Chair & District 2 Director

Rocque Merlo

A California Waterfowl Silver Benefactor and owner of Merlo Waterfowl Company, his company is dedicated to providing the best hunting and outing experience while also providing and maintaining wetland restoration. Rocque majored in Agricultural Science at California State University, Chico.

Rocque has served as a dinner chairman and also participated with the Regulations and Traditions committee from 2004 thru 2008. He has been involved with youth education programs teaching many duck calling classes for beginning hunters. His term ends in 2019.

RIK Jimerson 2018

Vice Chair

Rik Jimerson

Rik Jimerson was introduced to duck hunting in 1952, hunting in the unique blinds over the mud flats in San Francisco Bay.  Rik is involved in his community and is a former board member or chair for the Yuba Sutter United Way, the River Valley Community Foundation, the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, and the Yuba Sutter Government Affairs Committee.  Currently, he owns Jimerson Financial and has a partnership, JM Wealth Management Group, with offices in Yuba City, Roseville and Redding.  Personal time is spent with his wife, Joellen, and their family, with special attention paid to their grandchildren.  A passionate waterfowler who enjoys the outdoors and his Labradors, he is Vice Chair for the California Waterfowl Yuba-Sutter dinner committee and a member of Delta Waterfowl. He is a CWA Life Sponsor. His term ends in 2022.

Ric Peterson

Secretary & District 1 Director

Ric Peterson

Ric is California Waterfowl Life Member who lives in Redding. He is in the marketing communications business with manufacturing operations in Redding and Sacramento. Ric earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Chico. Ric enjoys hunting in the Northeastern  Zone and Sacramento Valley. His California Waterfowl interests include government affairs, fundraising and preserving California’s hunting heritage. His term ends in 2021.


Austin Edwards

Austin has duck hunted for many years in the California Delta and Yolo Bypass and is currently a California Waterfowl Bronze Benefactor. Austin brings excellent business leadership skills, teamwork mentality, energy and his network to benefit the goals of the organization. Austin’s skills include leadership and business strategy, accounting, negotiation and finding solutions to challenging issues. His term ends in 2021.

John Carlson, Jr.


John Carlson, Jr.

A resident of Roseville, John is a Life Donor of California Waterfowl. He left a distinguished career with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), where he dedicated over 21 years to the conservation and management of the state’s fish and wildlife, to become California Waterfowl’s President. John studied wildlife management at Humboldt State University and holds a Master’s Degree from Iowa State University.

John hunts public and private lands across California.

Bill Quinn

Past Chair’s Appointee

Bill Quinn

Bill is a Life Member and has been involved with CWA for over four decades. He has served in many leadership roles including Director, Chairman and President. Bill was also instrumental in forming the CWA Water Committee. His widespread expertise of water issues and extensive governmental relations has helped to develop the critical link between State water agencies and their support for the Central Valley Protection and Improvement Act.

Bill hunts in the Northeastern Zone; the Klamath Basin, Fall River Valley, and the Big Valley areas.

Mike Hoppe

District 4 Director

Michael Hoppe

Mike is a California native who has pursued waterfowl on public and private properties in all regions of the state since childhood.  He currently enjoys the waterfowl opportunities found in the Grasslands area.  He retired in 2007 as a Division Fire Chief with over 31 years of service.  Mike is a Life Donor and is passionate about conservation and the protection of waterfowl and the wetlands environment which is critical to their long term survival.  His term ends in 2021.

Dan Sozzi


Dan Sozzi

Dan Sozzi is a Life Member and resident of El Dorado Hills. He is a community banker and has hunted waterfowl in the Butte Sink since 1976. Dan has served as a board member of the Butte Sink Waterfowl Association for over 20 years. He enjoys hunting all across North American and Africa and his primary focus on the board will be regulations and traditions, youth opportunity and water issues. His term ends in 2021.

Rob Plath


Rob Plath

Rob Plath is a Bronze Benefactor and a previous member of CWA’s Board of Directors. Rob served as CWA’s Chairman of the Board from 2002 to 2005 and was an active contributor to CWA’s restructuring. Rob led the development and implementation of CWA’s first 5 year strategic plan, strengthened CWA’s relationship with partner organizations and expansion of CWA operations to Southern California. He also led the executive search effort resulting in the hiring of CWA’s President, John Carlson, Jr. Rob recently retired from 35 years with Chevron Corporation. He brings passion for our hunting heritage and actively contributes his expertise in business strategy development and implementation. Rob splits his time between his duck club in Willow Creek Ranch and public hunting areas in the Delta, North Sacramento Valley and Klamath Falls. His term ends in 2020.

