Officers/Board of Directors
Bob became ESLA’s president in June 2021 after two years as vice president. He joined the board in 2017. He and his wife, Ruth, have lived full-time on the calmer side of Skegemog Point since 2014. Bob was an environment writer and then politics editor for most of 30 years at the Detroit Free Press. Since retiring, he authored “Stormstruck,” published six weeks after the August 2, 2015 devastating windstorm slammed northwest Michigan. He also edited the book “Poison on Tap,” based on reporting by the staff of “Bridge Magazine” during the Flint Water Crisis. As president, Bob has focused on ESLA’s communications, membership and financial support to help ESLA keep its commitment to protect and preserve our waters. A snafu recently cost Bob his license plate I F1SH. He’s now 1 F1SH. (Dr. Seuss copyright infringement noted!)
ESLA Vice President
George and his wife Deanna live on Elk Lake within Zona A, and have been ESLA members since their arrival here in 2012. Protecting the natural environment has been a motivation for him. First as a licensed civil engineer, designing and building environmental projects, and then extending into his retirement as a volunteer educator at the Inland Seas Education Association and in Florida at the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. He says “It’s the natural beauty of NW Michigan that brought us here, and we wish to help maintain it”.
Phil joined ESLA as its treasurer in 2016. He spent weekends and summer vacations on beautiful Elk Lake from 1984 until 2008 when he moved to Skegemog Point permanently. Phil worked at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak for 32 years in different financial positions including Corporate Accounting Manager, Director of Internal Audit and Manager of Cash and Investments. He is also treasurer of another 501(c)3, the historic Samels Farm on Skegemog Point.
ESLA Newsletter Editor
Dean Ginther, ESLA’s newsletter editor has a long personal and family history with ESLA and other northern Michigan environmental organizations. He was vice president and then president of ESLA from 2003-2007. He also is a past board member and vice president of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. Dean was a psychology professor for 27 years in the Texas A&M University system and also was a faculty member and dean at Capella University in Minneapolis. His parents and grandparents were ESLA members, too. He and his wife, Sharon, live on the east shore of Elk Lake near Ringler Road in a home built by his great aunt and uncle in 1932. Dean, an award-winning photographer, enjoys woodworking, wood turning and motorcycling.
Mary Beth Kazanski
ESLA Former President, Board Member
Mary Beth Kazanski has long had a love for the Elk River Chain of Lakes and especially the Torch River Bayou where she lives with her husband, Tom. Mary Beth is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist who practiced in Princeton, NJ. When she and Tom retired, they knew they had to be in northern Michigan. Being a part of ESLA has been very rewarding not only for its work protecting the water but also the amazing people she’s met along the way. She joined the ESLA board in 2014. After serving as ESLA president from 2019-21, she became ESLA’s representative on the Tip of Mitt Watershed Council in July 2021.
ESLA Former President and Social Director
Before retiring, Ruth was a physical therapist at Bixby Hospital in Adrian and Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. A passionate reader, she has been active with organizations promoting literacy in the Grand Traverse region. Ruth also has a flair for gardening, and enjoys tennis, genealogy and family. She owns a home on Old Mission Peninsula and a cottage at the iconic Rex Terrace on Elk Lake’s east shore where her late husband’s grandparents bought 30 acres in 1901 and, in 1902, built the cottage that stands today. Five generations in her family have helped protect the health and beauty of the lake. Ruth filled her late husband’s seat on the ESLA board in 2011 and later served three years as ESLA president.
ESLA Environmental Protection Committee Chair and Board Member
Jan Garvey and her husband, Jack Maddox retired and moved to Elk Lake in 2011. She thinks the Palastra Cove where they live is the best location on the lake — a quiet neighborhood next to a conservancy. Before retiring, Jan was a chemical engineer for the Dow Chemical Company working in research and development. Her favorite assignments were environmental issues. She joined the ESLA Board in 2017 and credits neighbor Pete DeMercurio’s influence for getting her involved. Today, she manages the critical Environmental Protection Committee, working closely with volunteers and ESLA’s lake biologist. Jan and Jack enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, birding, kayaking and boating.
