Photo of the new LLLA President Nancy Popa at her lakefront property on Lake Leelanau, Michigan.

Meet the New LLLA President Nancy Popa

The Lake Leelanau Lake Association (LLLA) is pleased to introduce our new LLLA President, Nancy Popa! We encourage you to read this week’s blog to learn more about Nancy and all she brings to the Lake Association. 

This year, the Board of Directors elected Nancy Popa as President of the Board, replacing Tom Hiatt in July 2023. Tom has done an outstanding job as President for the past five years. We are incredibly grateful to Tom for all that he has done. Thank you, Tom!

Getting Acquainted: Meet LLLA President Nancy Popa

Nancy and her husband, Thad, moved back to Thad’s childhood home on South Lake Leelanau in 2016 after Nancy retired from Consumers Energy. Nancy worked for Consumers Energy in various technical and leadership roles related to chemistry, nuclear engineering, risk management, environmental management, and renewable energy. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Science in Environmental Management.

Nancy has a good amount of board experience, serving as Vice President of the Great Lansing Food Bank board and President of the Leelanau Christian Neighbors board. She is also a board member of the Leelanau Conservancy.

After joining LLLA’s board in 2020, Nancy led the initiative to build boat wash stations at boat launches to reduce the risk of aquatic invasive species introduction. Thanks to Nancy’s efforts, four stations will be in operation by the end of this year. 

Nancy is passionate about protecting and restoring the natural shoreline. As LLLA’s Shoreline Ambassador, she has worked to consult with riparian owners on how to improve their shorelines to reduce pollution, prevent erosion, and improve habitat. Nancy recently attended the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership three-day professional certification class and has restored her own shoreline using over 2000 native plants that she grew from seed. She thoroughly enjoys the butterflies, insects, and birds that now frequent her shoreline.

Nancy Popa, LLLA President and Shoreline Ambassador, conducts a shoreline consultation at a Lake Leelanau waterfront property owner's shoreline.
Nancy Popa, LLLA President and Shoreline Ambassador, conducts a shoreline consultation at a lakefront property owner's home, located on Lake Leelanau.

Forward Bound: LLLA’s Vision for the Future

As for what is ahead for the Lake Association, Nancy says that the organization will stay focused on controlling Eurasian watermilfoil and other aquatic invasive species that are the biggest threat to the health and enjoyment of the lake. Other focus areas include terrestrial invasive species, water quality monitoring, education, and natural shoreline preservation. 

Despite being a 99% volunteer organization, the Lake Association is disciplined in identifying priorities, work plans, and a detailed budget. This approach aligns well with Nancy’s business experience, and she plans to continue helping the organization to identify priorities and work plans. Plans for 2024 are already being developed.

“The amount of work required to keep Lake Leelanau healthy for our grandchildren is immense,” Nancy relates. “We need everyone on the lake and in the area to join the Association, get involved, learn how to be stewards of the lake and volunteer.”

Nancy loves to bike, hike, ski, garden, and cook when she is not involved in Lake Association matters. She has lots of energy and is passionate about conserving our beautiful Lake Leelanau. 

If you have a concern about the lake, please contact Nancy Popa at [email protected].

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