14006 Discovery Lane • Manitowish Waters, WI 54545 • 877-543-2085

2017/18 Board of Directors

Karen Dixon - Chair

Karen was elected to the Discovery Center board in July of 2013 and served as Secretary before being elected as Board Chair in 2015 until present. She was raised in Oconomowoc, WI and attended UW-Whitewater where she received a B.S. and M.S. in Communicative Disorders.  Karen worked for the Janesville Public Schools as a Speech and Language Pathologist for 40 years. She is married to Mike and has a son Morgan. Her interests include history, nature, outdoor activities, reading, painting and music. She grew up surrounded by lakes in Waukesha County and has always loved being near water. Karen served as president of the Manitowish Waters Lakes Association for 10 years, stepping down in 2016.

She was also on the Manitowish Waters Alliance board for 10 years, served as Chair of the Janesville Board of Appeals, was Board President of the Janesville Community Day Care Center, and an active member of the Janesville Education Association. Karen and her husband hope to make the Northwoods their permanent residence and to stay involved in the Discovery Center for many years to come.

Jim Reichert - Vice Chair
  • Insurance Executive, Chief Operating Officer
  • Board Member, Manitowish Chain Defense Fund
  • President, Manitowish Waters Alliance
Eric Koster - Secretary
  • Retired Vocational Counselor, Wisconsin Technical College Gateway District
  • Member; Winchester Lions Club
  • Past President, Hiawatha Lake Association
  • Manitowish Waters Community Presbyterian Church Session Member
Brent Jelinski - North Lakeland School Liaison
  • District Administrator, North Lakeland School District
  • Lifelong Northwoods Resident Center
Jack Cooper

Jack and his wife Pam “discovered” the north woods in 2008, and built their dream retirement home on Rest Lake in 2011-2012.  They spend  most of the months of April – October at their lake home, while maintaining a residence near Milwaukee and most of their grandchildren.  With several advanced degrees in chemistry and a law degree, Jack practiced antitrust, environmental, and intellectual property law in Milwaukee, retiring from Foley & Lardner S.C. in 2010.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Milwaukee Kickers soccer club, serving as its Executive VP for many years as the club grew from 26 to over 650 teams.  He served Milwaukee as the citizen representative and eventual chair of its multi-billion dollar Pension and Annuity Board, and worked closely with Cerebral Palsy of Southeast Wisconsin, Inc. and its foundation for almost a dozen years, chairing its Board for two terms.  Jack also spent many years as pro bono counsel to the educational foundation of the paper industry and was elected to its Hall of Fame upon his retirement.  He is looking forward to his work with the Discovery Center Board, learning to catch more walleye and making new friends in his summer community.

Cindy Giesen

Cindy and her husband Tom have had a home on Rest Lake since 2012.  Not yet retired, they spend as much time as possible in Manitowish Waters, looking forward to being able to be here full-time in the future.  Permanent residence is currently in Hartland, Wisconsin.

Cindy graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Retailing and has spent her entire career with various retailers, including Kohl’s, Gander Mountain and Lands’ End.  Volunteer activities have been extensive, primarily with sports clubs and schools where their three sons were active, as well as various churches. 

During her free time, Cindy enjoys being active:  biking, hiking, kayaking, golfing and doing yard work.  She and her husband also enjoy travelling, particularly to active/outdoor/scenic locations.  Spending 2-3 months in Alaska is something they hope to be able to do within the next 5 years.

Cindy looks forward to continuing to work with the NLDC board and staff in working to execute the vision for the center.

Glenn A. Goldschmidt
  • BS in Environmental and Public Health-UWEC
  • Retired Technical Specialist Supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Consultant for Food Safety
  • Member of the Winchester Town Lakes Committee
Barb McFarland
  • Artist and Small Business Owner
  • past President, Manito Art League
  • Board Member, Manitowish Waters Economic Development Association
Tom Olson
  • Retired Executive, CUNA Mutual
  • Retired consultant and Lawyer
  • President of Friends of Van Vliet Hemlocks
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Bob von Holdt
  • Certified Financial Planner, Ameriprise Financial
  • Former Treasurer, Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin
  • Former Board Chair, The Green Circle (Portage County)
  • Financial Advisor, North Lakeland Elementary School Foundation
Tom Joseph - Treasurer

Tom Joseph is a retired commercial property manager/developer and attorney turned fiction writer. He has lived in Manitowish Waters all the summers of his life, and full time since 1991, serving at one time as its municipal judge. He has volunteered at the Discovery Center since its inception, the Manitowish Waters Lakes Association (former vice-president), and North Lakeland School. His passions for the outdoors include cross country, back country and downhill skiing, fishing, mountain biking, canoeing, and wilderness travel.

Lauren Prentiss


Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich lives and inspire an ethic of care for Wisconsin's Northwoods, through the facilitation of connections among nature, people and community.