FLOW Staff

Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

Liz Kirkwood oversees FLOW’s policy, legal, technical and communications work. After working as an environmental lawyer in both the U.S. and overseas, she has returned to the nonprofit sector because she is mission-driven and passionate about protecting the Great Lakes. Read more here.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: The magic of the Great Lakes lured me to permanently move here after years of summering along the shores of Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan.  

Favorite place in Michigan: This is it. This whole region of northern lower Michigan is my favorite place. I just am angling for more time to explore and adventure with friends and family.

Fun fact: I still dream of being a photographer. I spent most of high school in a photo lab developing silver gelatin photographs.

Read more about Liz Kirkwood here: Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW, is Our Great Lakes Guardian | MyNorth.com | Aug. 22, 2019. And listen here: Elizabeth Kirkwood on Fulfillament | Nov. 12, 2018.

Caelyn Brintnell, Operations Manager

Caelyn Brintnell, Operations Manager

As FLOW's Operations Manager, Caelyn Brintnell coordinates administrative responsibilities for FLOW, including financial management, building management, and data systems management. She manages FLOW’s volunteer program and provides additional support for FLOW's staff and board of directors. Caelyn is often the public’s first point of contact for inquiries initiated by phone, email, or office visit.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: I grew up in northern Michigan, so I’ve felt a deep connection to the Great Lakes since childhood. Some of my fondest memories are of times spent on Lake Michigan beaches.

Favorite place in Michigan: The Empire Bluff Trail. The view never gets old! 

What's a fun fact about you: I love music and have learned to play 15+ instruments since middle school.

Read more about Caelyn Brintnell here: FLOW Welcomes Caelyn Brintnell as our Operations Manager | FLOW | May 2, 2023.

Dave Dempsey, Senior Advisor

Dave Dempsey, Senior Advisor

Dave Dempsey has 35 years' experience in environmental policy. He served as environmental advisor to former Michigan Governor James Blanchard and as policy advisor on the staff of the International Joint Commission. He has also provided policy support to the Michigan Environmental Council and Clean Water Action. He has authored several books on the Great Lakes and water protection. Read more here.

Favorite Great Lakes activity: Watching sunrise from southern Lake Huron.

Favorite Great Lakes book: Freshwater: Women Writing on the Great Lakes, edited by Alison Swan.

Favorite Great Lakes fact: It takes 173 years for nature to replenish all the water in Lake Superior.

How Supporters Can Energize FLOW's Next 10 Years: Donate to the Olson-Dempsey Fund.

Diane Dupuis, Senior Advancement Advisor

Diane Dupuis, Senior Advancement Advisor

Diane Dupuis works to connect FLOW with resources that can help fuel the work of safeguarding the Great Lakes for all.  Read more here.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: I grew up breathing the scent of big fresh water, listening to Great Lakes freighters salute one another in passage, and playing on shores from Oscoda to Paradise and Ipperwash to Naubinway. Now I am happiest when I'm paddling, whether it's on Lake Dubonnet, along the Huron River, or among the Apostle Islands.

Favorite place in Michigan: Esch Beach, in all seasons.

Fun fact: To mark certain sentimental milestones, our family has made a point of swimming together in all five Great Lakes in deliberate succession.

Read more about Diane Dupuis: Make It Rain -- Diane Dupuis Is Here to Help Us Fund the Fight of the Great Lakes' Life | Nov. 16, 2019 | Northern Express.

Megan Kelto, Director of Public Engagement

Megan Kelto, Director of Public Engagement

Megan Kelto's mission as Director of Public Engagement is to tell the story of FLOW's important, innovative work and inspire people to take action in defense of the Great Lakes. Megan has worked and volunteered in mission-driven organizations for over fifteen years, and has deep experience in nonprofit communications, marketing, and digital content strategy. Read more.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: When I was a kid, my family had a boat and my grandparents lived on East Bay, so I grew up on the water. And many of the best moments of my life, like getting engaged, getting married, and camping trips, happened near the Great Lakes.

Favorite place in Michigan: The beach at Glen Haven is my happy place, and the journey is as magical as the destination. 

What's a fun fact about you: I am a dedicated player (and occasional host) of team trivia at a local brewery.

Read more about Megan Kelto here: Megan Kelto Joins FLOW as Director of Public Engagement | FLOW | June 14, 2023.

Carrie La Seur, Legal Director

Carrie La Seur, Legal Director

As FLOW’s Legal Director, Carrie develops and implements legal and policy strategies to maximize protection of public trust resources and uses. A graduate of Yale Law School, Carrie recently relocated to northern Michigan from Montana, where she practiced civil litigation, specializing in environmental and climate issues. From 2006-2012 served as Executive Director of Plains Justice, a legal nonprofit she co-founded, litigating against new fossil fuel infrastructure.

What attracted you to FLOW?:A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing David and Jodi Archambault, brother and sister leaders of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Dave and I visited the Sacred Stone encampment site along the Cannonball River, where the family kayaks in the summer, near the place where the pipeline runs under the Missouri River – water essential to the tribe’s history and future survival. We talked about the spiritual importance of water and being good ancestors. Talking to FLOW staff reminded me of that conversation. I thought, “They get it.”

Your favorite fact about the Great Lakes: I’m blown away that there are shipwrecks in the Great Lakes that have never been recovered, and century old wrecks still being found. It makes me want to abandon everything and join a salvage crew – but without the sketchy submersibles.

