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1101 11th Ave, Helena, MT 59601 (406) 443-5711 Information on our programs can be found at

MACD and its sister organization, Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, work hand-in-hand in their missions to represent and serve Montana’s conservation districts. As such, staff duties are shared across the two organizations with MACD employing the Executive Director position, and SWCDM employing the staff that work more closely on programs. MACD and SWCDM hold a reciprocal management agreement to support one another’s staffing and office needs.

MACD & SWCDM Organizational Chart


Dan McGowan

Executive Director
Dan was born and raised in Helena. He has a Bachelor’s in Communications from Carroll College and a Master’s in Security Studies (Homeland Security and Defense) from the Naval Postgraduate School. Dan began his professional career with seven years of corporate marketing and management.  In the summer of 2015, he retired from state government after 30 years of service.  Dan’s areas of expertise include: administration, program execution, strategic planning, consulting, emergency planning, collaborative development, grant writing/administration, major event planning, non-profit development/coordination, and marketing. Community involvement is important to Dan, and he has been part of the East Helena Valley Rodeo Association since 1982.  As a professional auctioneer, he has donated his time for 12-15 community benefits a year since 1994.

Ann McCauley

Programs Director

Ann is a Montana native and received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Montana State University-Bozeman’s College of Agriculture with an emphasis in soil science, sustainable cropping systems, and environmental biology. Ann has previous experience working for the Forest Service, writing extension publications for MSU, and working in water quality programs. Ann lives in Helena with her husband and her two kids, and in her rare spare time, Ann likes to run, ski, and bake.

Jessica Makus

Programs Manager

Jessica has a background in biology, and has a lot of experience working with water resources. She began her work in Montana with the Montana Natural Heritage Program, continued with the Department of Environmental Quality, and most recently spent time with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Jessica lives in Helena with her husband Erik, and their daughter Cora. Jessica enjoys the outdoors and spends her free time running, camping, and skiing. She can be reached at

Melissa Downing

Operations Manager

As the Operations Manager for SWCDM and MACD, Melissa assists the organizations in financial record keeping, office management, and works to improve office systems and policies to ensure the missions of SWCDM and MACD are fulfilled. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Humboldt State University, with an emphasis in hazardous waste management. She spent several years working as a paralegal at a large law firm in West Virginia, before taking time off to raise her two sons. Melissa  enjoys spending time with her family in the outdoors hiking, camping, and rafting. Melissa’s hours at the office will be 8:30-12:30, Monday through Friday. She can be reached at

Kate Arpin

Communications & Technology Manager

Location: Troy In addition to working for SWCDM as the technology and communications coordinator, Kate is a freelance graphic designer specializing in Wordpress websites (like this one) and printed materials. Before coming to SWCDM, Kate worked as the part time administrator for the Madison Conservation District. She has a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Puget Sound, and she grew up in Twin Bridges, MT, where her mom was a Conservation District supervisor for 17 years. Kate and her husband Al now live in Troy, MT, and she works remotely from her home office which she shares with her cat, Louise.

Samantha Tappenbeck

Area Resource Specialist, Western Montana

Location: Kalispell Samantha provides technical support on water-related issues and coordination assistance to conservation districts and local organizations in the Clark Fork and Kootenai River Basins. Her background is in freshwater ecology and aquatic biogeochemistry, and she has conducted research in southeastern Appalachia, the tallgrass prairie of the Midwest, and the northwestern Rocky Mountains. Samantha has lived in the Flathead Valley since 2010 and has previous experience working for the Flathead Lake Biological Station. She lives in the foothills of the Swan Mountains with her husband, Tyler and son, William. When not at work, you can find them camping, floating a river, or hiking with their three dogs. Samantha can be reached at or 406-291-6314.

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