ESLA Board Member and “Fish Guy”
Ken has been a member of the ESLA board since 2013. He and his wife have owned their property on Elk Lake since 1997 and became full time residents in 2009. He was born and raised on his family’s farm in Alpena County and always considered the northern Lower Peninsula his home. Most of his career was spent as a General Motors engineer. He retired from GM in 2009. Fishing and hunting in the northern Lower Peninsula and UP are his primary outdoor pursuits locally, but he also enjoys the pursuits in the western United States. Ken is the ESLA board’s fish guy, maintaining regular contact with DNR biologists. He played a key role in designing and building fish shelters placed in Elk Lake in 2013.
ESLA Board Member, Membership Committee Chair
Deanna joined the ESLA Board in 2020 with the goal of helping with membership, communication and concerns in Zone A, which includes Elk Rapids village and township. She and husband, George, traveled from Dayton, Ohio to northwestern Michigan for years to enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking and boating. In 2012, they bought their home on the shores of Elk Lake near the Elk Rapids Golf Club. Deanna hopes to bring her 40 years’ experience as an educator and garden aficionado to the need for healthy lakeshores throughout the ESLA waterfront.
ESLA Board Member
Steve joined the ESLA board in 2020. He has enjoyed successive careers as a business owner, attorney, professor of law and political philosophy, and in philanthropic giving with The Salvation Army. Now, his work is full time in the volunteer economy. Steve and spouse Deb have had the great good fortune of swimming in Elk Lake every summer of their lives, including the one before they were born (thanks moms!). Migrating from family cottages on the east shore, they have lived on the west shore of Elk Lake since 2013. Steve hopes his tenure on the ESLA board helps pass to future generations our beautiful lakes in a healthy condition.
ESLA Board Member
Dale has been involved with the ESLA board for the past 15 years and retired as the Environmental Protection Committee chair in 2020. Dale has been the volunteer lake monitor for Lake Skegemog since 2003 and has been the team leader for the “Adopt a Stream” program on the Rapid River. Dale retired from Ford in 2002 as Product Development Director for Sport Utility vehicles and has lived full time on Lake Skegemog’s north shore the past 10 years. Dale shares the love of the outdoors with his wife Melynda Bagley. They can often be found on Lake Skegemog kayaking or fly fishing for bass and bluegills.
ESLA Board Member
Andy retired after a 40-year career with the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Quality (DEQ). As a college student, he worked in the Fisheries and Parks Divisions. During most of his career, he developed and managed the state’s programs for investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites. He retired as chief of DEQ’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals when he retired in 2009. Andy has vacationed or lived on Elk Lake for more than 50 years. He enjoys sailing, fishing, golf, pickleball, time with family, and managing his 40-acre tree farm in Grand Traverse County. He also serves as an advisor to FLOW, For Love of Water, a nonprofit headquartered in Traverse City. He and his wife, Terry, live on Elk Lake Trail on the eastern shore of Elk Lake.
ESLA Board Member
Bob is 5th generation Elk Rapids. His mother’s family settled here in the 1850s; his great-great-grandfather George was the first ER blacksmith; great-grandfather Ira owned and operated “Mable” and “Ruth” — steamships that sailed our chain of lakes. He grew up spending summers at grandfather Bailey’s cottage at the north end of Elk Lake. In 2005, Bob and his wife, Lisa built their home at that site. Their family has supported ESLA since its inception around 1950.
Before he retired in 2021, Bob was a sales representative in the corrugated packaging industry. He serves on the Elk Rapids Township Zoning Board of Appeals and is a founding board member of “Do A Little Good” — a northern Michigan non-profit. He enjoys fishing on Elk Lake, fly-fishing in saltwater and northern Michigan streams, and woodworking. Bob is passionate about preserving the health and beauty of Elk Lake. He joined ESLA’s board in 2022.
