Skip Pruss, Board Chair
Principal at 5 Lakes Energy
Prior to serving in the Granholm Administration, he was the deputy director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and assistant attorney general in charge of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Division where he was also chair of the Department of Attorney General’s Public Protection Practice Group. Earlier in his career Skip practiced environmental protection and natural resource law and served as legal advisor to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He successfully litigated one of the largest natural resource damage cases in the country. The $172 million Ludington Pumped Storage Facility settlement resulted in the mitigation of fish mortality, conveyed thousands of acres of pristine waterfront properties to the state, and created the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust.
Skip has received numerous public service awards and citations including being named to the Michigan Energy Hall of Fame in 2014, Leader of the Year in 2010 by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association, Guardian of the Great Lakes in 2009 by Clean Water Action, Conservationist of the Year by Michigan United Conservation Clubs and recipient of the Mary C. Lawton Award for Outstanding Government Service by the American Bar Association. Skip graduated from the University of Michigan and has a law degree from Wayne State University Law School. Skip resides in Northport, Michigan with his wife, Brigid.
Mike Vickery, Vice Chair
Emeritus Professor at Alma College
Renee Huckle Mittelstaedt, Secretary
Former President, CEO, Huckle Media, LLC/ Huckle Holdings Inc.
Gary Appel, Treasurer
Consultant at American Institute of Research
Gary is Director of the U.S. Department of Education funded Great Lakes Comprehensive Center (GLCC) and a Principal Consultant at the Washington D.C. based American Institutes for Research. As director of GLCC, he oversees capacity building technical assistance to the state education agencies in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Previously, Appel worked for the Michigan Department of Education, where he was a professional development coordinator for a National Science Foundation statewide mathematics and science systemic reform initiative. Appel earned a master’s degree in science education from the University of Michigan and went on to direct the Life Lab Science Program in Santa Cruz, California. He is the co-author of Leading Lesson Study: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Facilitators, a book on a Japanese approach to teachers’ professional learning, and The Growing Classroom, a book for teachers on using school gardens as living laboratories for the hands on study of science in elementary schools.
Environmental Attorney and Anglers of the Au Sable President
Former United States Attorney, Western District of Michigan
Of counsel, Olson Bzdok & Howard, PC
In conjunction with his service to the Bar, he was one of nine incorporators of Michigan Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, formed to address the legal malpractice crises of the late 1980’s. In that role, he served as a Director, chair of its claims committee and then its President and C.E.O. In 1994, Mike was appointed by President William Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as United States Attorney and chief federal prosecutor for the Western District of Michigan and served in the role with distinction until 2001. Mike has consistently been named one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers and has held Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer rating of AV since 1987.
CEO of Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation
Phil has been with the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation for nearly nine years as the CEO. Phil is trained as a Clinical Psychologist and will return to part-time clinical work in 2018 as he leaves the Community Foundation. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Phil believes that our resources are precious and we are responsible to protect and steward them, now and for the benefit of future generations.
CEO of Vector Center
Katie Horvath builds health & wellness programs for cancer patients and has been recognized at the United States Congress for Leadership in Cancer Prevention for creating innovative integrative healthcare models in her work at the Cowell Family Cancer Center of Munson Healthcare. She collaborates with Lesscancer.org on cancer prevention initiatives and establishes and builds community partnerships to promote cancer survivorship, prevention and healthy living. Public access to clean and safe drinking water as a basic human right drives her passion. Katie is also a patent attorney/engineer and President of Bayshore Legal Services P.C.
Katie enjoys racing sailboats on Lake Michigan (including the Chicago race to Mackinac), hiking the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and other Lake Michigan hidden beaches and family beach days. As Past Commodore of the Grand Traverse Yacht Club, Katie enjoys connecting with boaters throughout the Great Lakes and visiting the many beautiful places our waters create.
Former Director of Security, Environment, Transportation Safety & Emergency Services for Rhodia, North America
Rick was the Director of Environment, Transportation Safety, Emergency Services and Security for Solvay-Rhodia Inc., a global chemical company and held a number of international positions including President of Canadian operations, vice-president for several global businesses and general manager for the Asia-Pacific region. He established new manufacturing and R&D facilities in South East Asia, China and Japan.
