Dr. Frank Alfieri, III

“Our tri-community master plan is an important document.  Developed by our collective Neighbors, it is a blueprint for the healthy preservation of our area and values, past, present, and future.”

Dr. Frank views the NorthShore Marina project as a “floating truck stop”.  Since he actively fought to stop two truck stops and a Turkey Factory Farm in Saugatuck Township, he has basis for this opinion.  As it happened, they took the Saugatuck truck stop all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

He has spent his life honoring and enhancing the natural environment through his support of local organizations.  He was a founding member of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance.

Frank is a past board member of the Outdoor Discovery Center.  He is past president and current board member of the Lake Michigan Shore Association.  He is also a member of the Great Lakes Coalition.

He has a thriving Saugatuck Township chiropractic practice and has served as team chiropractor for Saugatuck and Fennville high schools.

He was team chiropractor for the 1988 South Korean Military Olympic Team in Seoul, Korea as well as the 1986 Asian Games, also in Seoul.

Frank earned

BS degree from Western Michigan University

Doctor of Chiropractic Palmer University

Extended faculty Palmer University

Why Frank cares:

“I am a lifelong resident of Allegan County, raised on a blueberry farm. Saugatuck was always a destination from childhood on. My parents were married here as were numerous aunts and uncles.  So it was a no-brainer to open my practice here in Saugatuck Township.”

Becky Bruns

“It would be a horrendous loss to our area and my life in particular, if this parcel, which has long been envisioned as part of the natural area, were to become home to an ugly trench in order to dock huge (up to 120’) boats and not available to the public.  We should not let this happen to our historic river mouth.”

Becky became a Saugatuck Township resident 13 years ago.  Soon she heard about the proposed truck stop at exit 41.  Concerned that it would ruin the rural nature of the surrounding area, she immediately joined the successful fight to prevent the approval of the truck stop.  There she met David Swan and followed with interest the fight against McClendon and his completely inappropriate development ideas, cheering when that project lapsed.  

Becky is the newest member of the board of directors and highly valued for skills she brings to the Alliance.

Her career focus has been on strategy, teams, and leadership for organizations of all types and sizes including facilitating boards in their deliberations.  By attending to good meeting process and transparent communication, she is already contributing significantly to the board.

Becky earned

BA from Middlebury

MBA from Simmons Graduate School

Why Becky cares:

“We live at the NE corner of Saugatuck State Park and I spend hours and hours each week in the park enjoying the dunes, the beaches, the quiet, and nature.  Some call it “forest bathing”.  To get me riled up again, I only need to think of how one family has essentially made Holland’s beloved Big Red operationally a private asset for their own enjoyment with highly restricted public access.”

Bobbie Gaunt

Bobbie Gaunt was the first woman to enter Ford Motor Company’s Sales & Marketing Management Program in 1972. Twenty-nine years later she retired as a corporate vice president and President & CEO of Ford of Canada, a 16,000-employee global affiliate where she was the first woman at Ford to lead a national operation. Her career included many firsts as a woman within Ford and the auto industry, where she became well known as a leader unafraid to speak her mind, including challenging how the industry addressed the needs of women as employees and customers alike.
Since retiring almost 20 years ago, Gaunt has relished her renewed “gift of time”. She enjoys living in Saugatuck where she and her husband Bob, before his death in June of 2020, advocated for the importance of the ideas of “leadership that is at the same time courageous and tender”; “thinking globally and acting locally”; and, always finding ways to “give back” … Bobbie continues that work today.
Gaunt graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in education. Mid-career in 1987, Gaunt took a four-month sabbatical to attend Stanford University’s Senior Executive Program.

Cynthia McKean

Biologists want to save everything that relates to the natural environment.  Architects and developers build monuments to themselves.  I started as a biologist.  After several years in the field, I got up one day and said to myself,  ‘Ah, but this is not the full story.  There are literally billions of people on the earth.  Everybody needs a place to eat and sleep. ‘   So I went back to school and studied architecture.  Since then I have spent my life working to build respect, consensus, and hopefully partnerships between these often conflicting entities.

Cynthia has lived in Saugatuck for 35 years.  New in town, she joined the Saugatuck Planning Commission and several months later was elected chair.  After 16 years as chairman of the Planning Commission, she ran for City Council and served on council for 6 years.   She remains active in the community and officially joined the Alliance Board of Directors in the fall of 2017. 

Cynthia’s unique background with a combination of biology, art, and architecture complements the qualifications of the other board members. 

 She was part of the committee that created the original Tri-community Plan.  

She encouraged the Twisting Works, which was located downtown where Ida Red’s is today to move to South Haven when it expanded, and was instrumental in keeping MacDonald’s from building next door to what is Uncommon Grounds today.

She can read blueprints, understand development proposals, and visualize the pros and cons of what is presented. 

Cynthia earned

BA degree from Whitman College

BA degree from University of Idaho 

Why Cynthia cares:

“Our planet is in environmental crisis.  Our culture is controlled by greed, greed that disrespects the planet upon which we live, greed that is insensitive to the fact that without the support of the planet we are destined to decline.

“I want my grand children to listen to the cat bird singing in the tree outside my window now, to travel freely up and down the Kalamazoo River and other waterways, walk beaches, enjoy wildlife, experience night skies, and feel the wind in their faces.

