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Board

MAUREEN SMYTH, chair, a longtime Groundwork supporter, retired from the CS Mott Foundation, where she worked in the communications department before becoming a grant maker, developing the Great Lakes Land and Water Resources funding program, and then serving as senior vice president. Maureen skillfully guides the Board of Directors to support Groundwork's mission.

 

KATE BASSETT edits Harbor Light, a popular paper published in Harbor Springs that often reprints our work—a connection that’s grown since her tenure began. Kate promotes community by making sure the paper connects people to a sense of place and to each other. She plays an important outreach role to connect Groundwork to the Emmet County area.

 

JULIE METTY BENNETT  is a senior vice president and principal at Public Sector Consultants, a highly respected public policy firm in Lansing. She manages the firm’s energy and environment practice and client projects concerning water quality, land use, community and economic development, and natural resource management. Additionally, she spends a significant portion of her time leading the firm and developing a diverse staff to help realize the company’s vision. Beyond her own practice area, Julie is responsible for PSC’s new lines of business in marketing and communications, program management, and implementation.

JOHN BERCINI, treasurer, has more than 35 years of experience on Wall Street, representing various asset managers. For the past 10 years he has worked for the Roosevelt Investment Group that began as the family office for the descendents of President Theodore Roosevelt. John and his wife Rebecca live on Old Mission Peninsula, where John also serves as a trustee for the Peninsula Community Library.
 

JENNIFER BLAKESLEE is chef and co-owner of the Cooks' House, an award-winning restaurant in Traverse City. She honed her culinary skills at restaurants across the country before returning to northwest Michigan, where she sources local foods whenever possible. She brings to Groundwork her expertise in the local food movement and farm to school efforts.

 

CASEY COWELL is a tech entrepreneur, startup investor and philanthropist. His company U.S. Robotics pioneered development of the computer modem. He provided initial funding for the Cowell Familiy Cancer Center in Traverse City. Casey is passionate about growing local, knowledge-based tech jobs and developing the new economy of tomorrow.

 

ED GERGOSIAN is a retired lawyer from San Diego who served there for years on local and regional land-use planning committees. As a child growing up in Detroit, he learned the value of Michigan’s beautiful and abundant natural resources. Ed is now a part-time resident of Glen Arbor.

 

JOHN "Chip" HOAGLAND is dedicated to smart land-use policies and building the local food economy. He is the owner and visionary behind Cherry Capital Foods, a local food distribution business headquartered in northwest Michigan and now serving the entire state. He also owns a number of other food-related companies. Groundwork honored Chip with the Milliken Leadership Award in 2016.

BILL MILLIKEN Bill has a commercial real estate brokerage in Ann Arbor, and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors. He served as the 100th president of Michigan Realtors in 2013. He is a board member of New Detroit (newdetroit.org), was a director of Republic Bancorp, and board chair of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce. Previously, Bill worked in Washington, D.C., for NASA and the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

ROGER NEWTON has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries during his 40-year career as a research scientist. He has been a longtime member and board member, and is now Chairman of Groundwork. He and his wife, Coco, have been strong supporters of the Farms, Food, and Health Program. He is passionate about Groundwork partnering with local farmers and their organizations to bring clean, untainted food into the center of personal health and well-being.  

DENIS PIERCE is a partner in the law firm of McCalla, Raymer, Leibert, Pierce, a Chicago real-estate law firm, and the founder and president of the Pierce Family Charitable Foundation. His foundation works primarily with helping to solve the problems of homelessness in Chicago. He is also a supporter of a number of environmental and community organizations in the Traverse City area. He summers on Glen Lake.

TIM PULLIAM is the co-founder and president of Keen Technical Solutions, LLC, which provides clients throughout North America with analysis and energy conservation strategies. Keen was designated as one of the fastest growing companies in the country by INC 500. Tim is an advisor on Groundwork's clean energy program and a spokesperson in the business community.  

 

CRAIG SHARP is a wealth management advisor and certified financial planner with Merrill Lynch. He specializes in planning and investment consulting for individuals, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and retirement plans. A past board chair, Craig played a vital role in building organizational effectiveness. He and his family live in Grand Rapids and Frankfort, where they once owned and operated the Coho Café.

 

MARY VAN VALIN is a respected activist in the community. She is a former teacher, and recently helped advance a public park on Old Mission Peninsula. Mary is involved in many community initiatives, including leading the effort to install solar panels on a local school and coordinating an initiative to help students become advocates for climate solutions.

 

HANS VOSS, executive director, keeps Groundwork effective by collaborating with staff on program strategy, cultivating relationships with key allies, and working with the Board, donors, and foundations to strengthen financial health. Hans’ longtime leadership makes him a credible spokesman and partner for the economic power of sustainable communities.

 

CAROL WINOGRAD is a former director of communications for the Michigan Democratic Party, and a speech writer for the Michigan Senate Majority Leader. A longtime dedicated board member, Carol brings an ability to craft messages of progressive environmental management, and knows how to use government to bring about policy change.