Tom Suerth

Tom started Waterfront Restoration, which  provides lake weed removal services, in 2003 when he was still in high school. Frustrated by the weeds and invasive species preventing his family from enjoying the lake, he tried pulling them by hand instead of depending on chemicals or mechanical harvesters. The results were longer-lasting and more complete, and as his family’s property became the envy of the bay, word spread!

“The crews were always friendly and responsive, cannot say enough about the people you have been able to hire in the summer to do this work. I would be remiss if I didn’t also note that Derek has been great to work with, could not be happier with working out the service needed, timing, responsiveness to call, etc.”

— Jerry V, Lake Owasso

Over the years, Waterfront Restoration has expanded its services and service area while keeping abreast of the latest invasive species concerns and best practices. Today, over 500 regular clients rely on Waterfront Restoration to clear and maintain their lakefront properties.

Waterfront Restoration is locally owned and staffed by courteous, borderline-obsessive lake lovers. Waterfront cares about our neighbors and the lakeshores they represent because, frankly, we can’t wait to dive in for ourselves at the end of the day. Our 17-year track record and hundreds of happy clients speak volumes about our commitment to excellence. We’re about improving our lakes through our lake weed removal services —as well as helping clients enjoy their summer—one visit, one weed, one shovel at a time…and we can’t wait for you to experience the Waterfront Restoration difference for yourself!



Derek Lee

Derek began his career with Waterfront Restoration as a diver in 2008 and now serves as the sales and marketing director for the company. Derek oversees everything from customer satisfaction to marketing initiatives. His passion for the water and helping others has made his work with Waterfront Restoration a natural fit.

Derek was born and raised in Minnesota and grew up with weekend ventures to his lakeside cabin on Mille Lacs. His time spent there was the foundation of his love for the outdoors and the lakes of Minnesota.

When he's not working, Derek is also a volunteer firefighter for the city of Long Lake. In his free time, Derek loves to spend time out on the lake or near the lake with his friends and fiancé, Taryn. He even proposed to Taryn along the shores of Lake Minnetonka near the excelsior commons boardwalk in the fall of 2016. He lives in Orono and has a “fur family” consisting of a Siberian husky named Eskimo and a cat named Finnley.

“I can’t tell you how nice it is to enjoy a weed-free Lake Minnetonka experience. Thanks again for providing us with such a great service!

— Michael J, Smithtown Bay, Lake Minnetonka

Due to Derek's never-ending passion for helping people and for serving the lakefront community, he is constantly listening and learning from thousands of lake homeowners. With almost a decade of work in this field, he has earned the trust and respect of clients and gained insights into the needs of lakefront homeowners. This expertise has allowed him to best teach Waterfront Restoration's staff of highly-trained divers how to provide the best solution and best customer experience to any lake homeowner. Derek stands behind Waterfront Restoration's promise of being the highest quality cleaning option for any lakeshore property.

Ripp at Waterfront Restoration

Ripp Baker

Ripp is the Operations Supervisor having started as a Crew Leader back in 2017. He helps with recruiting, hiring, improving training, updating policies and procedures as well as ensuring the crews have their equipment needs met.

Ripp grew up in central Minnesota spending a lot of time fishing Lake Mille Lacs and the surrounding waters. He spent a good amount of his years playing sports and spending time outside.

"Since those first days the team has been back every year making sure we have a beautifully clean beach area. We wouldn't think of starting a summer of water activities without Waterfront Restoration's schedule on our calendar! We and our grandchildren, ages 2 to 12, love jumping off the dock into completely weed free water!!!!!!"


Ripp then graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with his degree in Exercise Science. He has a passion for health and fitness as well as the waters of Minnesota. Spending his free time staying fit as well as Scuba diving and traveling.


Ben Brandt

Ben Brandt joined the Waterfront Restoration Team during the fall of 2018. After 8 years of leading operations at a big box retailer, it was time to get back to the great outdoors! Ben was born and raised in Rochester, MN (one of the only counties in MN with no natural lakes), but enjoyed spending as much time as possible at the family cabin in Wisconsin on Bone Lake. It was on Bone Lake that he developed a love of boating, skiing, tubing, and enjoying everything about the water. Ben took his passion for the water further 13 years ago when he got SCUBA certified, and has been diving ever since. As a new resident of Mound, MN, Ben, his lovely wife Lauren, and their 2 year old son Henry are happily surrounded by the many beautiful bodies of water that MN has to offer and enjoy.

As the Operations Manager at Waterfront Restoration, Ben is responsible for managing all of our hard-working and passionate employees to deliver high quality results day in and day out. As someone who spent many weekends at the family cabin Ben knows how preciously short the summer lake season can be in MN, and is committed to leading our crews to do everything within our power to ensure our clients can fully enjoy every minute possible on the water.

