Meet the Steering Committee

Michael Hobig

solar president

I am a long time member and have held several Steering Committee positions over the years, I find the club a vital organization that is doing what it has for years. We bring people together and help them connect and share their love of the out of doors. I have traveled far and near with members, enjoying most everything I love and stretching my comfort zone at times. I have found that meeting in person, sharing stories, getting inspired which is something that on line services and apps can’t do. While connecting electronically and staying organize in the social media world is key to sharing our story, it is also key to our growth and future, so is our membership sharing their skills, knowledge and love of the out of doors in person. This is a member driven club for over 40 years, come join in, as we say, Adventure is more fun with friends.

Dave Warneke

solar vice president

I grew up in Michigan learning about the outdoors from my father, an avid fisherman and hunter. Although I do not really hunt or fish anymore, my love for the outdoors remains. 

I have only been a member since 2017, but I found this group to be such a positive influence that I wanted to become more involved. I am excited to be serving on the steering team as public relations chair. 

With your help, I would like to promote Solar Outdoors to continue to be a welcoming, fun, and exciting organization. 

Laura Miller

solar secretary

My name is Laura Miller. I am a Michigan girl. I grew up in a tent, riding bikes, and swimming. Love doing all kinds of outdoor activities in all seasons: hiking, backpacking, open water swimming, camping, biking, kayaking, climbing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing. I love to explore nature in all seasons too. I am excited to be a member of Solar and look forward to trying new activities with the Solar club. 

Jon Swingle

solar treasurer

Bio coming

Krisanne Schmidt

solar activities

Hi there!  I have always loved car camping and being outside.

I joined SOLAR in 2007 and immediately started taking as many of the workshops the club had to offer; which led to me finding my love for backpacking, hiking, kayaking, adventure racing and many other activities.  I am the current leader of the Beginning Backpacking Workshop and I assist with the Intermediate Backpacking Workshop. 

Solar Bylaws

solar bylaws chair

Currently open if you are a member and consider helping, please contact our president for more information.

Solar Communications

solar communications chair

Currently open if you are a member and consider helping, please contact our president for more information.

Carol McCririe

Learning/Skills Sharing Chair

Having been a member of Solar Outdoors almost 40 years, I have done almost everything the club has to offer from Backpacking to Winter Camping to Survival to Rock Climbing.  I was the lead instructor for the beginning backpacking class for 25 years and I still assist with that and the intermediate class and I love it!

It is hard to believe that 40 years ago, I had never carried a backpack on and had only done car camping.  My parents were never much for the outdoors and we only did camping with the girl scouts.  When I graduated from college, the sister of a friend of mine talking us into joining SOLAR and I have been a lifetime member since the first time the club offered it.

I was always taught to believe that the people you go to school with would be your friends for life, but for me the people I spend all my time with are the people I have met in SOLAR.  I met my best friends in SOLAR and most of my free time and vacations revolve around activities and trips and get together with other SOLARites.  These people have become my lifelong friends and I treasure all the times that I have had with SOLAR.

I have held many positions on the SOLAR steering committee; in my early years, I held the positions of activities, program, secretary, equipment, vice-president, and treasurer.  I left steering committee after two years as treasurer to start offering up my time as an instructor and have been teaching classes since 1989.  Now I am back on steering committee and I just started my 2nd term as treasurer.

In my other life, I am a semi-retired CPA and only work full-time from February to April 15th. I had my own business for 26 years before I merged with another CPA so that I could step back. We work primarily with small businesses and individuals doing financial, tax and consulting work.  SOLAR gives me the opportunity to get away from my office life and enjoy the simple things the outdoors can offer – solitude, wildlife, no phones, and no e-mail!

