North Country Trail Association


Executive Director

Andrea Ketchmark

(616) 987-0938

Andrea is responsible for advocacy leadership, overall organization management, staffing, strategic direction and financial accountability. She is also the National Park Service liaison and Board of Directors representative.

Message Andrea

Andrea took on the Executive Director role in 2017 after serving as NCTA’s Director of Trail Development since 2009. She has a degree in Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism from Colorado State University, where she fell in love with trails and connecting people to outdoor spaces. Prior to joining the NCTA, Andrea managed the Volunteer Vacations program for the American Hiking Society. Andrea has engaged in building countless partnering relationships at state, national and local levels, and representing the NCTA in the larger trails and recreation community. She is on the Leadership Council of the Partnership for the National Trails System and the Michigan Non-Motorized Advisory Workgroup and is a graduate of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy. Andrea lives near Lowell, and enjoys exploring the Trail and other outdoor spaces in Michigan and beyond.

Director of Trail Operations

Valerie Bader

(412) 550-4125

Val is responsible for trailwide Chapter and Affiliate leadership support and comprehensive trail management, including project funding, advocacy, agency and private partnerships and trail protection.

Message Val

Val joined the NCTA in 2018 as the Director of Trail Development. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and now resides in her home state of Pennsylvania with her husband Max. Val previously worked in the National Trail System with the Pacific Crest Trail Association and Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and has worked on trails across the U.S. with various nonprofit trail groups, volunteer organizations and youth corps. She loves spending time in the field with volunteers and teaching trail skills. In her free time, Val enjoys hiking, paddling and gardening.

Director of Development and Communications

Nancy Brozek

(231) 685-0711

Nancy is responsible for planning, directing and organizing all fundraising and public relations, including media, major gifts, planned gifts, and individual, corporate and foundation relations.

Message Nancy

Nancy stepped into the role of Director of Development and Communications for the NCTA in 2019. She has a rich and diverse nonprofit career spanning more than 20 years. An avid storyteller, she enjoys sharing the countless adventures found on the North Country Trail. When not striving to protect and promote the Trail, she spends time with her ever-growing family, and friends. She loves the arts, football, and travel – preferably travel that includes exploring sites by bike or foot.

Regional Trail Coordinator for New York and Vermont

Stephanie Campbell

(802) 200-0918

Stephanie is responsible for trail management, and Chapter support and direction in New York and Vermont.

Message Stephanie

Stephanie joined the NCTA in 2020 as the Regional Trail Coordinator for New York and Vermont. She has a B.A. from Purdue University in Communications and a M.S. from the University of Michigan in Environmental Policy and Planning, as well as Conservation Ecology. Pursuing her passion for conservation and stewardship, Stephanie has worked in trails since 2010, beginning with the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania and continuing with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia and the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail in Montana and Idaho. Stephanie is currently based out of Vermont, and enjoys hiking, yoga, painting, and gardening.

Regional Trail Coordinator for North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

Matt Davis

(701) 997-2213

Matt is responsible for trail management, and Chapter support and direction in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Message Matt

Matthew has worked for the NCTA since 2006. Previously, he worked for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and University of Wisconsin-Extension. Matthew has an M.S. in Outdoor Recreation and over 20 years of experience in trail management. He lives in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota with his wife Stacy and their four children, who together have visited and hiked in all 75 of Minnesota’s State Parks and Recreation Areas.

Database and Membership Administrator

Heather Ertle

(616) 987-0934

Heather is responsible for managing and maintaining the NCTA's donor relationship database, which includes membership, Chapter, and Volunteer reporting.

Message Heather

Heather began her Association career as the Data Entry Specialist in 2020 and was soon promoted to Database and Membership Administrator. She lives in Alto, Michigan with her husband and their four children. Heather enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs, hiking local trails, and gardening.

Director of Trail Protection

Paul Gagnon

(802) 216-0977

Paul leads efforts to secure a permanent corridor for the North Country National Scenic Trail and manages the NCTA Trail Protection program. He also has key roles in advocacy efforts, grants management, and partnership development.

Message Paul

Paul comes to NCTA with 14 years of experience working for land trusts in the northeast United States in both land stewardship and land protection roles. He holds an M.R.P. from the University of Massachusetts where he focused on greenway development, public access planning, and land use law. Paul is a lifelong hiker, naturalist, and avowed map geek. He has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, practices barefoot hiking, and maintains a hiking blog. He lives in Vermont but will work with our entire Trail Community.

