Kevin is a native Michigander—born in Detroit, raised in the southeastern corner of the state, and educated at Albion College (A.B.) and the University of Michigan (J.D.). He retired in 2013 after 25 years as a partner specializing in commercial litigation in the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins. Kevin came to appreciate northern Michigan’s character and the Conservancy’s role in protecting it during annual vacations at Watervale Inn on Lower Herring Lake. He and his wife Lisa now spend as much time as possible at their home in Acme Township. They have three adult children and three grandchildren. As one of his daughters is quadriplegic, Kevin is especially sensitive to and appreciative of the Conservancy’s commitment to developing universally accessible trails. Apart from his work on behalf of the Conservancy, Kevin enjoys caring for his daughter, cheering on Michigan football, chasing the Peloton (as AcmeDynamite), attending liberal arts classes at the University of Chicago’s Graham School (and serving as a Graham Circle Ambassador), and—last but not least—watching the sun set over East Bay and Old Mission Peninsula.
Cortney is a Traverse City attorney who maintains a transactional based real estate, business and estate planning practice. She worked for a national investment firm and regional banking institution prior to going into private practice as an attorney and has an extensive background in business, wealth management and trust administration. Born and raised in Michigan, Cortney has had a special connection with northern Michigan since childhood. She is passionate about access, preservation and protection of the natural resources which are vital to this region’s growth and economic sustainability. Cortney’s husband, Chris (a Montana native), grew up on a ranch in the foothills of Glacier National Park and was captivated by northern Michigan’s agricultural landscape and unspoiled beauty of the Great Lakes. They feel privileged to have the opportunity to raise their family here. Cortney and Chris live on the Old Mission Peninsula with their two young sons, Brogan and Hudson. Cortney is joined on the Old Mission Peninsula by her parents and three sets of her aunts and uncles who also call northern Michigan their home. Cortney received her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law and her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University – Eli Broad College of Business.
Linda, a Michigan native originally from St. Joseph, spent her working life in Midland. She retired from Midland Public Schools after a 33 year career that began as a kindergarten teacher and ended as the associate superintendent for finance, facilities, and operations. While in Midland, Linda held leadership positions on a variety of boards including a credit union, a community foundation, and an arts organization. She was also an enthusiastic warrior against invasive species for the Little Forks Conservancy, a role she has brought with her to Traverse City where she is the treasurer of TART Trails and a member of its Leelanau Trail invasive species team.
Linda earned her A.B. in education from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Central Michigan University. She and her husband, Dan, moved to Traverse City in 2016 and are now enjoying outdoor activities year-round, including exploring northern Michigan’s many Conservancy protected properties.
John was born in Dowagiac and grew up a free range kid, fishing, biking, swimming, hunting and hiking the surrounding lands. That adolescent experience left him with a deep appreciation of woods and water and the ability to access the land.
He attended Western Michigan University and graduated with a B.S. and M.A. in Political Science.
Based in Chicago, he has spent 35 years on Wall Street representing money managers such as Nicholas Applegate, Alliance Bernstein, and Eaton Vance. He spent the last 10 years as a Senior Vice President for the Roosevelt Investment Group, a small investment boutique which is the former family office of the descendants of President Teddy Roosevelt.
In 2013, John and his spouse Rebecca relocated to Traverse City full time so they could live where they have vacationed many times.
Now fully retired, John is Treasurer for the Board of Trustees for Peninsula Community Library and sits on the Board of Directors for Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.
He resides with his spouse Rebecca on Old Mission Peninsula. With his free time, he enjoys bicycling, fishing, photography, sporting clays and hiking the wonderful trails found on the GTRLC properties.
Perry and his wife Cathy are Michigan natives who were raised in the Detroit area and grew to love Northwest Michigan from an early age. They loved the area so much that in early September 2001, to the dismay of family and friends, they took a leap of faith and moved the family to Traverse City without employment. Perry has been an avid outdoorsman his whole life thoroughly enjoying the trails, woods and beaches of Northwest Michigan but his foremost passion is steelhead fishing. He is honored and excited to be part of such a dedicated and focused team as well as to provide leadership and support to GTRLC’s important mission.
Perry has been involved in the investment field for over 25 years and currently serves as Wealth Management Investment Director for West Shore Bank. He has been an active member in the local community and has served as a board or committee member for several local non-profits. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Ferris State College and a Master’s in Finance degree from Walsh College.
