Meet Our Staff

Our programs are expanding with our ambitions to be stewards of Lake Leelanau. This week, we're introducing you to our amazing staff. Get ready to meet the talented individuals who make our mission a reality.

Boat Wash Station Crew

Lake Leelanau Lake Association has installed four boat wash stations (DNR Bingham, DNR West, DNR The Narrows, and Suelzer Park). Our summer staff man the stations Friday- Sunday and on holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Additionally, approximately 20 trained volunteers provide incremental coverage at the boat wash stations on Mondays and Thursdays.

The goal is to assist boaters in washing their boats and educating boaters and community members on the importance of cleaning their boats properly to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as Eurasian watermilfoil. 

"We are already seeing a change in culture. Boaters are actively taking measures to clean, drain and dry their watercraft. If we 'Clean, Drain and Dry' it will be a great step forward in controlling and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in Lake Leelanau and other surrounding lakes”. - Nick Papes, Boat Wash Station Manager

Boat Wash Station Staff from left to right: Bryan Hees, Nick Hendrick, Gillian Perry, and Nick Papes.
Boat Wash Station Staff from left to right: Bryan Hees, Nick Hendrick, Gillian Perry, and Nick Papes.

Bryan Hees - Boat Wash Station Attendant

I'm originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I moved with my family to start a whole new chapter in my life and see what it was like. I came to work for the lake association because the outdoors is my go-to place to be.

Nick Hendrick - Boat Wash Station Attendant

I'm originally from Saginaw, Michigan. I came to Leelanau to work at St. Mary in Lake Leelanau. Coming from downstate, I appreciate being able to work near and with the lakes and nature.

Gillian Perry - Boat Wash Station Attendant

I'm a current student at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Southern Indiana, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Wildlife Biology and minors in Chemistry and Mathematics. I will be graduating in December of 2024. I have come up to Michigan for the summer to explore what a career in aquatic invasive species maintenance/control (or adjacent fields) might look like, and so far, I am enjoying every day on the job! When I return home at summer’s end, I will be happily reunited with my family in Indiana-including my two-year-old cat Chicken Nugget.

Nick Papes - Boat Wash Station Manager

I'm originally from Free Soil, MI (near Ludington). I've worked for the park services many times during the summer. In the “offseason”, I teach at St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau. Working on the shore of Lake Leelanau is a blessing and it affords me time and opportunity to spend with my wife Sarah and son Wade during the week!


Dive Team

Some of our staff spend their days on the water or under it in our effort to control Eurasian watermilfoil. Meet our intrepid dive team.

Catherine Dunn - Diver

Catherine Dunn

There’s nothing I like better than putting on a wetsuit and hunting for milfoil. For work, I teach high school art and paint and draw Leelanau County: the places, the animals, the plants, and the people. I hope someday to grow some Cosmic Crisp apples and have a good garden that the deer can’t find.






Austin O'Connor - Diver

Austin O'Connor

I'm starting my third year working for the LLLA.  I'm currently a senior at Glen Lake, and I enjoy spending as much time on the water as possible.  My grandparents had a cottage on Lake Leelanau, and that's where my love of the lake began. I enjoy mountain biking, trap shooting, fishing, camping---pretty much anything outdoors.







Mara Pellerito - Diver

Mara Pellerito

I just graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Creative Writing. I love all things outdoors and will be attending the University of Montana in the fall of 2024 to pursue a Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies and Environmental Writing.





Sarah Elwell - Diver, Field Technician, and Data Manager

Sarah Elwell

I grew up in Leland and am so excited to be part of the effort to protect Lake Leelanau! I am currently a senior at the University of Michigan studying environmental science. You can find me enjoying time on the beach and reading a good book.








Anna Briem - Diver

Anna Briem

I am originally from the very warm state of Alabama. After graduating with my BS in marine biology, I spent six years working in Alaska on commercial fishing vessels for the National Marine Fisheries Service. I moved to Traverse City in 2021 and am currently finishing up my graduate degree at Grand Valley State University. My thesis research is on using burlap barrier as a control method for Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake Leelanau and I have been working with GTB and the LLLA on this project since 2022. This project has been and continues to be a wonderful experience and working on the dive team this year has been such a lovely addition to my summer.





Sean Vilter - Diver

Sean Vilter

I'm currently a senior at Glen Lake High School and the Engineering Academy in Traverse City. I'm an avid diver who grew up spending my summers on the shores of Lake Leelanau. In my free time, I play rugby and football and I sail.





Em Masterson - Diver

Em Masterson

I'm a Yooper who learned to dive in Lake Superior. I'm currently in nursing school, and somehow landed this amazing job that lets me blow bubbles and chase fish.









Chris Froelich - Boat Driver and Field Technician

Chris Froelich

I'm Chris, the illustrious boat driver extraordinaire, who expertly navigates the high seas of Lake Leelanau, armed with the perfect boat snacks and the best yacht rock in a 100-mile radius. When I'm not regaling passengers with tales of mermaids and krakens I am teaching high schoolers and coaching soccer. When the boats are anchored for the night, I'm chasing my two lovely daughters, aged 5 and 7, and sidled up to my beautiful wife of 9 years.

Office Squad

Our office squad is working to streamline our processes to record memberships and donations, plan and run events and programs, and communicate our projects and stewardship knowledge.


Willow Myles-Nuffer - Virtual Office Manager

Willow Myles-Nuffer

I'm originally from a small town by the Mackinaw Bridge. After school and traveling, I landed in Traverse City in 2000. I value time spent with family above all and contributing to the local community, its assets, and people. Living downtown makes it easy to be involved and immersed in the culture being cultivated. This has grown a deep appreciation for organizations that champion our NoMi assets, and are committed to the success of our ever-growing region. I am a lifelong learner of finances, and have the capacity to manage multiple projects, which makes me a great addition to LLLA as we grow and continue to serve our constituents. You may see me out on the water, below the water, biking and hiking with my family and friends. Wherever you see me, please say Hello!




Jen Watkins - Marketing and Communications Specialist

Jen Watkins

I grew up in Leland on Lake Leelanau and can see it all sparkling and inviting out my window right now. After spending a decade or two out west, where I scoffed at every puddle and reservoir those desert dwellers tried to pass off as a lake, I’m back where I belong. I like to read by the lake, write by the lake, assemble a jigsaw puzzle by the lake, and of course spend time on it and in it. I am typing this as fast as I can so I can go for a swim.

LLLA Champions

And lastly, let us reintroduce our long-running champions for the lake.

Ron Reimink - Lake Biologist

Ron Reimink

I have been Lake Leelanau's lake biologist since 2023 when I stepped in to fill the big shoes left by Brian Price. For the past thirty years, I have spent summers in Leelanau County, teaching and collaborating in academic research in various aspects of lake biology.






Annalise Povolo - Director of Administration and Programs

Annalise Povolo

I am the Association's one mighty full-time employee. After diving for two years to control Eurasian watermilfoil, I became LLLA's Director of Administration and Programs in 2022 and continue to lead the dive team in the summer. I am originally from Lake Leelanau and after traveling, studying, and learning abroad for nearly a decade, I consider it a blessing to live back home and protect the lake on which I grew up.


We Love Lake Leelanau

Just like you, our staff are dedicated to protecting Lake Leelanau’s water quality, shoreline, ecology, and natural beauty. Now that we've introduced our team, if you see our friendly staff members on the lake or at the boat launches, wave or say Hi!
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