Meet the Newest Members to Team Orange

Donor Relations Specialist Wes Sovis

Norte recently welcomed Wes Sovis to the Norte Staff as their Donor Relations Specialist. The youth-focused organization also added three new members to the Board of Directors, Jim Witte, Sue Paul, and Eric Mannix.

As Donor Relations Specialist, Sovis will manage fundraising and engagement activities supporting Norte’s youth programs, community outreach, and advocacy. His marketing and communications experience will fortify Norte’s foundation as it experiences rapid growth across the region.

“I’m thrilled to help Norte bring the benefits of bicycles, active lifestyles, and a more connected community to Northern Michigan,” said Sovis. “I hope to support our team so that we can be more efficient as fundraisers, develop more meaningful relationships with our donors, and, ultimately, have a bigger impact on the lives of thousands of people in our region.”

Q+M Agency formerly employed Sovis as an Account Executive. He was also the Digital Communications Manager for the Michigan Society of Association Executives.


2021 New Board Members, Jim Witte, Eric Mannix, and Sue Paul

Norte’s newest board members, from left to right, Jim Witte, Sue Paul, and an exhausted Eric Mannix.


In addition to staff growth, Norte recently welcomed three new board members. Eric Mannix of Traverse City, Jim Witte of Elk Rapids, and Sue Paul of Pennisula Township joined Norte’s Board of Directors at the February meeting. Directors serve three-year terms.

“I believe that it is an incredible achievement what Norte has accomplished in a very short time,” said Witte. “The Norte model is well-positioned to replicate and diversify in many areas. Developing specific and strategic plans for project and product implementation is an area that I have helped business clients achieve. I believe I can offer some of that same thinking for Norte initiatives.”

Norte’s Board of Directors adopted a two-year strategic plan in 2020, focusing on four primary areas for advancement:

  1. Active for Life Kids
  2. Happy, Healthy, Strong Communities
  3. Grassroots Advocacy
  4. A Leveled-Up Team Orange

The organization’s specific focus over the next two years is happy, healthy, strong initiatives for everyone. New board members will help guide accessibility, equity, and inclusion efforts for Norte programs and governing.

“As the mother of a special needs daughter, I’m thrilled to know Norte is working to accommodate and include this segment of our community,” said Paul. “I think my family’s personal experience, along with my training as an occupational therapist, can be beneficial to this organization.”

Mannix may be a new board member, but he’s no stranger to Norte. On June 27, 2020, he raised over $3,000 to put more kids on bikes in Eric’s Heavy Ride. On that day, Mannix biked over 100 miles and climbed over 11,000 feet in elevation on the Vasa Trails. He brings that same proactive, high energy to the board.

“I see Norte evolving more and more towards active–for–life and healthy lifestyle advocacy,” said Mannix. “While I believe the connection of Norte and bicycles will remain, Norte is striving to achieve its reach to attract more than just people on bikes. I see Norte reaching the young and old and inspiring them to be their best active self. I want to contribute to making that impact thoughtfully and expeditiously.”

Safe and Responsible