Betsy is originally from the Detroit area and grew up volunteering with her mother, preserving land for the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. She has lived on Old Mission Peninsula for 35 years with husband, Scrub, and three children. She is an avid outdoors person and has covered almost every inch of the state. She feels very aware of Michigan’s geography and the threats against it. Betsy has been a board member with various community groups in this area and the Upper Peninsula. As past chair of West and Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood and current member of Michigan League of Conservation Voters she is used to keeping abreast of Michigan’s political climate. Her background is in retail and marketing, most recently for a regional bank. She is looking forward to working with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, particularly in helping further the communities’ support of this great organization.
Don is the cofounder and former owner of Black Star Farms, a winery, distillery, inn, restaurant and working farm in the Grand Traverse region. Don and his wife Marylou reside in Traverse City and have two adult children. Both Don and Marylou grew up in Connecticut but have summered in Leland with other family members for over 40 years, moving full time to this area in 1998. They are long time members of the Leelanau Conservancy and active supporters of numerous environmental based organizations.
Don earned his BS degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, followed by five years in the U.S. Navy and 30 years in international and national marketing and sales of spirits and wines. They have lived in the Caribbean, Latin America, Canada, Europe and the United States, and Don retired President of U.S. operations of Allied Domecq Spirits (formerly Hiram Walker Company).
While building Black Star Farms, Don was appointed to two terms as a Commissioner for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development by Governors Granholm and Snyder and served as President and Board Member of the Leelanau County and Grand Traverse regional EDCs. Black Star Farms was the 100th MAEAP certified farm in Michigan. Don has actively supported farmland and farmer preservation efforts by working with townships, the local food network and Grand Traverse Food Shed Alliance.
John and his wife Lynn grew to love the Northwest corner of Michigan through years of vacationing at the Watervale Inn on Lower Herring Lake. They are returning to Michigan after a stint of living on Manhattan in New York City. John and Lynn – who have four adult sons all of whom are Eagle Scouts – will be spending the majority of their time at their home on Platte Lake in Benzie County.
John has been for decades active in non-profit and tax exempt organizations including leadership roles in educational, church, and community service organizations. As a Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout Troop in Southeast Michigan John earned most of the Boy Scout awards an adult leader can earn for training and leadership. The Troop was involved in camping and conservation projects throughout Michigan and the United States. BSA Troop Eagle Projects included planting thousands of dune grass plants to prevent erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Benzie County and clean-up operations at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
John brings to the Board a unique blend of commitment to conservation and nature coupled with a proven track record of leadership in the arenas of legal governance and risk management. John has over 35 years of experience as an attorney working on corporate transactions, corporate governance, acquisitions, capital finance, compliance, and business ethics. John recently retired from AlixPartners LLP, a global business consulting firm, where he was General Counsel, Secretary and chaired its global Risk Management Committee. Before holding those positions John spent two decades in private law practice and also for 10 years held the positions of General Counsel and Secretary at Champion Enterprises, a company traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange.
John is an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State University Law School and has taught a variety of business planning and tax courses. He is also a guest lecturer at Fordham University Law School in New York. He previously served on the faculty of Walsh College of Business and Accountancy, and was for several years a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan Law School, conducting a seminar on crisis management for the general counsel.
John holds a bachelor’s degree from Kalamazoo College and a J.D. with honors from Wayne State University Law School. He received his LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida Law School where he graduated first in his class and was awarded the Mershon Sawyer Award for outstanding scholastic achievement.
John is the Past-Chairperson of the Taxation Section Council of the State Bar of Michigan and has authored and co-authored numerous articles in the fields of taxation, business planning, and mergers and acquisitions
John is elated to be a member of the Board of the Conservancy and appreciates the responsibilities of trust and stewardship that go with that role.
JoAnne Cook, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Chippewa Indians, is from Peshawbestown, Michigan. Her previous professional experience includes one term on Tribal Council (2012-2016) and with Tribal Courts as a Tribal Court Judge for two tribal communities (1994-2011). She received her Business Administration degree from Ferris State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin School of Law.
JoAnne was involved in the organization and development of two alternative courts: Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court). The alternative courts utilize tradition and culture which allows for healing and restoring balance for those involved. She has begun consulting with native and nonnative communities who are either developing Peacemaking or a Healing to Wellness Court.
She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinaabe way of life and has continued her learning about the 3 Fires people. JoAnne has presented to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. In addition, she previously taught Business Law for Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and a course at NMC Extended Education, titled Native Law and Culture. JoAnne is currently teaching a short course, History of the Anishinaabek for NMC Extended Education.
