Our Staff

Ty Schmidt :: Executive Director

A Canadian import from friendly Manitoba, Ty came to Traverse City in 2006 by way of Tucson, AZ. Along with his wife, Johanna, a Leelanau County native, Ty founded Norte in 2013 to advocate for more happy, healthy, strong communities. A physical therapist by training and recovering Cat 2 road/elite mountain bike racer, Ty now works fulltime at the Norte Clubhouse and rides at kid pace with his two boys, Carter and Jameson. He can often be seen at Carter’s Compost World HQ where he also volunteers as a bucket scrubber and pile turner.

Ben Boyce :: Program Director

As Norte’s Program Director, Ben Boyce gets to do what he likes most: ride bikes and work with kids. A super dad, devoted husband, reggae lover and good with the wrenches, Ben is a Maybee, Michigan native now thriving in Traverse City.

Melissa Socia :: Outreach Director

Melissa moved to Traverse City in 2007. Like most transplants she fell in love with all of the great outdoor activities that Traverse City has to offer. An avid mountain biker since 2005, she quickly gained appreciation for the endless trails provided by the VASA and once she experienced road riding on the Peninsula and in Leelanau County she developed a love for road riding as well. She has been racing bikes for over 12 years but her true love is spending time with her husband and friends exploring the trails of Northern Michigan.

Melissa has past experience as a high school track coach which is what sparked her passion for coaching and teaching. She has experience as a Wellness Coach and a Personal Trainer. She currently holds the position of Outreach Director and Girls on Bikes Coordinator for Norte.

Jamie Burley :: Clubhouse Manager

Jamie came to Traverse City in 2017 with her husband, Tony, and two boys, Ben and Jacob. She loves a good book, yummy soup, hockey, and of course, bicycles. Jamie is passionate about happy, healthy, strong kids and wears many, many hats with poise to see Norte’s mission through.

Gary Howe :: Advocacy Director

Gary has over 10-years of direct experience creating and advocating for public policy and planning processes that support healthy transportation and socially engaging public spaces. He served as a City Commissioner for the City of Traverse City from 2013-2017, in addition to serving on the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission. He is also a writer, a New York Times-published photographer, and has over 20 years of teaching experience both in Taiwan and as an adjunct instructor at Northwestern Michigan College. You can see some his images (most of his beagle, Nora) on Insta at @GLH_Image