About Us

LWQIA was started in 2010 in response to the public's concern about the growing weed problem on Lake Winnebago. The association was fueled by the urge to improve the lake and its water quality through education, advocacy, and community involvement.

Membership drive

Membership drive.

Board of Directors


Ellen Balthazor, President

I am a Fond du Lac native and retired UW-Fond du Lac English teacher. Over the years, I have served on boards of various non-profit organizations. My involvement in LWQIA is a way of giving back to Lake Winnebago for the many years I've enjoyed swimming, sailing, the scenery and family get-togethers.

Larry Kent, Vice-President

I have always enjoyed fishing, swimming, boating, canoeing and kayaking. Every summer when I was young my grandfather rented a primitive cottage on a small lake. It was my good fortune to spend a week at the cottage and learn to love and respect the water.

I now have the privilege of living on the east shore of Lake Winnebago. One of my three daughters reminds me that "I live where people go on vacation".

I see Lake Winnebago as a tremendous resource that needs to be protected for ourselves and especially for our grandchildren. I also believe in leaving things better than how we found them.

Being on this board has allowed me to meet some new people who I now call my friends.

Renee George, Secretary

The west shore of Lake Winnebago has been my home since 1987.

I grew up in Oshkosh and graduated from the University of Wisconsin there with a Bachelors degree in Graphic Communications.

For three decades I worked as graphic artist for the Winnefox Library System serving 30 libraries in the state. I previously worked at the Paine Art Center and Gardens.

I enjoy sharing the many recreational opportunities living on the lake offers with family and friends. Another important avocation is singing with the Oshkosh Chamber Singers.

I've been involved with LWQIA since it’s conception and will continue to pursue the importance of protecting and improving this very unique lake.

Jim Thomas, Treasurer

Jim Thomas is retired President & CEO of Society Insurance. In addition to serving on the LWQIA board, he is President of the board of Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts. He has served on various community boards, including Association of Commerce, Leadership Fond du Lac, American Red Cross, UW-Fond du Lac Foundation, and Lutheran Homes and Health Services.

Jim kayaks, sails and power boats on Lake Winnebago. He spends endless hours observing the lake and its wildlife from his lakeside home which he shares with his wife, Anne.

Earl Witte, Director

Earl has been a property owner on Winnebago's east shore for 50 years, the past 17 years as a year-round resident.

He enjoys sailing, motor boating, fishing and winter activities on the lake with wife Arlene, children and grandchildren.

Retired, Earl was owner/executive manager for several manufacturing, distribution and marketing consultation businesses. He has served in leadership roles in church, civic, and non-profit service organizations including Lions and Rotary and is currently appointed as member of Town Planning Commission and elected as director of LWQIA.

Thomas Boerner, Director

Tom has been a Lake Winnebago shoreline property owner for 40 years. He is married, has two children and four grandchildren. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Tom is now a retired industrial property appraiser. He has been a member of the FDL Yacht Club for 26 years and enjoys sailing, power boating and ice boating on Winnebago.

Gail O'Connell

Gail and her family moved to a west shore lakeside property in the summer of 2010 when her husband retired from active duty in the US military. She enjoys paddle boating and kayaking on the lake and brings her extended family to the lake each year for a winter broom ball tournament. Every morning she observes the lake while sipping her first cup of coffee.

She is a veterinarian at the Fox Valley Humane Association in Appleton.

She has been a member of the LWQIA since its inception and elected a board member in 2016. She has always been conservation minded and helped instill that ethic in her five children.

Bruce Peterson