Read more about Carrie La Seur here: FLOW welcomes Carrie La Seur as its new Legal Director | FLOW | November 16, 2023
Carrie La Seur's full bio

Jim Olson, Founder and Senior Legal Advisor

Jim Olson, Founder and Senior Legal Advisor

Jim Olson has nearly 50 years of experience as an environmental, water, and public interest law advocate and champion, dedicated to protecting waters and ecosystems in the Great Lakes Basin. Jim currently contributes to FLOW’s legal and policy work, including policy analyses, law review articles, comments, reports, and other publications. He also speaks on behalf of the organization through presentations, lectures, and panel discussions. Read more here.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: Polling a home-made raft with my brothers up and down the shore of the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. I was fortunate that my parents moved their family—two girls, three boys—to Traverse City, by the time I was 5 years old we lived on the Bay, so, we grew up in and on the bay, felt its cold and warm temperatures, sensed its sweetwater smell, moods, its seasons and cycles, seches’ that flooded the beach, tore out docks, flipped over moored boats, ice skating, fishing, watersports, dressing up like pirates and pushing each other off row boats into the water.

Favorite place in Michigan: There are so many places that are “favorites,” it’s hard to say—Michigan’s beauty is soft, gentle, rough, rugged, and diverse from the ends of both peninsulas to the other ends. A few places-- Cathead Point, Lake Michigan’s Dunes, and vistas from the worn down mountains, cliffs and beaches that rim Marquette and Lake Superior.

Favorite Great Lakes fact: The distance from the border of southeastern Michigan to Ironwood and Michigan's border with Wisconsin in the Upper Peninsula is almost 650 miles--an 11-hour drive! Perhaps, longer than any distance within any state in the lower forty-eight! With lots of shoreline, rivers, lakes, creeks, wetlands, wildlife, pastures, farms, hills, and ridges, Great Lakes shoreline all the way.

How Supporters Can Energize FLOW's Next 10 Years: Donate to the Olson-Dempsey Fund.

Kyle Plummer, Development Director

Kyle Plummer, Development Director

As FLOW Development Director, Kyle Plummer works to help FLOW build the capacity to achieve its mission, and connect with supporters.

Kyle and his family enjoy a variety of outdoor pursuits, and have deep ties to northern Michigan. Kyle has an MBA in nonprofit management from Brandeis University, and is an experienced corporate, foundation, and major gift fundraiser, as well as a team leader. Read more.

What connected you to the Great Lakes: The mission of the organization, the passion that FLOW staff bring to their work, the reputation FLOW has in the community and with family members in the area, and the opportunity to have a meaningful and lasting impact on such a precious resource like the Great Lakes. I appreciate the opportunity to focus my work in environmental protection, environmental stewardship, and climate resilience.

Favorite place in Michigan: North Manitou Island is such a beautiful place to backpack and camp. I’m looking forward to spending more time camping, hiking, and kayaking in the Manitou islands.

What's a fun fact about you: I love bluegrass music and I play a bit of guitar and can do some amateur flatpicking. I love to camp, hike, and spend time on the water kayaking. I’m looking forward to getting some chickens and getting a small veggie garden started up once in Michigan.

Read more about Kyle Plummer here: FLOW welcomes Kyle Plummer as its new Development Director | FLOW | July 11, 2023

Stanley "Skip" Pruss, Senior Legal Advisor

Skip Pruss, Senior Legal Advisor

Skip Pruss is an energy expert with decades of experience in both the public and private sector. He is a former cabinet member and director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, as well as the former chief energy officer for the State of Michigan, under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, where he was responsible for designing and implementing Michigan’s clean energy economy diversification efforts. Earlier in his career, Skip served as Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Skip also is a co-founder of 5 Lakes Energy LLC, a clean energy technology consultancy.

Carolan Sonderegger, Policy Director

Policy Director Carolan Sonderegger leads our policy team in designing strategic policy interventions. Carolan works with coalition partners, stakeholders, and agency and elected officials to advance FLOW's mission to keep the Great Lakes healthy, public, and protected for all.

Carolan arrives at FLOW with a deep background in science and policy. With a degree in Biology from Grand Valley State University, Carolan previously served as an Aquatic Biologist and Environmental Coordinator for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians; and was then promoted to Natural Resource Department Manager. Read more here.

What attracted you to FLOW? The most significant factor that attracted me to FLOW was its mission and vision. Access to clean and safe drinking water is an undeniable human right, and FLOW takes charge to ensure our lawmakers are held accountable for delivering on their promise to protect and preserve our waters. As the Policy Director, I will be able to give a voice to water and live up to my name, Giziibii Ogitchida’ikwe (River Chief Woman).

What connects you to the Great Lakes? As an Indigenous woman, water is part of my identity. The Great Lakes hold a special place in my heart as they serve as a connection to my ancestors and their legacy. This is the same water that flowed through their bodies and it is the same water that rained upon their heads, as it does mine. The water that I touch today will be the same water that future generations will touch. As long as we cherish and protect it, water will serve as a powerful link between our past and future, uniting us all in its precious embrace.

Favorite place in Michigan:My favorite place in this world is a little creek that runs on my parent's property deep in the woods. When I need to quiet the world around me, I go to this place where I can talk to my grandmother, listen to the water running across the rocks, and find peace within myself.

Read more about Carolan here: Carolan Sonderegger joins FLOW as new Policy Director | FLOW | February 6, 2024