Meet Our Board


Cheryl, Board Chair, is a developer focused on repurposing buildings using "green" practices. After developing LEED Platinum projects in California, she returned to where she grew up and restored the Historic Suttons Bay Stone Schoolhouse. Cheryl spent 20 years in travel technology, and over 10 years in nonprofit fundraising. She recently restored an 1890 lodge near Suttons Bay, to be used as a yoga and executive retreat, named The Lee Point Retreat.

Kate Basset


Kate edits Harbor Light, a popular paper published in Harbor Springs that often reprints our work—a connection that’s grown since her tenure began. Kate promotes community by making sure the paper connects people to a sense of place and to each other. She plays an important outreach role to connect Groundwork to the Emmet County area.


Julie is CEO of Public Sector Consultants, one of the state’s most respected public policy firms. She has led groundbreaking research on electric reliability and capacity, created and managed multimillion-dollar nonprofits and facilitated the governor’s 21-Century Infrastructure Commission. In addition to her broad corporate leadership duties, Julie manages the firm’s energy and environment practice and PSC’s new lines of business in marketing and communications, program management, and implementation.


John, Treasurer, has more than 35 years of experience on Wall Street, representing various asset managers. For the past 10 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, where John also serves as a trustee for the Peninsula Community Library.

Marshall Collins

Marshall Collins

Marshall Collins is the Regional School Health and DEIB Coordinator for Northwest Education Services, which includes oversight of NorthEd's SNAP ED Program, LifeSPAN, and Farm-to-School programs. He also serves as the Rec Director of Traverse Bay Area Youth Soccer. Marshall’s work also supports furthering Social Justice in the Grand Traverse area. Previously, he worked ten years at Northport Public School, where he taught K-12 physical education, health, and social studies, and served as a coach and Athletic Director.


Ed is a retired lawyer from San Diego who served there for years 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.


Chip 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 headquartered in northwest Michigan and now serving the entire state. He also owns a number of other food-related companies. Groundwork honored Chip with the Milliken Leadership Award in 2016.

Jean Kerver


Jean Kerver, PhD, MSc, RD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University (MSU). As a nutritional epidemiologist and a registered dietitian, Kerver has spent her career developing effective ways to promote health and well-being for families living in poverty or facing other challenges. Dr. Kerver’s position in Traverse City, Michigan, is part of an innovative new model designed to place faculty in rural communities where MSU educates medical students, with the primary goal of developing a community-driven research agenda.

Martha Lancaster


Martha has been retired for eight years from a career in health and human service administration and development, including a long tenure at Planned Parenthood of Northern Michigan. While making time for a variety of recreation pursuits in and around her Harbor Springs home, Martha volunteers for several human service and environmental organizations. The cause that currently occupies most of her attention is working to bring public transit to Emmet County. She is hopeful that Emmet will soon join all the other northern Michigan counties that have public transit systems.

Michael Lyman


Michael Lyman is the North America Strategy and Consulting Leader for Accenture, a Fortune 500 company that specializes in Strategy and Technology Consulting. In this role at Accenture, Michael works with C-Suite executives to innovate and develop digital strategies that transform their organizations. He leads Accenture’s Open Innovation and Sustainability Practices, with material contributions to World Economic Foundation research. Michael is passionate about innovation and education. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Illinois, including two terms as chairman.


Bill has a commercial real estate brokerage in Ann Arbor, and is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors. He served as the 100th president of Michigan Realtors in 2013. He is a board member of New Detroit (, was a director of Republic Bancorp, and board chair of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce. Previously, Bill worked in Washington, D.C., for NASA and the U.S. Dept. of Justice.


Christie is a community advocate who is passionate about gender equality, smart growth and issues surrounding homelessness. She has contributed a regular opinion column in the Northern Express and writes blogs for A Strong Personality. Christie currently serves as Chair of Woman2Woman TC and sits on the Traverse City Human Rights Commission. She owns Sanctuary Handcrafted Goods in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.


Roger has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries during his 40-year career as a research scientist. He has been a longtime member and board member, and is now Chairman of Groundwork. He and his wife, Coco, have been strong supporters of the Farms, Food, and Health Program. He is passionate about Groundwork partnering with local farmers and their organizations to bring clean, untainted food into the center of personal health and well-being.

Denis Pierce


Denis is a partner in the law firm of McCalla, Raymer, Leibert, Pierce, a Chicago real-estate law firm, and the founder and president of the Pierce Family Charitable Foundation. His foundation works primarily with helping to solve the problems of homelessness in Chicago. He is also a supporter of a number of environmental and community organizations in the Traverse City area. He summers on Glen Lake.

Stephanie Rustem


Stephanie is the Program and Fundraising Coordinator for Discovery Center in Traverse City, which works to connect all people to the
Great Lakes. She is passionate about making nature accessible for all and believes environmental justice is central to the future of a
sustainable planet.

Maureen Smyth


Maureen is 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. A former board chair, Maureen skillfully guided the Board of Directors to support Groundwork's mission and has recently resumed her role as board member at large.

Joe Van Alstine, Little Traverse Bay Bands


Joe Van Alstine serves as the Program Director of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Food Distribution Program. During his spare time he serves as the Midwest Region President with a seat as Vice President of the National Association of Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations (NAFDPIR), representing 276 Indian Tribal Organizations
throughout Indian Country.

Mary Van Valin


Mary 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, 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.

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