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

Rouge Rescue volunteers 2018

Board Elections Notice and Candidates 2019


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that board elections will be held following the final meeting of the Board of Directors on December 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the University of Michigan in Dearborn, Michigan. This meeting of the members will be held for the purpose of considering and acting upon a slate of member representative nominees for election to the Friends of the Rouge board of directors.

Any FOTR member in good standing is entitled to one vote in person at the meeting or by proxy (maximum two (2) votes per member household).

By order of the Board of Directors,
By: Susan Thompson
Its: Secretary

How to Vote – Election Details

The Friends of the Rouge invite dues-paying members to cast their vote for the 2019 Board of Directors election.

Members can download a printable PDF ballot, fill-out and sign. OR members may attend the final meeting of the year in person on December 12, 2018 and submit a ballot no later than 6:00 PM.

Completed electronic ballots can be returned via an email with attached signed PDF of your ballot, or can be mailed in directly.

Ballots must be returned to the following address:

Via email to:
Board Development Chair, Laura Wagner at lwagner@therouge.org with the Subject line: 2019 FOTR Board Ballot


Via U.S. post to:
Laura Wagner, Board Development Chair
Friends of the Rouge
650 Church Street Suite 209
Plymouth, MI 48124

Ballots will be accepted via email or U.S. post from Monday, November 12 – December 11, 2018. Any mail in ballots received after December 11, 2018 5:00 p.m. will be VOID.

Alternatively, members will be able to vote in person following the end of the year board meeting on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

The meeting will be held at:

Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex (PARC)
Friends of the Rouge office
650 Church Street Suite 209
Plymouth, MI 48124

Directions can be found here.

Final votes will be counted and announced at 6:30 p.m that day.

Additional candidates may be added to the website during the voting period, however, they will need to be written in on member ballots to be considered for a position. Members may write in a nomination, but the candidate must consent to the nomination to be considered. Member households and corporate members are only allowed two votes per household or per corporation.

Download the 2019 FOTR Board Ballot
View 2019 – 2021 Board Candidate Bios below.

We are looking forward to another great year of board development and support for Friends of the Rouge in 2019! Thank you for your participation as a member of Friends of the Rouge!

Warm wishes,
Friends of the Rouge, Board Nomination Committee

If you have any questions, please e-mail Laura Wagner at lwagner@therouge.org for more information.

2019-2021 Friends of the Rouge Board Election Nominees

Paul Draus, Ph.D.

University of Michigan-Dearborn, Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences

Paul Draus is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  He earned his PhD from Loyola University Chicago in 2001. From 1992 until 2000 he was a public health field worker, specializing in tuberculosis control, first in New York City and then in Chicago.  He is the author of Consumed in the City: Observing Tuberculosis at Century’s End (Temple University Press, 2004), which was based on his dissertation research.  He has published numerous articles on health behaviors and social contexts related to substance abuse in rural areas and social networks and work patterns of daily heroin users, former street sex workers and ex-offenders in Detroit.  His most recent research focuses on the dynamics of change in neighborhood environments and restorative justice practices in community and correctional settings.  He has become increasingly involved urban ecology and restoration efforts through his participation in the Fort Rouge Gateway (FRoG) Partnership.

David Norwood

City of Dearborn, Sustainability Coordinator

Dave has worked at the City of Dearborn since 1992 in the Legal Department, Mayor’s Office and as the Director of the Department of Building & Safety.

Since July 2009 Dave has been the Sustainability Coordinator for the city. His primary responsibilities are to develop and manage the city’s sustainability plan and climate action plan.

Dave also serves as project lead or manager on several sustainability projects.  These include implementing canoeing/kayaking on the Rouge River, curbside residential recycling, “greening” the city’s fleet, implementing Adopt A Watt and other energy efficiency retrofit projects, Bike Sharing, a waste to energy facility, urban forestry, and stormwater management projects.

Dave is a founding member of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Michigan Green Communities Network.  Dave is a board member of Friends of the Rouge, the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office, Transportation Riders United, and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. Dave is also the Ex-Officio board member and a past chair of the Detroit Regional Chapter of United States Green Building Council.

Dave has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science and secondary education certificate from the University of Michigan- Dearborn and a Juris Doctor degree with an Environmental Law focus from the Detroit College of Law Dave is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan. Dave has lived in the City of Dearborn for over twenty years.