Phil Crookshank

solar equipment chair

I have backpacked for many years in Wyoming, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. A lot of my backpacks have been SOLO, since I never could find a buddy to take 4 weeks off work – all of September, with me.  So – I made many mistakes in equipment and learned a lot by trying new things. Always left the trailhead after weighing my complete pack, 50 pounds max. As Equipment Chair, I listened to your trip plan and sometimes, I can make a good suggestion for equipment, transportation, or shuttles, that you didn’t think of.  My pleasure to listen, advise and give you the best equipment we have.

Karen Haroutunian

solar historian chair

I first heard about SOLAR through BS Hiking in 2007. I went to a meeting to check it out and liked it so much I joined. I took the Beginning Backpacking Workshop in 2008 and followed that up with several other workshops. I’ve been assistant instructor for beginning backpacking and Enjoying Michigan Winters. I enjoy hiking, backpacking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. Most of all, I enjoy hanging out with the friends I’ve made.

Dana Buxton

solar membership chair

I’ve been a member of Solar since 2006.  Like everyone in Solar, I love the outdoors, and being a part of the Solar Club has connected me with so many like minded people.  I enjoy hiking, car camping, backpacking, kayaking, biking, snorkeling, cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing. Also, because of Solar I have been able to try new things like winter camping, spelunking and climbing.

Please let me know if you would like more information about Solar or want to join Solar.

Solar Programs

solar programs chair

Currently open if you are a member and consider helping, please contact our president for more information.

Bob Tacy

solar public relations chair

I enjoy white water rafting, skiing, biking, hiking, and backpacking. While living in Colorado, I climbed 3 of the states 14,000 foot mountains. I started backpacking because it was a sport I could share with our youngest son. I joined Solar in 2016 after running into members backpacking at Pictured Rocks. For a few years, it was great just participating as a member of Solar.  In 2021, I began sharing my experience in marketing and advertising to help the club and joined the Steering Committee. The people in this club are fantastic. I have appreciated the opportunity to go on adventures with them and work with them to enhance the experience of other members.

Stacie Kitchen

solar webmaster

Since I was a young girl, my family would always camp in our pop-up camper every summer in Michigan and out of the state. Exploring the outdoors was something that became a passion of mine. Which lead to biking, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, camping, and so much more. 

Have been a Solar Outdoors member since the early 2000’s. During that time I was involved with many classes, events, and meetings that Solar had going. Even contributed in the Steering Committee.

Now that I’m back and as your webmaster, I plan to help promote the club by updating the www.solaroutdoors.org.

Past Presidents

Ken demski

1975 – 1976

Lillian vires

1976 – 1978

tim nowicki

1978 – 1980

jeff smith

1980 – 1981

Peg Alford (campbell)

1981 – 1982

Bill Halvangis

1983 – 1984

Bob Westbrook

1984 – 1986

Maureen Peters (Defrance)

1986 – 1987

Larry martin

1987 – 1988

debby campbell

1988 – 1990

joan hettinger (ryan)

1990 – 1992

al fylak

1992 – 1993

Joan Govan (westbrook)

1993 – 1994

cindy harrison-felix

1994 – 1995

steve gardner

1995 – 1996

michael banks

1996 – 1998

doug lanyk

1998 – 2000

leslie cordova

2000 – 2002

tom oloffo

2002 – 2004

tom hayes

2004 – 2006

lou szakal

2006 – 2008

cindy taylor

2008 – 2010

allen duncan

2010 – 2011

chuck smith

2011 – 2013

jennifer mcwilliams

2013 – 2015

jennifer tislerics

2015 – 2017

Carol rodgers

2017 – 2019

Debbie Hendrickson

2019 – 2022

Mike Hobig

2022 – present

Other Contributors

We also want to thank the following that had contributed (since there are too many to list) as the:

Past and Present Vice Presidents, Secretaries, Treasurers, Activities Chairs, Bylaw Chairs, Education Chairs, Membership Chairs,
Public Relations, Communications Chairs (was also the Solar Ray Editor), Historian Chairs, and Webmasters.

Many people have been on the Steering Committee, took a break and than came back.

All positions are for held for 1 year (12 months).