Board of Directors

Susan Cloutier Crain

Susan Cloutier Crain, Chairperson
Retired Executive Director, Disability Network

A West Michigan resident by birth and upbringing, Susan began attending WMS years ago, while working in a commuting job, as a way to stay connected to her beloved lakeshore community. Attending concerts and bringing friends has become an important part of her life and a way of self-enrichment. Past Executive Director of Disability Network/West Michigan, past president of Muskegon Rotary and former trustee of Harbor Hospice, Susan brings a community engagement sensibility to her work with WMS. Even before joining the WMS Board, she and her late husband Orville spearheaded the campaign to bring outdoor all-weather musical instruments to eight Muskegon parks. Since joining, she has been a leader in fostering an organization-wide focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Paul Jackson

Paul R Jackson, Secretary and Immediate Past President
Partner, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Paul is among the longest-serving members of the Board, having joined in 2005 in the early years of Scott Speck’s tenure. He served as Chairman from FY2007 through FY2009 and again from FY2019 through FY2021. His other community affiliations have included the boards of Muskegon Civic Theatre, Muskegon Country Club and the United Way of the Lakeshore. As an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, Paul practices in the areas of tax and business law, with particular expertise in corporations, partnerships, LLCs, mergers and acquisitions. This came into play during the development of The Block in 2013 as a subsidiary of WMS, and again in 2021 when The Block and WMS merged into a single 501(c)(3). Paul’s wife Karen is a longstanding dedicated volunteer on the WMS Gala Task Force steering committee and has been instrumental in its growth into one of the area’s most successful annual fundraising events.

Kevin Evan

Kevin Even, Treasurer
Shareholder, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge

A board member since 2016, Kevin has served as a member of the Resources Committee, the Gala Task Force, and since 2021 as Treasurer. He enjoys almost all kinds of music and is an advocate for concerts that bring in the next generation of listeners. A shareholder and partner at Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Kevin has years of experience in litigating commercial disputes involving contracts, construction claims, commercial leases, business torts, real estate and employment related claims. His clients include business owners, property owners, investors, developers, landlords, manufacturers, builders, individuals and governmental entities. He and his wife Annette live in Fruitland Township. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys spending time with his two young grandchildren, biking, golfing and hunting.

Melisa Baker

Melisa Baker
Human Resources Manager, Webb Chemical Service Corporation

Melisa joined the WMS Board in August 2022, and is an enthusiastic new member. She brings a diverse outlook to the Board with a business mindset and a background in human relations. Her goal is to live her personal and professional tagline, “I am here to help.” Melisa has volunteered for several non-profits including the United Way of the Lakeshore, the American Red Cross of Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties, and others. She has worked at Webb Chemical as their Human Resources Manager since 2004.

Jan Deur

Jan L Deur
Retired CPA, Verizon

Another West Michigan native, Jan was born and raised in Fremont. He played clarinet in junior high and high school bands, and took piano lessons for a year until able to convince his mother that his younger sister had the greater ability. Retired now, Jan spent most of his career as a financial executive with GTE and Verizon, serving in all areas of finance and accounting, including auditing, budgeting, accounting, financial analysis, controllership, and corporate treasury. A member of the Board since FY2014, Jan served as Treasurer from FY2018 through the end of 2021 and co-chaired the Play Your Part Endowment & Education Campaign with Kay Olthoff. He has chaired numerous other area campaigns and served on multiple boards—including the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, White Lake Association, White Lake Community Fund, Friends of the Playhouse, and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, to name a few.

Merica Dobry

Merica S Dobry
Senior Council, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Growing up with three brothers, Merica learned the art of negotiation early on; “you should be a lawyer!” was a frequent family refrain. Taking this advice, Merica attended Michigan State College of Law, launched a solo practice in the Muskegon area, and today is an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, practicing in the trusts and estates field. She loves creating tailored solutions for her clients, preventing future headaches and fostering peace and ease. No stranger to the performing arts, Merica sang in the Smith College Glee Club and various community choirs, and is a veteran of Muskegon Civic Theatre. She met her husband Eric on the golf course, a sport they continue to enjoy together (her skill level gives him plenty of opportunity to practice patience). They also love to spend time at the beach with their two young children. Merica enjoys event planning, and also supports the Harbor Hospice Foundation and the Rotary Club of Muskegon as a volunteer.

