Norte’s Board of Directors


Email all of our Board of Directors through our board chair ➡️

Anthony Rupard, President

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Anthony Rupard spent summers throughout his childhood in Pentwater, Michigan where he developed a love for the Lake Michigan shoreline and coastal dunes. His wife Natalie and their two children returned to northern Michigan in 2013 while their children were very young with an intent to help steward and enjoy the water, trails, and farmland of the region.  Norte is very dear to Anthony due to the energy and joy that he has seen time and time again in the eyes and through the smiles of kids taking off from the Civic Center to explore their community. Contact Anthony here

Evan Gray , Vice President

Meet Evan. Originally from Seattle, Evan traveled the US before settling in North Idaho, where he worked with teenagers on self-reliance and leadership. He used to race bikes but found he liked being a super-fan a whole lot more. Evan can now often be found consulting with area nonprofits, spending time with Erin and their two children, enjoying his garden, or roaming the trails near his Traverse City home. Contact Evan at

Eric Mannix, Treasurer

Norte Board Member Eric Mannix exhausted against a tree

Eric is originally from Detroit and Allen Park before his career took him to Germany and South Carolina. Eric and his wife, Melanie, always wanted to settle in TC, and when the opportunity presented itself, they took advantage. Together with their kids, Mackenzie and Brayden, they have passionately jumped all in on the outdoors and healthy lifestyle TC has to offer. This passion perfectly aligned with and drew his family to Norte and their mission. You can usually find Eric chasing his kids around. Or, perhaps inside a spreadsheet planning away. However, quite possibly, he is in the woods training for his next two-wheeled adventure most people find “dumb.” If you want to chat numbers, bikes, or Norte, get a hold of Eric here

Sue Paul, Secretary

Sue Paul

Sue and John have always enjoyed outdoor adventures with their four children and now extend that joy to include their five grandchildren. Biking is an activity for all, from balance bikes to fat-tire bikes and everything in between. Find them pulling a Cannondale bugger with their daughter Annie in tow. They’ve always looked for ways to include Annie in family outings, no matter how big the challenge.
Sue is excited to join Norte at this time as we look to expand accessibility, equity, and inclusion in our programming. Her personal experience will provide meaningful insight.

Jim Witte, Director

Jim Whitte

For Jim, Norte combines two of his primary passions: community service and pursuit of an active, outdoor lifestyle. It was an easy yes, he says. Jim is a Michigander through and through starting life in East Lansing, graduating from Michigan State University, pursuing his design career, and raising a Grand Rapids family. With his wife Gera hailing from Northern Michigan, it was only a matter of time before regular trips Up North were part of the family’s lifestyle. In 2010, with children grown and on their own, Jim and Gera relocated to Elk Rapids. He continues to provide design and branding services to commercial clients and non-profit organizations. These days, Jim tries to spend fewer hours in the office and more hours volunteering or playing outside. Contact Jim at

Ryan Schrock, Director

Ryan serves as the Principal at Glen Lake Elementary School. As a husband and dad, son, brother, and uncle, Ryan appreciates every moment of outdoor adventures with his family.  He is passionate about the research that links the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement and strongly advocates for opportunities to keep kids active and healthy members of the community. Contact Ryan here

Jill Sill, Interim Executive Director (non-voting member)



Previous Board Members—Thank You

  • Kristen Talaga (2014–2017)
  • Scott Howard (2014–2016)
  • Bill Clark (2014–2015)
  • Laura Otwell (2014–2016)
  • Johanna Schmidt (2014–2016)
  • Bob Otwell (2014–2016)
  • Polly Carlton (2016-2018)
  • Ashlea Walter (2015–2018)
  • Jason Plum (2016–2019)
  • Nick Perez (2016–2019)
  • Biz Ruskowski (2016–2019)
  • Shelly Charron (2016–2020)
  • Rachael Franks Taylor (2017–2020)
  • Brian Beckwith (2017–2020)
  • Ty Schmidt, Founder and Executive Director (2014–2021)
  • Chelsea Bay–Dennis (2019–2021)
  • Chris Hinze (2016–2022)
  • Greg Luyt (2018–2022)