Our Staff

Aaron Selbig, Systems and Communications Coordinator

Aaron rolled into Norte from a career in journalism, most recently with Interlochen Public Radio. He has won several honors for his work in radio and podcasting, including three Edward R. Murrow awards and an ACLU Liberty Award. Aaron is an avid cyclist (of course!) and a distance runner. When he’s not training for a race, look for him hanging out with his family, playing with his dogs, or curled up on the couch with a good science fiction novel. Contact Aaron at aaron@elgruponorte.org.

Abby Havill, Program Coordinator

Abby is a Traverse City native who was born in the mountains of Vail, Colorado, which means she loves mountains and alpine skiing, but also biking, plant-based baking and cooking, yoga, writing, sustainable living, chocolate, and our northern Michigan community. After four years out West in Colorado, Abby moved back to Traverse City and soon met her husband, Will. She has many years of experience coaching skiing to the little ones and is now super excited to add mountain bike coach for Norte to the list! Contact Abby at abby@elgruponorte.org.

Gary Howe, Advocacy and Communications Director

Gary has over 10-years of direct experience creating and advocating for public policy and planning processes in support of healthy transportation and engaging public spaces. He served as a City Commissioner for the City of Traverse City from 2013-2017. He is also a writer, a New York Times-published photographer, and has over 20 years of teaching experience in Asia, as an adjunct instructor at Northwestern Michigan College, and as a guest teacher in Traverse City. Contact Gary at gary@elgruponorte.org.

Jill Sill, Interim Executive Director

Jill is passionate about connecting people of all ages and abilities with the outdoors. She has a long history of working with nonprofits as an environmental educator, high school teacher and administrator. Jill brings an eye for efficiency to the behind-the-scenes tasks at Norte. Her work provides a continuity that ensures Norte’s continued growth and resilience. She is an advocate for active living and social cohesion. She is happiest when outdoors. You can often find her beachcombing for Petoskey stones, photographing native plants at the Grand Traverse Commons, paddleboarding on the bay, or mountain biking the VASA. When she’s home, she’s rolling out homemade pasta with her husband, Andy, and their three children. Contact Jill at jill@elgruponorte.org

John Deely, Wheelhouse Manager











John brings years of experience managing nautical wheelhouses to his role managing Norte’s take on a wheelhouse. Before landing at Norte, he was sailing the world as a chief engineer of mega yachts and providing experiential education aboard training ships. He recently moved to Traverse City to be closer to family and settle into a land-based life of playing bass guitar, painting, cycling, and meeting his son at the park to play chess. Contact John at john@elgruponorte.org

Lauren Dake, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Originally from New York State, Lauren migrated to Elk Rapids in 2014. An avid cyclist and runner for more than half her life, she garnered the nickname “Bike Girl” all through high school and college. She has earned degrees in Recreation Management, Nutrition, and Early Childhood Education, making Norte the perfect fit for her to advocate for happy, healthy communities. Since 2014, Lauren has served as a Planning Commissioner for The Village of Elk Rapids, with the goal of creating smart cities for long-term investment. When she’s not running or biking, she can be found gardening, helping a neighbor, planning her next house project, or enjoying downtime with her husband, James, and daughter, Mira. Contact Lauren at lauren@elgruponorte.org.

Troy DeShano, Program and Education Director

Troy brings a 20-year career in the nonprofit sector to the Norte team. That time has provided him with a broad spectrum of expertise, including communications, program development, strategic planning, volunteer management, and fundraising. Troy is a creative thinker who enjoys unpacking complex challenges with uniquely gifted collaborators to discover sustainable solutions. He is also an accomplished designer and fine artist who loves to laugh and discover new music. To get recharged, Troy enjoys cooking with his wife Noël, moments of tranquility in his backyard, biking around Lost Lake, and watching TV in the evening with his three teens. Contact Troy at troy@elgruponorte.org.

Wes Sovis, Donor Relations Specialist

Donor Relations Specialist Wes Sovis

Wes has spent the vast majority of his 32 years in Traverse City, which happens to be his favorite place in the world. He’s a proud Northwestern Michigan College alum, finishing his degree in history at Grand Valley State University. He’s an avid cyclist, runner, making the most of the VASA trails and TART by West Bay. If Wes isn’t riding or running, he’s reading a book or walking his dogs (Disco and Ziggy) with his wonderful wife, Renee. Contact Wes at Wes@elgruponorte.org.