Dave is a fierce advocate of the Rouge River and how watershed residents, local governments and likeminded non-profits can benefit the flora and fauna that inhabit the river and its watershed.  In Dearborn, Dave has been the leading proponent of leveraging the Rouge River as a focal point and critical asset for the city.  This is demonstrated most clearly in the City of Dearborn 2030 Master plan that specifically mentions the Rouge River:

Dave also serves as Dearborn’s representative on the Lower Rouge River Water Trail collaborative.  This group of local government, non-profit, and private sector stakeholders is developing a water trail on the Lower Rouge.  The trail serves as a textbook example of a sustainable project–the trail will create economic opportunities for the nearby downtowns, paddlers will experience the river in a new and previously undiscovered manner, and paddlers will have another opportunity for a healthy activity right in their backyards.

Finally, Dave’s 25 years’ experience in local government combined with his lifetime interest in the Rouge River would be a benefit to the new board.

If selected to be a member of the new board, Dave is interested in working on Public Involvement and Ordinance Development.

Michelle McCrackin, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre

Native to metro-Detroit, Michelle McCrackin recently moved back to the “mitten” after living in the western US for the past 15 years. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and a PhD in Biology from Arizona State University. She has over 10 years of research experience and has been working to bridge the gap between science and society. Michelle studies nutrient pollution caused by nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer and sewage wastewater. Nutrients contribute to excessive algal blooms, drinking water contamination, and reduced water clarity. In addition to conducting research, she communicates science to general audiences. Her outreach includes writing policy briefs and presenting at public forums.

Michelle currently splits her time between her home in Canton and her work in Sweden where she is a research scientist at Stockholm University. Since 2014, she has worked on environmental problems affecting the Baltic Sea. She is passionate about protecting and restoring water resources and is eager to get involved with issues closer to home by serving on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Rouge (FOTR). Her interest in the Rouge goes back to her childhood when she played in the upper reaches of the river. She was reintroduced to the river when she moved back to Michigan – the Lower Rouge flows behind her home in Canton. Michelle would be honored to serve on the FOTR Board and fully supports its mission “to restore, protect, and enhance the Rouge River watershed through stewardship, education, and collaboration.”

Michael Rudell

Carhartt, Management and Human Resources

I am very passionate about the Rouge River and the relationship of the watershed to the people in it. Being surrounded by the Rouge River for most of my life and being aware of and involved with Friends of the Rouge since 1996 has given me a unique appreciation for this beautiful river. I’ve removed a lot of waste and helped tackle massive log jams as tall as a house in the River, as I believe that is our duty to protect, promote and preserve the River. I truly enjoy cleaning up the Rouge River.

I enjoy hiking, biking and kayaking the Rouge. There is such an incredible diversity of flora and fauna whose habitat is being threatened and destroyed. We have to help these amazing plants and animals. The relationship between how we live our lives and how we interact with the Rouge River is a delectate balance. It takes all of use to make a difference. In order to do that, we need to educate the public and gain and maintain their trust.

My professional experience has been in management and human resources. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resources Management from Wayne State University and I maintain several HR related accreditations.

I feel that being on our Board would allow me to offer the greatest impact on positively helping Friends of the Rouge accomplish its mission and goals. My record of stewardship and service to the Rouge River has made me proud and I’m ready to take the next step.

Brandy Siedlaczek

City of Southfield, Storm Water Manager

Brandy is the Storm Water Manager for the City of Southfield and has worked for the City for the past nineteen years. Brandy has been involved with Friends of the Rouge (FOTR) Programs for over twenty years, annually coordinates the activities of 100+ volunteers at the City of Southfield’s Rouge Rescue, has been a member of the FOTR of Directors for the past 8 years and FOTR Education Task Force Committee for the past sixteen years. Brandy oversees the City of Southfield’s stormwater management activities and has been project manager for many capital improvement projects related to water quality and stormwater management, manages the City’s green infrastructure program and other City of Southfield stewardship projects. She has also been instrumental in securing over $3.5 million dollars in grant funding for several Southfield capital improvement projects. She received her master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Michigan State University.

Alan VanKerckhove

DWSD, Retired

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