Newsmakers: People On The Move


Leslie Falconer, owner of Mother Goose Time Publishing in Interlochen, was recently recognized as an emerging leader in the May 2015 issue of Exchange magazine, a publication of the Childcare Exchange. Emerging leaders in early childhood education were selected from around the world based on the following criteria: leadership, under the age of 45, strong knowledge base in early childhood education and ability to work collaboratively with personal initiative and mission.

Michael Lyon, front desk manager of Country Inn & Suites – Traverse City, was recently awarded the top honor in guest service within all 470 Country Inn Hotels nationwide. He is also celebrating 20 years with the company.

United Way of Northwest Michigan has appointed the following individuals to its board of directors

Jeremy Harnish – senior private banker at Fifth Third Bank in Traverse City. He has more than 20 years of banking experience and serves on United Way’s fund development committee.

Robin Wybenga – CFO at TBA Credit Union in Traverse City. She has more than 30 years experience in the financial services industry and serves on United Way’s community impact committee.


Dave Crater has joined Farm Bureau Insurance as an agent serving the Traverse City area, working out of the 540 S. Garfield Avenue office. He recently completed an extensive career development program, which prepared him for the state licensing examination. Prior to joining Farm Bureau Insurance, he had a career in digital marketing.

Bill Newberry has joined Chemical Bank Wealth Management as vice president and trust investment officer in Traverse City. He has been a part of the Grand Traverse community for many years as a portfolio manager at a private investment management firm and brings more than 28 years of experience in trusts and investment management to his new position.

Jim Stoops, first vice president, investments, has joined the Carlyon Family Wealth Management of Raymond James office in Traverse City.

Pete Torrey recently joined Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. as a home mortgage consultant in its Traverse City Office. He brings six years of mortgage banking experience, and 26 years of financial operations management experience to the team.

Laverna Witkop, benefits consultant at Ford Insurance Agency in Traverse City, has earned the Chartered Healthcare Consultant designation from The American College. The curriculum provides professionals with an in-depth understanding of the latest reforms in health care mandated by recent legislation. Witkop has been with Ford for more than 16 years, specializing in health insurance, life insurance and employee benefits.


Thomas C. Andrews, M.D. has joined the staffs of Munson Medical Center and Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital as a board certified specialist in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Andrews practices at Traverse Heart & Vascular in Traverse City.

Amy S. Ranger, MD has joined the team at Northern Vision Eye Care (NVEC) as one of two specialized ophthalmologists. Along with general ophthalmology, Dr. Ranger focuses on oculoplastic and eyelid surgery, Botox and cataract surgery, as well as medical diseases of the eye, including diabetes, glaucoma, macular degeneration and dry eye. Prior to joining NVEC she was in private practice in Traverse City since 2000.

David Rapson has joined Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers in Traverse City as a physical therapist. He brings 30 years of experience and areas of expertise include treating sports injuries, and muscle and joint issues for patients of all ages.


Lindsay J. Raymond has joined Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge’s Traverse City office, bringing a specialty in labor and employment law. She has significant background in advising employers on state and federal laws governing the workplace, including issues ranging from compliance in the areas of hiring and performance management to termination and discrimination.

George R. Thompson of Thompson & O’Neil in Traverse City has been selected to the 2015 list as a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Due to the selectivity of the appointment process, only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership.


Steve Cavender has joined Keller Williams – Greater Grand Traverse team of realtors. He brings extensive business experience, real estate knowledge, title examination and contract skills to the team.

Anthony Derrer has joined Keller Williams – Greater Grand Traverse team of realtors.

Holly Hack, broker/owner of EXIT Realty Paramount in Traverse City, has received the 2014 Leadership Award for Michigan from EXIT Realty of Michigan.

Sterling Hill has joined EXIT Realty Paramount in Traverse City. He has a long history in the real estate business, particularly in renovating and flipping rental properties, and specializes in investment properties.

Brad Platt, co-owner of Century 21 Northland in Traverse City, has been selected to represent Michigan at the Century 21 National Brokers Communications Congress (NBCC). The NBCC provides elected representatives from across the country the opportunity to give feedback to the brand’s corporate management team on current programs and initiatives. In addition, the meeting allows representatives to share and discuss key market trends and conditions that will potentially influence their respective real estate markets.


Susan Britten has joined Custer’s new business development team in Traverse City. She operates from Space Powered by Custer at 120 E. Front Street in Traverse City, managing Custer’s northern Michigan sales territory and continuing to develop Custer’s customer base in the area.

Shelly Guernsey of Traverse City has become a certified John Maxwell team member, coach, speaker and trainer. She coaches men and women, both in individual and group situations, and facilitates leadership mastermind groups along with lunch and learn events.

Terry Harper has joined Precision Plumbing & Heating Systems in Traverse City, working in the estimating and sales department. He brings 13 years of experience as the owner of a custom home building company in the region and as an estimator/project manager for a large commercial mechanical contractor in the Chicagoland area.

Meredith Hawes, formerly of the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department, was recently appointed as a regional public education specialist for the National Fire Protection Association, headquartered in Massachusetts. She is responsible for assisting in the development of fire and life safety public education programs on a local and statewide level within her 16-state territory in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Jessica Mason has joined Club One in Traverse City, partnering with the club to offer dance and fitness classes for adults and kids She comes to Traverse City from Colorado, where she remains a driving force behind Studio 21 Dance & Fitness and its associated dance teams.

Linda Missler has joined Neuco Seating in Traverse City as a sales associate and customer service representative, staffing the company’s new commercial restaurant showroom in Grawn. Her background includes business-to-business sales, marketing, paid digital media and social media.

Steve Shawl has joined Safety Net as a network administrator. He brings more than 18 years of technical experience, working most recently in IT for a northwest Michigan hospitality company. At Safety Net, he is a support team member responsible for providing effective and fast resolution to clients’ IT issues.

Judy Vajda is the new executive director of the Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area, Inc. She previously served as director of business development for two multi-million dollar supply chain management companies. In these roles, she was responsible for planning and directing company sales objectives through long-term strategizing. Prior to joining the HBA, Vajda worked for United Parcel Service.