Taking inspiration from his grandfather, a Kansas wheat farmer, and father, a fisheries biologist, Doug embarked on a career as a wildlife biologist, tying interests in natural resources with the agricultural areas they inhabit. After obtaining BA, and MS degrees in zoology from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, and a completing a brief stint with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Doug started a 33-year career with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 1986, serving initially as District Wildlife Biologist in northwest Illinois, and concluding as Wildlife Disease and Invasive Wildlife Program Manager for the entire state. Doug is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and Prescribed Burn Manager and served as President of the Illinois Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and Treasurer of the Professional Association of Resource Conservation Managers.