“I want them to have healthy food to eat, clean air to breath, fresh water to drink.“I want them to live.”

Dawn F. Schumann

“Four generations of my family have sought the serenity of this forested dune land.  To preserve the last remaining harbor entrance, which so defines our community, I have spent the better part of half a century fighting to keep it pristine.”

Dawn has been tirelessly working to protect the shores of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan since before anybody even thought about creating a formal organization such as the Coastal Alliance.  As a member of the Douglas Planning Commission, she was a member of the Tri-community Planning group.  

She was part of “Save our Shoreline” which was successful in preserving acres of the South Dennison property, now known as The Patty Birkholz Natural Area.  She was a major financial contributor to the South Dennison property.  

She actively supported the Patty Birkholz community drive to create the State Park and is one of the original members of The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. 

Dawn’s long term involvement and association with development along the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan Coastline makes her presence on the Board of Directors invaluable.

Honored in 2015 for 50 years of service in the Saugatuck Douglas area, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

She served on the Board of Directors of the Saugatuck/Douglas Historical Society for 12 years.

In Oak Park, Illinois, she was the founding president and first executive director of Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.  This began an entire new industry for Oak Park.

Dawn earned

BA degree from DePauw University.

Why Dawn cares:

“Over the years, tens of millions of dollars and countless hours of service have been donated to the community to protect the mouth of the Kalamazoo River and adjacent beach property.  What a travesty it would be if this enormous investment is disregarded and the proposed illegal marina is approved. “

Tim Smith

“Our magnificent river system, dunes, wetlands, beaches, forests and historic sites comprise one of the most unique and beautiful coastal environments in the nation. These precious resources require ongoing protection and preservation, led by local citizens.“

Timothy was raised in Michigan and moved to Douglas after retiring from a career as a healthcare executive. As an avid hiker, biker, boater, fisherman and general appreciator of unspoiled natural resources, he’s pleased to work with the Alliance to help ensure that our area’s natural treasures are maintained and protected for many generations to come.

Tim brings several areas of experience to add value to the Board. He has published research on the environmental impact of nuclear waste compounds on freshwater fish in the Savannah River ecosystem, and has taught environmental education. He has served as the President and CEO of several companies and held leadership positions with the Boards of many for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Tim is a published author of magazine, newspaper and web articles, short stories and a book, and is an experienced public speaker.

Tim earned

BS degree in Biology from Kalamazoo College

MS degree in Biology from the University of Michigan

MBA classes at the University of Michigan and the Wharton School of Business

Why Tim Cares

“This area, with its abundance of natural resources, has attracted tourist from all over the country. It has also attracted many deep-pocketed developers, some of whom have ignored federal, state and local laws and regulations. Citizen involvement is essential to ensure compliance with laws and regulations that preserve our natural heritage and environmental quality.“

David Swan

 “The proposed Padnos Marina would degrade our community investments in our natural resources and historic sites. I am determined not to let it happen.”

David Swan is president of the Coastal Alliance Board of Directors.

In 2007 David created an alliance of civic organizations focused on wise land use and proactively enforcing the mission and goals of the community Master Plan. Participants included:  The Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society, home owner’s organizations, neighborhood groups, The League of Women Voters, and several environmental organizations.

In 2011, the Saugatuck Dunes were recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as One of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places.

The Coastal Alliance has been recognized for the following Leadership Awards: in 2014, Michigan Historic Preservation Network Leadership Award; in 2012, West Michigan Environmental Action Council Leadership Award; in 2010, Fresh Water Futures Leadership Award; in 2009, the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Leadership Award. 

In 2017, The West Michigan Environmental Action Council awarded its most prestigious award, the CR Everson Award to David, recognizing his long term dedication to the protection of West Michigan’s natural resources.

In 2011, he was the recipient of the most distinguished Landslide Award from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, for work to protect the Saugatuck Dunes Cultural Landscape.

In 2001, David and Alison Swan founded Concerned Citizens for Saugatuck State Park, to protect the Saugatuck Dunes State Park. This led to rejection of the proposal to build a municipal water treatment in the heart of the Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  They won the Michigan Environmental Council’s Petoskey Prize for Grassroots Environmental Leadership.

David earned

BA degree from Michigan State University

Why David cares:

“Alison and I moved to Saugatuck so that we could hike the Saugatuck Dunes everyday. We learned quickly that the Saugatuck Dunes are to Grand Rapids, as the Marin Headlands are to San Francisco, the Cape is to Boston, the Olympic Mountains are to Seattle.  All are nearby wildness areas to vibrant, commercial centers. It is vital to our regional economy that the Saugatuck Dunes remain an intact, healthy eco-system.” 

Richard Kirk

Richard Kirk moved here from Illinois, where he practiced law for 15 years before joining us. He is the Research Attorney for the 14th Circuit Court, Muskegon County. He is an experienced appellate attorney, and now uses his skills in the service of the people of Michigan. Rick’s broad range of interests is reflected in the fact that his first career was as a director and teacher in the theater. He has known the Saugatuck area and the dunes since 1975, when he was first invited out here by family friends. He is committed to the fight preserve the history and the beauty of this natural wonder.