Board & Staff
Behind every trail and event is an all-star crew running the show. At the top of the food chain are our Board of Directors and staff that keep the show on the road. Our all-volunteer Board sets policy, creates the budget, decides which trails to build or update, and guides the organization forward. If you have any big ideas that you'd like to see us implement, bribing them with beer chatting with these people is your best bet. We also have a full-time Executive Director that manages the day-to-day work that keeps things running smoothly. Learn about our team below.
2020 Board of Directors
Ben Ciavola, President
Ben is our loyal Board President, a role he has dutifully filled for several years. He lives and works in Houghton for Trisight Engineering alongside his business and life partner Lianna. When he's not busy with CHTC, he assists Mont Ripley with their ski patrol and explores the backcountry by ski or bike.
Kim Barna, Vice-President
"I was born and raised in the UP. I moved downstate to go to school at Michigan State University where I got my BS and DVM degrees. I was lucky to move back to the Keweenaw in ’95 and now co-own the Northland Veterinary Clinic in Hancock. I love traveling and have been all over the world- New Zealand was my favorite so far. I love being outdoors as much as possible, especially scuba diving, mountain biking (of course), kayaking, and skiing."
Christina Smigowski, Treasurer
Christina is a CPA at Rukkila & Negro in Houghton, which makes her a perfect fit for our Treasurer role. She's kept our books in order for more than half a decade, which makes her one of the most important volunteers we have ever had! Christina has been riding bikes for damn-near forever and loves to share her passion and skills at our Copper Harbor Women's Weekend clinic. She's called the Copper Country home all her life and shows no signs of giving up on this awesome place.
Adam Yeoman, Secretary
"I'm originally from the UK, but moved to Houghton and fell in love with the UP throughout high school. After graduation I moved back to the UK to tour extensively throughout Europe and the USA in various punk rock and metal bands. In 2007 I returned to Houghton with my wife and settled into UP life again. Through my love of the local architecture and history I tackled several historic building renovations in downtown Houghton. I renovated the Dover Building, the home of Rhythm Bike and Board which I was an owner for a number of years, and then renovated The Continental Fire Company into a bar, nightclub and now restaurant. My other passion at the time was rally cars. I developed and raced for FY Racing in the Rally America national championship. My love for mountain biking blossomed when I gave up racing cars at the end of the 2015 season. Sending it full tilt down the trails in Copper Harbor is the perfect replacement for the feeling I miss in the race car. You'll find me most shuttle days trying to regain my KOM on Overflow, or convincing whoever is eyeing up Manpants that they've got it!"
"I purchased my first mountain bike in 1988 while studying at the University of Arizona. Mountain biking soon became the focus of my life and I started a guide service, Arizona Off-Road Adventures, that offered day and week-long tours. The highlight of my guiding career was guiding the first tour down the Continental Divide Mountain Biking Route in 1998. Later I earned a degree in Professional Photography (AAS) from Colorado Mountain College and took a job as production manager at Digital Arts Aspen. Since 2004, I have worked as a freelance photographer, writer, bike guide, and social media marketer for Mount Bohemia. My partner Amy and I, and our dog Gigi, moved to the Keweenaw for the rich outdoor lifestyle. We own and operate a silent-sports adventure cabin called Da Beach Cabin on the shores of Lac La Belle. Advocacy has always been part of my life, I’ve been involved since the early days of IMBA. I believe that trails and public lands are a crucial part of the American way. As the world becomes more tech-centric, wild places and access will become even more important. What we build and conserve now will leave a legacy for future generations to escape from the burdens of modern society. Humans need to connect with natural places and trails give us the access to them. Even though my background is in the cycling world, I want to represent and consider all forms of silent sport trail users in hopes to build and maintain one of the best trail systems in the country."
Sam spent his childhood summers exploring and biking about the Copper Harbor woodlands and shorelines. As an adult, his love for the place would prove to be a driving force in helping to establish the area’s first singletrack trails. It was while living near Vail, CO in the mid-90’s, however, where his passion for mountain biking was formed and he started dreaming of Copper Harbor one day being known as “the Moab of the Midwest.” Ever the optimist, he was inspired to open the Harbor’s first bike shop, and ultimately wound up purchasing the already established Keweenaw Adventure Company (KAC) in 1998 - combining his bike shop plans with KAC’s existing sea kayak and outfitting business. For over two-decades, Sam has logged thousands of sweat-equity volunteer hours digging in the dirt, but more importantly he has been an ongoing advocate of the trails. He served as the race director of the Copper Harbor Fat Tire (now Bell’s Beer Trails) Festival from 1998-2012 and was a founding member of CHTC when it was incorporated in 2008. Additionally, he represented non-motorized trail interests on the Keweenaw Point Citizen’s Advisory Committee in 2004, which lead to the development of the DNR’s comprehensive recreation plan for the land that includes today’s Keweenaw Point Trail. He serves on more committees in the Keweenaw than can be counted and works tirelessly to benefit the community. Sam understands better than most that great trails enhance the regional economy and quality of life for the enjoyment of visitors and locals alike. When he's not behind the counter at KAC or driving shuttles, Sam can often be found opening up legacy trails in the backwoods of Copper Harbor or skiing across the nation through the long winter.
Ronnie Mae Krueger
Ronnie Mae lives and works in Copper Harbor, one of a growing wave of people calling this tiny town home. She's been spearheading the implementation of the gardens at Trails End Campground, a much needed community asset. Ronnie Mae and her husband Casey moved to Copper Harbor from Duluth, giving up city life for a chance to live in one of the Midwest's top outdoor recreation hotspots. When not in the garden, she's out biking in every season or skiing in the winter. She is a year-round resident and is working hard to make Copper Harbor a better place for all residents. If you're looking for pointers on how to make the transition to living in the Harbor full-time, Ronnie Mae is the person to talk to.
"I’ve been mountain biking since I was 15, and I first discovered the Copper Harbor trails when I moved to Houghton in 2004. The Harbor has been my favorite place to be ever since. It is truly amazing how much the trail network and the community have grown since then, and it’s great to be able to contribute my time and energy to the Club now. I represent the Singletrack Flyers on the board - I have two kids and it is great fun watching their skills improve each ride (it’s only a matter of time before I won’t be able to keep up with them). In my professional life I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech, where I teach and study water quality. There are so many great rides in the Harbor, and more every year, but the Red Trail is still my happy place.
Nathan Miller, Executive Director
Nathan joined our team in May 2018, the same month he bought his first mountain bike (a Trek Stache). Prior to joining CHTC as our Executive Director, Nathan earned his Copper Country credentials working with the Keweenaw Land Trust, helping to protect favorite places like Hungarian Falls and managing all manner of stewardship, outreach, and fundraising activities. Nathan first discovered the Keweenaw during his time at Michigan Tech before graduating with a Masters of Regional Planning from SUNY Albany. Having grown up in small-town Pennsylvania, returning to the Keweenaw was a no-brainer due to its abundant natural and recreational resources. His side hustles include leading hiking and snowshoeing classes at Finlandia University as well as photographing his many adventures for fun and community pursuits. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys DJing on WMTU 91.9 FM, exploring new places across the U.P. in all seasons by any non-motorized means necessary, kayaking down barely-navigable rivers, camping year-round, and working on various projects around his Chassell hobby farm. Also known as Nathan Invincible.