Northwest Indiana and the larger environmental community lost an inspiring leader with the death of Dale Engquist on June 4, 2017. We at Shirley Heinze Land Trust mourn the loss of a friend and colleague who played a key role in the evolution of our organization and the development of land conservation in our region.
After retiring from nearly a quarter century of service as Superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Dale joined our Board of Directors in 2007 as arguably the best qualified person ever selected to sit on that body. He brought with him unrivaled management abilities, a love for the natural world, and great networking skills built on years of association with environmental players and stakeholders at local, regional and national levels. Most of all, he was absolutely committed to our mission.
Dale was a member of the Shirley Heinze Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012, and again from 2014 to 2017. He was Vice President in 2008-2009 and President of the Board in 2010-2012. Term limits required him to step down from the Board in 2013, but he continued to serve on the Advisory Council and on standing committees. Perhaps his greatest impact was his eleven-year tenure on the Land Strategy Committee, most of that time as its chair. It’s no coincidence that during that time our land holdings more than doubled from 1,000 to 2,300 acres, and we entered a new era of land conservation planning and cooperation with like-minded partners. Dale was also co-chair of our successful Capital Campaign, and he served on the Building & Grounds and Communications Committees.
Dale was a mentor and role model for staff and other board members. He advocated on Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s behalf in the many other environmental forums in which he participated. He was an effective spokesman and a frequent public face of the organization before many audiences. Despite his stature and expertise, he never backed away from the less glamorous tasks necessary to advance our goals and objectives.
Shirley Heinze Land Trust will greatly miss Dale Engquist, but his legacy will live on in the wonderful natural areas he helped to preserve. Our sincere condolences go to Dale’s wife Jo Ann, their family, and all his many friends.