Executive Director Hans Voss hired on just months after Groundwork was founded in 1995 (originally named Michigan Land Use Institute), and he has been essential to shaping the organization’s mission of supporting community liveability and resilience ever since.
Hans sees clear connections between his daily life and Groundwork’s program areas. For starters, he has a passion for nature and the outdoors—including that found right in town. “I’m a big urban biker and walker. That certainly speaks to our work to build strong, vibrant communities that offer housing and transportation options,” he says. He loves to eat local, fresh, raw veggies – right on point with Groundwork’s local food system development work. “And I see live music as a real community builder that brings people together to enjoy a shared creative experience – and it’s good for the local economy too,” he says.
As executive director, Hans sees his role as supporting Groundwork’s team by providing counsel and strategic support and securing resources to keep teams and programs on course. He’s also Groundwork’s chief spokesperson and liaison to the Board and Advisory Council, and steward of major partnerships and relationships. “I also seem to instigate a fair number of parties that gather together the Groundwork community,” Hans says.
Eyeing the horizon, Hans is motivated to bring more people and supporters to the organization, expand the membership, and strengthen partnerships. But he concedes it’s sometimes difficult to pick just one or two things to emphasize. “I am stoked about all of our programs, so my enthusiasm for our programs is high across the board,” he says.
Bachelor’s of Science in Resource Development, Michigan State University
Mostly I just like to get outside in any way I can. I love to hike and camp. I enjoy getting out on my road bike and hittng the trails on my mountain bike. I enjoy spending time on the beach and swimming in Lake Michigan, or just about any other water body. I like to canoe rivers too. Also, I have a real passion for music and see as many live performances as I can, and I am almost always reading a book or listening to one on my ear buds.
"I have many favorite spots! One of them is the top of Wayne Hill at sunrise!"
I bought this backpack when I was a sophomore in college and took it directly north to explore the wild land surrounding the Pigeon and Jordan rivers. Then I took it to Wyoming for a summer in college and I loved that adventure so much that I took the next semester off, packed my pack and went to the Himalayas. Travel has been a huge part of my life.