By Becky Fedak
About the Author – Becky is currently the Lake Michigan Basin Supervisor for the Office of Great Waters at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). She joined the DNR in January 2019 after 15 years working in the private sector in the western U.S. including eight years with Brendle Group. Becky received her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from UW-Platteville in 2004 and MBA from Colorado State University’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program in 2009. Her career journey has taken her from computer modeling of the water supply system in California to installing water and sanitation systems for rural households in Kenya to strategic sustainability planning for communities throughout the country while based in beautiful Colorado. Now she is located back home in Wisconsin.
I will be forever grateful for the almost eight years spent with the Brendle Group team. In that time, so much was learned and shared, but reflecting on all of it while preparing to write this post, the one thing I kept circling back to is the culture of community building at the center of how Brendle Group does its work. Whether supporting passion projects of team members, investing in local community endeavors, seeing competitors as collaborators to realize the greater impact or building capacity amongst its customers, Brendle Group is committed to growing a community that works together for a sustainable future.
I will never forget the trust placed in me to increase our impact in the water sector, the encouragement to innovate and think big, and the confidence instilled in me as a team member and growing leader. The collaborative approach with which Brendle Group embarks on projects, redefining the roles of competitors and customers in such a way that both can be seen as partners, has strongly influenced my approach to teamwork.
With the confidence and inspiration gained during those eight years, I have committed my life and career to building community. After my time at Brendle Group, I embarked on a year of solo travel that landed me back home to Wisconsin. I joined the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2019 where I oversee ecological restoration work in the Lake Michigan basin. The past three years have been spent bringing a private sector perspective along with a background in engineering and planning to the work of public service.
Many of the techniques for leadership, approaches to project management, and tools in facilitation and outreach I learned while with Brendle Group have allowed me to offer a unique skill set to our DNR team as well as new approaches to how we do our work. My time and learning at Brendle Group has helped me lead our team in bringing entire communities together to realize the benefits of environmental restoration and protecting our local waterways.
Brendle Group has even inspired the confidence to explore community building in my personal life. Just this month, my husband and I bought a farm – a place that allows us to live a more sustainable and holistic life, a place that can teach our daughter about the natural world, and a place that offers our parents a quiet place for retirement. Our vision is to inspire a passion for sustainable community building in this generation and the next by providing a space in Southeast Wisconsin for people to connect with each other and the land through food, art, and sanctuary while investing in the next generation of land stewards.
I have so much appreciation for the Brendle Group team and what the Brendle Group culture inspires. The seeds of great ideas you have planted throughout the world over the past 25 years are definitely something to be proud of!