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friends@therouge.org | 734-927-4900 | Fax: 734-927-4920

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Board Members Elected for 2021–2023

Posted December 11, 2020

Board Bios

Sam Lulkin

Accounting professional with almost 20 years’ experience in a variety of roles and industries.  I have experience creating and reviewing budgets, financial statement preparation and internal controls.  In my current role at ITC I oversee the fixed asset accounting area and manage a team of four. 

I have always tried to do my part, however small, when it comes to the environment.  Whether it’s recycling, looking for ways to reduce our water use or installing LED bulbs in our house.  I believe being a board member of Friends of the Rouge would provide me the opportunity to enhance my appreciation and understanding of Michigan’s waterways while also providing an avenue that allows me to give back to the community in which I live and work.

I am a lifelong Michigander with an appreciation of our State’s abundant natural resources.  Especially our Great Lakes and the many rivers and inland lakes which we are fortunate to enjoy.  Outside of work I have fun being outdoors in a variety of ways: running, biking, hiking, camping and kayaking. I’ve been married to my wife, Jill, for almost 25 years and we have two, almost grown, kids.  Emily (21) a senior at Kalamazoo College and Ethan (17) a senior at Birmingham Groves High School.


Mike McNulty

Manager, Environmental, ITC Holdings Corp

Mike graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a BS in Environmental Science in 2000. While there, his senior research project was studying the relationship between groundwater and surface water quality in the Rouge River Watershed. Following graduation, he worked for Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. for several years assisting on and managing a variety of community and watershed based water quality projects. He then moved to Marine Pollution Control where he worked as a project manager for four years, handling the day-to-day environmental affairs of a local electric utility client. For the past 12 years, he has held the position of Manager of Environmental for ITC Holdings Corp, located in Novi, Michigan. ITC is an electric transmission utility that operates the high-voltage transmission infrastructure in Michigan and other Midwest states.  Mike manages the daily environmental compliance of the company, including compliance obligations with respect to waste, air and water quality regulations.  He also heads up the company’s Green Team which leads efforts related to environmental stewardship within the company’s facilities and in the communities in which ITC serves.  Mike has been involved with the Friends of the Rouge for most of his adult life and has served on the Board of Directors for 9 years.


Sara B. Rubino

Attorney & Counselor

I recently became a FRIEND to Friends of the Rouge so that my family and I could volunteer together with a local organization to help improve our environment and the communities connected by the Rouge River. I am hopeful that my professional experience as an attorney can be of service to Friends of the Rouge as a board member. Additionally, I have a growing interest in the areas of conservation, sustainability and environmental justice and am working on a certificate in Sustainability & Development from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability. In my professional life, I am a Member in the Troy office of Dickinson Wright PLLC and specialize in probate, trust, estate, civil and fiduciary litigation. Additionally, I maintain an active estate planning and elder law practice. I routinely work with families, seniors and individuals with special needs, helping them navigate through complex probate, public benefit and government systems and am passionate about respecting personal rights, freedom of choice and equal opportunities for all citizens, including those with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am most proud of my work with the ARC of Midland which protected vital services and public benefits to many of its clients. I was recently recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2021 and have also been named an Up & Coming Lawyer in 2018 and as a SuperLawyer Rising Star in 2017. I am a frequent speaker and author on probate related topics such as administrative appeals, guardianships, conservatorships and estate administration. In addition, I am a member of the Wayne County Probate Court Bar Association, as well as the Oakland County Bar Association and have previously served on the Membership Committee and New Lawyers Board. I earned my juris doctorate from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law and dual bachelor degrees from Central Michigan University.


Sue Thompson

Board Secretary, Chair Membership Committee

Sue is a long time FOTR volunteer and member. She is currently the FOTR Board Recording Secretary and serves on several FOTR committees, including Advocacy, Fund Development, Membership, and the Restoration/Monitoring PI Committee. A Bug Hunt Team Leader, she is often in waders with a net, searching for benthic macroinvertebrates in the Rouge River and its tributaries. She also is a long-time Frog and Toad Surveyor, and Rouge Rescue participant. A 30-year employee of Wayne County Department of Public Services Environmental Services Division, Sue is dedicated to protecting and restoring water resources. She coordinates and performs a wide variety of water quality monitoring projects in the Rouge River watershed and throughout Wayne County. A few examples of projects include: conducting a bug hunt program that involves over 400 student volunteers; physical and chemical water quality monitoring, and illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDEP).  She is a presenter in the nationally-recognized IDEP training program she helped develop that trains investigators methods used to detect and eliminate illicit discharges. During her free time, she enjoys being outdoors hiking, skiing, biking, and when indoors, volunteers at Detroit’s historic Redford Theatre.


Melissa Wydendorf

My name is Melissa Wydendorf and I am the Program Relations and Event Logistics Manager at The Henry Ford. I am a proud graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a degree in Environmental Studies with a Naturalist focus area. During my studies, I had the privilege of interning with Friends of the Rouge and cherished the knowledge gained. Environmental conservation is near and dear to my heart. You can find me enjoying walks in nature with my husband and dog, playing sports, and camping whenever given the opportunity. A well-known fact about myself is my love for turtles. I appreciate their simplicity and the ecosystem services they provide. Throughout my employment with The Henry Ford, I have had enriching opportunities to help develop and participate in environmental programming. Such programming included presentations on historical environmentalism and its pioneers as well as leading nature hikes along the Rouge River throughout The Henry Ford’s campus. My goal is to help develop environmental programming that can be offered daily to our guests.