The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts has a seven-member board of directors made up of community leaders. The board has very broad experience with non-profit and arts management and brings a variety of expertise in a number of important areas.
Sarah Helge, President
After earning a BA from Alma College in English and French and over 30 hours of graduate work in English education at MSU, Sarah Helge enjoyed a career as an educator teaching English and French. She also spent five years building the choir program at Manistee Middle School and High School while managing the auditorium and directing musicals and plays. She is a musician and holds the position of choir director at First Congregational Church in Manistee. A successful event planner and fund-raiser, Sarah works with many different volunteer groups. Sarah also founded and produced the St. Cecilia concert series in Manistee which ran from 2002 until 2008.
Chuck Dillon, Vice President
Chuck Dillon has been a Manistee resident for more than 16 years. He is married and has two daughters. Chuck has an engineering degree from General Motors Institute (Flint, Michigan) and a law degree from The Ohio State University. He served as president of West Shore Community College for 16 years. Currently he is serving as the principal of Trinity Lutheran School. In addition Chuck is a court-appointed mediator and is co-leading an effort to provide restorative justice services for local schools and the courts. Chuck has been an actor on the Ramsdell stage many times.
Nancy Ferguson, Secretary
Nancy Ferguson has had a long relationship with the Ramsdell and the Civic Players. She met her husband on stage and married into a family with three generations of Ramsdell affiliations going back to the 1950s. She has performed, directed, written plays, and taught classes for the Civic Players and served on their board of directors. In 1990, she resurrected a dormant theatre program at Manistee HS and went on to create a thriving program including multiple classes and productions. She also assisted with the design of the auditorium in the new high school and served as its first facility manager. Nancy has a BFA in Theatre Arts.
Edward Bradford, Treasurer
Ed holds a BA in Finance from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Oregon. After spending time in Chicago working in the commodity markets, Ed and his wife Jennifer moved back to Manistee County. He worked for a number of years for the world’s premier dried fruit manufacturer, Graceland Fruit, during a period of rapid growth and expansion. In 2016, he joined the Graceland Board of Directors. Ed is currently the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Manistee.
Ed has served on a number of non-profit and community boards including the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for 11 years, serving as Vice-Chair. While with the GTRLC, the organization completed one of the largest conservation deals in the United States, the Arcadia Dunes and Farmland preservation project. Other boards Ed has been involved with include the Michigan Government Finance Officers Association, Onekama Township Planning Commission, Bear Lake Highlands golf course, Portage Lake Yacht Club, Ramsdell Governing Authority and Portage Lake Association.
Al Frye, Board Member
Al has over 40years of business management experience in the hospitality industry, having managed a 500-seat restaurant with 8 million dollars of yearly sales and a staff of 150. He also owned his own restaurant outside of his home town of Washington, D.C. Since arriving in Manistee Al has worked as the C.O.O. and Member of the Board of the Manistee Community Kitchen and its Iron Works Café project. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Northern Michigan Recovery Residences, the DDA of Filer Township and the Executive Committee of the Manistee County Democratic Party.
William Hattendorf, Board Member
Bill is a local artist and former educator here in Manistee County. Moving from the Chicago area in the mid-nineties, he worked on River Street at the Lloyd Henry building, opening a coffee house in Shari Wilde’s art gallery. After attending both WSCC and CMU, Bill received a Michigan teaching certificate in K-12 Art and 6-12 History with his BS Ed. Luckily, KND School District on the east side of the county was looking for an Elementary art teacher. Four wonderfully fun years later the shrinking began, and he was made redundant. Inspired by teaching, he turned his focus back to making art, with a fifteen-week detour as the sub at Manistee HS art department for Mrs. Erble. Since that time, Bill has been making art, serving at table, and care taking his folks. He has served on the MAI board, and he has worked on many sets for the MCP. There are several art pieces in Manistee County by Bill — The Monarch Butterfly in the garden at the west end of River Street, the restored reliefs in the Hardy Hall entrance of the Ramsdell, the mosaic Walleye bench in the Bear Lake school and The Rock Bass Petoskey fish at the Glenwood Restaurant.
Dave Mix, Board Member
David Mix spent the majority of his working career in corporate and non-profit management positions, responsible for the organizations’ marketing, community relations, stockholder relations, meetings and events and fund-raising initiatives.
For eighteen-years David served in the sales division at Amway corporate headquarters in Ada, Michigan as both a Regional Sales Manager and then as Manager of Corporate Meetings & Programs. Additional tenures followed with Grand Rapids based Aquinas College as Director of Business/Corporate Relations, the Michigan Marketing Manager for Nextel Communications, and Metron Integrated Health Systems as Director of Marketing, Community Relations and Public Relations.
Mix has served on the boards of numerous local and statewide nonprofit organizations, including those in the areas of the arts, education and community-support. His current Board participations include serving as Secretary on the Board of Creative Many Michigan (formerly ArtServe Michigan), a state wide arts advocacy organization; the Board of Broadway Grand Rapids; as Secretary of the Board of the Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee (Michigan); on the Board of the Manistee County Community Foundation, and on the Board of the historic Manistee Ramsdell Theatre.