Commissioner Biographies

Tom Baird

Tom Baird was appointed to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in March 2021. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids and now resides with his wife, Ellen, in Elk Rapids. 

Tom grew up fishing with his brother and grandfather. After college and law school, he returned to fishing, learned to fly fish, and took up hunting for deer and upland game. Outdoor recreation a major part of his life - he enjoys hunting and fishing, and he and his wife Ellen bike, hike, camp, ski, snowshoe, swim, kayak and golf. 

Fly fishing for trout was Tom's introduction to conservation of our natural resources and related environmental issues. Conservation groups in which he is or has been involved include the Hal and Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation (trustee), Anglers of the Au Sable (president), Trout Unlimited (legal director), the Michigan Hydro Relicensing Coalition (chair), FLOW (For Love of Water) (board member), and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (advisory board). He is also a member of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Ruffed Grouse Society and Rotary of Elk Rapids. 

Following graduation from Grand Valley State College, Tom worked in the Michigan State Senate before attending the University of Michigan Law School. He spent his career in the Lansing area as an attorney and human resources executive before retiring and moving to Elk Rapids. 

David Cozad

David Cozad, a life-long resident of Michigan from Bay City, was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in March 2021.

David holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Alma College and a Master of Science degree in aquatic biology from Central Michigan University. He is President of Mainstream Resources, an environmental consulting firm founded in 1982 which specializes in the design, implementation and monitoring of aquatic ecosystem restoration projects.

His professional pursuits have been diverse and span both the public and private sectors. David served as Director of Environmental Affairs and Community Development for Bay County from 1993-1996. As well, David was co-founder of Restoration Dredging and served as its President from 2001 to 2015.

When he's not in the field working, you'll likely find David upland bird hunting, fishing, cross country or downhill skiing, hiking, floating Michigan's rivers or participating in numerous volunteer natural resource conservation projects sponsored by grass roots organizations.

Keith Creagh

David Nyberg

As a native of Gladstone, Michigan, David had the good fortune of experiencing childhood in the woods and waters of the UP.  Ice fishing on Little Bay de Noc and spending time at camp on the Stonington Peninsula with his family and friends instilled a special appreciation for the recreational and cultural pursuits that are enabled by our state's tremendous natural resources as well as the significant economic imprint of the outdoor recreation industry.  In 1955, David's grandfather, Lloyd, helped to found Bay de Noc Lure Company in his father's blacksmith shop in Gladstone.  David's father, Dave, carries the tradition of the family business forward by maintaining the same craftsmanship and manufacturing process of the original design lures that are a staple in anglers' tackle boxes.  David worked part-time at "the shop" starting at age 14, bending "Do-Jiggers" and buffing "Swedish Pimples," with plenty of knuckles skinned at the buffing wheel.

This upbringing had some influence in David's career pursuits in natural resources law and policy.  After serving as a legislative aid to House Speaker Craig DeRoche, David joined Michigan United Conservation Clubs in 2008 to manage the organization's legislative affairs as it refocused its efforts on advocacy at the state and federal levels.  In this experience, he was able to be a part of several exciting initiatives and collaborations, including legislation to eliminate the minimum hunting age and create a mentored youth hunting program (Public Acts 109 and 120 of 2011 "The Hunter Heritage Bill"), create a new funding mechanism for state parks (Public Acts 32-35 of 2010 "The Recreation Passport"), and authorize DNR utilization of volunteers on state game areas (Public Act 65 of 2011) and Congressional advocacy to support funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp. 

In 2011, David returned back to the UP with his wife, Tracy.  From 2011-2012, he worked with Trout Unlimited and a variety of conservation organizations and land-based industry companies through his venture with 3rd Coast Strategies, LLC. 

David joined Governor Rick Snyder's team in August 2012 to serve as Director of the Governor's Northern Michigan Office based in Marquette.  In this capacity, he served as the region's primary ambassador for the Governor and collaborated with northern Michigan business, education, and community leaders to achieve strategic priorities for the region and Snyder Administration.  In 2014, he assumed additional duties as Deputy Legal Counsel, overseeing state-tribal affairs, gaming, and serving as the Governor's liaison to federally-recognized tribal governments located within Michigan.  In this role he worked closely with the DNR, DEQ and MDARD on natural resources policy matters, including government to government consultation with tribal governments under the Great Lakes and Inland Consent Decrees.

David earned is B.A. at Michigan State University and J.D. and Michigan State University College of Law, where he received the Jurisprudence Achievement Award in both Wildlife Law and Land Use Planning Law.  He is a fellow of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.  He was a charter member of the board of directors for Invest UP, a privately-supported regional economic growth organization in the UP, and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, Marquette County Bar Association, Economic Club of Marquette County, Noquemanon Skijor Club, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Escanaba River Association, Fred Waara Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Connect Marquette.

