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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.


JULIE METTY BENNETT is a vice president and owner at Public Sector Consultants, a highly respected public policy firm in Lansing. She manages the firm’s environment and energy policy development, and client projects concerning water quality, land use, community and economic development, and natural resource management.


JOHN BERCINI, treasurer, has more than thirty-three years of experience on Wall Street, representing various asset managers. For the past eight 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.


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 funded the building of 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 class-action lawyer from San Diego who has served 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 in northwest Michigan, and a number of food-related companies. Groundwork honored Chip with the Milliken Leadership Award in 2016.


BILL MILLIKEN is a longtime realtor in Ann Arbor. Milliken Realty was named Best of Michigan Business by Corp Magazine in Detroit in 2008. He also serves on the boards of New Detroit and the Washtenaw Community College Foundation. Bill is actively involved with Groundwork's campaign to establish passenger rail service.


ROGER NEWTON has worked for more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. He is the founder of Esperion Therapeutics, Inc., located in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center in Plymouth. Roger is passionate about our work to partner with medical professionals to expand support for the premise that healthy food is the foundation of good health.


DENIS PIERCE heads Pierce & Associates, P.C., a Chicago real-estate law firm, and the Pierce Family Foundation, which turns his "give back" philosophy into funding many good causes in Chicago and northwest Michigan. 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 nonprofit endowments and foundations. 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.