Feb 29, 2024

Jake Messerli named CEO of California Waterfowl Association



Jake Messerli named CEO of California Waterfowl Association
With a passion for conservation and expertise in fundraising, strategic partnerships, and operational leadership, Messerli brings the right skillset to grow the organization.

Roseville, CA - California Waterfowl Association (CWA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jake Messerli as the organization's new chief executive officer. Messerli will be succeeding John Carlson Jr., who is retiring in August after nearly 14 years of dedicated service to the organization.

Messerli brings over 22 years of experience in non-profit conservation, networking, building partnerships and leading successful teams. He has a proven record of driving growth and sustainability. Messerli's passion for waterfowl and wetland conservation, along with his vision and strategic leadership, will undoubtedly contribute to CWA’s advancement.

“I am confident that Jake Messerli is the right person to lead California Waterfowl Association into the future," said John Carlson Jr., the outgoing CEO of CWA. “His dedication, expertise and commitment to the cause of waterfowl and wetland conservation make him an exceptional leader. I am excited to see the great things he will accomplish in this role.”

Messerli's appointment has also received praise from Austin Edwards, the board chair of CWA. Edwards said, “We are thrilled to have Jake Messerli as our new CEO. His experience, strategic mindset and passion for conservation align perfectly with our organizational goals. We look forward to working with Jake to advance our mission and continue our legacy of protecting California's wetlands and waterfowl.”

As the current chief operating officer of CWA and with more than two decades with the organization, Messerli has already demonstrated his ability to create, manage and grow programs while navigating challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to managing CWA’s thriving conservation programs, he assumed lead roles in finance, accounting and human resources, making for a unique combination of skills spanning from biology to a suite of business functions.

Throughout his career, Messerli has been actively involved in land acquisition efforts, fundraising initiatives and the establishment of strategic partnerships. He has efficiently managed complex budgets of over $20 million annually, raised millions of dollars in endowment funds, pioneered a successful land trust accreditation program and secured thousands of acres of land for conservation purposes. Messerli's expertise in strategic planning and his ability to align donor interest with conservation needs have been instrumental in the growth and success of CWA.

“I am honored and excited to take on the role of CEO at California Waterfowl Association,” Messerli said. “I would like to acknowledge the incredible work that has been done by John Carlson Jr. during his tenure, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to build upon his legacy. I look forward to collaborating with our exceptional staff, dedicated stakeholders and valuable partners to advance wetland conservation, protect the interest of waterfowl hunters and promote outdoor recreational activities in California.”

Messerli holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis and is an alum of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.


California Waterfowl is a 501c3 organization whose mission is to grow California’s waterfowl populations, wetlands and hunter-conservationist communities. Our vision is a California with thriving waterfowl populations, vibrant wetland ecosystems and respected hunting communities.