Regional Trail Coordinator for Ohio and Pennsylvania

Lauren Kennedy-Little

(412) 945-0925

Lauren is responsible for trail management, and Chapter support and direction in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Message Lauren

Lauren joined the NCTA staff in 2023. Prior, she worked with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) since 2018, traveling all over the country and holding various outdoor leadership titles, mostly executing trail building and trail construction projects. She still performs contract work with SCA as a Conservation Work Skills Instructor. She attended Washington and Jefferson College with a B.A. in biology and concentration in graphic design. She recently became a certified Forest Therapy Guide and offers those services locally. Lauren is passionate about trail design and loves teaching technical skills to people. Her hobbies include kayaking, backpacking, gardening, yoga, and nature wandering. She resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband Drew.

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Kate Lemon

(616) 987-0962

Kate is responsible for the NCTA website and social media channels, marketing materials, branding information, the North Star magazine, electronic communications, and media inquiries.

Message Kate

Kate stepped into the role of Marketing and Communications Coordinator in 2018. Prior to joining the NCTA, Kate was a graphics specialist in a research grant proposal development office at Penn State University. She also worked with environmental nonprofits and state government in Colorado, served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and earned a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University (IUPUI). Kate cares deeply about public land accessibility and conservation, so you can often find her outside, advocating for and enjoying our spaces with her husband and two sons.

Finance and Operations Manager

Karen Raab

(616) 207-3596

Karen is responsible for financial reporting, Chapter contact for financial needs, annual audit, grant management, budget, and human resources.

Message Karen

​Karen joined NCTA in 2022 as the Finance and Operations Manager. Karen has over 15 years of finance experience in the nonprofit field, including children's education, animal rescue, and a women's shelter. She has a passion for nonprofits and the services they provide to communities. She worked most recently as the Director of Finance for Coldwell Banker. Karen enjoys spending her free time sewing, crocheting, walking in the great outdoors, and weekends with her grandchildren.

GIS Program Manager

Matt Rowbotham

(231) 714-9110

Matt is responsible for Geographic Information Systems, including maps, analysis, trail information and updates. He is also the Association’s main IT support and management contact.

Message Matt

Matt was first introduced to the NCTA in 2002 as an intern studying geography at Grand Valley State University. He joined the staff in 2004. In addition to GPS and mapping, Matt also provides IT support to the NCTA. Matt lives in Traverse City, Michigan with his wife Brigid and their two daughters. Matt enjoys hiking and fly fishing, most of which he does on or near the NCNST.

Administrative Assistant

Alison Sanchez

(616) 987-0965

Alison is responsible for administrative support to the Executive Director. She manages the Trail Shop and online orders, front-end reception, Chapter Leadership contact updates, manages the Trail Town program and the Hike 100 Challenge.

Message Alison

Alison came to the NCTA in 2016 as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Hike 100 Challenge. She is now our Administrative Assistant and Trail Shop Associate. After graduating from Greenville High School in 1999, she spent her summer volunteering with the Student Conservation Association at Mammoth Cave National Park maintaining the Sal Hollow Trail. Alison is a self-proclaimed “Nature Nerd” and enjoys geology, foraging, learning about plants and animals, and being outdoors. She has a deep love for Traditional Celtic music and plays in multiple area bands.

Data Entry Specialist

Becky VanDyke

(616) 987-0932

Becky is responsible for assisting with the maintenance of the NCTA's donor relationship database, which includes membership, Chapter, and Volunteer reporting.

Message Becky

Becky joined the NCTA team in 2021. She worked in medical management and administration for over a decade. She is thrilled to begin a career with an organization that shares her passion for experiencing, protecting, and preserving the natural world. Becky lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and loves to camp, hike, canoe, kayak, and enjoy nature and wildlife with her husband, two daughters, and goofy dog.

Regional Trail Coordinator for Michigan

Kenny Wawsczyk

(231) 303-3023

Kenny is responsible for trail management, and Chapter support and direction in both the upper and lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

Message Kenny

Kenny joined the NCTA as the Regional Trail Coordinator for Michigan in 2015. Seven years prior he worked seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service in the Manistee National Forest as the Trails Crew Leader. He was born and raised in the Trail Town of White Cloud, and still lives close by with his wife Maureen and their son and daughter. In his spare time you can find him outdoors either fishing, hunting or hiking.

Annual Events Coordinator

Abby Whittington

(616) 987-0964

Abby is responsible for the Annual Celebration coordination, sponsorships, and other events.

Message Abby

Abby joined the NCTA in 2020 as the Annual Events Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a B.S. in Recreation, Sport & Tourism. She has been creating memorable events for over seven years. Prior to joining the NCTA, Abby worked at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park as a Hospitality Coordinator. She also has worked in the hotel and restaurant industry. Abby is excited to be a part of the NCTA to help coordinate the Annual Celebration. In her spare time, you can find Abby baking at home and spending time with her husband, Steven, their daughters Isabelle and Eleanor, and dog, Jax.

Header photo by Dove Day