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 14-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.


Joe Ponessa

Joe began working with Waterfront Restoration as an Administrative Intern in the Spring of 2015 and is now in his second year working as Office Manager for the company. A University of Minnesota graduate, Joe plays a central role in nearly every aspect of the company, with primary areas of accountability in scheduling & routing our crews, management of our watercraft inspection teams, and managing all day-to-day functions of Waterfront Restoration and its numerous seasonal employees.

“Waterfront Restoration did a really nice job. The weeds were thoroughly removed and the guys did a great job cleaning up. Thank you!”

Tess D, Lake Johanna

Born and raised in Saint Paul, Joe grew up spending as much time as he could at the lake, which fostered a deep passion for fishing and the outdoors at a very early age. Continuing that passion for the outdoors led Joe to become a tournament bass angler, who now spends any and all available time prepping for and competing in local, statewide, and national-scale bass tournaments.

Spending hundreds of hours on the water each year, Joe has witnessed the negative impacts that are connected to other methods of lake-weed control, such as chemicals or harvesting, which prove time and time again to have negative implications on the welfare of our freshwater lakes. The sport of tournament bass fishing has really opened Joe's eyes to the importance and value of our freshwater resources, and has allowed him to meet and interact with countless like-minded individuals who want nothing more than to protect our lakes and rivers for all to enjoy.

He values being a part of Waterfront Restoration, a company devoted to delivering on the promise of providing the safest and most effective method of lake-weed control and AIS prevention possible to the state of Minnesota.

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 associate as of 2019. He is a recent graduate from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul where he majored in marketing and got the opportunity the play on the football team while attending the university. Ben is responsible planning and assisting in Waterfront's marketing efforts such as posting on our social media platforms, maintaining and building relationships with our clients, and 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 memorizes he has with family and friends at the lake. 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 Douglas

Maddie is the summer Sales and Marketing Intern. She is responsible for coming up with and assisting in marketing material, posting on social media platforms, writing blog posts, and maintaining communication with our clients. If you call Waterfront Restoration, it is her you will be speaking to!

Originally, Maddie is from Detroit, MI and now in Richmond, VA. In the fall, she will be a sophomore at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Along with majoring in Marketing with a concentration in Management, she is involved in many on-campus activities. She is the External Business Manager of her school newspaper, a member of her school's business fraternity, a volunteer for the Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit, and a mediocre piano student. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, playing volleyball, and traveling with her family.

“Overall Waterfront Restoration does a great job.”

Paul R

Maddie's passion for lakes stems from spending time every summer on North Arm, Lake Minnetonka with her grandparents, extended family, and English Cocker Spaniels. Since she was born, dozens of family members have gathered at the cottage each year from all over the country to enjoy all that the lake has to offer. Her love for Minnesota and the lake is what drew Maddie to Waterfront Restoration.  She remembers growing up being terrified of the lake weeds, so she's excited to be a part of a company that offers an eco-friendly alternative to weed removal this summer.


David Martin

David is the Sales intern for Waterfront Restoration for the summer of 2019.  David may be our sales intern, however, with his genuine take on helping people it will much rather seem like a casual conversation with an old friend than a sales call. David wants to focus on your lakefront weeds and needs so you don’t have to. Thus, allowing you to focus on friends, family, and good times out on the lake with a piece of mind knowing you won't be bothered by any weed nuisances.

David was born and raised on a farm in Postville, Iowa where he grew up near the Mississippi river. Living close to the Mississippi some of David's favorite summer activities involved boating, Jet Skiing, and camping out on sandbars with friends.

Currently, David is pursuing a degree in Marketing and Sales Management at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). At UNI David is involved in Pi Sigma Epsilon a business and sales co-ed fraternity, peer mentoring, and the American Marketing Association. Through these student organizations David has had the opportunity to be a part of executive positions, selected to compete in sales competitions across the nation, and lead a presentation group to a national championship for “Top Not For Profit Marketing and Sales Project” this past March.

“Our lake is very shallow and sometimes hard to know what is going on. Waterfront Restoration was great. They definitely delivered the services we contracted. They were very professional and I would use them again.”

Susan F, Lost Lake

In his free time, David enjoys traveling, working out, and float tanks. Although David might not be familiar with the Minneapolis area, David believes that anywhere you end up in life has its own gems of happiness. Waterfront Restoration just so happens to be one of those gems.

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Ben Collinge

Ben Collinge is our Operations Intern this summer at Waterfront Restoration. He just finished up his junior year at the University of St. Thomas and is majoring in finance. Ben grew up in Plymouth, MN and attended Wayzata High School. In his free time, He enjoys hanging out with friends, spending time in the outdoors, and most important going up north to his family's cabin on the weekends. Ben is pursuing a career in operations management and really looks forward to a great season ahead!

"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.


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.


Waterfront Restoration LLC
P.O. Box 783
Long Lake, MN 55356
Office: 952-356-0614
Fax: 612-223-6815