“Overall the results were excellent. They did what they said they would do and a bit more.”

Jim E., Echo Bay, Lake Minnetonka

Ben is also an authorized Watercraft Inspector and oversees the company’s Watercraft Inspector services and staff. There is so much to do to protect and preserve the health of our water bodies that this is a vital component to Waterfront Restoration’s core values and commitment to the environment.


Ben Maki

Ben Maki is our full-time marketing and sales manager as of 2019. He graduated from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul with a degree in marketing. Since then, Ben has been responsible for planning and managing Waterfront's marketing and sales efforts such as our website and our social media platforms as well as maintaining and building relationships with our clients. He works closely with the other staff to provide the best possible service to our lakefront homeowners across the state.

Ben grew up in Elk River, Minnesota and spent most of his summers going to his aunt and uncle's cabin on Mille Lacs Lake. His passion for the lake stems from the countless memories he has with family and friends on the water. Some of his favorite lakefront activities are wakeboarding, skiing, boating, fishing, and being at the lake cabin around the 4th of July. When not at the lake, Ben spends a lot of time outdoors, mountain biking, and hunting with his dad.

“I was very happy with the job done by the team that came to my house. I would use them again. They were polite and efficient.”

Regina H.

Ben values the mission of Waterfront Restoration and wants to continue to help provide the best possible service to others who enjoy the lake as much as he does. His passion to serve others as well as his determination to continuously improve has made him a great fit at Waterfront Restoration.


Maddie Holman

Maddie is the Sales and Marketing Intern for the 2021 summer season. Her job roles include communicating with clients to ensure that everyone is getting the best weed removal services and promoting the company’s principles and goals.

Maddie is a current University of Minnesota student where she is pursuing Technical Writing and Communication as well as Strategic Communication. Outside of her educational goals, Maddie involves herself on campus by being a part of several student organizations, one of her favorites being the Outdoors Club. Her love for the outdoors has always been a large part of her life, as she lived a considerable portion of her life on a lake in rural South Dakota.

“Overall Waterfront Restoration does a great job.”

Paul R.

Growing up on the lake, Maddie learned to love kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, boating, and water skiing. Additionally, Maddie’s other interests heavily incorporate nature and the outdoors. She also enjoys hiking, longboarding, ice skating, and exploring new areas. Seeing aquatic weed problems firsthand, Maddie was intrigued by Waterfront Restoration’s mission. She is delighted to be able to serve lake communities with an environmentally friendly approach to getting rid of those pesky weeds!


Kendall Duffie

Kendall is the summer Marketing Intern. She helps to create and implement marketing material via print, post, and online media. She also works to build and maintain client relationships in order to help them achieve their lakefront goals year after year.

Kendall is originally from Portland, Oregon and will be a junior at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. At Notre Dame, Kendall majors in Marketing with a minor in History. She is involved with many on campus activities such as SIBC, where she has been a project leader helping businesses create feasible and fun marketing and advertising campaigns. In her free time, Kendall loves hanging out with her twin sister and their two cats.

"Excellent that a company is available to perform this work, it's difficult to find in the area!"

Holly Levine

​Her love for nature and passion for connecting with others are what intrigued her to pursue the marketing position with Waterfront Restoration.​ ​This is Kendall’s first-ever summer in Minnesota, and she is looking forward to seeing just a few of these "10,000" lakes. Further, she is excited to help the Lake Minnetonka community enjoy weed-free shorelines this summer​!​


Max Jech

Max is the Waterfront Restoration Sales Intern for the Summer of 2021. One of his most important values is creating relationships, which he will be bringing to the table in his interactions with lake homeowners this summer.

Max was born and raised in Grand Meadow, Minnesota, a small town near Rochester. He is currently attending the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing Education with a planned graduation date of May 2022. On campus, Max is involved in the Leadership Minor as well as the Center for Sales Leadership + Education, where he is a member of the Gopher Sales Team. On the Gopher Sales Team, he has had the opportunity to represent the University of Minnesota in national sales competitions. In his free time, Max enjoys golfing, spending time with friends, and playing basketball.

"The team you sent to our house was outstanding in terms of weed removal, speed, and clean up. We were very happy and also happy that they got there before the 4th."

Rich N.

Max's passion for the water stems from spending time on the lake in Willmar, Faribault, and Minnetonka with friends and family during the summer growing up. His love of the lake and building relationships with others brought him to this position as a sales intern this summer with Waterfront Restoration. ​

Breaden - Account Manager

Braeden Johnston

Braeden is our account manager for the Brainerd Lakes Area, beginning this summer 2020.  He places deep value on customer satisfaction, and as someone who spends every possible moment on the lake, he understands the desire for the best experience possible. He does everything in his power to ensure that you have an amazing summer on the Minnesota lakes.

