Welcome to Ecosystem Services Exchange! x

About Us

Our founding partners offer a unique combination of skills and experience in the fields of environmental conservation, agricultural land and water management and business and financial expertise.


Dave White

Dave White

President, Ecosystem Services Exchange – Former Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Dave has over 33 years of professional leadership experience in natural resource conservation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Dave was Chief of the Agency from January 2009 to December 2012, where he led, directed, and managed the nation’s largest private lands natural resource conservation organization. NRCS has an annual budget of $4.2 billion, employs almost 12,000 conservation and business operations professionals, and works out of 2,900 offices across the United States and its territories. Dave has extensive experience and a very successful track record of overseeing complex resource protection programs, working with diverse interests, developing and moving conservation legislation, and providing leadership for the successful implementation of natural resource goals.

In addition to his work with NRCS, White has also spent significant time on Capitol Hill. In 2007, he was detailed to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s office in Washington, D.C., where he helped craft the conservation title of the 2008 Farm Bill. He also served on a detail to Indiana Senator Richard Lugar and helped develop the conservation title of the 2002 Farm Bill

Alex Echols

Alex Echols

Executive Vice President, Ecosystem Services Exchange

Alex started his environmental career on Capitol Hill, working for the Senate for 12 years, writing key conservation programs like the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill and an extensive rewrite of bilateral and multilateral foreign aid programs. Alex subsequently worked for a trade association using market incentives to encourage use of recyclables. He spent six years at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as Deputy and then Acting Executive Director. In 2001, he set up a consulting firm to help industry, landowners, the conservation community and government deliver more conservation for dollars invested. Alex is skilled at developing and implementing strategic action for philanthropic and corporate communities – helping develop conservation programs that fit their core values and deliver improved conservation return on investment.

Charlie Schafer

Charlie Schafer

Founder, Ecosystem Services Exchange

Charlie began his career in the agricultural drainage industry in 1976, when he and 2 brothers began installing drainage tubing for Iowa farmers and began manufacturing products for their own projects and for other contractors. In 1984, construction activities were discontinued in order to focus fulltime on product development, manufacturing and distribution. Charlie continues as President and owner of Agri Drain Corporation, a highly successful manufacturer of many proprietary and patented products. Charlie has held various offices as a Contractor Member and Associate Member of Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) over the past 30 years. He is President of the Ag Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC) and serves on the board of the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC).

Paul Sweeney

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Director of Conservation Planning

Paul Sweeney recently joined ESE after retiring from the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service concluding a 39 year career in natural resources conservation. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Agriculture College where he majored in natural resources. Paul’s leadership and conservation planning skills were developed while working in seven states; serving as a state Water Quality Project Manager; NRCS liaison to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Control and liaison to the Western Governors’ Association; State Conservationist and then team leader for two national teams for NRCS’s headquarters. He led the development of the NRCS’s Ag Water Management Team and its goal of obtaining adoption of drainage water management and the associated environmental benefits beginning in 2010. He brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to ESE that will add value to the products and services ESE offers to producers and others.

Jace Klein, EIT

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Agricultural Engineering Tech

Jace is from Story City, Iowa. He grew up with a strong farming background and quickly developed a passion for conservation through groups like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. He graduated from Iowa State University receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering and is currently pursuing a professional license in engineering. Jace is a graduate from the Overholt School of Drainage, a certified Technical Service Provider for the NRCS, and certified in ArcGIS from Iowa State. He joined ESE as an intern in February of 2015 and acquired full-time status in May of 2016.

Andy Mackrill


 Conservation Planner

Andy is from Adair, Iowa.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Buena Vista University and is also a graduate of the Overholt Drainage School.  He joined ESE in January of 2013 and has since been involved in planning managed drainage and sub-surface irrigation projects throughout the Midwest.  Andy is a certified Technical Service Provider for the ..NRCS.