Chad Pregracke – Founder & President, Living Lands & Waters
Chad Pregracke Speech Sample:
Chad Pregracke Keynote Topics:
- How an average person can make a big difference
- How to create and lead a vision that inspires people to take action
- How strong leadership and teamwork can effectively solve a problem, no matter the size
- How to inspire people to work together towards a single vision
- How philanthropic organizations have enhanced their roll from simply providing funding to empowering employees to champion a cause
- How to creatively solve problems, like how to steer a 350-ton barge with a bicycle chain
Chad Pregracke Biography:
Growing up 30 feet away from the Mississippi River, Chad became very familiar with the majestic waterway. Spending up to 10 hours a day in the depths and current of the pitch black water, he worked as a Commercial Shell Diver during his teenage and college years. Over a six year period, he crawled 150 miles of the river bottom. He gained a new perspective on the river, looking at it from the bottom up. Chad was both marveled by the river’s beauty and frustrated with its plight due to years of neglect. The river and its shores were littered with thousands of barrels, tires, cars, campers, plastic bottles, appliances, and much more.
At the age of 17, he set out on a mission to do something about the disregarded river. Since 1998, when Living Lands & Waters was established, over 8 million pounds of garbage has been removed by Chad, his crew, and over 70,000 volunteers. Over 730,000 trees have also been planted through the MillionTreesProject, started in 2007. Furthermore, thousands of students have been educated aboard his floating classroom on the barge he and his crew live on up to 9 months of the year. Chad is accomplishing his mission to clean up America’s rivers and launched a social movement that engages people and betters the world in the process.
Chad’s sense of humor, passion, and enthusiasm help carry the message that we can all make a difference by amplifying his story and entertaining his audiences. His vision and leadership have been recognized through countless awards and honors. A few include CNN’s Hero of the Year Award, the Jefferson Award for Public Service (America’s version of the Nobel Prize), and being recognized at the Points of Light Tribute in front of all four living former U.S. Presidents. They even gave him a standing ovation for his inspirational message on dreaming big, taking action, persevering, leading, and collaborating. He was also named “America’s Hardest Working Person” by a competition hosted by Mitchum. Chad’s non-stop work ethic and determination have also been featured in major media outlets, such as CNN, the Discovery Channel, Time, People, NBC Nightly News, CBS Sunday Morning, the Chicago Tribune, and Outdoor magazines. In addition, Chad authored a book about his journey titled “From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers”, published by National Geographic in 2007.
Chad currently lives and works with his wife Tammy, dividing their time between life on the Teamwork Barge and their home in East Moline, IL.
To request Chad Pregracke to be a speaker at your next event, contact:
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