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.

Greg Bator, 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.

Jennifer Hill, Vice Chair
Jennifer is a Michigan native and Executive Director of Clinton River Watershed Council. She resides in metro Detroit and summers in East Tawas with her husband, two sons and a golden retriever. Her Northern Michigan roots go back to 1954 when her paternal grandfather bought the family cottage on the shore of Lake Huron. She and her husband share a fondness for the area — so much so that they were married in Oscoda — and agree that the Lake Huron shoreline from Tawas to Presque Isle is their favorite place on Earth.

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.

Meaghan Gass, Secretary
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.

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.

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.

Joe Jarecki
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 to have a watershed-wide impact by partnering with many stakeholders. He looks forward to helping Huron Pines continue its mission for years to come.

Kim Margherio
Kim is Community Events Director for the Downtown Development Authority of Rogers City. A native of Michigan, Kim raised two children and ran family-owned hardware stores in Missouri before returning to the Mitten in 2012. She lives across the street from Lake Huron and enjoys hunting for beach glass, kayaking, gardening and being outside. Tahquamenon Falls and Grand Marais, both in the eastern Upper Peninsula, rank among her favorite places.

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.

Tony Pitts
When Tony and his wife bought a small cabin on the Pigeon River, his desire to help sustain its waters and surrounding landscapes led him to find Huron Pines. Tony builds and maintains trails and leads hikes near his Ann Arbor-area home, volunteers with Huron River Watershed Council, and has served with a local land conservancy. He is Chief Financial Officer at The Ann Arbor T-shirt Company and is a partner and CFO of Cheboygan Brewing Company, a sustaining business member of Huron Pines. You can find Tony hiking or paddling near Ann Arbor or in the Pigeon River Country, and he enjoys doing landscape photography throughout the country.

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.

Donette Spiekerman
Donette returned to school at the age of 42 and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Administration from Concordia University. During a 12-year career with the Department of Management and Budget for the State of Michigan, she volunteered with the DNR harvesting little bluestem grass seed and cultivated an interest in environmental issues. She relocated to East Tawas after retirement and earned her Master Gardener certification, became a member of AuSable Valley Audubon, and has organized many invasive species treatments at Tawas Point State Park. Her strong belief that the environment is fragile and out of balance is a primary motivator for her involvement with Huron Pines.