Our Staff

Our team is widespread throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and the US


Savanna Institute’s staff are committed to making agroforestry a widespread agricultural practice in the Midwest and beyond. They bring to the organization a wide range of experiences, expertise and educational backgrounds in agroforestry, regenerative agriculture, livestock grazing, ecology, tree crops, new market development and more.

Connect with a staff member about their work

Savanna Institute staff are based throughout the upper Midwest region with staffing hubs in Wisconsin and Illinois.


Organizational Leadership and Administration

Setting the vision for the organization and guiding its development.

Keefe Keeley
Executive Director

Kate Wersan
Senior Director, Partnerships, Outreach & Education

David Bruce
Director of Agroforestry Adoption

Kathleen Fitzgibbon
Operations Manager

Fred Iutzi
Director of Research and Commercialization

Alison Long
Director of Development

Fany Bortolin
Finance Director

Sam Purnell
Administrative Assistant


Agroforestry Adoption Department

Connect with advisors to develop plans for adopting agroforestry.

David Bruce
Director of Agroforestry Adoption

Kaitie Adams
Community Agroforester, Illinois

Sven Pihl
Technical Service Provider, Illinois

Barbara Decré
Community Agroforester, Wisconsin

Matt Wilson
Technical Service Provider, Wisconsin

Devon Brock-Montgomery
Water Quality Program Manager

Omar de Kok-Mercado
Agroforestry Technical Service Provider


Education, Outreach and Communication Department

Learn about apprenticeships, events, online courses, communication projects, and media contacts.

Kate Wersan
Senior Director, Partnerships, Outreach & Education

Kristy Gruley
Education Program Manager

Michele Manske
On-Farm Apprenticeship & Engagement Manager

Jacob Grace
Communications Project Manager

Renee Gasch
Communications Manager

Jenn Ripp
Education and Apprenticeships Coordinator

Erin Crooks Lynch
Spring Green Campus Engagement Manager

Heather Driscoll
Event Coordinator


Research Department

Sharing ground-breaking research into agroforestry best practices.

Fred Iutzi
Director of Research & Commercialization

Kevin Wolz
Lead Scientist

Scott Brainard
Tree Crop Breeder

Monika Shea
Landscape Ecologist

Eliza Greenman
Germplasm Specialist

Nate Lawrence
Ecosystem Scientist

Xinyuan Shi
Research Fellow


Commercialization Department

Working across the value-chain to scale up agroforestry in the Midwest.

Fred Iutzi
Director of Research & Commercialization

Bill Davison
Tree Crop Commercialization Lead

PJ Connolly
Business Analyst


Spring Green Campus

Landscape-scale agroforestry demonstration, education, and research center based in Southern Wisconsin.

David Bruce
Director of Agroforestry Adoption

Erik Hagan
Home Farm Director

Dave Hopey
Field Operations Manager

Deep-rooted long-lived tree crops improve the soil, help retain water, improve biodiversity, sequester carbon, and mitigate the effects of floods. Tree crops help us heal our climate, regenerate our communities, and share stories and values across generations. It is time to transform American agriculture through tree crops.

“I trust Savanna Institute to be careful stewards of land that’s important to me and my family, and to develop and spread farming practices that will increase biodiversity and fight climate change.”


                                                                  – Jack L.