Coaches and Staff
Vicki J. Pontz, Director
Vicki Pontz was appointed Director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) October 1, 2008. Vicki is responsible for curriculum development and delivery, staffing the GLLA Board of Governors, participant recruitment and selection, managing the budget and staff, and fundraising. She is currently embarking on an effort to permanently endow the program so that all future generations may benefit.
Prior to her involvement with GLLA, Ms. Pontz was the Director of the Environmental Stewardship Division at the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) for five years. The Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) seeks to support production agriculture activities in Michigan, while protecting the environment and public health. Under Vicki’s leadership, ESD forged several opportunities to partner at the local, state, and federal level to deliver conservation programs and included non-governmental stakeholder groups in the planning and implementation of these programs.
Vicki also served as MDA’s Legislative Liaison for five years, overseeing legislative and regulatory activities for all MDA divisions; working directly with members of the Michigan Legislature on issues ranging from food safety, bovine tuberculosis, horse racing, pesticide regulation, and water use.
Prior to joining MDA, Vicki was employed by the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) as a regional representative, Legislative Research and Communications Specialist, and finally as Legislative Counsel. Her areas of expertise include natural resources and the environment and K-12 education. Ms. Pontz was intricately involved in the creation of the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) and the Groundwater and Freshwater Protection Act. She also piloted significant revisions to the Michigan Right to Farm Act, the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Act, Rails to Trails legislation, and several policies relative to wildlife management.
Ms. Pontz graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree and is a graduate of the Natural Resource and Environmental Leadership Institute. Vicki is currently chair of the Board of Deacons for the First Congregational Church in Portland and has served as a director for the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Portland. Vicki was recently appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to serve on the Natural Resources Commission.
Christy Roman, Administrative Assistant
Christy Roman is the GLLA Administrative Assistant. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from Michigan State University’s Higher Adult Lifelong Learning and Education Program. Christy is a graduate of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy’s, Leadership Advancement Program (2011-12) and has a graduate certificate in teaching and learning in postsecondary education from Michigan State Univerisity.
Christy worked with Conservation Districts in several different capacities for 15 years before joining the GLLA staff. As an employee of Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, she served as the Director of Michigan Envirothon and later as the association’s Training Director. Christy also was the Executive Director of Antrim Conservation District and also served as the President of Michigan Association of Conservation District Employees for five-years.
Prior to working with Conservation Districts, Christy worked in environmental education. She graduated from Olivet College with a BA in Recreation Management with a concentration in outdoor education.