skip to content
Primary navigation

LiDAR Research and Education Subcommittee:  Member Info

LiDAR Research and Education Subcommittee members are working to design and promote best practices with LiDAR data, LiDAR-derived products and LiDAR training statewide. The subcommittee is part of the Minnesota Digital Elevation Committee.

This webpage provides contact information followed by a brief biography for each member.

Subcommittee Member Contact Information

Name Organization Phone Email
Matt Baltes Natural Resources Conservation Service  (218) 681-6600 ext.112
Jennifer Corcoran Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (651) 642-0660
Les Everett University of Minnesota  (612) 625-6751
Michael Falkowski University of Minnesota  (218) 726-6410
Charles Fritz International Water Institute  (701) 388-0861
Ben Gosack Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (651) 259-5167
Tom Hollenhorst U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mid Continent Ecology Division - Duluth
 (218) 529-5220
John Jereczek Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (218) 834-1444
Steve Kloiber Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (651) 259-5164
Colin Lee Minnesota Department of Transportation  (651) 366-3433
Clinton Little Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (218) 834-1446
Tim Loesch Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (651) 259-5475
Molly Martin St. Louis County  (218) 725-5004
Grit May International Water Institute  (701) 231-5266
Rick Moore Minnesota State University Mankato  (507) 389-3267
Joel Nelson University of Minnesota  (612) 625-9235
Nancy Rader Minnesota Geospatial Information Office  (651) 201-2489
Mark Reineke WSN Engineering  (320) 335-5050
Chris Sanocki (vice chair) U.S. Geological Survey  (763) 783-3151
Gerry Sjerven Minnesota Power  (218) 355-3990
Aaron Spence Board of Water and Soil Resources  (651) 296-0660
Sean Vaughn (chair) Minnesota Department of Natural Resources  (763) 689-7100 x226
Barbara Weisman Minnesota Department of Agriculture  (651) 201-6631


