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E-M:/ MLUI's New Executive Director

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Kelly Thayer -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michigan Land Use Institute
News Release August 24, 2000

Bob Sutherland,
Chairman, Board of Directors: 231-334-3150
Hans Voss, Executive Director: 231-882-4723

Institute Names New Executive Director

Hans Voss, who led a statewide campaign in the late 1990s to improve public oversight of oil and gas development and served for two years as Managing Director, was named today as Executive Director of the Michigan Land Use Institute. In his new post, Mr. Voss oversees a 14-member staff, a nearly $1 million annual budget, and more than 2,200-member families, organizations, and businesses. The non-profit Institute, based in Benzonia, was founded in 1995 and is now one of the 20 largest state-based environmental advocacy groups in the nation.

Mr. Voss succeeds Keith Schneider, the Institute's founding Executive Director, who has assumed the role of Program Director. This new position will allow Mr. Schneider to focus on developing new projects, crafting solution-based strategies, engaging in public speaking and journalism, and exploring new objectives for the Institute's communications program.

The Institute also promoted Arlin Wasserman to a new position as Policy Director. Mr. Wasserman, who served as Policy Specialist, will now oversee staff recruitment, coordinate policy and projects, and assist in grass roots campaigns.

"Since our founding in 1995, the Institute has established itself as a credible voice for the public interest, and achieved an inspiring list of accomplishments," said Bob Sutherland, Chairman of the Institute's Board of Directors, who announced the leadership transition today. "Thanks to Keith's leadership, the Institute is a thriving organization. Hans and Arlin have the right mix of grassroots organizing skills, management experience, and leadership qualities to build on this momentum and advance the Institute's mission."

Added Mr. Schneider, "The last five years have been the most purposeful, exciting, arduous, and satisfying of my professional life. There is, perhaps, nothing more important for a founding Executive Director to do than to train his successors. I've been exceedingly fortunate. Hans is immensely capable and more than ready to take this organization to new realms of effectiveness and prominence. Arlin is equally talented. I expect that Hans and Arlin, along with our other skilled staff and board members, will build a legacy of useful work in the public interest that surpasses anything that we've realized to date. The Michigan Land Use Institute's best days lie ahead."

"Great organizations embrace change as opportunity," said Mr. Voss. "After five years of sure guidance with Keith at the helm, the Institute is ready to take a new step forward. I view this transition as a perfect chance for the organization to come together to sharpen our strategy and strengthen the Institute's capacity to accomplish our mission."

Added Mr. Voss, "All across Michigan - from kitchen tables and coffee shops to community meetings and in the legislature - people are talking about land use. My goal is to position the Institute as a resource in this discussion by offering ideas, bringing together these diverse voices, and turning this discussion into meaningful change. With the momentum we've built and the exceptionally talented and committed staff and board, I am convinced the Institute can help Michigan become a model for the rest of the nation."

In the five years since joining the Institute staff, Mr. Voss earned a reputation for combining toughness and commitment with fairness and diplomacy. The result is an effective approach to land use advocacy that has helped the Institute become one of the leading voices in the state on land use and environmental policy.

Mr. Voss, 32, began his career at the Institute in 1995 as coordinator of the statewide oil and gas policy reform project. He worked with a diverse coalition of organizations and local governments to strengthen oversight of the oil and gas industry, paving the way for five new state laws. Mr. Voss helped inform thousands of landowners about how to lease their mineral rights in a way that maximizes economic return to them while reducing effects on the environment.

One of his most well-known accomplishments occurred in 1998, when he worked closely with the Friends of the Jordan River Watershed to gain a state pledge to protect the scenic Jordan River Valley from energy development. Later that year, he was promoted to Managing Director. In this role he managed internal operations, supervised project activities, and coordinated the Institute's fundraising program.

Mr. Voss received a B.S. in Resource Development from Michigan State University in 1992. Before joining the Institute, he worked for three years at an environmental consulting firm in Farmington Hills.

Mr. Wasserman, 33, served as the founding President of the Institute's board from 1995 to 1997. In 1997 he joined the staff as Policy Specialist. In that role, he served as the Institute's technical specialist, assisted on the statewide oil and gas campaign, helped to design and launch a statewide land use and transportation project, wrote articles for the Institute's magazine, and helped to establish an innovative program to provide expertise and guidance to grass roots organizations.

Mr. Wasserman is an expert in land use management and environmental policy, with a Master of Science in Natural Resources, a Master of Public Health, and a B.A. in Political Economics, all from the University of Michigan. Before joining the staff he was the Solid Waste Manager for Grand Traverse County, and worked as a professional risk management specialist for Environmental Solutions in Traverse City while serving as the Institute's first board president. He was named northern Michigan's Environmentalist of the Year in 1993, the year he served on the state Department of Natural Resources pollution prevention task force.

The Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that employs a solutions-oriented method of economic and environmental policy research, advocacy journalism, and community organizing to advance land use strategies that respect Michigan's unique character and unmatched natural resources. The Institute conducts its work in Michigan, collaborates with organizations in the Great Lakes region, and engages in a national discussion on land use policy.

The Institute carries out its work in the following program areas:
· By organizing an active membership and providing members with the tools they need to become informed about land use issues and get involved in their local, state, and federal policy discussions.
· By conducting intensive research on land use planning and policy to apply new approaches that communities and policy makers can use to join economic and environmental goals in cities and the countryside.
· By serving as a professional research and consulting staff to assist grassroots groups.
· By engaging in dialogue with and offering resources to businesses, communities, and policy makers.
· Through communications in: the Institute's magazine, the Great Lakes Bulletin; the Web site <www.mlui.org>; fact sheets, reports, and books; and in video, audio, and multimedia programs.


Mr. Kelly Thayer
Transportation Project Coordinator
Michigan Land Use Institute
P.O. Box 228
845 Michigan Ave.
Benzonia, MI 49616

Ph: 231-882-4723
Fax: 231-882-7350
E-mail: kelly@mlui.org
Internet: http://www.mlui.org

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