Information Contacts:    

Kathy Sturm
(269) 561-2305

John Peters
(269) 857-2967

Click HERE for a pdf of
the news release or the images below for a high resolution copy.



New Society Officers
Newly elected officers are (L to R): President Kathy Sturm; Secretary Jane Osman; Vice-President Jon Helmrich; and Treasurer Stacy Honson

New Members-at-Large
New Board Members-At-Large are (L to R): Harold Thieda; Ed Kelly, Nancy Woods, Ken Carls, Mary Voss and Bill Hess (Steve Hutchins was unavailable for photo)

MAY 30, 2008 -- Eleven new officers and board members were inaugurated at the Saugatuck/ Douglas Historical Society (SDHS) meeting May 14, charged with rolling out a newly enhanced organizational structure and new by-laws intended to streamline the Society's operations and programs and to facilitate its continuing growth.

The new president, Kathy Sturm (nee Tisdale), a native of Douglas, is Manager of Programs for the international Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) in Chicago. She previously was General Manager at American Express Business Travel and before that, a meeting planner/trade show producer in West Michigan.

Vice-president Jon Helmrich, of Saugatuck, is founder/president of International Broadcast Communications (IBC), an international television consultancy, and serves as board member of West Michigan Film Office and Mason Street Warehouse. Many know him through his monthly radio interview/talk show, "The View from the Dunes", which airs on Grand Rapids NPR affiliate, WGVU.

Secretary Jane Osman, an active SDHS volunteer, is a former secondary school Latin teacher and, with her husband, Al, operates greenhouses and gardens in Holland. Both are familiar faces at the Holland Farmers Market where they offer premium bedding plants, cut flowers, and seasonal decorative arrangements.

Treasurer Stacy Honson, C.P.A., operates her own accounting practice in Saugatuck. Her not-for-profit experience includes service on a number of Saugatuck-area and Grand Rapids non-profit boards

New Board Members-At-Large are: Ken Carls, former professor/administrator at the University of Illinois at Urbana, SDHS book designer, and Lorenz Award winner. He served on the Society board as Publications Chair from 1994 - 2006.

Bill Hess, coming from a career in corporate human resources, recently was elected to the Saugatuck City Council. He serves on the Planning Commission and as SDHS Museum Volunteer Coordinator.

Steve Hutchins, a retired American Airlines pilot, is Saugatuck Board of Education President. He is active in many area organizations as a member and volunteer, including the SDHS Museum.

Ed Kelly, previously an executive of international professional services company ARAMARK, is active in Chicago charities working with the underprivileged.

Harold Thieda, with extensive management experience at Pepperidge Farm, Inc., heads the Society’s Archives Committee, oversees its Walking Tours program, and was previously a Society board member.

Mary Voss, also previously an SDHS board member, is a retired secretary and former employee at the Holland Museum. Her volunteer activity includes registering acquisitions for the SDHS Archives and recording volunteer hours.

Nancy Woods, a Kalamazoo and Pier Cove resident, was Vice President for Extended Learning at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She has extensive not-for-profit experience in fundraising and planning.

"With the new officers, board and by-laws now in place", Sturm notes, "we will be focusing on more efficient ways to utilize the talent, energy and passion of our volunteers, with an emphasis on stronger central communication. We also will give priority to maximizing the benefits from SDHS facilities, especially our Old School House Discovery Center, while broadening volunteer participation and developing other fiscal opportunities within the Society. The board plans a series of workshops to set these new processes and procedures in motion."

The Historical Society was founded in 1986 by seventy Charter members, "to discover, procure and preserve whatever may relate to the civil, religious, social, cultural and natural history of Saugatuck, Douglas and surrounding area". As a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization with more than 400 members and membership open to all, its mission remains "to provide leadership in enabling the community to connect with and understand its past, to preserve the quality of community life and to use the area's history to shape its future". For more information about the Society and its many volunteer-driven activities, visit

# # #