Mike Vickery, Chair
Emeritus Professor at Alma College
Mike Vickery serves as chair of FLOW’s board and as an advisor on strategic environmental communication, community engagement, and organizational capacity-building. He is an Emeritus Professor of Communication, Public Affairs, and Environmental Studies at Alma College where he was founding chair of the Department of Communication and served as Co-Director of the Center for Responsible Leadership.
Mike holds a PhD in Communication. His graduate work focused on public discourse and controversies related to technical and social value-conflicts. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Arizona, Texas A&M University, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His areas of teaching, consulting, and applied scholarship include environmental rhetoric, risk communication, public health communication, and organizational communication.
JoAnne Cook, Vice Chair
Former Tribal Court Judge
JoAnne Cook was involved in the organization and development of two alternative courts: Peacemaking and Healing to Wellness Court (Drug Court). The alternative courts utilize tradition and culture which allows for healing and restoring balance for those involved. She has begun consulting with native and nonnative communities who are either developing Peacemaking or a Healing to Wellness Court.
She believes tradition and culture is vital to the Anishinabe way of life and has continued her learning about the 3 Fires people. JoAnne has presented to various communities on the way of life and culture of the Odawa. In addition, she previously taught Business Law for Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and a course at NMC Extended Education, titled Native Law and Culture. JoAnne is currently teaching a short course, History of the Anishinaabek for NMC Extended Education.
Renee Huckle Mittelstaedt, Secretary
Former President, CEO, Huckle Media, LLC/ Huckle Holdings Inc.
Gary Appel, Treasurer
Consultant at American Institute of Research
Gary Appel is Director of the U.S. Department of Education funded Great Lakes Comprehensive Center (GLCC) and a Principal Consultant at the Washington D.C. based American Institutes for Research. As director of GLCC, he oversees capacity building technical assistance to the state education agencies in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Previously, Appel worked for the Michigan Department of Education, where he was a professional development coordinator for a National Science Foundation statewide mathematics and science systemic reform initiative. Appel earned a master’s degree in science education from the University of Michigan and went on to direct the Life Lab Science Program in Santa Cruz, California. He is the co-author of Leading Lesson Study: A Practical Guide for Teachers and Facilitators, a book on a Japanese approach to teachers’ professional learning, and The Growing Classroom, a book for teachers on using school gardens as living laboratories for the hands on study of science in elementary schools.
Former Michigan Assistant Attorney General
Barbara Brown, an attorney based in St. Ignace just north of the Mackinac Bridge, was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan from 1987-2003 and 2008-2011, where she served in the Attorney General’s Finance, Executive, Transportation and Municipal Affairs Divisions.
Phil Ellis is trained as a Clinical Psychologist and recently returned to part-time clinical work. He enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and spending as much time outdoors as possible. Phil believes that our resources are precious and that we are responsible to protect and steward them, now and for the benefit of future generations.
River Restoration Ecologist for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
With degrees in fisheries, Brett Fessell’s work over decades has ranged from negotiating tribal treaty rights to watershed restoration. Although forged in formal Western science-based education and technical training, his career was truly honed and tempered through immersion within the intricate Indigenous perspectives of the natural world.
The insights and abilities gained through life and work have afforded Brett a unique capacity in relating common and familiar perceptions of river health and service with the vastly unfamiliar, complex and multi-scale processes, functions and unperceived values of rivers, their watersheds and the life upon which they depend. Relevant specialties include: Watershed and river ecology, hydraulics and hydrology, geomorphology, grant writing, administration, project management and associated education and outreach.
Brett earned a Bachelor of Science in Fishery and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University and a Master of Science in Fishery Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Partner at 5 Lakes Energy and specializes in utility regulation and energy policy, research, and modeling
Douglas Jester is a partner at 5 Lakes Energy and specializes in utility regulation and energy policy, research, and modeling.
Prior to joining 5 Lakes Energy, Doug served as senior energy policy advisor at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, where he applied scientific, engineering, and economic principles to the formation and adoption of energy policies for the state of Michigan.
Doug also served in various capacities at the Michigan Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environmental Quality (DEQ) including chief information and technology officer at the DEQ and director of strategic planning at the DNR. While at the DNR he personally conceived and led the efforts to develop Michigan’s first-in-the-world automated system to issue hunting and fishing licenses for which he was recognized by the Smithsonian Museum and ComputerWorld Magazine in 1994. His work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory was used to develop ecosystem simulation models for managing Great Lakes fisheries and water quality.
