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The Ohio Lake Erie Commission is located at: 111 E. Shoreline Drive Sandusky, Ohio 44870

Office Phone Number: 419-621-2040

Balanced Growth Phone Number: 419-357-2775

Fax: 419-621-2042

General Inquiries: lakeeriecommission@lakeerie.ohio.gov

Executive Director

   Gail Hesse  Gail.Hesse@lakeerie.ohio.gov

Gail Hesse is the Executive Director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, a cabinet cluster of six state agencies established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem and promoting economic development in the region.  Prior to her appointment to the Commission, Gail worked for Ohio EPA and was responsible for administering Ohio EPA’s Lake Erie restoration and protection and inland lakes programs.  She served as chair for the Ohio Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force, a multi-stakeholder effort that analyzed the causes and issues related to algal blooms in the western basin of Lake Erie.  She also served as administrator of the Ohio Water Resources Council, a consortium of state agencies and commissions established to promote collaboration on water policy and program development.                                                                                                                            

She has a master’s degree in environmental studies and a bachelor’s degree in geography both from Ohio University.   She is also a graduate of the Ohio Certified Public Manager program, a two year leadership development program for management in the public sector.

Office Staff

  Sandra Kosek-Sills  Sandra.Kosek-Sills@lakeerie.ohio.gov

                                        Environmental Specialist/Balanced Growth Coordinator

Sandra Kosek-Sills is the Balanced Growth Program Coordinator at the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. She has worked on the Ohio Balanced Growth Program since 2005, providing technical assistance to the initial pilot watershed planning projects, writing program documents, coordinating the State Assistance Work Group, and tracking program successes.

Prior to coming to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, Sandra worked as a planner for the ODNR Office of Coastal Management where she coordinated the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program and was part of the project team for the award-winning Ohio Coastal Atlas. Prior to that worked in the land planning group at Conservation Design Forum, Inc. where she was part of the project team for the TCSP Route 47/Kishwaukee River Land Use and Transportation Plan in McHenry County, IL which received an honors award by the Illinois ASLA.

She holds a PhD and MLA in landscape architecture and an MS and BS in biology from the University of Michigan.


  Heidi Rife  Heidi.Rife@lakeerie.ohio.gov

                                        Administrative Professional/ Publications Specialist

Heidi Rife is the Administrative Assistant and Publication Specialist for the commission. She is responsible for the public outreach and is the state coordinator for the Ohio Coastweeks program as well as Lake Erie Award nominations and the Life on Lake Erie photo contest.  Prior to joining the commission she was a Senior Graphic Designer and Production Director in the newspaper industry for 20 years.   Heidi holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Center of Visual Arts at The University of Toledo.