Walt Breitinger began his career as an environmental activist while studying biology at Valparaiso University in the mid 1960’s. While “thinking globally,” Breitinger began to “act locally” by playing a key role in Eco-Vote and Save the Dunes Council in the 1970’s; Duneland Recycling and People Against Hazardous Landfill Sites in the 1980’s; Duneland Sierra Club, Shirley Heinz Environmental Fund and Lakes Area Concerned Citizens in the 1990’s and by inspiring youth through coaching Valparaiso Science Olympiad teams and the Earth Awareness Club.
Nationally known for his demonstrations of alternative fuels, Breitinger also served on the board of the South Shore Clean Cities program. His family’s low-impact lifestyle has been featured in multiple news articles and inspired many to reduce consumption and pollution while increasing their commitment to health, education, and the environment. In 2003, Breitinger received the Indiana DNR Honorable Mention for Conservationist of the Year and in ’04 and ’06 the South Shore Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Champion Award. Breitinger has served as president of the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group, Inc. for the past 17 years and as a founding member of the Friends of Silver Lake. He currently sits on the board of the Mayor’s Pathway Committee, the Energy Task Force, Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy, the Advisory Board of the Shirley Heinz Environmental Land Trust, serves as board member and V.P. of the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District, is an active member of the Indiana Lakes Management Society and newly appointed council member of Hoosier Environmental Council, and is a John Muir Member of the Sierra Club.
Breitinger’s national and international activities include rainforest preservation in Central America and lobbying for energy conservation initiatives. In 2018, Breitinger received the Izaak Walton League of America’s Hall of Fame award and was honored in congressional record by Congressman Pete Visclosky. Under Breitinger’s leadership, the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group received the Outstanding Lake Association award from the Indiana Lakes Management Society in 2019.
Breitinger’s work-day occupation focuses on brokering, teaching and speculating in currencies, grains, metals, and other natural resources as President of Breitinger & Sons, Commodity Futures Brokers. He lives with his highly supportive & tolerant wife, Cynthia, and has raised three sons in a non-air-conditioned historic home in downtown Valparaiso.
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Rich Herr has been a Porter County resident for over 40 years. He attended Valparaiso Technical Institute and graduated with a degree in Electronics. In the 1970’s, Rich served in the US Air Force. In recent years, Rich as been a key member of Save Silver Lake Committee and was the Northwest Indiana representative of the Green Party.
Rich is respected and credited with installing the first major residential solar panel system in Valparaiso. His alternative energy commitment has identified him as our communities’ best example of energy conservation giving Rich the reputation of practice what you preach.
Serving as Treasurer of The Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy, Rich has a dedicated interest in the environment. For over a decade, he has been with the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group and currently serves as Vice President.
Warren Webb owns and operates Will Webb Associates, Inc., a manufacturer of process automation for steel mills and also Webbfoot Land Management, LLC, which provides vegetative restoration projects in wetlands, woodlands, and prairies in Northwest Indiana. Warren holds a BS degree in botany from Purdue University.
A lifelong resident of our Long Lake, Warren enjoys duck hunting and fishing with his son, Larkin and Labrador, Mady. Warren has served on the board of the North American Waterfowl Conservation Act for the Kankakee River Drainage for over 10 years while acting as our trusted bookkeeper and treasurer.
Warren’s Dad, Will, served as the president of the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed Group in the early 1990’s prior to our incorporation.
Susan Swarner is currently a graduate student in the MED I.L. program for art education at Valparaiso University. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Butler University in Indianapolis. Her hobbies include nature photography and working on her mom’s nature preserves. She has been the secretary of the Valpo Chain of Lakes Watershed Group for two years. She grew up on Long Lake and lives there presently.
Susan’s creativity has been greatly appreciated as she has volunteered at multiple events to provide children’s face painting.
Her photography will be featured on an up-coming Valpo Chain of Lakes calendar. Susan resides on the south side of Loomis Lake.
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Porter County Liaison
Kevin Breitzke has been a life-long resident of Valparaiso. A graduate of the VU School of Engineering, Kevin is a licensed professional engineer and surveyor and has worked in the field for over 25 years. He is one of the founding directors of the Northwest Territory Resource Conservation District and is Co-Chair of the Environmental Management Policy Committee of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, of which he is a commissioner. Kevin is also an officer of the Kankakee River Basin Commission. He has served as Porter County Surveyor since 1997. During weekends, Kevin coaches soccer and teaches Sunday school.