James "JR" Richardson

JR Richardson of Ontonagon, Michigan was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in June 2020.  He was first appointed to the NRC by Governor Jennifer Granholm in December 2007 and was appointed as NRC Chairman in January 2013.  He was reappointed two more times to the NRC by Governor Rick Snyder.  He was also appointed to the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) in 2019 by Governor Rick Snyder.

JR graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.  He completed additional coursework in finance, marketing, accounting, and business.  He worked for 31 years at the Ontonagon Paper Mill, serving many of those years as the Operations Manager.  Currently, he is Director of Production, Environment & Safety at the Porcupine Mountain Power Group. 

JR is proud to be a life-long Yooper.  He lives on Lake Superior in the home he shared with his beloved wife, Kandy who, sadly, passed away.  JR is a life-long hunter, fisherman, boater, lover of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and all UP trails and hiking (a little tougher now).  JR has fly-fished all over the world and bait fished and hunted all over the U.P. and beyond.

He has dedicated his life to Michigan's outdoors and to developing environmentally friendly job opportunities in the U.P.  He has been awarded Michigan's Partner in Conservation Award, the UPSA Outstanding Conservationist Award, Chairman of the Timber Advisory Committee, MTU McNair Society, a Rotarian, Chairman of the UP Habitat Work Group, Partner with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community for brook trout rearing and plants, Chairman of the U.P. Sportfisherman's Association and Chairman of the fund raisers for Camp Josh which provides recreation opportunities for people with disabilities.  JR is a strong believer in transparency and stakeholder involvement in decision making.  He is honored to serve our state and its resources.  JR's #1 goal is to get folks to enjoy our resources and to ensure these opportunities have short-term and long-term funding.  Get folks outside!

JR has found that spending time in the outdoors is the best therapy in the world.

Carol Moncrieff Rose

Carol Moncrieff Rose grew up in Ann Arbor in southeast Michigan.  She learned to fish as a little girl and since that time has enjoyed all methods of take on Michigan's Great Lakes, inland lakes and streams, as well as on trips to the American west, Saskatchewan and Labrador. While her fishing began early, she came to hunt later in life. As to big game, she has successfully harvested deer and, in 2019, a Michigan elk.   She also enjoys hunting small game, turkey hunting, and pursuing grouse and woodcock with a series of great dogs. For over three decades, Rose has also invested time and effort into wildlife and fisheries habitat work on both peninsulas of the state, benefitting both game and non-game species. She engages in various other outdoor recreational pursuits such as hiking, paddle sports, cross country skiing, recreational shooting, gardening, nature photography and spending time at the family's second home on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan.

Rose graduated with High Honors from Michigan State University with a degree in Sociology, after which her career path took her to a management position with Ann Arbor's largest savings and loan.  During that time, she met her husband, Paul, to whom she has been happily married for 42 years.  Professionally, for the last 30 years, Rose has assisted her husband with his commercial real estate appraisal and consulting practice, Jeffress-Dyer, Inc.

In 1983, the Roses left Ann Arbor to begin a new chapter in their life when they relocated to Montmorency County in northeast Michigan.  They were drawn to the area because of their love of the outdoors and its abundant public lands. This decision marked the beginning of her involvement in the conservation community of hunters, anglers, trappers and those who enjoy the out-of-doors which has continued for all of her adult life.

Throughout her lifetime Rose has had traveled and recreated in all corners of the state of Michigan.  In particular, she has spent a great deal of time in the Upper Peninsula, where she and her husband enjoyed owning two camps over the years.   As a resident of northeast Michigan, Rose is very much aware of the economic, social and cultural implications that the presence of bovine Tb has had on our deer hunters and agricultural producers.  Because of this, Rose has a keen interest in how wildlife disease is managed in Michigan, particularly with the advent of Chronic Wasting Disease in the deer population.

Rose is involved with a number of state and national hunting/fishing and conservation organizations and has greatly benefitted from participating in policy formation debates. She is a life member of TU and a longtime member of MUCC, recently completing her service as a member of its Executive Board.  She served as Chair of the Upper Black River Council from 2008-2020 and is also a member of the Montmorency County Conservation Club, the Lewiston Sportsmen's League, Michigan Fly Fishing Club, the Ruffed Grouse Society, RMEF and the National Wild Turkey Federation.  Rose has had the honor of receiving awards from several of these organizations.  She also had the privilege of serving on the Michigan Wildlife Council under both the Snyder and Whitmer administrations from 2015-2020 and had the honor of serving as its first Chair.  Her resume will also reflect that she has invested time in her community, serving on numerous boards and committees involving her school district, the development of a fully accessible playground (Tiger Paw Park), community health needs, recycling and building authority boards for both her township and Montmorency County.