Member Bios

  1. Matt Baltes is a regional GIS specialist with the USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He started with the USDA - Farm Service Agency in 2000 as a GIS Technician and has been with NRCS since 2004. Matt first started working with LiDAR around 2006. At NRCS he provides LiDAR-based products and tools for many types of uses including soil mapping, engineering practices, soil conservation planning, water retention and water quality planning. He is most interested in precision conservation efforts, utilizing LiDAR data, for appropriation of farm bill dollars. He received a B.S. in Geography with an Emphasis in Geographic Information Systems from Bemidji State University.
  2. Jennifer Corcoran is a Research Analyst Specialist in the Guideline Monitoring Program in the Division of Forestry at the Department of Natural Resources. Her research focuses on watershed scale analyses of forest disturbance patterns, identifying metrics that relate the assessing implementation and effectiveness of forest management practices to water quality, and mapping these relative risks at the watershed scale. From 2009-13 she was a PhD student working on Minnesota’s National Wetlands Inventory update project, and from 2013-14 she was a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow working on land cover change in the tropics, focusing on mangrove wetlands and forest canopy height. She received a B.A./B.S. from the Evergreen State College, with emphases in math, physics, and environmental science; an M.S. in Soil Science from the University of Minnesota, with emphases in biometeorology and GIS; and a PhD in Natural Resource Science and Management from the University of Minnesota, with emphases in Water Resource Science and Remote Sensing.
  3. Les Everett is an agronomist at the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. He works with UM Extension and state and federal agencies to design, fund, and manage education and on-farm research projects addressing water quality in agricultural areas. As a member of the State Digital Elevation Committee he presented the need for statewide LiDAR coverage to the State Legislature and currently manages a training project for local conservation staff on conservation applications of LiDAR. His B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, from Iowa State, Cornell, and the University of Minnesota, are in farm management and agronomy.
  4. Michael Falkowski is a research associate professor with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Forest Resources. He possesses over 15 years of combined experience in professional and academic settings employing remote sensing data and spatial information systems to support natural resource management. He has extensive experience integrating LiDAR data into forest inventory and monitoring projects.
  5. Charles (Chuck) Fritz has served as Director of the International Water Institute since 2000. He works with an international board of directors and local state and federal entities to develop and implement applied watershed research and Institute-sponsored watershed education initiatives in the Red River Basin. He is responsible for coordinating and implementing the $5.0-million Red River Basin Mapping Initiative to acquire Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) data across the U.S. portion of the Red River Basin. His primary professional interest is to develop decision support tools to aid local, regional, state, and national decision-making and empower watershed managers to implement sound, defendable, natural resource management solutions. Chuck holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Natural Resources Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries from North Dakota State University.
  6. Ben Gosack is a GIS Analyst working on the Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF) in the Stream Habitat Program at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He has a BS in Natural Resource Management and a Masters of GIS both from the University of Minnesota. Before transitioning to GIS, Ben worked in forestry as a State Forester in Washington and as an independent contractor conducting forest inventory throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Ben’s LiDAR experience includes work in forest measurements, hydrology, and solar analysis. In 2014, Ben worked to develop a statewide solar panel suitability analysis for MN. The project was developed into a web application which was awarded first place in the Esri Climate Resilience App Challenge (
  7. Tom Hollenhorst is an ecologist with the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development, Mid Continent Ecology Division, in Duluth. He has been applying GIS and remote sensing technologies to ecologic research since 1991. He’s particularly interested in utilizing high resolution elevation data for improved watershed delineations, better hydrologic models, and improved ecosystem assessments.
  8. John Jereczek
  9. Steve Kloiber is the wetland monitoring coordinator for the Minnesota DNR, where he oversees the update of the National Wetland Inventory for Minnesota as well as the wetland status and trends monitoring program. He has twenty years of experience in the water resources field with a special focus on geospatial analysis and environmental informatics. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota in environmental engineering and water resource science and his bachelors degree in chemistry and computer science from St. Olaf College.
  10. Colin Lee is a photogrammetrist at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. He received his undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He is currently a provisional certified photogrammetrist with the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. In his seven years with MnDOT he has worked with various types of remotely sensed data, including LiDAR. Colin has given presentations on his work in lidargrammetry and data fusion.
  11. Clinton Little is a Coastal Program specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR), Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program (MLSCP). In 1998, Clinton started as a GIS Support Specialist splitting his time between the MN DNR Division of Wildlife and MLSCP. In 2001, Clinton moved to the MLSCP full time to assist communities in applying GIS to Coastal Management and to implement the Section 309 portion of the MLSCP. During his time at MLSCP, Clinton has worked to coordinate data collection and distribution along Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. Working as technical staff under Dr. Ken Gilbertson, he taught GIS in Management for Recreation Professionals at University of Minnesota Duluth (2003 – 2005). Clinton has A.A.S in Forestry from Itasca Community College (ICC). While attending ICC, Clinton worked with students to establish the first ArcView class at ICC. After graduating, he served on an advisory council to improve GIS class offerings.