Jim grew up on a lake near Cadillac with a great appreciation and passion for the natural resources of the region. He and his wife Diana moved to the Old Mission Peninsula in 1985 with their two daughters, Renee and Martha, who have returned to the Peninsula and Harbor Springs to raise their families. Their grandchildren are now the fifth generation to live in the area. Hiking, boating, biking, skiing, fishing, and camping continue to be favorite family recreational pursuits. Jim is a graduate of Michigan State University and before retirement was the founder and president of Huckle Media, which owned community newspapers, magazines, websites, a digital agency and commercial printing operations in Minnesota. He has served as a director on a variety of non-profit, professional and corporate boards. Huckle stated “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to add my support to further the mission of the GTRLC.”
Koffi Kpachavi is the Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Conservation
District. Koffi who has been a leader in the non-profit sector for over 25 years
assumed leadership of GTCD on May 6, 2019.
Much of his career has been with the YMCA, leading camps and youth
programs in various parts of the country: Camps Mason, Ockanickon,
Matollionequay in New Jersey, Camp Colman in Washington State, Camp
Loma Mar in California and Camp Echo in Michigan. Most recently he has
worked at TrueNorth community Services in Fremont, Michigan where he
supervised an afterschool program for several local school districts. The
program was funded through the 21 st Century Community Learning Centers, a
federal grant administered by the Michigan Department of Education. Koffi
holds a BA in English and French literature from the University of Lome in
Koffi and his wife Teresa have three boys: Arnaud, Ian and Yannick. Arnaud,
the oldest, is a Conservation Officer for the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources. Ian is in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison,
and Yannick studies information technology systems at Ferris State University.
Teresa works remotely for Stanford University managing online courses for the
Continuing Studies program.
When he is not working, Koffi is passionate about environmental issues and is
involved in Apiculture. He is the founder and former president of the Fremont
Area Bee Club. He is also an enology enthusiast with a focus on geology and
wine-grape growing around the world. He co-leads educational sessions in
France and the US. Koffi and Teresa own and operate a small hobby farm
following sustainable practices in Beulah, where they test the use of Biochar for
carbon sequestration and soil amendment. Koffi who is a life-long learner
enjoys reading, music, running and has coached High School Track/Cross
Chip has served as the executive director of Camp Arcadia, a Lutheran family resort on the shores of Lake Michigan in Arcadia in Manistee County since 2000. As a teen he came to Camp Arcadia as a teen camper eventually served on staff with his future wife, Sarah. They married in 2000 and raise three children, daughters 13 and 11 and a son aged 6. The GTRLC's properties near Arcadia are an important part of their lives. Springtime wild flowers, hikes to Arcadia Dunes, Baldy, mountain bike trips to the St. Pierre Trails and Glacial Hills, cross country skiing and snowshoeing highlight their year. Chip and Camp Arcadia were helpful in the Conservancy's Coastal Campaign. Chip, a graduate of Michigan State University, serves as the vice chair of the Manistee County Community Foundation and has served on the Arcadia Planning Commission. He and his wife are also very involved in their church and the local community center. Chip is passionate about protecting precious land and making it available for everyone to access.
Barbara Nelson-Jameson is a Park Planner and was Michigan Program Director for the National Park Service - Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. Barbara assisted communities and organizations working to protect rivers, develop non-motorized trails, conserve open space, and preserve our natural and cultural heritage. Ms. Nelson-Jameson has been instrumental in efforts such as The Automobile National Heritage Area, Southeast Michigan Greenways Initiative, The Detroit Heritage River Water Trail, The Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, Iron Ore Heritage Trail, Oakland County BlueWays, Cass River Water Trail, Flint River Water Trail, Fred Meijer River Valley Rail Trails, and Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. She’s worked with the GTRLC on the Traverse City to Charlevoix Trail and the Northwest Michigan Greenways Plan.
Ms. Nelson-Jameson has worked at Isle Royale National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She has served on the boards of The Leelanau Conservancy, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, Land Information Access Association, and The Heart of the Lakes Center. Barbara received a Bachelor’s of Science in Outdoor Recreation Planning and a Master’s of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Annie Olds is a Business Development Manager at Venture North Funding & Development having recently made a big career shift. This follows her recent role as Northwest MI-SBDC Regional Director and Business Consultant where she led a team of small business consultants providing support to early stage entrepreneurs to that of larger companies looking to expand and grow their operations. During her tenure as a consultant, Annie worked with more than 500 start-up and existing businesses, assisting them to capture more than $26M in capital formation, and supported 54 of those clients to launch their new businesses.
Having grown up in and played a very active role in her family's business, Shetler Family Dairy, from start-up to early-growth to the wind down and sale of a successful operation, she credits this lifetime of experience for growing her passion for small business. Annie earned both an MBA in Strategic Management and BAS in Management with specialties in Human Resources and Small Business Management from Davenport University, as well as an AAS in Business Administration from Northwestern Michigan College. She also became a Certified Business Business Consultant via Grand Valley State University and certainly considers herself a lifelong learner.
