Steering Committee

Biographies | Presidents at Large | Meetings

Jennifer Tislerics, President,

Biography: Since the very first meeting that my husband, Ati, and I attended in January 2005, I've been impressed with the variety of classes and activities available to SOLAR club members. I've taken classes on enjoying a winter day, basic backpacking, knot tying, lightweight backpacking, wilderness first aid, basic land navigation, winter camping and cross-country skiing. Through SOLAR I have hiked, spent days snowshoeing, gone caving in Kentucky, paddled down rivers, and enjoyed many backpacking trips - my biggest adventure so far was backpacking for 2 weeks along the John Muir Trail in California. I also enjoy road biking, snorkeling and SCUBA diving.  Show more

Jennifer can be reached via email

Michael Seng, Vice President,

Biography: I have been a member for 4 years and enjoy spending time camping, hiking and canoeing - when I can get away.

Michael can be reached via email

Debbie Hendrickson, Secretary,

Biography: I grew up in Missouri where my family did a lot of camping and canoeing. As the years have passed I have added rafting, kayaking, backpacking, hiking and bicycling to the list of activities I like doing. I really enjoy living in Michigan with all the opportunites it has for outdoor fun. What a beautiful state.  Show more

Debbie can be reached via email

Heidi Tietjen, Treasurer,

Biography: I found out about SOLAR while searching the web for hiking groups that would allow dogs to come along. My dogs, Marco and Tilly, are great listeners but aren’t very good conversationalists so I wanted to find some human hiking companions. I came to a meeting and was happy to see dogs there but was happier to learn about people doing interesting activities. I grew up as odd woman out in a non-outdoorsy family but my mom indulged me by letting me drag her camping and canoeing, sometimes with Girl Scouts, sometimes with just some of my friends. Luckily my best friend from fourth grade through high school had parents who even went camping on their honeymoon so I went on lots of trips with them.  Show more

Heidi can be reached via email

Katie Raeon, Activities Chairperson,

Biography: I have always enjoyed being outdoors, especially fishing and sailing. Once my kids were out of the house I joined Solar so I could take the Beginning Backpacking class followed by the Enjoying Michigan Winters class. I have been a Solar member for two years and enjoy volunteering and trying new things, which is how I became the current Activities chair. I grew up in Detroit, am married, have three grown kids and have worked as a registered nurse for almost 37 years. I am looking forward to more adventures, especially going to Isle Royale in the future.

Katie can be reached via email

Elaine Granch, By-Laws Chairperson,

Biography: Growing up in Dearborn Heights, MI, family vacations were spent camping (car) in Michigan state parks and forests. Our favorite parks were ones with nature trails and my brother and I spent many hours exploring them - sometimes even dragging my sister along! The best part of the two years I lived in Pennsylvania was the rail trail that went through town and the many opportunities to explore the AT. Upon my return to Michigan, I commenced a quest to find people who enjoyed the outdoors as much as I do. After hearing about the wonders of SOLAR ad nauseum, I finally decided to see for myself what the fuss was about and became a member just over a year ago. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of all that SOLAR offers.

Elaine can be reached via email

Jeff Zabel, Education Chairperson,

Biography: I grew up in Saint Clair Shores and have lived in Michigan my whole life. I live in Farmington Hills with my Wife Wendy, our dog Kacey, and our cat Simon. I graduated from Walsh College back in 1989 and have a BBA with a major in Computer Information Systems. I currently work for Toronto Dominion Auto Finance as a business process analyst. I visited most of Michigan’s tourist spots in my youth and enjoy camping, backpacking, gardening, canoeing, scuba diving, skiing, and almost any other outdoor activity. In my 24 years with Solar I have backpacked the Bruce Peninsula, rock climbed at Rattlesnake Provincial Park, shot white water rapids on the New River and in the Grand Canyon, ridden horses in Mexico, visited Machu Picchu, hiked the Inca trail, visited castles and skied in Austria, travelled the Amazon river, and visited grass islands on Lake Titicaca. The people you meet and the things you do with Solar will be with you forever.