Braeden was born in Brainerd, and in elementary school moved with his family to Austin, TX. For his high school years his family moved back to the Midwest. No matter the state they were in, his family was always active and spent as much time outdoors as possible. Having always come home to MN for the holiday's he knew that Minnesota was where he belonged. He and his wife moved back to the Brainerd Lakes area last year, and he is taking full advantage of the fantastic Minnesota Lakes! In his free time, he enjoys snowboarding, wakeboarding, rock climbing, fishing, hiking, and basically anything and everything outdoors.

"They understood what I wanted and did it! They got all permitting required from the DNR and got the job done as agreed to."

Chris J.

Currently, Braeden is pursuing a degree in Project Management from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He hopes to one day use his degree to be involved in producing products for the outdoor industry that further environmental conservation.

The countless hours that Braeden has spent outside have shown him the beauty of the natural world and disruption that non-natural control methods can cause. Being able to help control invasive species and help people enjoy the lakes simultaneously is the best of both worlds in Braeden’s eyes. His passion for the Minnesota lake culture is an asset for all seeking to find a balance between nature and recreation.


Nate Hirte

Nate is the Account Manager Intern for the Detroit Lakes area for this summer season. He was born and raised in Minnesota and grew up spending much of his time doing water activities on lakes throughout the Alexandria area. Nate's time spent on the lakes and growing up on Lake Osakis is the foundation for his love of the outdoors.

He enjoys spending free time fishing, hunting, wakeboarding, snowboarding, staying physically active, and anything and everything outdoors. During the fall months, you can find Nate either in the duck blind or the deer stand. Nate is also an avid traveler, and he is always seeking a new adventure.

"They understood what I wanted and did it! They got all permitting required from the DNR and got the job done as agreed to."

Chris J.

Nate graduated from Osakis Public Schools in 2019 and attended Alexandria Technical College shortly after. He graduated from Alex Tech in 2020 with a Business Transfer Degree, and from there, he headed to Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's currently heading into his senior year there and will graduate with a degree in Business Administration with a marketing emphasis. His plan is to use that degree to pursue a career in sales and marketing in the outdoors industry, so his time at Waterfront Restoration will be spent well.


Lauren LaCasse

Lauren is our Watercraft Inspection Operations Intern this summer where she is primarily responsible for the scheduling of our watercraft inspectors. In addition, she assists in assuring that inspection contract agreements and standards are being met as well as facilitates in the coordination between our company and the counties we serve.

She is a soon-to-be graduate from Hamline University where she is majoring in Biology. As an avid outdoors enthusiast, her passion for nature started young and has continued to flourish into adulthood. She is eager to continue cultivating this interest into what could develop into a lifelong career of caring for one of Minnesota’s greatest legacies: its lakes.

I tried other approaches to controlling our lake weeks (chemicals, water circulation) but nothing works as well as Waterfront Restoration. They are professional, effective and have a great client service culture.

Ward A.

Enjoying lakes has been a fulfilling experience for her, and she relishes in the idea of contributing to efforts that will ensure these opportunities remain available for others. Upon learning of the contributions she could make to this cause working with Waterfront Restoration, she was quick to seize the opportunity.

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Graham Brimmer

Graham is the Waterfront Restoration Operations Coordinator for the summer of 2021. Graham’s responsibilities include working on the day-to-day operations of our dive crews. Graham helps to ensure our teams have everything they need to run efficiently and to make our clients happy.

Graham is a lifelong resident of Minnetonka, Minnesota and a graduate of Hopkins High School. As a camper and counselor, Graham spent many summers at camp in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin where he spent his days sailing, fishing and canoeing. He developed his passion for the water at a young age and swam competitively for 13 years. Graham enjoys doing pretty much anything in, on, or near the water. In particular, Graham enjoys scuba diving and skiing, as well as golfing and traveling. In the fall, Graham will be a senior at Ole Miss, The University of Mississippi, where he is pursuing a degree in Accounting.

In 2020, Graham served as our Operations Intern and was a member of our dive crew in 2019, so he is accustomed to the Waterfront Restoration way!

"The crew did an outstanding job! Beach looks great and we appreciated Waterfront Restoration’s rapid response to our call for weed removal."

Jim R.


Gunnar Berg

Gunnar is the Operations Intern for the summer of 2021. As an Operations Intern this season, Gunnar works with the dive crews and helps to ensure that day-to-day operations are running smoothly. He also helps with a large part of the recruiting and hiring that goes on for our dive teams, which includes screening applicants, interviews, hiring, and anything else that goes with the onboarding process.