She and her husband, Justin, own Pine Ridge Farm, a small-scale 126-acre farm in Kalkaska Co. where they custom raise beef and pork for private sale and have plans to eventually process their own maple syrup. And in their limited spare time, they enjoy camping in their 1961 Overlander Airstream with their two young children, Luke and Evelyn.
Susan Palmer, her husband Tom and her family fell in love with the water and land of northern Michigan when they first began to come 45 years ago for summer vacations. Palmer family values align with GTRLC mission which is why Susan is happy to join the board. She is the former development director at the Toledo Museum of Art where she is a current board member and Docent. She also serves as Secretary on the University of Toledo Foundation Board and the Toledo Community Foundation Board.
With her husband Tom she is a co-chair of the United Way of Toledo Tocqueville campaign. She has a daughter and son in law and three grandchildren.
Greg has been a certified public accountant over 30 years, practicing in Traverse City since 1990. Born in Flint, Michigan, he received his bachelors degree in Accounting from Western Michigan University and Masters in Taxation degree from Walsh College. Greg’s main discipline focuses on estate, gift and charitable giving taxation. A prior board member and Treasurer of the Grand Traverse Regional land Conservancy from 1991-2000, he was involved in the early Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects, Antrim Creek, Seven Bridges and Yuba Creek Natural Areas. An avid black and white photographer, he and his partner, Tracey McVicar published Shine On – Photographs of the Northwestern Michigan Region in 2013, featuring several GTRLC properties. Greg and Tracey live in Acme Township and combined have five children.
A native Detroiter, Evan Smith left a job in Chicago to backpack throughout the US before deciding to settle in Traverse City in 1978 and has never looked back. With over 35 years experience in international and domestic food distribution and logistics his dedication to increasing awareness of the importance of land conservation and preservation of our agricultural heritage has become an increasingly important part of his activities. Prior to joining Cherry Capital Foods in early 2009, he spent 8 years as the CFO of Food For Thought, a specialty food manufacturer. Both organizations have a strong, mission-based philosophy that drives their decision making process. Married with 2 adult sons, he has spoken nationally and internationally on food system issues, is the past Chair of TC-TALUS, and serves on the Michigan Farm to Institute Advisory Board, the Traverse City Food and Farm Network, the Grand Foodshed Alliance, and the Michigan Food & Farming Systems Board.
After a career at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Maureen retired to northwest Michigan, and began a second career of community involvement. A longtime supporter of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, she has a strong interest in protecting and restoring the region's spectacular natural areas. Maureen began her career at Mott in 1983, and from 2005 until she retired in 2012 was the Senior Vice President for both Programs and Communications. She was part of the management team that worked to help GTRLC acquire the wonderful preserve at Arcadia Dunes. Maureen and her husband Paul live in Traverse City's Midtown neighborhood, and keep a small cabin on Lake Superior in Baraga County. An avid hiker and outdoors person, Maureen brings her passion for northwest Michigan and its environment and people to her work on the Conservancy board.
Dr. Terrie Taylor is the first “second generation” board member of GTRLC. Her mother, LouAnn Taylor, served on the inaugural board in 1991 and helped to imbue Terrie with an appreciation for land protection as well as an understanding of all that is required to acquire and protect property in perpetuity. A University Distinguished Professor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Michigan State University, Dr. Taylor divides her time between Michigan (July – December) and Malawi (January – June). In Malawi, she provides clinical care to children with severe malaria and tries to understand how that disease wreaks havoc on those tiny patients. While in Michigan, she again divides her time – between the home she shares with John Robert Williams on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, and the campus of Michigan State University. She is a bicycle commuter in all three settings, and enjoys being outdoors whenever possible, whether it is climbing Mt. Mulanje in Malawi or exploring the nooks and crannies of the many properties protected over the years by the Conservancy.
Advisory Committee Members
Regional Forest Protection Program
A native of Michigan, Josh’s work experience includes forest inventory and timber sales, invasive species management, herbaceous vegetation surveys, wildlife surveys and monitoring (including birds, small and large mammals, terrestrial and aquatic arthropods, fish, and reptiles and amphibians), stream monitoring, management plans for forests and other habitats, research, and education. Josh received a B.S. in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science and M.S. in Forest Ecology and Management, both from Michigan Technological University. He also received his Ph.D. in Forestry from Purdue University. Josh is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters, Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society, and Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator in the categories Forestry, Right-of-Way, and Aquatic. Josh has worked as a forester in the Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) for the Manistee and Mason-Lake Conservation Districts since 2014. In his free time, Josh can be found playing his guitar, practicing martial arts, or enjoying the great outdoors.