Nancy Covington Schreiber
ESLA Board Member
Nancy Covington Schreiber has been a member of the ESLA Board since 2019 and chairs ESLA’s Finance Committee. Nancy also led ESLA’s successful 2022 initiative to invite local businesses to financially support ESLA’s lake quality and protection mission. Many responded enthusiastically.
Nancy’s parents brought her here as a child after buying land on what was then a mostly undeveloped north end of Skegemog Point and soon after built their cottage as a summertime project. Nancy remembers spectacular sunrises before eventually moving from Skegemog’s west shore to its north side where she says she gets even better views of both Elk and Skegemog. “It’s the best side,” she says. Her professional career was in accounting and finance for major firms before she retired at 50 to sail the world.
After 20 years afloat, she and husband Norm call ESLA waters their home.
ESLA Recording Secretary, Board Member
Linda and her husband Tom have been members of ESLA since 1994 when they purchased their cottage on the south end of Elk Lake. They became full-time residents in 2015 after a rebuild of their cottage into a permanent home. Linda joined the board in 2020 and has been active on the environmental committee and recently became a board officer as recording secretary. She has helped lead ESLA’s work to educate boaters about the threat of transporting invasive plant and animal species into our waters and encourage all to decontaminate boats and trailers before launching. Specifically, she has led efforts to find grant money to help underwrite permanent boat washes at launches into ESLA waters. Most of Linda’s career was in the automotive industry as an engineer and manager. She also worked briefly in the aerospace industry prior to retirement. Outdoor activities — boating, biking, hiking and skiing — are among Linda’s favorite interests.
ESLA Board Member and Environmental Protection Committee
Bob earned a BS in fisheries biology from U. Mass. and an MS in fisheries biology from U. Mich. He has an MBA from U. Detroit. He worked for a consulting firm, primarily on the New York’s Hudson River for 5 years, before joining DTE Energy where he worked for 37 years. He moved then with his wife, Susan, to their home on Skegemog Pt. Bob recently retired after 7 years on the board of the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. He has been an active ESLA volunteer and Environmental Committee member. Bob also enjoys gardening, running, hiking, kayaking and bicycling.
ESLA Board member and Environmental Protection Committee
John was born and raised in Chicago. He earned a degree in mathematics from the U. of Ill-Chicago. He and his wife, Linda, moved to Connecticut in 1983 where he spent his career as an insurance industry actuary. Linda’s roots along ESLA waters date to the 1940s when her grandparents built the original family cottage on Elk Lake. Each summer John and Linda packed their car and sons, Carl and Dylan, and drove to Michigan to enjoy the area’s beauty. Now retired, John and Linda split their time between Naples, Fla. and Michigan. John is a lifelong angler and loves to fish the southeast end of Lake Skegemog.
Michael has lived in the Traverse area for more than 10 years. He earned a BA from Lake Superior State University. After graduation, he set his sights on experiential learning, including global travel, and work in Chicago, Key West and Los Angeles. He has a passion for fostering remarkable experience through service and protecting the natural world. When not working, Michael often walks in the woods with his wife, Samantha, and the family dogs. He’s also a gardener, cook and lifelong learner. He started with ESLA in 2023, helping with membership, communication and videotaping meetings. He also helps Samantha with challenges such as digging out invasive species around ESLA waters.
Samantha was lucky enough to grow up in northern Michigan. Living on a large pond inspired her interest in water and all the critters that live in and around it. After taking 4 years off to travel around the world, she graduated in 2019 from Western Michigan University, with a BS in Freshwater Science and Sustainability. That same year she was selected to be ESLA’s summer intern with ESLA in 2019. Since then, Sam’s work for ESLA has evolved to her present position as ESLA’s lake biologist. She also volunteers for local organizations, including the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay. She and her husband, Michael, have a handful of animals at home and spend as much time outside as possible – year-round!