Larry Fife

Larry Fife
Retired Infotainment Director, Siemens and Continental Automotive

Larry grew up as a resident of Muskegon Heights and he and his wife Lynette moved back to their hometown after his retirement. Previously, he served as Infotainment Director for Siemens and Continental Automotive. Originally, Larry was a volunteer member of the WMS/Muskegon Rotary collaborative campaign to purchase and install permanent all-weather outdoor musical instruments throughout Muskegon and Muskegon Heights. He was inspired to join the Board due to his passion for music and his interest in furthering WMS youth education programs. Larry is a vocal proponent of WMS helping to connect the organization to neighborhood associations, city leaders, school board members and educators. He is a team player who wants to make sure the arts thrive and are accessible to everyone throughout the community.

Bob Garretson

Bob Garretson
CEO, Embark Financial Partners

A former Navy officer, Bob has lived and traveled to many places, but Muskegon is his favorite—and working to improve its quality of life is a strong passion. In 2019, he and his wife Heather moved back after several years in New York City; one of the primary draws was Muskegon’s vibrant arts scene, including WMS. He is CEO of Embark Financial Partners, a relatively new venture that he has been growing gradually since returning to Muskegon. Bob is a creative, energetic person who loves to generate ideas that bring people together. His special focus is to make the Symphony more visible, accessible and inclusive. His other great loves are his family, cooking, golfing and scuba diving.

Kim Hammond

Kimberly L Hammond, CFP, CIMA, C(k)P
Senior Resident Director, Merrill Lynch

Kim has been a volunteer her entire adult life and regards it as both an obligation and a joy. This has given her a deep level of community engagement and experience. When invited to join the Board in 2014, however, she had little prior knowledge about WMS or its music. Since then she has come to love the Orchestra and feels great pride in its contributions to area quality of life. She enjoys all of its concerts, but is a particular fan of those featuring Irish music and Jazz. Kim’s focus on the Board includes Finance and Fund Development. She is a quiet person who prefers action to words, and loves to work behind the scenes to introduce potential donors and sponsors to WMS. A Michigan State University graduate and Spring Lake native, Kim has been with Merrill Lynch since 1989 and is a Senior Partner in The Hammond, Martin & Associates Team, based in Muskegon. She was recognized by the Financial Times as one of 401 Top Retirement Advisors in the nation. In addition to WMS, Kim has been on the Board of Mercy Health and is a past member of the Spring Lake Village Council.

Amy Hosford

Amy Hosford
Founder/Owner, Hosford House, LLC

A board member since 2021, one of Amy's greatest joys is to share the live concert experience with friends, family, and first-time symphony attendees. Amy retired from Amazon in 2022 after a 23-year career in publishing, and recently launched Hosford House, LLC, a healing and literary arts studio based in downtown Muskegon. What motivates Amy to serve? "Muskegon is thriving! Each of us has the ability to shape the community we want to live in, and I want to live in a community that values and supports the Arts in its many forms and functions."

Michael Olthoff

Michael Olthoff
Retired CEO, Nichols

Mike has been a subscriber and supporter of WMS for many years and has served several Board tenures, currently since the 2013/14 Season. He appreciates the level of engagement shown by WMS Board members, the professionalism of the staff, and the artistic excellence of the orchestra under Scott Speck’s leadership. As he puts it, “excellence in our lives is a journey and not a destination.” He sees the expansion of WMS’s artistic and educational footprint as key to its future. As examples, he cites the steady growth of The Block since its opening in 2014 and the launching of the Tune Up string program in Muskegon Public Schools this fall. Last year, Mike retired as CEO of Nichols, which under his leadership became one of the largest independent paper, packaging, and sanitary supply distributors in the Great Lakes region. Together with his wife Kay, Mike’s community and philanthropic work includes numerous organizations, projects and endeavors across Muskegon's civic, arts and healthcare communities.

Emma Peterson

Emma Peterson
Director of Philanthropy, Trinity Health

As a youngster, Emma attended WMS concerts with her grandpa, Sterling, a longtime subscriber. Early in her career, she spent three years on the WMS staff as Finance Manager. She was a charter member of The Block Advisory Board and served as its Chair from 2019 through 2021. All four of her daughters have participated in the Debut Strings and Premier Strings ensemble programs, and one in Children's Choir. With this level of engagement, it felt like a natural fit for Emma to join the WMS Board at the time of the merger of WMS and The Block. She sees WMS as an anchor organization of Muskegon and wants to help it continue, grow and adapt. Given the impact it has had on her family, she is particularly excited about the expansion of the education programs, especially the addition of Tune Up. Emma is the Director of Philanthropy at Trinity Health Muskegon where she loves working with donors, who she says “lift us up and allow us to do more.”

Last updated 10.25.2022