  12. Tim Loesch is the GIS Section manager at the Minnesota DNR that provides data, custom software, training and assistance to over 2,000 staff. A geographer by training, Tim received dual B.S. degrees in Geography and Geology from Bemidji State University in 1985 and an M.A. degree in Geography from the University of Oklahoma in 1988 with an emphasis on the use of Remote Sensing and GIS technology for hydrologic modeling. Tim’s work experience includes the Minnesota Land Management Information Center (now MnGeo), a private municipal engineering firm and the Minnesota DNR since 1994. Tim is the current co-chair of the Minnesota Digital Elevation Committee and the Project Manager for the State LiDAR Mapping project. He has been working with LiDAR-based elevation data since 2006.
  13. Molly Martin is a GIS Principal with the St. Louis County Planning and Community Development Department – Enterprise GIS Division. Her role centers around developing and maintaining web maps, geo-processing services, and LiDAR-derived products to support internal GIS staff workflows and public needs. From 2011-14 she was an image analyst with the MN DNR Division of Forestry’s Resource Assessment unit, creating LiDAR-derived products used in Minnesota’s National Wetlands Inventory update project. She received a B.S. in Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with an emphasis in GIS in 2005 and spent a few years as a forester prior to entering the Masters in GIS program at the University of MN, completed in 2011.
  14. Grit May is a project specialist at the International Water Institute in Fargo, ND. She is involved in the Red River Basin elevation mapping project where she processed LiDAR data to generate contour lines. Grit uses LiDAR data in spatial analysis, primarily for hydrologic and water quality applications. She also administers the mapping project website and recently co-organized two LiDAR data application workshops for resource management professionals. Grit holds an M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences and an M.S. degree in Analytical Chemistry from Schiller-University in Jena, Germany.
  15. Rick Moore is the GIS/Watershed Research Analyst at the Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University Mankato. He graduated from MSU Mankato in 2004 with an M.S. degree in Geography specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and has a BS degree in Geography from the University of Minnesota in 1994. In his seventh year with the Water Resources Center, he works on many GIS and civic engagement projects. In the last two years, the Water Resources Center has focused on terrain analysis using LiDAR and its application in targeting potential locations for agricultural conservation practices.
  16. Joel Nelson is a GIS specialist at the University of Minnesota, and manages activities in the Soil & Landscape Analysis Laboratory (SLAL) in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. Working with the SLAL and its director, Dr. Jay Bell, Joel has extensive experience in high resolution DEM applications, especially regarding the instruction and practical utilization of LiDAR derived elevation data. Joel has been a member of the State Digital Elevation Committee for several years and hopes to provide useful guidance in developing training and education strategies regarding LiDAR and allied technologies.
  17. Nancy Rader has been a GIS data coordinator at MnGeo since 1996. She helps maintain the Minnesota Geographic Data Clearinghouse, is a member of the Digital Elevation and Standards Committees, and chairs the Metadata Workgroup. She maintains MnGeo's webpages about Minnesota's elevation data, including metadata records and examples of how LiDAR data is being used. Her B.A. and M.A. degrees, from Dartmouth College and the University of Washington, are in geography.
  18. Mark Reineke is a geographer at WSN Engineering (formerly JOR Engineering). He has worked with LiDAR data for building hydrologic models within the Red River Valley, generating contours, XYZ files for preliminary surveys/project evaluations, field/drainage studies for private landowners and cartographic enhancements (utilizing ArcInfo (with Spatial and 3D), ArcHydro, Geo-HMS, Geo-RAS, LP360 and AutoCAD). In anticipation for proper processing of LiDAR, Mark started a culvert inventory for a client using survey quality GPS in 2005. He has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  19. Chris Sanocki is a geographer and district GIS specialist with USGS. He has authored or co-authored reports relating to watershed characteristics, flood frequency, groundwater, and surface water. Chris has presented locally and nationally on GIS Data and Application Management, Web-based Watershed and Flood Frequency Applications, Watershed Storage, Groundwater, Stream Slope, and USGS StreamStats. Current work involves the production of LIDAR-based flood inundation maps.
  20. Gerry Sjerven is a GIS specialist at Minnesota Power. He was a GIS specialist at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota - Duluth from 1996-2012. Prior to joining NRRI, Gerry worked with the Land Management Information Center (now MnGeo) for six years. He has served on the MnGeo Standards Committee for a number of years. He has been involved with the MN GIS/LIS Consortium since 1997, including serving as the conference chair in 2001. Gerry has worked to help coordinate the local efforts for the LiDAR acquisition in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.
  21. Aaron Spence is a GIS specialist with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. In 2000, he received a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota, with an emphasis in Soil and Water Conservation. Aaron worked for 5 years at the University of Minnesota managing a GIS production office that specialized in digitizing paper soil survey maps into orthorectified GIS products. Aaron joined the central BWSR office in 2006 where he provides the agency with map products, web services, and web map applications, and manages and maintains BWSR’s geospatial data. In addition to these duties Aaron also provides LiDAR support to BWSR staff and has utilized LiDAR to assist in a comprehensive wetland management plan for the City of International Falls.
  22. Sean Vaughn is a GIS hydrologist with the Minnesota DNR, Division of Ecological and Water Resources. Sean has been with the Minnesota DNR since 1989. For the last twelve years, he has been the lead GIS specialist and project manager for the DNR Watershed Delineation Project. Sean has many years of experience working with raster data, developing statewide GIS datasets, and creating hydrologically conditioned Digital Elevation Models for Minnesota. He is particularly interested in the development of statewide LiDAR-derived products for utilization in watershed delineation, hydrography identification, and hydrologic analysis.
  23. Barbara Weisman is a conservation policy specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has been at MDA since 1994 and recently has managed several Clean Water Fund projects related to agricultural water quality. One of these was a Precision Conservation Outreach Initiative to share recent advances in LiDAR-based terrain analysis with GIS users involved in locally led clean water restoration and protection efforts. Barbara has a B.A. in Cartography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Minnesota.

Return to MnGeo LiDAR Research and Education Subcommittee page


back to top