Henning, Erickson, Thames, and Kohler Appointed To Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s National Board Of Directors
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever announces Tom Henning, Jeff Erickson, John Thames, and Jon Kohler as newly elected members of the organization’s National Board of Directors. Sharing a lifelong passion for wildlife conservation and upland hunting, the four now serve on Pheasants Forever’s 19-member board, which meets quarterly and oversees the operations of Pheasants Forever, Inc. & Quail Forever.
“The knowledge, talents and geography represented by our new board nominees reaffirms the impact of ‘The Habitat Organization’ on a national scale,” stated Howard K. Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. “Tom Henning, Jeff Erickson, and John Thames have been devoted conservationists for many years – we’re thrilled to have them serve on our national board and help guide the future influence of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s wildlife habitat conservation efforts.”
Tom Henning – Lincoln, Nebraska
A lifelong businessman and entrepreneur, Tom Henning is an alumnus of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and is currently serving as chairman, president and CEO of Assurity Life Insurance Company based in Lincoln, Nebraska. Henning is active in numerous nonprofit, economic development and corporate boards, including Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Chamber Economic Development Corp., University of Nebraska Foundation, Great Western Bancorp, Inc., Nelnet, Inc., and Lincoln Industries. Henning joins the national board of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever with leadership experience that is second to none.
No stranger to the local model of “The Habitat Organization,” Henning is a Life Member of both Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever with an innate passion for the environment. Having worked extensively with the organization’s Farm Bill Biologist Partnership to promote wildlife-friendly practices in his home state of Nebraska, he and his wife, Candy, now operate Henning Farms, which is devoted to developing quality upland gamebird habitat.
“It’s an honor to be part of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s national board. I’m anxious to help the important causes of habitat conservation and encouraging more young people to experience the great outdoors through upland bird hunting.”
Rounding out an impressive list of life achievements, Henning is a recipient of the distinguished service award from the American Council of Life Insurers. Additionally, he was awarded the Burnahm Yates Citizenship Award bestowed by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and was a 2016 inductee of the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame.
Henning sets aside as much time as possible in the fall to pursue his favorite hobby of upland bird hunting with his two French brittany’s, “Roux” and “Tache.” Tom and Candy have two adult daughters, Maddie and Cassie, as well as two grandsons, William Thomas and Callaway Thomas.
Jeff Erickson – Sioux Falls, South Dakota
An avid wingshooter and current resident of “The Pheasant Capital,” Jeff Erickson joins the national board of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever as an ardent supporter of wildlife conservation in South Dakota and a Patron Member of Pheasants Forever. He developed a passion for upland wildlife as a graduate of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Erickson is the current owner of E&E Management, LLC, manager of Border Plains, LLC, a board member of The Schwan Company, and Vice Chairman for the Board of American Bank & Trust. His civic commitments currently include; Chairman of the South Dakota Banking Commission, Chairman of the South Dakota Board of Economic Development, and Vice Chairman of the South Dakota Community Foundation. Previously, Erickson served as president and CEO of Great Western Bank.
“There is nothing better than having family and friends together in north-central South Dakota hunting wild pheasants on a brisk fall afternoon. In our hunting group, we have young teenagers all the way up to social security recipients enjoying the great outdoors together. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever supports these types of moments with their conservation work, and I’m excited to be part of that mission as a national board member.”
In 2008, Erickson was named “Distinguished Alumni” by Northern State University for his business achievements and community interaction. The entire Erickson family – including his wife, Linda, their four grown children and 10 grandchildren – firmly believes in giving back to their communities through volunteerism and philanthropy. In addition to spending time with loved ones, Erickson enjoys sharing sporting events and pheasant hunting with friends and Pheasants Forever members.
John Thames – Alexander City, Alabama
As the CEO and publisher of Covey Rise, a national publication celebrating the upland sporting lifestyle, John Thames joins Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors with a focus on renewed conservation efforts in the Southeast. A founding member and current supporter of the Alabama Covey Rise Chapter of Quail Forever, Thames embraces the organization’s local model as a Life Member of both Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.
Growing up on 2,000 acres in South Alabama owned by his grandfather’s timber company, Stallworth Timber, Thames gained an appreciation for hunting and conservation before earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Auburn University in 1996. Upon graduation, Thames was promoted to Lead Developer for Russell Lands Company before starting his own venture, Thames Construction Company, in 2006. In addition to his current responsibilities for Covey Rise, Thames is the present owner of Docks Unlimited – a marine construction company with operations on Lake Martin in central Alabama.
“I am honored to be elected to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. I look forward to moving the conservation and youth program initiatives down the field. We are at a pivotal point in this country in regards to conserving public lands and broadening conservation efforts for all types of wildlife. I’m excited to get to work with the board to help sustain and enhance what we all enjoy.”
Thames resides in Alexander City, Alabama, with his wife, Margie, and their three children, David, Laura, and Libby. Also a part of the family are their two English springer spaniels and a German shorthaired pointer. During the fall months, Thames can be found wingshooting at all ends of the earth, or spending quality time with his family around their small lake town in Alabama.
Jon Kohler – Tallahassee, Florida
Known in the Southeast as the “Plantation Broker,” Kohler began his career in real estate after earning a Bachelor’s degree in Real Estate and Entrepreneurship from Florida State University, as well as a Juris Doctorate from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich. Obtaining his salesman’s license after discovering a passion for conservation and sporting properties, he founded Jon Kohler & Associates in 1991 and received a law degree shortly thereafter to provide the highest level of representation to landowners and real estate investors of the Southeast. Pursuing his passion to market sporting properties to conservation-minded landowners, Kohler co-founded Plantation Marketing Group in 2008, as well as LandLeader in 2014 – the largest and most respected land marketing firm in the United States which closed $3 billion in land transactions during the start-up company’s first three years.
Unknowingly at the time, Kohler was introduced to his love for conservation at an early age when his family purchased a 160-acre tract of wilderness – named the “Blue Creek Costal Preserve” by his father – along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Learning to hunt and fish while undertaking land stewardship efforts on the property throughout his younger years, it was these experiences that led Kohler to pursue a career in real estate with the ultimate goal of preserving wildlife habitat. In addition to his experience with plantation brokerage, Kohler and his family own and operate Lick Skillet Plantation & Cattle Company, raising grass-fed beef cattle and implementing rotational grazing on a 225-acre portion of the ranch. Practicing what he preaches in the real estate business, Kohler has worked with Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy to enroll a large portion of the family’s land in a conservation easement, protecting valuable wildlife habitat and nearly 1.5 miles of the pristine Aucilla River.
“We’re thrilled to add Jon Kohler to the ranks of our National Board and believe his talents and experience in sporting acquisitions, including a passion for hunting and conservation, make him an ideal candidate to help deliver the mission of this organization,” stated Howard K. Vincent, President and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “I look forward to his ideas and participation with the National Board of Directors as we steer the organization towards greater conservation achievements for pheasants, quail, and other wildlife.”
Kohler will serve as a key addition to the National Board of Directors while representing Pheasants Forever, including its affiliate organization, Quail Forever. With a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the historic range of bobwhite quail in the Southeast, Kohler’s leadership may contribute to the growth of Quail Forever chapters and membership which recently surpassed 16,000 members and now includes 160 local chapters in 30 states.
Kohler and his wife, Erica, have two young sons, Greyson and Ashton. In addition to being an avid quail hunter and former field trial titleholder (English pointers and English cockers), Kohler relishes time spent with his family, enjoying many other outdoor pursuits on their north Florida property, Lick Skillet.
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