Susan has been a member of the TART Trails Board of Directors since 2009, and began serving as President in March 2018. Susan became interested in TART’s Smart Commute Week when she was commuting 35 miles to work every day. She wanted to participate – be one of those lucky ones who rides their bike to work. She eventually bought a house in downtown Traverse City, landed a job downtown and made a promise to herself to never drive to work. She’s kept her promise and rides her bike to work every day, year round, in all weather conditions. Since living in TC, Susan has become a competitive cross-country skier and cyclist, as a member of the Hagerty Cycling Team. A native of Cadillac, she attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and is currently employed by Hagerty as Senior Manager of Training and Development. She and her husband Todd, enjoy our trails year around. She is delighted to be involved with TART.
Chris Gallagher joined the TART Trails board in July 2014 and became Vice President in March 2018, after serving as Treasurer. He is an avid trail user and enjoys mountain biking, running and triathlons. In his remaining leisure time, he likes to travel and BBQ. A native of Traverse City, Chris commutes via bicycle almost daily, year round, from his home in Traverse City. Chris’ interest in TART derived from his regular trail usage and his desire to be a part of an organization that has a positive impact on the community. Chris is a CPA and works in Traverse City.
Ross joined the TART board in March 2016. He has been a frequent user of the VASA Pathway and TART Trail network ever since moving to Traverse City in 2009. He has helped organize the Smart Commute Week team at his law firm (Olson, Bzdok & Howard PC) since 2010 where he is an environmental and land-use attorney. Along with his wife, Kate Madigan, and their two boys, Ross can frequently be found biking around town or on our local trails, exploring forests, rivers and sand dunes, playing and coaching soccer, and trying to get faster as a triathlete. Ross also volunteers with the local legal aid clinic, as Board Member with Conflict Resolution Services and as a Council Member of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
Linda joined the TART Trails board in 2017 and became Treasurer in March 2018. Her first introduction to TART was as a supporter and user of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. She and her husband Dan, a mostly-retired attorney, now live on the West Boardman Lake Trail and are eagerly awaiting its completion. They love how the trail gives them access to so much of Traverse City and beyond and enjoy watching the diverse trail users pass by. Linda is a retired school administrator with an MBA who has held leadership positions on a number of boards as varied as a credit union, a community foundation, an arts organization, and a senior services agency. She and Dan enjoy outdoor activities in every season. They sail, canoe, bike, cross-country ski, hike, and travel. Inspired by the ice on Boardman Lake, they have started to learn figure skating!
Chris joined the TART Trails board in 2009 and is currently a Senior Associate for Beckett & Raeder. In February of 2012 Chris was appointed as secretary of the board and subsequently served as board president from 2016-2018.
Mike joined the board in 2008 and is a real estate appraiser for Northern Michigan Real Estate Consultants of which he is both founder and co-owner.
Brian joined the board of directors in May 2007 and served as president from 2012 to 2016. A TART Trails supporter for many years, Brian is out biking on the trails frequently. Brian explains, “My interest in TART was really formed by my trail usage – I ride a lot. I think it’s great you can get from here to there by using the trails.” One of his most enjoyable trail activities is riding up to Suttons Bay after work, jumping in the water, and then riding home. Brian also values riding as a form of transportation, and wants to continue to promote that aspect of trail usage. Brian is a dentist and resides in Traverse City with his wife Vera.
Dr. Wayne Olsen, DDS joined the TART Trails board in February 2012. Wayne enjoys bicycling, running, boating, kayaking, gardening, and woodworking. He looks forward to helping TART Trails with trail development, maintenance and community events.
Laura joined our board in March 2015 and has been employed with the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce for over eleven years. As the Senior VP of Finance, Laura oversees some of the key operations of the Chamber’s enterprise: financial, accounting, information technology, and human resources. Laura and her husband, John, have three children. They spend most weekends skiing, hiking, biking and utilizing the TART Trail network to commute to the farmers market and the beaches. Laura & John are also involved in baseball in the spring and have coached little league teams over the past seven years. It’s important to Laura that the trails are safe, accessible and that they promote healthy/active lifestyles in our region.
