office. Ben enjoys spending time in Grand Marais hunting, trapping, and fishing.