Communications Coordinator, Aaron@elgruponorte.org
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.
Program Coordinator, Abby@elgruponorte.org
Abby is a Traverse City native born in the mountains of Vail, Colorado, which means she loves mountains and alpine skiing, 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!
Accounting Clerk, Gary@elgruponorte.org
Amy has spent her career working in the non-profit sector with several organizations based in northern Michigan. The common denominator has always been a passion for building healthy communities that enable people to thrive in their place. She is excited to bring her experience from nearly every facet of the non-profit ecosystem to Norte’s tangible and inspired mission. When not balancing the books and serving up financials, look for Amy hiking or skiing on local trails with her husband and dogs. And, when time permits, she’ll be off traveling to see her five children.
Advocacy and Communication Director, Gary@elgruponorte.org
Gary has over 10-years of direct experience creating and advocating for public policy and planning processes supporting healthy transportation and engaging public spaces. He served as a City Commissioner for the City of Traverse City from 2013 to 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.
Jill K. Sill
Interim Executive Director, Jill@elgruponorte.org
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.
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Lauren@elgruponorte.org
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” throughout 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 to create 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.
Team Associate, Shea@elgruponorte.org
Shea has lived in Traverse City for his entire remembered life. Never desiring to live anywhere else, he plans to set down more roots with his wife and make Traverse City a better place for all. In his free time, if not at the beach, biking with his wife, or cooking something delicious, you can find Shea digging in the garden at Traverse Heights, in the Ceramics studio at NMC, or just wandering the neighborhoods. In addition, he enjoys reading books about food, philosophy, poetry, and politics and how they intertwine. A graduate of the first year of Advocate Academy and Northwestern Michigan College, Shea looks forward to using his knowledge and experiences to help Norte thrive and succeed in making our region even happier, healthier, and stronger.
Program and Education Director, Troy@elgruponorte.org
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. 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 to get recharged.
Donor Relations Specialist, Wes@elgruponorte.org
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, and 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 dog with Renee, his wonderful wife.