Gunnar is a familiar with Minnesota living, as he grew up in the Watertown, Minnesota area his whole life, and he moved back to the area after graduating from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2020. Gunnar was able to earn a degree in Sport Management, and he spent time in the last couple years with the PGA of America working as an intern both in Minnesota and in Pennsylvania.

"Your divers were excellent and the intern that worked the account was great!"

Shelly K.

He has always had a passion for the outdoors. Since he was a child, Gunnar has enjoyed hunting, fishing, and spending time on family farms. He also enjoys being around Minnesota lakes as much as possible throughout the summer, and he believes that going to family cabins for a weekend or just boating around local lakes with friends is always a fun way to spend the weekend. His love for the outdoors has prepared him well for his Operations Internship at Waterfront Restoration.


Erin O’Brien

Erin is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she studied business, marketing, and leadership. She was the kid who never stopped asking questions and will use that characteristic combined with her problem-solving skills as the Operations Intern for Waterfront Restoration this summer.

Though she is new to Waterfront Restoration, it will be her fourth consecutive summer working near lakes. She has also worked as a watercraft inspector and rented out canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards.

On a day off you can find Erin baking, reading, training for her first marathon, playing with her German Shorthair Pointer, Ellie, spending time with family and friends or doing anything active and outdoors. She especially likes anything on the water; she is notoriously the first one swimming across the lake at her family’s lakeside cabin in Wisconsin every summer.

Her passion for the water stems from her weekends spent at the cabin and on the lake growing up. Her love of lakes has only grown, making her a great fit for Waterfront Restoration. She understands the importance of a weed-free lake and works behind-the-scenes to help provide that as quickly and efficiently as possible.


Jess Harrington

Jess joined the team in May 2017 as our Marketing Intern. Jess handles several different tasks at Waterfront. One of her main duties is answering calls from customers and talking with them about our services. She cares very deeply about customer satisfaction and will go above and beyond to make sure a customer is happy with their results.

Jess is going to be a senior at the University of St. Thomas in the fall and is majoring in Business Communications. She grew up in Minnetonka where she was very active in the sports community. She continues to be active in college playing intramural sports, participating in the Women in Business club, and doing fun things with her friends.

Jess currently lives in Minnetonka with her mom, dad, brother, cat, and two dogs. Her brother is a junior at Boulder, Colorado.

On the weekend, Jess tries to get up to her family cabin on Lake Vermilion. She has been going up to her cabin since she was a little girl. Jess loves water skiing, wake boarding, and being on the lake. Her cousins are from Duluth and they also go up to their cabin. Jess believes her cabin is why she is so close with her extended family.

“We’ve been a customer of Waterfront Restoration for 4 years now. These guys are great to work with. Their work is fantastic and thorough. Their employees are prompt and professional in all aspects. After every site visit they follow up to see if we have any questions or concerns. Having weed-free areas for our grandchildren to swim in has made our experience on the lake much more enjoyable. Thanks to Waterfront Restoration for making this possible!”

Bryan F, Prior Lake

Jess was drawn to Waterfront Restoration because of her own personal experience with the lake. She feels that one of the best parts about Minnesota is the lakes, and the summer should be spent on it. She is so thankful her family has a cabin-- it is where her favorite memories have been made. She believes the best days are when you wake up and put your suit on and don't take it off until sunset. She hopes that working with Waterfront she will be able to help others make memories like she has.

Jess is excited to put her St. Thomas education to use at Waterfront. She looks forward to learning more about marketing and sales. She is enthusiastic and has a strong work ethic. She is willing and ready to take on any project or challenge (with a smile) that comes her way!


Dylan Andrew

Dylan is beginning his time at Waterfront Restoration as a Sales and Business Development intern. As part of his tasks, he will communicate directly with customers and build a plan for them that will ensure a weed-free shore that is ready for the summer.

Dylan was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois and developed a love and appreciation for being out on the lake. Growing up, he and his family would frequently make trips to Michigan or Tennessee to visit the lake houses of family and friends. Since coming to Minnesota for school, Dylan has developed a love for fishing and loves spending his weekends on the water whenever he can.

"The crew did an outstanding job! Beach looks great and we appreciated Waterfront Restoration’s rapid response to our call for weed removal."

—Jim R, Lake Minnetonka, Gray’s Bay

Dylan currently studies Marketing at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Outside of work and school, Dylan is currently a member of the St. Thomas football team as an outside linebacker. Football, among many other sports, are a huge passion of Dylan’s.

Naturally, Dylan's love for meeting and interacting with new people, combined with his love for being on the water, made Waterfront Restoration the perfect summer internship.

Dylan is extremely excited to join the Waterfront Restoration team and he hopes to be an integral part of the continued growth and development of the company this summer.