Rick also held a number of industry leadership positions including twice elected Chairman of the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council (DHS), Chairman of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Security Committee and Chairman of The Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) Safety & Security Committees. He served as the chemical industry coordinator on a number of national-level incidents (hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber security, infrastructure and transportation) with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Several commendations were received for incident coordination and for serving as a subject matter expert and instructor at national and regional conferences. Rick was a subject-matter expert for federal and presidential level environmental, security and infrastructure studies and exercises.
Rick earned B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Dallas. He is board certified as a CPP (Certified Protection Professional), a CHMM (Certified Hazardous Materials Manager) and a QEP (Qualified Environmental Professional).
Water Campaigner at Council of Canadians
Emma loves and respects the work that FLOW does. At a time when governments and industries are giving away and polluting water sources, FLOW’s work is now more critical than ever. She is passionate about promoting water as a public trust, human right and commons and is grateful for the opportunity to support FLOW’s important work. She also appreciates yoga, going for walks, cooking and holistic health.
Hydrologist and Founder of Otwell & Mawby
Bob has been a member of the FLOW board since 2013. He is the founder of Otwell Mawby PC, a Traverse City environmental consulting firm. He has degrees in Civil Engineering and has experience in groundwater and surface water hydrology, along with environmental studies and clean-up. Bob did a career switch and was the executive director of TART Trails from 2001 to 2010.
Bob and his wife Laura have three grown daughters and reside near downtown Traverse City. They utilize bicycles for most of their transportation needs.
Active Community Leader
Among her many educational experiences, she has taught at the university level, developed and implemented management training programs for top executives for the state of Massachusetts, taught in a teacher’s college, created a graduate management program for health professionals, and created training and education curriculum for numerous organizations and institutions.
She has had a lifelong interest in volunteerism. Some of her more interesting assignments included educating volunteers in Appalachia, training Peace Corps staff for overseas assignments, and working with the World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in Bangladesh.
Her northern Michigan board service has included the Botanic Garden, Land Use Institute, Munson Hospital Foundation, GTRLC, and FLOW. She currently serves on the village planning commission, and is a founder and chair of Green Elk Rapids, an environment-focused community group. Her education background includes degrees in education, corrections, and economics. Hobbies include landscape
design, art, music, and hiking. She and her husband Ken Bloem have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Senior Editor at Circle of Blue
Keith Schneider is a New York Times writer, and senior editor and chief correspondent for Circle of Blue, the Traverse City-based network of journalists reporting on global trends affecting water, energy, and food. Keith developed Circle of Blue’s internationally renowned Global Choke Point project on the confrontation between rising demand for energy and food in the era of diminishing freshwater reserves. In exclusive reports from six continents Keith has uncovered such severe water scarcity in the Yellow River Basin that it influenced China’s decision to begin limiting coal mining and coal-fueled power production. In India, he reported on a grievous Himalaya flood that brought that nation’s hydropower construction to a near halt. In South Africa, Keith disclosed how water scarcity could curtail power production at two of the planet’s largest coal-fueled power plants, which are under construction. Keith has won numerous awards for his work as a journalist, program innovator, and editor, including two George Polk Memorial Awards for environmental and national reporting, which are among the most prestigious in American journalism. For more than a decade, Keith was a national correspondent for The New York Times, where he continues to report on energy, urban affairs, real estate, business, technology, environment, agriculture, and cultural trends. Before joining Circle of Blue, he was media and communications director at the US Climate Action Network and communications director at the Apollo Alliance. Keith also developed one of the first independent online news desks as the founder and executive director of the Michigan Land Use Institute. Keith writes from his home in Northern Michigan, where he has lived since 1993. Read his personal site at Modeshift.org.
Certified Public Accountant
Water Program Director at Food & Water Watch
Emily Wurth is Food & Water Watch’s Organizing Co-Director. She is responsible for developing strategies for Food & Water Watch’s national campaigns and co-managing the Organizing Team. For over 10 years, Emily has developed and carried out organizing and advocacy campaigns on a wide range of environmental issues. At Food & Water Watch since 2006, Emily was previously the Water Policy Director. Emily has a B.A. in international studies and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She can be reached at ewurth(at)fwwatch.org.