Meet the Steering Committee

Debbie Hendrickson

solar president

I grew up in Missouri where my family did a lot of camping and canoeing. As the years have passed I have added rafting, kayaking, backpacking, hiking, and bicycling to the list of activities I like doing. I really enjoy living in Michigan with all the opportunities it has for outdoor fun. What a beautiful state. 

I was glad when I found Solar and the opportunity to enjoy these activities with other people with a passion for the outdoors. 

Doreen Byrne

solar vice president

I’m newer to Solar, having joined in 2015. I was interested in learning about new outdoor activities and new places to visit with other outdoor enthusiasts. I love the outdoors year-round, especially in our beautiful state. I enjoy camping, hiking, biking, and kayaking. When I added backpacking to my list of activities, the Basic Land Navigation and Beginning Backpacking classes offered through Solar prepared me for my new adventures. I love traveling and camping all around Michigan and visiting our national parks. 

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. 

Carol McCririe

solar treasurer

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!

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. 

Leslie Cordova

solar bylaws chair

Bio Coming

David Warneke

solar communications chair

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. 

Anandhi Chandran

solar education chair

Bio Coming

Phil Crookshank

solar equipment chair

Bio Coming

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.

Elaine Granch

solar membership chair

I like to hike, bike, and kayak or just spend time in the great outdoors. I recently went birding and apparently I saw 40 different species of birds, approximately 7 of which I could identify all by myself.

Glenn Beard

solar programs chair

Bio Coming

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 – 2014

jennifer tislerics

2014 – 2016

2016 –

Current President

2019 –

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).