Rick joined the TART Trails board in 2016. He and his family have been vacationing in Northern Michigan for decades and finally decided to move to Suttons Bay from Dublin, Ohio in November 2013. When Rick is not managing his wealth management team at Merrill Lynch in Traverse City and Columbus, Ohio, you can usually find him and his wife, Donna, biking, hiking or cross-country skiing on the TART Trails network. His passion and support for the TART Trails organization was enhanced during the 2015 Vasa Cross-Country Ski Race. During the race, he experienced frostbite to both corneas and was the recipient of incredible volunteer support. Fortunately, his eyesight returned to normal and he is on a mission to remind everyone he meets that life is too short and to enjoy every minute.
Matt joined the TART Trails board in 2017. Matt is the CEO of the Discovery Center ~ Great Lakes. A resident of Traverse City, Matt is an avid user of the Vasa and Leelanau trails and loves to say hello to fellow trail users. Matt lives for mountain biking, cycling, hiking, reading, and being outside in northern Michigan with his wife, Ann, and their two great kids.
Sara Harding is the COO for Spirituality & Health Media LLC, Director for Yen Yoga & Fitness and Communications Director for FIM Group. Along with Sara’s commitments among the three entities, she is also on the board of Venture North, the Treasurer for Utopia Foundation and last but probably the most fun, the curator and organizer of TEDx Traverse City since 2010. Formerly, Sara served on the Board of Directors for City Opera House, Northwestern Michigan College and as a Co-Chair of the 2016-2017 NMC Annual Campaign from 2011-2016. Sara has spent the past 20 years in different marketing and sales positions. In recent years, her focus and responsibilities have grown more operationally and strategic for the various organizations. Early on in her career, Sara worked in her family’s publishing and wireless business, eventually coordinating the sale of the companies and working for Dobson Communications before embracing the entrepreneurial world again. A native of Traverse City, Sara attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a business degree from Davenport University. Still, in the midst of finishing her MBA, Sara continues to be a member of Vistage and learn from the MBA of life.
George has been a practicing lawyer in Traverse City for almost 40 years, emphasizing estate and tax planning in his law practice. He and his wife Pat have been married for 40 years and have two children both of whom live in Traverse City, Brooke Bearup-DeBoer and Jay Bearup. George has been actively involved with numerous organizations including Traverse City Noon Rotary Club, Women’s Resource Center, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Traverse Community Health Clinic, Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation, Munson Medical Center and the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. He is also a frequent speaker and writer on behalf of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education for the State Bar of Michigan. Besides cycling along the trails, George’s other hobbies include scuba diving, writing and attending U of M football games.
Jessica joined the TART board in March 2019. She became an avid user of the TART Trails network after moving to Traverse City in late 2012 for a job assisting growers to voluntarily implement environmentally friendly best management practices. Upon starting a family, Jessica joined her husband, Chris, at his family’s cherry and apple business in Leelanau County. On most days, she can be found pushing a jogging stroller somewhere along the TART Trails network training for upcoming running races and triathlons.
Meg A. Thomas Ackerman
Meg is retired having been the Director of Michigan’s Safe Routes to School program. In that role, she also collaborated with other trail groups on various projects designed to improve active transportation. Prior to that, she was the head of a Montessori school after having taught upper elementary. In those positions, Meg held a firm belief in the need to encourage and enable students to use active transportation whenever and wherever possible. Prior to her move to Traverse city, Meg served on the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run Mid-Michigan and Friends of the Lansing Regional Trails. Along with husband Glen, she loves taking advantage of everything Michigan’s trails have to offer, and values living steps from the TART trail. Meg enjoys rowing, biking, hiking, yoga, gardening, and spending as much time as possible with her little granddaughter.