2012 Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a small and agile group that deals with budget and administrative matters of the Alliance.
John Kothe has plenty of reasons — both family- and work-wise — for wanting to help clean up the Dane County lakes. First, his wife and their three daughters are involved in the Mad-City Ski Team, and John estimates that his family spends 150 days a year on our lakes.
Second, as a veteran of the area’s commercial real-estate industry, John knows the important role lakes play when companies decide to locate in Madison.
“One of the selling points of Madison is outdoor recreation,” he explains. “If the lakes are not clean, one of our biggest attractions turns from a positive to a negative, and that hurts not only the marketability of Madison’s commercial real estate but also local companies’ ability to attract and retain world-class talent.”
Currently the owner of Kothe Real Estate Partners, John has a long history of success in working with commercial leasing. He previously served as the chief operating officer for T. Wall Properties in Madison and managed a variety of Chicago properties as well. Now, he says, he is committed to helping our Community Board of Directors preserve and restore one of Madison’s best business-recruiting tools: the lakes.
Jacci Meier has been involved with the Clean Lakes Festival since its inception and serves as the Festival’s representative on our Community Board of Directors. “I am so excited about how the Festival has grown and that the Clean Lakes Alliance has come about as a result,” she says.
An administrative assistant with W.F. Baird & Associates, Jacci grew up next to Lake Michigan. Today, she loves living in Middleton, where there’s always water nearby. But with a husband on the Mad-City Ski Team and a preschool-aged daughter who wants to play at the beach, Jacci is concerned about the quality of that water.
“Our lakes are such an amazing resource,” she says, “but it’s getting to the point where we can’t use them the way we want to.”
In the Alliance, Jacci sees an organization ready to tackle the big problems facing Dane County lakes.
“It’s such a good mix of all the right people and all the right organizations and groups. There are so many facets to cleaning up our lakes that getting it all under one umbrella will help us make progress,” she says.
Don Heilman has been both team and perennial board member of the Mad-City Water Ski Team for over 20 years. With the team looking to play a more significant role in the community, he co-founded the Clean Lakes Festival as a way to raise awareness and money for Madison’s lakes. Don’s career experience includes national sales and marketing management in the food and drug industry. Today, Don serves as president of the Clean Lakes Alliance and co-chairs the Clean Lakes Festival in addition to spearheading the Yahara CLEAN Strategic Action Plan.
“As a lifelong Madison resident and stakeholder in our lakes, it is my dream to return our waterways to their natural state,” Don says, “and it is the goal of our organization to engage the entire community in this effort.”
Michael S. Gerner CPA
Community Board Chair
Managing Partner, Grant Thornton LLP (retired)
Michael Gerner lives on the north shore of Lake Mendota with his wife and their four children. Because his kids enjoy both summer and winter recreation, Mike says his family uses the lake year-round. They boat on it, ski on it, sail on it, and skate on it. And protecting the Yahara River watershed is the best way Mike knows to protect the lake that he and his family love.
Through his efforts on our Community Board of Directors, Mike is not only helping improve our lakes, he’s also adding to his already extensive record of community engagement. A CPA and former managing partner of the Madison office of Grant Thornton, Mike served a six-year term on the board of the United Way as well as a five-year term on the Blackhawk Country Club board. He is a past president of the Yahara Lakes Association and also served on the executive committee of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce.