President, Ruby Valley Stock Association
Rick Sandru is a third-generation Montana rancher who operates his family ranch in Twin Bridges with his wife Jody and two sons Ty and Joe. He also serves as president of the Ruby Valley Stock Association, Ruby Valley Conservation District supervisor, founding member of the RVSA and participates in numerous other industry affiliated organizations. Rick's ultimate goal is to preserve what makes southwest Montana so unique, and ensure that his kids and grandkids can carry on his family's ranching legacy.
Madison County Commissioner
Dan was raised on his family’s ranch in Sheridan. He has always lived in the Ruby Valley, and he and his wife Jody have four sons all working and living in Sheridan. Dan has been an active member of the Ruby Valley Community for decades, serving as a member of the Alder Fire Department for 12 years, on the Sheridan School board for three years, and was in the ranching business for 43 years until he was elected as a Madison County Commissioner in 2016.
Ruby Dell Ranch
John and his wife Karen and brother Jim live and work on the family Ranch which was begun by their Grandfather with his homestead in Beaverhead County in 1907. Originally a sheep operation, today the ranch supports a cow/calf operation in Madison and Beaverhead Counties with a forest Service grazing allotment in the Gravelly mountains on the north side of the Centennial Valley. John has served his community as a Stockgrowers director, Planning Board member, volunteer fireman, church leadership team, and 40+ years as a Ruby Valley Conservation District Supervisor. His service as C.D. Supervisor both locally and as a State Director has been his passion after his faith in God, family, and ranching. Protecting the land and preserving the agricultural lifestyle he grew up in are his lifetime priorities.
Ledford Creek Grazing Association
Neil is a rancher in the Ruby Valley living and working on the ranch his great uncle Pete purchased in 1940. His wife Gloria, having been raised on a local ranch herself, has been able to put up with Neil's cow habit for 47 years. They have a cow/calf and yearling operation that they operate with their son Jake and his wife Jamie and their children. Neil enjoys most everything about ranching, but calving in good weather, and moving cattle in open country, especially when grandkids are along, are highlights. The things that are most important to Neil are his faith in Jesus, family and preserving this area for future generations.
Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance & Ruby Valley Conservation District
Kayla was welcomed to the RVSA in January 2022 as part of the RVCD. With the continued growth and success of the group in March 2022, Kayla became the first official administrator of the RVSA. She now coordinates meetings, events, and correspondence for the group. Kayla spent much of her early childhood in Twin Bridges before her family moved away. In December 2017 Kayla moved back to MT to finish her college degree and explore the outdoors. Kayla received her B.S. in Ecology with an emphasis in fish and wildlife management from the University of Montana-Western. Outside of work, Kayla loves spending time in the mountains with her husband J.D., out on the river kayaking, and evenings on the farm with her horses and rabbits.
Ruby Valley Conservation District
After graduating from Boise State University, Audra left her life in Idaho to serve the Ruby Valley community as a Big Sky Watershed Corps member in 2020. Since, she has stepped into a full-time position as the Stewardship Director for the Ruby Valley Conservation District and Watershed Council. Audra’s day to day work aligns with the vision of the Strategic Alliance and the RVCD implements a variety of conservation efforts to ensure the vitality of the Ruby Watershed. While not in the office, Audra enjoys taking in the beautiful scenery of the Ruby Valley via hiking, biking, skiing, fishing and spending time with her dog, Sparrow.
Emily is the Conservation Director for Wild Montana and works with communities to develop land management solutions and build grassroots support for protecting southwest Montana's wilderness heritage and outdoor traditions. Emily brings experience in research, education, and conservation advocacy from prior work in Wyoming and Idaho and enjoys working with the RVSA to protect everything that makes this corner of the state so special. When she's not in the office, you can usually find Emily outside; skiing, hiking, biking, camping and spending time with friends and family.
Montana Trout Unlimited
Chris works on improving water quantity and quality in the greater Jefferson watershed. He collaborates with the agricultural, conservation, and outfitting community to achieve those goals. Chris happily joined the RVSA in 2019 to continue his work on shared interests in the Ruby Valley.
Warm Springs Grazing Association
Gary and his family raise angus cattle along the Big Hole River on a ranch purchased by his Grandfather in 1917. Most of Gary's cattle are summered in the Upper Ruby on deeded property and the Warm Springs Forest Allotment. Gary is also Chairman of the Ruby Valley Conservation District. He believes good conservation is great for agriculture as well as the general public.
Ruby Habitat Foundation
Les Gilman, a fifth generation rancher in the Ruby Valley, shares in that heritage with his children and grandchildren on the family ranch near Alder. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Ruby Habitat Foundation. In both endeavors, he adheres to the RHF mission of dedication to the preservation and enhancement of the natural resources and social and economic makeup of the Ruby Valley.
John Helle is a fourth generation sheep and wool producer, operating the Helle Rambouillet ranch with his family outside Dillon. John is also the co-founder of Duckworth, 100% USA-made merino wool clothing company which uses Helle Rambouillet wool. When John isn't ranching, you'll likely find him at Maverick Mountain, the local ski hill where he works as a ski patroller. John is committed to maintaining and enhancing the stewardship of the lands that support his outdoor way of life for future generations to enjoy.
The Nature Conservancy
Nathan leads The Nature Conservancy’s Freshwater Program in Montana. Their work aims to protect and restore rivers and cold, clean water for people and nature. He has worked with local communities to develop and implement water conservation projects since 1999. He lives in Helena and enjoys spending as much time on the river with his son as possible.
Former Chairman, Montana Public Lands Council
George, a 5th generation Montanan with a long family history in southwest Montana, has worked in the ranching business for most of his life. He managed the Hamilton Ranch for 25 years where he and his wife Donna raised their five children. George now runs a business in Sheridan and enjoys spending time with his family and working with the RVSA to ensure that the outdoor way of life in the Ruby Valley can be enjoyed by future generations.
Greater Yellowstone Coalition
Darcie works for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition as the Conservation Coordinator. She brings years of experience working in Alaska with diverse groups in conservation, land management planning, and advocacy. Her enthusiasm for people, place, and the outdoors keeps her outside with her son running their sled dogs, riding horses, hiking, skiing, or spending time on a river.
Montana Land Reliance
Originally from rural North Dakota, Jessie has spent the last 16 years in the great state of Montana. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Environmental Biology from Montana State University with an emphasis on soil science and plant ecology. She has worked in the science and non-profit conservation communities for the last 9 years, most recently with the Big Sky Institute and as Director of the Big Sky Community Organization. Jessie is thrilled to be working with MLR in southwest Montana to assist private landowners with achieving their conservation goals. Jessie enjoys hiking, skiing, biking, camping and long river trips.