Extended Bios

Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director

As an environmental lawyer with over 20 years of experience working on water, sanitation, energy, and environmental governance issues both nationally and internationally, Liz Kirkwood serves as the organization’s lead on numerous Great Lakes issues and education initiatives. Often testifying or speaking before public bodies, she has made frequent presentations to community organizations and professional audiences on Great Lakes issues from Line 5 to water justice and infrastructure financing to water privatization to climate change.  Liz develops and oversees FLOW’s work on key Great Lakes environmental policies designed to promote healthy ecosystems, thriving communities, and access to safe, clean, affordable water for all.  

Prior to joining FLOW in 2012, Liz worked for USAID in Thailand as an environmental attorney to implement a regional environmental governance, water, and sanitation program in Southeast Asia. She also worked as an environmental litigator at Farella, Braun & Martel in San Francisco where she represented clients on natural resource and energy related matters. Liz graduated from Williams College with a degree in Environmental Studies and History, and received her J.D. and Environmental Certificate from Lewis & Clark Law School. Liz currently serves as a member of the International Joint Commission’s Water Quality Board.

Read more about Liz Kirkwood here: Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW, is Our Great Lakes GuardianTraverse Magazine, August 2019.

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.

Dave has a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in environmental policy and law from Michigan State University. He has served as an adjunct instructor in environmental policy at both universities.
Read more about Dave Dempsey here: Great Lakes for Sale: Veteran activist and author puts renewed spotlight on diverting Great Lakes water by Gary Wilson, Great Lakes Now, Dec. 1, 2021.

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. After earning a BA in French and English from Kalamazoo College, Diane embarked on a career in publishing that culminated in a position as Publisher of Visible Ink Press. Pivoting to the nonprofit sector, she spent ten years serving Interlochen Center for the Arts in communications and fund-development roles before fundraising for two land conservancies in Michigan, and for the Ann Arbor Art Center. Past volunteer affiliations and Board service include Pathfinder School, Parallel 45 Theatre, Michigan Writers, Washtenaw Literacy, and Michigan Audubon.

Read more about Diane Dupuis here: Make It Rain | Diane Dupuis Is Here to Help Us Fund the Fight of the Great Lakes’ Life by Ross Boissoneau | Nov. 16, 2019.

Megan Kelto, Director of Public Engagement

As Director of Public Engagement, Megan’s mission to to tell the story of FLOW’s important, innovative work and inspire people to take action in defense of the Great Lakes. Megan has over fifteen years of experience in marketing, communications, and leadership in nonprofit and mission-driven organizations. Prior to joining FLOW in spring 2023, Megan served as Vice President of Crooked Tree Arts Center, leading its Traverse City location. Megan also spent nine years at Interlochen Center for the Arts as its Online Marketing & Content Manager.

She has served on the boards of the Michigan Legacy Art Park and Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and has volunteered at Old Town Playhouse, the Traverse City Film Festival, and Interlochen Public Radio. In 2018 she was appointed to a three-year term on the Traverse City Arts Commission.

A lifelong resident of Traverse City, Megan attended Central Michigan University and holds a degree in Political Science (Pre-Law) and Psychology. She has written for regional publications including the Traverse City Business News, Traverse City Record-Eagle, The Boardman Review, and the Traverse and Leelenau Ticker. Megan was named to the TCBN “40 under 40” list in 2011, 2012, and 2018.

Jim Olson, Founder & Senior Legal Advisor

Jim Olson has nearly 40 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.  He has developed a deep knowledge and understanding of public trust principles and law as they apply to the systemic threats facing 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. He has lectured at every major university in Michigan, authored dozens of articles on the public trust, and litigated many relevant cases.

Jim is a graduate of Michigan State College of Law (Detroit College of Law) and has an L.L.M. Degree in public lands, natural resources, and environmental law from the University of Michigan Law School. He received the Champion of Justice Award in 2010, one of the highest honors of the Michigan Bar Association, and was named a Michigan Lawyer of the Year in 1998 for his work on environmental and water citizen suit laws. Jim has lectured in Brazil, Canada, and the United States, and has authored numerous articles and essays and three books.  He was featured in two eminent documentary films on water, “FLOW: For Love of Water” (2008) and “Blue Gold” (2008).

Read more about Jim Olson here: Traverse City Attorney is Defender of Global Water by Lissa Edwards | Traverse Magazine | Sept. 28, 2011.

Kyle Plummer, Development Director

Bio coming soon!

Stanley “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.