Dr. Steven Kraft
Land Committee, Regional Forest Protection Program
Dr. Steven Kraft is retired Chair of the Department of Agribusiness Economics and former Co-
director of the Environmental Resources and Policy PhD program at Southern Illinois
University--Carbondale. He provided mediation services to all USDA cooperators in Illinois
through the Illinois Agricultural Mediation Project. These services were provided in cooperation
with the SIUC School of Law. After retirement, he was asked to help guide the development and
implementation of the Professional Science Master’s Program in Advanced Energy and Fuels
His specialty areas are soil and water conservation policy, watershed planning, ecosystem
services, and natural resources economics and policy. While at SIUC, he obtained over $4.5
million in research grants from sources such as NSF, USDA, the Joyce Foundation, The Nature
Conservancy, and the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research among others. Recent
publications include The Law and Policy of Ecosystem Services (Island Press, 2007) with JB
Ruhl and Chris Lant. He taught farm management, natural and environmental economics and
policy, and social perspectives on environmental issues. He earned his a masters and doctorate
degrees from Cornell University in 1976 and 1980 respectively. Before graduate school, he was
a Peace Corp Volunteer in Bolivia and India. He has a BA degree from American University in
Washington, DC with double majors in international relations and economics. He has an
extensive agricultural background. He speaks Spanish and Quechua.
Dr. Kraft was named a fellow of the Soil and Water Conservation Society in recognition of his
contributions to soil and water conservation policy through his research.
Fund Development Committee
Royce Ragland resides full time in Elk Rapids. Before retiring, her professional life focused on management training and education in universities, state and federal governments, and private organizations.
She has a longstanding interest in volunteerism and public service organizations. Her northern Michigan board service has included the Botanic Garden, Land Use Institute/Ground Works, Munson Hospital Foundation,
FLOW, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Munson Hospital Foundation, P45 Theater, and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. She currently chairs the Elk Rapids village planning commission,
and is a founder and chair of Green Elk Rapids, an environment-focused community group. Favorite activities include gardening, kayaking, and hiking along Lake Michigan.
Her academic background includes degrees in education, corrections, and economics. She and her husband Ken Bloem have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Fund Development Committee
Growing up in a central Indiana farm community and spending lots of time on his maternal
grandparent’s farm were major factors for John's interest in and appreciation of nature and all she has to offer
in every season.
Northern Michigan became his retirement location, with a home on Grand Traverse Bay
among a wide variety of trees. A neighbor and former board member introduced him to the Conservancy
family, which led to involvement on the Fund Development Committee and Board Leadership Committee, where he served as chair. He also helped lead a successful Acme Township Farmland Preservation 10-year tax assessment renewal
in 2014. Formal education occurred at Purdue University - BS Industrial Engineering and MBA from
the Krannert School of Management followed by nearly 4 years in the USAF as a Management
Engineering Officer. Experiences in his 30-year corporate career included sales and marketing
management, new business development, strategic planning and electronic commerce. After “retiring,” he
served as an account executive for Root, Inc. to develop and implement strategic learning tools for use at all employee levels in Fortune 500 companies. Currently, he serves on the board of Northern Michigan
Angels. Along with Marylou, his high school sweetheart, he acquired and operated Americana Gallery in
downtown Traverse City for 15 years. She is currently a board member of the Women’s Resource
Center and Chair of the Thrift Shop Committee. They have two children and four grandchildren, all
living here in Michigan.
Past Board Members
Reg Bird (deceased)
John Hood (deceased)
Robert Curran (deceased)
Frances Eaton (deceased)
Wallace Edwards (deceased)
William Good (deceased)
Suzanne Goodell (deceased)
Ward Griffen (deceased)
Jim Hinkamp (deceased)
Alice Hinkamp (deceased)
Charles Kehr (deceased)
Marilyn Doty Larson (deceased)
Shirley Leete (deceased)
Karl Luedtke (deceased)
T. Grace Macdonald (deceased)
Foster McCool (deceased)
Shirley McNally (deceased)
Richard O’Dell (deceased)
Thomas Palmer (deceased)
Allen Pecar (deceased)
Harlan “Pete” Peterson
Greg Reisig (deceased)
Mollie Rogers (deceased)
Richard Smith (deceased)
Virginia Sorenson (deceased)
Lou Ann Taylor (deceased)
William Weiss Jr.