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.