Board of Directors

President Jim Bradley (2014)

Vice President Jim Waters (2015)

Secretary Robert Wagner (2014)

Hello to all the Friends! I have been the Friends Secretary/Board Member for 5 years. Sarah, my wife of 28 years and also an active member, and I have always shared a love of the outdoors and are avid hikers, “explorers”, and cross-country/downhill skiers. We have shared many wonderful adventures in our beloved Porkies ever since we met, and find that being actively involved in the Friends Of The Porkies is a great way to not only give something back to the park, but also help improve it to enhance our future experiences there.

I have a BS and MS Degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. Having grown up in New Jersey, I have since lived most of my life in the “Great UP” attending college and then working for the USDA Forest Service on the Ottawa National Forest for nearly 30 years as a Soil Scientist and Silviculturist. Since my retirement 3 years ago I remain very active both in personal and volunteer activities and have found being involved in such an active and beneficial organization like the Friends a very rewarding experience.

My wife and I try to remain involved in our professional careers (Sarah is also a retired Forest Service Soil Scientist) on a volunteer consulting basis, and also like to cook, garden, bike ride, volunteer for the local animal shelter, and participate in community events. Our family also includes 3 cats and a 165 pound Landseer Newfoundland, Fluffy, who is also a Friends Pet Member, and has participated in many local parades and Friends events over the years.

I look forward to many more years of activity in the Friends, and adventures in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and encourage others who love the Porkies to also become more involved in it support through our organization. Thank You

Treasurer Barb Braithwaite (2015)

Barb has been on the Friends Board or involved in Friends of the Porkies volunteer efforts since the mid-1990’s when Dan Urbanski invited her to an early-days board meeting to help out with a cross-country ski event sponsored by the Friends.  She is married to Dave, a retired park ranger from the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, and herself is an ex-park ranger from lower Michigan, a former DNR district office manager, and most recently, a clinical psychologist. Some of Barb’s other volunteer efforts include local ski patrol at the Porkies, duties with social work agencies around the area, and Board Treasurer for the Friends.

 

 

Susan Giesen (2016)

 Married, mother, grandmother, activist and co-director of a nonprofit International Peace Organization

 

Jon Ollila (2014)

Bruce Ruutila (2014)

As a lifetime resident of Ontonagon with a strong interest in local history, the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park has always been a focus for research and recreation. I have hiked and skied in the Porkies since 1959. Many of my hikes have taken me in search of mining and logging history in the park.

My father took me trapping when I was a youngster and taught me how to find my way and survive in the woods. He instilled in me a deep sense of respect for nature.

In all seasons the park has been a place of retreat…backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing. It is therefore natural that I would become a dedicated and very active member of the Friends of the Porkies for the past 11 years: grooming ski trails, building Dan’s Cabin, maintaining the Folk School for its activities, and promoting the park and its programs to “strangers.”

 

Cheryl Sundberg (2016)

cheryl at porkies festCheryl Sundberg, Friends Board Member and Director of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, is a long-time resident of Ontonagon County who has worked closely with the public in her varied occupations.  Because of her passion for good live music, she became involved with the Music Festival, and this avocation was a natural fit. Cheryl first worked in merchandise, a position to which she brought experience from other festivals. She moved on to join the music selection committee and later took charge of Marketing and Public Relations for the Festival.   In 2013, after many years of their working side-by-side, Linda Kermeen passed the Festival Director’s baton to Cheryl. She is currently employed by Borseth Insurance and Real Estate in its Ontonagon Office and resides in Ontonagon with her “babies,” dogs Mika and Ruby.

 

Sally Berman (2017)

P3240003Sally Berman, Folk School committee member, with her late husband, Al, fell in love with the Porkies when they purchased their home “between the Cranberries” in 1976. Sally taught chemistry at a large Chicago suburban high school, and after she stepped through a golden early retirement window in 1994, she led workshops and graduate courses for educators for several years. While they were still in the classroom, she and Al spent all of their holiday and vacation time at their home on the lake and moved to the shore when they retired from teaching in 1994. A few years ago, Sally joined the Folk School Committee, and for the past several years she has been the weekend Ontonagon Lighthouse tour guide. As a Board member, Sally’s goal is to help the Friends grow and thrive.