Beyond his state of Michigan experience, Doug was director of government application solutions for MCI, chief technology officer of the Board of Automated License Systems, Inc. of which he was a member, a multi-year consultant to Verizon where he developed the company’s Smart Grid product architecture, design and implementation plans; and managing editor of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management for the American Fisheries Society.
Doug holds degrees from New Mexico State University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. He is an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State University.
He and his wife, Colleen, reside in East Lansing, Michigan, where he active in the community and a formerly served as mayor.
Former Director of Security, Environment, Transportation Safety & Emergency Services for Rhodia, North America
Rick was the Director of Environment, Transportation Safety, Emergency Services and Security for Solvay-Rhodia Inc., a global chemical company and held a number of international positions including President of Canadian operations, vice-president for several global businesses and general manager for the Asia-Pacific region. He established new manufacturing and R&D facilities in South East Asia, China and Japan.
Rick also held a number of industry leadership positions including twice elected Chairman of the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council (DHS), Chairman of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Security Committee and Chairman of The Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA) Safety & Security Committees. He served as the chemical industry coordinator on a number of national-level incidents (hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber security, infrastructure and transportation) with the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Several commendations were received for incident coordination and for serving as a subject matter expert and instructor at national and regional conferences. Rick was a subject-matter expert for federal and presidential level environmental, security and infrastructure studies and exercises.
Rick earned B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Dallas. He is board certified as a CPP (Certified Protection Professional), a CHMM (Certified Hazardous Materials Manager) and a QEP (Qualified Environmental Professional).
Lisa Wyatt Knowlton
Executive Advisor & Learning Leader
Lisa Wyatt Knowlton’s Education Doctorate includes specialties in management and policy. She holds a Masters of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.
Twice she has served as CEO; with a trade association and a foundation. Additionally, her work history includes extensive assignments as senior counsel for a broad range of management and leadership issues in the private and public sectors. Past clients have included the Gates, W.K. Kellogg, Ford, and Ball Foundations as well as renowned associations, non-governmental organizations, and network charities such as Feeding America.
She has managed complex change initiatives and has served as a strategic planner, facilitator, and trusted advisor. As a Kellogg Leadership Fellow, Lisa worked in Central America, Europe, and Asia focused on microenterprise. Her areas of specialization include organization effectiveness, leadership, change management, systems thinking, and strategy. Lisa is a learning leader.
She speaks Spanish, is an adjunct university faculty (Notre Dame and Grand Valley State University), and authored a text on logic models used by Harvard University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Bank, Packard Foundations, and leading development institutions worldwide.
Lisa is managing principal for Wyatt Advisors (see: www.wyattadvisors.com), a resource for effective people and organizations. Lisa is an advocate for adoption, Great Lakes protection, and an avid cyclist. She is a board member with a refugee-serving collaborative. Recently, she established an education fund for girls in Peru.
Ann Arbor-based attorney
Benjamin Muth, an attorney based in Ann Arbor, teamed up with the National Wildlife Federation as the lead organizer of the “Oil and Water” film tour in Charlevoix, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, and Chicago in 2015-2016, which advocated for a shutdown of the Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac. Muth also assisted the implementation of the Line 5 Michigan Business Coalition. And he conducted voter outreach and a candidate education campaign in Ohio surrounding harmful algal blooms.
Hydrologist and Founder of Otwell & Mawby Bob Otwell has been a member of the FLOW board since 2013. He is the founder of Otwell Mawby PC, a Traverse City environmental consulting firm. He has degrees in Civil Engineering and has experience in groundwater and surface water hydrology, along with environmental studies and clean-up. Bob did a career switch and was the executive director of TART Trails from 2001 to 2010. Bob and his wife Laura have three grown daughters and reside near downtown Traverse City. They utilize bicycles for most of their transportation needs.
Hydrologist and Founder of Otwell & Mawby
Bob Otwell has been a member of the FLOW board since 2013. He is the founder of Otwell Mawby PC, a Traverse City environmental consulting firm. He has degrees in Civil Engineering and has experience in groundwater and surface water hydrology, along with environmental studies and clean-up. Bob did a career switch and was the executive director of TART Trails from 2001 to 2010.
Bob and his wife Laura have three grown daughters and reside near downtown Traverse City. They utilize bicycles for most of their transportation needs.