Meet The ESLA Officers & Board Members.
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 continues to write and edit. 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 The Center for Michigan’s “Bridge Magazine” during the Flint Water Crisis. Boosting membership and financial support to help ESLA keep its commitment to protect and preserve the quality of our shared waters now and for future generations is his priority as president. A snafu recently cost Bob his license plate IF1SH. He’s now 1F1SH. (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 Recording Secretary
Don retired from the Thrun Law Firm in 2013 when he ended his 40-year legal career representing Michigan school districts and colleges. Don and his wife, Iris, built their Elk Lake home in 1994. Their children, Scott and Alaina, grew up loving water sports and the beauty of lakeside living. Don and Iris love outdoor activities, especially golf, tennis, biking and hiking. They are committed to preserving water quality in the Grand traverse region.
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.
Chairman of Safety & Recreation Committee
Pat moved to Elk Lake in 2002 from the Lansing area where he was partnered in a building supply company specializing in brick sales. He lives a mile south of Whitewater Township Park in ESLA’s zone C. Pat became the ELSA Vice President in June 2021. He is the chairman of ESLA’s Safety and Recreation Committee. Board members rave about his great hands-on work to keep the buoys in place marking the entrance from Skegemog Lake into the Torch River. His hobbies are photography, fishing, reading history and he likes to travel.
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. It began when she married into the area over 35 years ago and Tom brought her to his family’s favorite vacation spot. The bayou has been her piece of heaven on earth ever since. Mary Beth is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist who practiced in Princeton, NJ. When she and Tom retired, they knew they had to be on the bayou. Now, busier than ever, she loves what the area has to offer. 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 a former ELSA President, she became ESLA’s representative to 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 Board Member, Environmental Protection Committee Chair
Jan Garvey and husband, Jack 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 DeMecurio’s influence for getting her involved. Today, she manages the critical Environmental Protection Committee, with hands-on activities in invasive plant species and Swimmer’s Itch. Jan and Jack enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, birding, kayaking and boating. They’re both long time volunteers with the United Way. Recently, Jan joined Impact 100, women in the Grand Traverse area advocating positive change. She reviews grant applications for Impact’s environmental committee.
ESLA Former President, Zone B Captain
Having spent over 50 years visiting and living on Elk Lake, Bob joined the ESLA Board in 1998, served as president from 2010 through 2013 and is currently the Zone B captain. He feels privileged to help ESLA serve the interests of riparians and others who enjoy our waters. He also has served on the board and is currently president of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council. Bob worked in public health for 55 years including 30 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, he and his wife, Karen razed the family cottage and built their home on E. Elk Lake Drive. Bob serves on Milton Township’s Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Committee and Zoning Board of Appeals. He is also the corporate secretary of the Elk Rapids Golf Club.
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, Digital Liaison
Kate joined the ESLA board in 2020. Kate has grown up on the chain of lakes spending time at her grandparents’ cottage on Elk Lake and her parents’ cottage on Skegemog. She always knew in her heart that Skegemog was home and wanted to do everything she could to protect the place she loves. She lives with her husband on Hoiles Drive on Skegemog’s south shore. When not at work as a marketing manager she enjoys running, snowmobiling, boating and catching bigger fish than her husband.
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 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 complete rebuild of their cottage into a permanent home. Linda joined the board in 2020 and has been active on the environmental committee.
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.