Bud Tonnesen

District 3 Director

Charles “Bud” Tonnesen

A resident of Fairfield, Bud has hunted and fished the Suisun Marsh for many years. Part owner of a duck club on Joice Island, he has a passion for restoration and preservation of marsh land for continued use for future use by our children. He is on the Grizzly Island Field Day committee and also MCs this family fun event every year. His term ends in 2021.


Cybil Bryant

Cybil Bryant lives in Sacramento, working in commercial real estate for the greater central valley. She earned her Bachelor of Science’s degree in Construction Management from CSU Chico. Outside of work, Cybil enjoys private and public hunting in the Sacramento and Northeast Zones. She is interested in all aspects of CWA, and serves on the political affairs, lands and advancement committees. She is a CWA Life Member. Her term ends in 2022.

Dr. Frank Portale D.D.S.

District 6 Director

Dr. Frank Portale, D.D.S.

Dr. Frank Portale was born in 1952 and raised in Stockton, California. He attended the University of California at Davis and subsequently the University of Pacific, School of Dentistry in San Francisco.

Dr. Portale is a life-long member and President of the Waterloo Gun & Bocce Club where he won the California State Junior Trap Shooting Championship at the age of 15. He is a long-time member of the California Indians, the oldest fraternal trap and skeet shooting organization in California. Dr. Portale is a Knight Commander in the International Order of St. Hubertus, the oldest hunting order in the world. He is a Life Member and strong supporter of California Waterfowl. He is an avid hunter and was raised hunting waterfowl and upland game in the San Joaquin Delta.

Dr. Portale is retired from dentistry, but stays active in managing investments. He is also very active in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, United Way and many other San Joaquin foundations. His term ends in 2022.

Dave Sanson 2018


Dave Sanson

Dave Sanson is a real estate developer in California and Washington. He is an avid and lifelong outdoorsman and is dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. He cares deeply about promoting a passion for hunting and fishing, sport safety and skill development with the youth shooting sport community. In addition to being a Life Benefactor of CWA, Dave is also on the Board of the Mzuri Wildlife Foundation, a member of Safari Club International (SCI), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the NRA. With CWA, Dave has focused primarily on youth education and fostering an appreciation and enjoyment of shooting sports as well as habitat development on several clubs in the Butte Sink. Dave is also very involved as an Executive Board Member with HomeAid Northern California, Building Industry Association, Bay Area (BIA) and the California Building Industry Association (CBIA). His term ends in 2020.

Mark Bittner


Mark Bittner

Mark is a CWA volunteer and Life Member who learned from the ground up, volunteering at various dinners and then deciding to make a significant commitment to CWA by donating both time and support. His initial exposure to waterfowl hunting was waiting in the “sweat line” at 0-dark-30 at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. A great many lessons learned and good times were gained from those early experiences. Over the years he has also leased blinds from Williams to Willows to Gridley and seemingly everywhere in between. Today, he leases and manages several blinds in the Suisun Marsh. Mark’s interest in advancing CWA’s mission at the board level is predicated upon his background and experience as chairman of the CWA Blackhawk Committee; senior business executive; volunteer coach for Challenger Baseball (physically and mentally disabled athletes), Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy raiser family, and volunteer for Dogs for Diabetics and Habitat for Humanity. His term ends in 2021.


Mike Marshall, DDS

Mike is a fourth-generation Californian who grew up hunting with his father, mother and grandfather in the Imperial Valley. He started his affiliation with CWA with its first Southern California fundraising shoot in the late 1990s. Mike is a Life Benefactor of CWA. He has been a member of the Mystic Lake Duck Club since 1997 and is responsible for its habitat management. Mike has been on a number of professional and charitable boards over the years and recently finished a six-year term as a trustee for the California Dental Association in Sacramento. He is the founder and president of the San Jacinto Valley Wetlands Foundation, which provides support for restoration, management and preservation of wetlands and wildlife in the San Jacinto Valley. His term ends in 2021.


Sheryl Fletcher

Sheryl is an emergency department nurse in the Fresno area and a Life Member of California Waterfowl. She has a background in collaborative process performance and research and development for consulting companies after over a decade with the Legislature and the California Secretary of State. Sheryl hunts on both public and private lands in the Central Valley and the Suisun Marsh. Her other passions include time with family, volunteering with search and rescue, traveling extensively, diving and enjoying our natural world. She has a strong appreciation for conservation and restoration, the traditions of hunting and fishing and expanding participation in outdoor activities. Her term ends in 2021.