Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Tom Shelder

President

Tom is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones in Elk Rapids, Michigan. He is a long-time resident of Northwest Michigan, and a strong advocate for the sustainability of our abundant fresh water resources.


Megan Olds

Vice President/Treasurer

After spending her childhood summers at Glen Lake and along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Megan was inspired to move from Ohio to make northern Michigan her home in 1999. She enjoys canoeing, rustic camping, and trail running, and is passionate about protecting, conserving, and connecting lands and waterways that make our community a fun place to live, work, and play. Megan is the President of Parallel Solutions LLC, a Traverse City-based consulting firm that provides strategic planning, partnership facilitation, fundraising feasibility and campaign planning, and project management services to public, private, and non-profit clients in the Great Lakes region. She lives in Traverse City with her husband, Andy, and their two daughters.


Mindy Theis

Secretary

Mindy Theis considers herself a big-city girl who loves living in small towns. Originally from Mason, Michigan, she grew up spending summers in Traverse City. After graduating from Central Michigan University, Mindy spent a combined 13 years with a benefits consulting firm in Chicago and working in HR for Dow Chemical Company. She and her family were extremely excited to make Northern Michigan their home again when Mindy joined the Short’s Family as the Human Resources Manager in February 2016. Mindy is currently the Human Resources Director for TC Foods Inc & Grandview Restaurants Inc. in Traverse City


Mary Faculak

Director

Mary is third generation on the Faculak Family Farm in Charlevoix. She is President/CEO of the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce which represents the Breezeway Communities of East Jordan, Ellsworth, and Atwood. She is a member of the Breezeway Task Force, Little Traverse Conservancy, Charlevoix Area Hospital Foundation, MSU Extension District Council #3, and the Charlevoix Area Hospital Board of Directors. She owns Mary’s of Boyne and the E.J. Shoppe clothing stores in Boyne City and East Jordan. In her spare time she enjoys horseback riding, driving her John Deere tractor and working on the family farm, reading, writing, hiking and being with people at events, meetings, etc.


Cherie Fuss

Director

Cherie is currently the Central Lake Postmaster and the Central Lake Chamber of Commerce President. She recently moved to Central Lake from Grand Rapids where she has worked for the US Post Office for 32 years in various positions including Personnel Specialist, Training Manager, and Complement Coordinator. She was a member of the Grand Rapids Jaycee and served as President of the Grand Rapids Jaycees in 2011, then several state and national positions. She truly enjoys living up north spending time in the great outdoors.


Sue Palmisano

Director

Sue is the executive director of the Bellaire Chamber of Commerce. After 15 years of vacationing in Bellaire, Sue and her husband Tim decided to make Bellaire their permanent home last May. Her background in Sales, Customer Service and Management have helped her in being able to meet new people while also taking on new projects and hosting the events that the Chamber sponsors. Having an opportunity to participate in sustaining and potentially furthering the growth of the community is exciting to her. She wants to help make Bellaire not only a fabulous place for visitors but to also continue creating opportunities for the people who call Bellaire home.


Harry Burkholder

Director

Harry has established himself as one of the foremost authorities in Michigan for water trails and recreation authorities. In 2019 Harry took on the role as COO at The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA). Prior to this, he was with the Land Information Access Association (LIAA) where he established himself as one of the foremost authorities in Michigan for water trails and recreation authorities.


Staff

Deana Jerdee

Executive Director

Deana grew up in the Midwest before setting out to explore the western states for 13 years. She enjoyed eight years in Washington State while working in water resources policy and planning and exploring the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. She also spent three years coordinating a non-profit in the Mojave Desert of California focused on environmental and economic development projects. In 2012 she moved to Northern Michigan with her husband and two children. She enjoys being outside as much as she can hiking, kayaking, or gardening. She is a Level 2 Coastal Kayaking Instructor, certified by the American Canoe Association and currently serves on the Executive Council of the Michigan Chapter of the American Canoe Association.


Ellie Kirkpatrick

Marketing & Outreach Specialist

Ellie grew up in Kalamazoo while spending summers along Lake Michigan in Benzie county. She has over ten years of varied marketing experience in industries including furniture manufacturing, coworking, non-profit, and legal services. In 2020 Ellie moved from Grand Rapids to Elk Rapids with her husband and two young children, and is very excited to call Northern Michigan “home”! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, skiing, running, paddle boarding, camping, traveling, and generally being outdoors as much as possible.