“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

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!

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 e1495733851869

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.

Operations Project Manager

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.

A young man standing in front of a lake.

Nick Lee

Nick is our Sales Manager as of 2023. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in Marketing. Nick is responsible for providing accurate and fair estimates for existing and new clients. Nick’s focus is building strong relationships between clients and the company. Before coming to Waterfront Restoration, Nick was the Regional Manager for Wheel Fun Rentals in Milwaukee and Chicago, a popular bike and boat rental company.

Nick grew up in Burnsville, Minnesota, and for as long as he can remember, he has spent his free time at his cabin up in Barnes, Wisconsin, on Middle Eau Claire Lake. Nick’s cabin has been in his family for over 60 years and is a special place to him and his family. His passion for the outdoors stemmed from all his time at his cabin. While up north, Nick enjoys swimming, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and creating roaring bonfires. When not at the lake, Nick enjoys ice skating and snowboarding during the winter and golfing during the summer.

“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.

A woman in a blue shirt posing by a lake
Marketing and Communications Intern

Ainsley Nuytten

Ainsley is the Marketing and Communications Intern for the 2023 summer season. At Waterfront, she works with the sales and marketing department to effectively create long-lasting relationships with clients and provide exceptional customer service. Ainsley will be a Sophomore attending the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul studying Management. On campus Ainsley is involved in Theatre Club, and Women in Business, and loves attending all the sporting events St. Thomas has to offer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music, playing with her pets, and spending time on the water.

Ainsley enjoys surfing, wakeboarding, tubing, and relaxing on the boat. Ever since she was young, she has been enthusiastic about spending time in and near the water. Her passion for the water and connecting with new people is what drew her to this position. She is incredibly excited to get people passionate about their lakefront and enjoy it!

“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.

A woman smiling by a lake.

Brianna Hintz

Brianna is the Marketing Intern for the 2023 summer season. At WFR, Brianna works with the marketing department to manage and implement marketing projects.

She will be a junior studying Marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. On campus, Brianna is primarily involved in Gopher Sports Marketing and Women in Business. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights, running, hiking, traveling, and exploring the city.

Her love for the lake stems from growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Lake Michigan right in her “backyard.” This draw to the lake and understanding of the joy an accessible lakefront can bring motivates her to help clients achieve a weed-free lakefront.

"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.

A young man offering lake weed removal services near a lake
Sales and Marketing Intern

Aidan O'Donnell

Aidan is the Sales and Marketing intern for the 2023 summer season. At Waterfront Restoration, Aidan communicates with clients both in-person and virtually to make sure that they receive the weed-free lakefront they deserve. Aidan is from Mound, MN, and currently attends Iowa State University, where he is studying Finance and Marketing.

In his free time, Aidan loves spending his time outdoors, hunting, fishing, and spending time on the lake. Growing up, Aidan spent his summers on Lake Minnetonka, where he began his love for fishing and surfing. Aidan loves spending time talking with and getting to know people which helped to make Waterfront Restoration a great fit for him. Aidan is excited to join Waterfront Restoration and help customers enjoy their lake.

"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.

A woman in a blue shirt standing by a lake.
Marketing Coordinator

Taylor Buehler

Taylor Buehler is our Marketing Coordinator here at Waterfront Restoration. She recently graduated from the University of Minnesota- Duluth, where she majored in Marketing and minored in Entrepreneurship. She loves to be outside and thinks the outdoor life in Duluth is beautiful, except for the winters…The North Shore parks and trails are a must-see. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and family, trying new things, and traveling. She studied abroad in Italy for four months and is now a pasta addict 🙂 Taylor also has an outgoing personality and loves to meet new people!

Taylor is from Eden Prairie and has a passion for the summertime on lakes. What drew her to Waterfront Restoration is their love and care for Minnesota lakes. She has a family cabin on Thunder Lake in Remer, MN, that she looks forward to going to every summer. Boating and being with her friends and family is one of her favorite summer activities.

"Responsive, professional, and high quality work time and time again!"

Jennifer D.

A young man removing lake weeds
Sales Intern

Gunner Starzl

Gunner was born and raised in Perham, Minnesota. He grew up enjoying the lakes all year round and still does today. Throughout the year, he enjoys fishing, hunting, bow fishing, surfing, camping, and working out. He camps at a resort on Big Pine Lake in the summer where he enjoys hanging out with his friends and family. Gunner went to high school in Perham where he was involved in basketball and golf. In high school, he did PSEO where he was able to obtain his associate degree. Gunner now goes to Mankato State University where he will be graduating in the fall of 2023 with a degree in Business Management. His lifelong goal has been to have his own business, so he is always working hard to achieve that goal.

