Huron Pines Board of Directors

For more than four decades, Huron Pines board members have driven the focus of our work with passion and dedication.

We thank these dynamic individuals for their service and commitment.

Joe Jarecki, Chair
During his time as the Pigeon River Country State Forest Unit Manager, Joe became acquainted with Huron Pines working on a number of bridge and culvert replacement projects over several years. It was the Huron Pines mission and their way of approaching conservation projects at the watershed level that resonated with him. He was pleased to be invited onto the board to share his experience on the finance committee and in the resource advisory group. He considers it a source of pride that over the last 40 years Huron Pines has been able have a watershed-wide impact by partnering with many stakeholders. He looks forward to helping Huron Pines continue its mission for years to come.

Greg Bator, Vice Chair
Greg became involved with Huron Pines during his 20-year service on the Twin Lakes Property Owners Association Board in Lewiston. He coordinated projects to improve shoreline and water quality on inland lakes. Greg recognized the importance of public acceptance with environmental work by creating events and awards reaching entire communities. He remains an active attorney on assisted living matters across Michigan. He believes Northern Michigan thrives because of Huron Pines and he is honored to advance our efforts.

Judy Kalmanek, Secretary
Judy Kalmanek is a life-long advocate of environmental stewardship, sustainable agriculture and a bird lover. She is a retired executive from state government and brings that experience to our board. She chose to live in Northeast Michigan because of its wonder-filled natural resources, opting to live in a condo overlooking the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary. Judy is an active cheerleader for the many conservation works of Huron Pines, especially the road-stream crossings in the greater watershed areas. She is excited to work with a group that has a long range vision for Northeast Michigan.

Chip (E. James) Erwin, Treasurer
As a fly fisherman, having seen the effects of poor dam and road/stream crossing culvert design and maintenance on coldwater fisheries, Chip was very interested in the river restoration program. He began serving as a volunteer and wanted to continue supporting Huron Pines at a greater level. He is especially proud of the depth of resources Huron Pines has achieved through partnerships and their hands-on approach to project implementation. In addition to his interest in environmental issues, he brings a strong business and finance background. Looking toward the future, he has great hopes for the Huron Pines mission to reach an even broader audience.

Paul Beachnau
“All Outdoors” is the tagline for the Gaylord Area, and as Executive Director of the Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau, Paul embraces it fully. His personal and professional interest in protecting natural resources and the outdoor experience align with the mission and goals of Huron Pines. As a long time supporter of Huron Pines’ efforts to ensure protected places, healthy water and vibrant communities in Northern Michigan, he is honored and excited to serve on the Huron Pines Board.

Paul has a degree in Public Administration from Michigan State University and his past experience includes serving on the Otsego County Board of Commissioners, being a member of the Pigeon River Advisory Council and chairman of the Otsego County recycling committee. An avid recreation enthusiast, you can find Paul snowshoeing, skiing, biking or kayaking depending on the time of year.

Richard Castle
Rich serves as the Community Affairs Manager – Northeast Michigan for Consumers Energy and is based out of the Tawas Field Office. In his prior role at Consumers Energy, Rich was the Senior Natural Resources Administrator overseeing the landowner relations for its wind farms and approximately 16,000 acres associated with its hydro facilities including the six located on the Au Sable River. The role included overseeing the Company’s land management plan consisting of its forestry, wildlife habitat, recreation and land lease plans. It was in this role that he became familiar with Huron Pines and its diverse staff. Rich is excited to be on the Huron Pines Board and looks forward to continuing to support conservation efforts in Northeast Michigan.

Ned (Edward) Caveney
Ned worked for many years with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, later becoming the first Unit Manager of the Pigeon River Country State Forest from 1974-1990. His many hobbies include hunting and fishing, travel, camping, hiking, backpacking and anything else you can do outdoors. His first interaction with Huron Pines occurred in mid-1970, when he attended an annual meeting. He considers natural resources a calling and accepted the invitation to serve on the Board as a way to continue contributing. He is very proud of the river restoration program, specifically the road/stream crossing improvement projects. He looks forward to helping Huron Pines develop its vision for the next forty years.

Alex Code
A geologist by training and an entrepreneur at heart, Alex comes to Huron Pines with experience in outdoor education, environmental regulation and software consulting. Alex moved to Northern Michigan to work for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as a geologist and quickly fell in love with the area’s protected lands and recreational opportunities. In 2014, he founded a software and GIS consulting company, Line 45 LLC, which works with clients from many states and multiple sectors. Alex’s experience working with government, industry and environmental communities has given him a deep appreciation for Huron Pines’ pragmatic and inclusive approach toward conservation and environmental stewardship. He’s excited to help Huron Pines engage more communities and develop innovative programs to increase the organization’s impact across the region.

Meaghan Gass
A southern Illinois native, Meaghan moved to Northeast Michigan in 2015 to serve as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps member at the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI), and following her service she became the NEMIGLSI Program Coordinator. In this role she connects students, educators and community partners to develop place-based projects that benefit both their local community and environment. Meaghan graduated from Saint Louis University with a Master’s degree in Political Science, and a research focus on water governance.  In the past, she worked with the Youth Leadership Program, an exchange program between the United States and Belarus promoting youth-led community service projects and urban agriculture.  Meaghan looks forward to further developing community stakeholder engagement strategies with Huron Pines.

Dan O’Connor
Dan serves as the Superintendent for Alcona Community Schools. He started his career there as a teacher and then served as athletic director, assistant principal, elementary principal and middle/high school principal before becoming Superintendent in 2017. Dan became involved with Huron Pines and outdoor education to build hands-on environmental education programs for his students. He is passionate about building community connections to provide opportunities for the students in his district.

Jerry Rucker
Jerry became familiar with Huron Pines through his involvement with Trout Unlimited and the Au Sable North Branch Area Foundation, volunteering at many Huron Pines river restoration events. Happily accepting the invitation to serve on the board, Jerry shares his enthusiasm for conservation and expertise as a semi-retired marketing executive. Jerry looks forward to assisting Huron Pines and their continued efforts of maintaining strong cross-boundary relationships with nonprofits, volunteers and government organizations that will keep Huron Pines projects strong for years to come.

Mary Beth Stutzman
Growing up along the banks of the Thunder Bay River and in the meadows and forests of Alpena County, Mary Beth has parlayed her passion for Northeast Michigan’s natural resources and recreational opportunities into a career as the President & CEO of the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition to 25 years working in the fields of marketing, communications and development, she holds certification in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management. This certification follows guiding principles that translate the critical importance of balancing economic growth with protections for environmental and heritage resources. She feels honored to join Huron Pines in their conservation efforts; and hopes to help the organization further inspire communities to adopt sustainable practices that preserve the region’s rich natural resources.

Lisa Marie Tobin
Lisa Marie Tobin is the Program Coordinator at the University Center Gaylord, an important regional leader in providing advanced learning opportunities, access to technology, and community conservation programs like the recent BioBlitz that was coordinated in partnership with National Geographic.