Jeff can be reached via email

Phil Crookshank, Equipment Manager,

Biography: I lived lots of places, never mattered where, until I came to MI. to attend college at Ferris. Went back to Il., briefly, moved to Mi. for work, and the Wonderful Green-ness here. Had a family for 9 years, then started tramping around Wyoming with my vacation time each year. Always said when I quit Ford, I'm moving West! Finally did - moved to WESTland. Home of the Nature Preserve I've been a steward of for 25 years.  Show more

Phil can be reached via email

Karen Haroutunian, Historian,

Biography: I grew up a city girl. The closest my family came to camping was roadside picnics. My first camping experience was a 2-week Outward Bound vacation in Oregon that involved 1 week of whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River and 1 week of backpacking in the Central Cascades (which included one day of rock climbing and one day of rappelling). I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was great! I came back wanting to pursue outdoor activities, but didn't know where to start and had no equipment. While hiking with the BS Hikers someone told me about S.O.L.A.R. and mentioned that they had equipment members could borrow. I went to a meeting and was impressed by the diversity of both people and activities. That was in 2008 and I'm still impressed. I've taken most of the S.O.L.A.R. classes and have helped teach a few. I've traveled to some beautiful places with interesting people. I can honestly say that everything I've learned about backpacking, camping, winter camping, land navigation and so much more has been through the generosity of S.O.L.A.R. members who have unselfishly shared their knowledge, experience and love of the outdoors with me and so many others.

Karen can be reached via email

Carol Rogers, Membership Chairperson,

Biography: Growing up in Detroit, my only camping experience was with the Girl Scouts and I have found memories of the trips we took locally. As I grew up, I got away from the great outdoors but rediscovered it when I moved to the Seattle area. Once back in Michigan, I found I missed those days of being outside. I never knew there were so many wonderful parks in my backyard for hiking and camping. A friend from another hiking group convinced me to come to a SOLAR meeting and I soon joined. After having enjoyed several classes and activities, I felt that I need to give back to the group that has offerred me the forum to enjoy doing things I love with others. Since many of my friends have nicknamed me "Julie, the cruise director", the Activities Chairperson role seemed a good fit. I am looking forward to meeting and helping members share activities and trips that they are passionate about with other members.

Carol can be reached via email

Kristian Bartell, Programs Chairperson,

Biography: I really got into the outdoors while attending Michigan Tech in the remotest of corners in the UP. With nothing else to do I resorted to camping, hiking, kayaking, and exploring as time allowed. Since graduating, my wife and I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel and explore all over the world from Australia to the Florida Keys and of course locally here in Michigan. In my spare time you'll probably find me paddleboarding, bike touring, camping, hiking, or adventure racing.

Kristian can be reached via email

Bill Morse, Public Relations,

Biography: What's better than outdoor fun? Great for the body, soul, and spirit, and especially in the company of others who enjoy the same. I heard about SOLAR while on a hike with a member who raved about the club, and I joined six years ago. Since then I have climbed Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina, cross-country skied in Quebec, and biked Mackinac Island with other SOLARites. Also I have savored the beauty of Hocking Hills, kayaked the Huron River, and ascended the stairs of the Renaissance Center. The classes I've taken have offered an opportunity to learn from those who are experienced. I look forward to learning more and enjoying upcoming adventures with SOLAR!

Bill can be reached via email

Rosemarie Attilio, Ray Editor,

Biography: I am an explorer who enjoys all types of nature, flora, fauna and vista. A passionate jungle traveler, who has had various jungle adventures such as delivering school supplies to children in the Amazon, and bird and nature activities in Costa Rica and the Florida Everglades. I have been lucky to have other travel adventures in a tent in S. Africa, hiking the moors of England, and camping in Algonquin, Canada. I am a former board member of the Detroit Audubon Society, a member of the Michigan Orchid Society, an Advanced Master Gardener, and a volunteer gardener at the Detroit Zoo. I love Nature photography, bird watching, hiking, and art. I enjoy visiting museums world-wide. A life-long Michigander, I believe we live in one of the most beautiful and diverse states in the Country.

Rosemarie can be reached via email

Jim Kadlubowski, Webmaster,

Biography: I'm originally from the U.P. Growing up I was a book-worm but still played outside a lot because that is what kids did up there. That's how the countryside got etched into my heart as our proper place to be. In my first college summer a friend and I travelled from Michigan to Alaska, mainly by hitch-hiking. We made it all the way to Point Barrow, camping on the shore of the Arctic Ocean as the midnight sun circled down, along the horizon, and back up into the sky. Somehow I felt like I was always in my own backyard on that trip, which, if you think outside the box a bit, I was. I liked that feeling. When I started working in the Detroit corporate world (Chrysler) I found I had to balance the urban lifestyle by heading out into the "wilds" for my vacations. I wanted to learn how to keep that "in my own backyard" feeling, so over a twenty year span I was a student of many outdoor schools, both big and small, trying to learn from the experts.   Show more

Jim can be reached via email