Board of Directors
John Adams, Fennville
Adams, President of the Board of Directors, has been involved with the Friends of the Blue Star Trail for eight years. With their kids grown John and his wife Denise relocated to Western Michigan from the Detroit area after nearly 25 years in various roles in the financial business, from portfolio manager to CEO. He grew up in Kalamazoo where he developed an appreciation for West Michigan and all it has to offer.
He enjoys an active life style by biking, golfing, hiking, scuba diving and skiing. He’s dedicated much time and effort to The Blue Star Trail because he believes it will provide “an opportunity to promote active lifestyles, highlight the natural beauty in the area, and improve safety along an important local route.”
Clark Carmichael, Ganges Township
Carmichael brings a background in banking, business ownership, business asset sales, and real estate to the Board. He was active in helping individuals and small private companies find businesses or expand their market opportunities before retiring to West Michigan.
He joined the Board because of his prior experience as a volunteer on the Anderson Township Transportation Advisory Committee in Ohio. The group developed a trails plan which led to the construction of two major segments or the “spine” of the planned network. He believes “it was transformational for the community; for the first time, residents were connected to each other by something other than roads. The trails also connected them to the many public/private buildings near its path.” In time the trail came to serve as a vital link within the community, something he believes will happen with the Blue Star Trail.
Although he has had to back down on active sports, he remains a big sports fan and music lover.
Richard Donovan, Saugatuck Township
Donovan, who joined the Board in the Spring of 2018, brings over 40 years of legal experience to the Board. He was a partner in an international law firm in New York City and has counseled several non-profit organizations in the course of his career. Now licensed to practice law in Michigan, he hopes to use his legal expertise to help the Friends complete its mission to develop the Blue Star Trail.
He and his family have been visiting the Saugatuck area of many years and moved here full time in 2013, He became familiar with the BST through his wife Ellen’s volunteer efforts.
Richard likes to take advantage of the scenic beauty in this area by hiking with a group in the state park, kayaking, and biking, and has started to learn how to fly-fish. He and his wife enjoy traveling around the world and keeping up with their three sons.
Jack Eisinger, Saugatuck Township
Eisinger, the Board’s treasurer, brings over 40 years experience as shareholder and Chief Financial person in a Chicago Manufacturer Representation firm and Import Business selling hard goods to all the major retailers across the US.
He plans to use his financial experience to guide the Friends organization to continue building the Trail. He also hopes to deliver some major donors to help provide the matching funds necessary to secure government grants and cover the trails engineering costs.
Jack enjoys maintaining his property, hiking in the Colorado mountains, kayaking in Lake Michigan, and cycling the trails around West Michigan. He says he “would love to be able to accomplish a century ride some year!”
Laura Jager, South Haven
Jager brings twenty years experience to the Board from Fund Development and Strategic Planning in the non-profit sector. Most recently she worked in development and leadership at a non-profit that focuses on leadership development, service, and maximizing educational opportunities with inner city youth. “At completion of the program each team of students participates in a life changing two- week service-learning trip to West Africa!”
She’s excited to be part of the Blue Star Trail mission and is committed to the effort and time needed for such a grass roots vision to go from conception to completion. She’s grateful to be part of the project and enjoys working with the wide variety of people with skill sets and talents necessary to make the trail happen.
She and her family take full advantage of living in a small beach town and all its outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, biking, sailing and swimming. “We especially look forward to the day we bike from South Haven to Saugatuck on the Blue Star Trail!”
Dan Keller, Saugatuck Township
Keller draws on a career in Marketing for the Board, having extensive experience as a Marketing Executive with Fortune 100 companies involved with consumer package goods and the automotive industry. He currently consults with a primary focus on Customer Relationship Marketing and Loyalty.
Recognizing that The Friends of The Blue Star Trail would benefit from a more consistent branding and communication efforts, he joined the Board in late 2017 to develop and lead a marketing and communications campaign.
In addition to biking, Dan loves to kayak on the big lake, play some golf and Pickleball.
Jeanne Van Zoeren, Casco Township
Van Zoeren is practically synonymous with The Blue Star Trail having been involved in its development for a decade and serving as both the “chair and staff” of the visionary committee organized to pursue the Trail in 2008. She is one of the founders and the prime mover of the trailway project.
Van Zoeren’s career involved developing health policy and planning for medical facilities and services. Her work organizing and staffing task forces, writing implementation plans, and procuring grants served her well in writing grants, doing government liaison, and organizing committees for the Blue Star Trail.
Her less serious pursuits involve dancing and occasionally twirling a baton from her majorette and pom-pom dancer days. She is also an exercise enthusiast who loves biking, walking along the lakeshore, yoga and weightlifting.
Sunny Hill, Glenn
Sonia “Sunny” Hill is an Emeritus Board member who has spent the last eight years working for and advocating the Trail. “Developing it has been an interesting challenge” a project she believes will improve the communities it connects
When not reading she pursues the active life by biking, kayaking, gardening, and playing tennis.
John Ludlow, City of Saugatuck
A urologist since 1992, Ludlow has an active surgical practice in Holland that focuses on men’s health and wellness. As someone who has cycled all his life he understands and values the benefits of safe cycling options. He joined the Board in 2017 to help realize the dream of a connected trail system along the West Michigan Lakeshore.
Like all the Board members he values outdoor activities, but is likely the only competitive surfer among the Friends of The Blue Star Trail. “I grew up on the beaches of South California and surfed competitively, including professionally, for many years.”
If interested in viewing the Board Meeting Minutes, click here.