"The workers are great! They pay attention to detail and have always done a great job."

Carol L.

Sue Zobel headshot
customer service liaison

Sue Zobel

Sue joined Waterfront Restoration in 2022 and now serves as a customer service liaison building past and future relationships.She loves building relationships and believes in Waterfront Restoration’s purpose- making clients happy, bringing joy, and living a better life. With the understanding that time is precious- parents,grandparents and friends can enjoy and play in the lake, swim around, take their kids on the raft,and float on the water right in their own yard with and not have to be concerned about weeds.

Sue is passionate about boating, jet skiing, kayaking and being on the water. She has spent her whole life on the water- the day she came home from the hospital, her Dad took her for a boat ride. In addition, she grew up on a small lake infested with lake weeds, so she is familiar with our clients' challenges with weeds.

"Waterfront Restoration lives up to its name...my shoreline and beach are look fantastic! Thank you!"

Sandy R.


A young man in a blue shirt standing next to a river, possibly interested in lake weed removal services.
Administrative Manager

Hieu Pham

Hieu has been with us for over eight years and has made significant contributions in administration, IT, and finance. Hieu is all about precision and efficiency, and he’s helped us make our operations run better. He’s also great at handling data and reports that we need for smart business decisions.

In his free time, Hieu loves to travel and has been to lots of different places, learning about various cultures. This enriches his global perspective and makes him a more well-rounded problem solver. These qualities definitely help him succeed at Waterfront Restoration.

"Good work, friendly crew. Job was done as agreed to."

Mark R.

A man providing lake weed removal services near a lake.
routing & field operations coordinator

Aaron Stoltman

Aaron joined the team in May 2023 as the Routing & Field Operations Coordinator.  He is responsible for ensuring our diving crews are effectively and efficiently scheduled to meet our customers' needs.  With a background as an Operations Manager in the seasonal bike share industry, he is familiar with the increased demand that comes with our sometimes limited (and all-too-short) summer lake season.  He also has a degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas.

Aaron was born and raised in Winona, MN and spent much of his childhood boating on the Mississippi river backwaters, and appreciating the view from the family's boat house nearby.  He enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, cooking/grilling, bonfires, and generally being outdoors.

"Great people.great service. great clean up!😊"

Carol L.

A man in a blue shirt standing in front of a lake.
operations intern

Brian Whelan

Brian Whelan is the 2023 Operations intern for all watercraft inspectors. Brian is responsible for ensuring our inspectors' season runs as smoothly as possible. He manages all inspector staff which includes administering training, communications, recruitment, and any other necessary operations associated with the inspector program. Brian worked for Waterfront Restoration last year as an AIS ambassador, watercraft inspector for four different counties, Minneapolis Parks and Rec inspector, and a level two inspector at Christmas lake.

After finishing his associates degree at Lake Superior College, he moved to the twin cities to pursue a degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota. He specializes in fisheries and fish biology which is why he cares deeply about his work at Waterfront! He ensures our native fish species are kept safe from the threats of aquatic invasive species. In his free time, Brian is an avid fisherman, backpacker, hiker, forager, and will do any other fun related outdoor activity you can think of!

"Guys did a great job; got more than they planned on :). Cleanup was very good as well."

Michael P.

A young man overseeing lake weed removal services near a body of water.

Jackson Jaffe

Jackson Jaffe is working as the Operations Intern for the dive crew this season. He makes sure day-to-day operations run smoothly for our divers and ensures our clients are satisfied with the efficiency and thoroughness of our crews. He is currently studying industrial and systems engineering at the University of Minnesota and is anticipated to graduate in 2025. He has an analytical mind and loves problem-solving.

Jackson spends much of his free time in the summer fishing, hiking around the Midwest, and traveling as much as he can. Born and raised in Minnetonka, he has spent much of his life around the lake, boating, swimming, and wakeboarding. He is excited to work close to the lake this summer and tie his studies together with his passion for the outdoors.

Let's Get Started


Schedule your FREE Weed Removal Analysis

An icon of a phone with an attached speaker.

Watch our divers make your weeds disappear

White scuba mask and goggles for root removal of aquatic weeds, on a green background.

Enjoy your worry-free summer by the lake!

A pair of white flip flops on a green background with aquatic weeds in the background that require root removal.

Ready to make this your best summer ever?