Though Ann Arbor Active Against ALS was created as a response to a particular friend’s diagnosis, the organization has become part of a much broader community aiming to help all families affected by ALS. Many of our all-volunteer board members and volunteers have lost someone to the disease. The following individuals currently direct the organization, with help from much-appreciated volunteers and past board members.
Current Active Against ALS Board Members
Pat Bisgaier earned a B.S. in Nutrition from the State University College at Oneonta, NY. She worked as Food Service Director of skilled nursing care facilities in Silver Spring, MD. and in New Milford, NJ. She also worked as the Food and Beverage Inventory Controller at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Upon her family moving to Ann Arbor, she became a stay-at-home mom, working part-time for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. She looks forward to being a contributing member of the Active Against ALS community.
Jennifer Collins earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and a M.B.A from Wright State University. She has worked over 33 years in the Financial Services industry. Most recently, she held the position of Marketing Director for MB Financial Bank’s mortgage division where she served as the company liaison with numerous non-profits across the country. Jennifer is an active volunteer for several charitable organizations in Washtenaw county and also serves as a board member for The Magic of Christmas Foundation in Ann Arbor. She has been active in raising awareness of ALS since her father-in-law’s diagnosis in 2005. Jennifer joined the board in 2019.
Anne Gilbert received her B.S.E. and M.S.E. from the University of Michigan School of Engineering. Anne worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years. She is currently a realtor with Howard Hanna in Ann Arbor. Anne was the chair of Music to Warm the Soul in 2020, a member of our 10-year Gala committee in 2018, was the chair of our Barn Party in 2016 and 2017, and volunteered on the Family Field Day Committee for a number of years; serving as chair in 2014 and 2015. She currently serves on our Technology Committee. Anne joined the Active Against ALS board in February 2016.
Mara Kent earned her B.F.A. in Industrial Design from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. She is currently an estate planning, probate, and trusts attorney and life-long resident of Ann Arbor. She has known the Schoeni family for over a decade when their daughters played youth soccer together. Mara is involved with several pro bono and community service organizations in the Ann Arbor area and is excited to have joined the Active Against ALS Board in 2021.
David Lowenschuss received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from George Washington University. He has worked as an attorney in the pharmaceutical industry for over twenty years. When friend and neighbor Bob Schoeni was diagnosed with ALS in July 2008, Dave realized that the lack of investment from the pharmaceutical industry was holding back the research and development of a treatment or cure for ALS. He reached out to friends and colleagues of Bob’s to create a grass roots fundraising effort that would support research aggressively seeking effective treatments and ultimately a cure – this effort turned into Ann Arbor Active Against ALS. Dave serves on the Box Car Derby and Distribution Committees.
Gayle Rosen earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and received a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at American University. She is an attorney for the University of Michigan Student Legal Services. A member of our founding board, Gayle and her family have been volunteers at many of our events and are the organizers of the annual Rivalry Ride. She re-joined the board in February 2016. Gayle serves as Chair of the Board.
Kathy Siler received a B.S. and an M.S. in occupational therapy from Eastern Michigan University. She has volunteered for many of our events, including the Twinkie Run, Beerfest and Rivalry Ride, and has served on our Barn Party for ALS and our 10-year anniversary Gala committee. She also helps edit our Let’s Go! newsletter and assists with maintaining our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She has lost six family members to ALS. Kathy joined the Active Against ALS board in 2017. Kathy serves as Secretary of the Board
Laura Stidham has a B.A. in Elementary Education with a specialty in early childhood, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She currently is executive director for a nonprofit preschool in Ann Arbor. Having had six family members pass away from ALS, Laura had been searching for a way to become involved in efforts to raise awareness about ALS and raise funds to support research for a cause. Laura is a founding board member and returned to the board in 2019. Laura serves as Vice Chair of the Board.
Sam Sugerman is a current undergraduate student at the University of Michigan where he is pursuing a B.A. in Environmental Studies and minoring in Community Action and Social Change. Sam has been involved with Active Against ALS since the organization’s origins and became more engaged due to the Rivalry Ride which he started as a Bar Mitzvah project. Sam now serves on the Board of Directors and leads a chapter at the University of Michigan (Michigan Students Active Against ALS).
Shelly Webber received a B.S. from University of Michigan in Physical Therapy. She currently works as a pediatric physical therapist in the Ann Arbor Early On program. Shelly (and her daughter) have volunteered and participated in many Active Against ALS events through the years, including the Rivalry Ride, Family Field Day, Boxcar Derby, and various runs. She is excited to take on a more active role in the organization.
Elisabeth Weinstein earned her B.A from the University of Michigan and her M.D. from Tufts University. She is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Ann Arbor. Elisabeth has participated in many Active Against ALS events on her own and with her family. She served as one of the cochairs for our 10 year anniversary Gala. Elisabeth joined our board in 2017.
Joel Dalton earned his B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees from the University of Michigan School of Engineering and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Joel works in Ann Arbor at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory of the Office of Air and Radiation. He and his wife Jackie are avid runners as active members of the Ann Arbor Track Club and have been race directors or assistants in many favorite Ann Arbor runs, including the Burns Park Run and the Big House Big Heart Run. Joel is a founding board member. Joel serves as Race Director of the Twinkie Run, the Electric Bolt, and organizer of Beerfest for ALS.
Kristen Freshley earned her B.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a M.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois. She currently works at Greenhills School as Director of Publications. Kristen is a former board member, and is Editor of the Ann Arbor Active Against ALS newsletter, Let’s Go!
Michael Meister received a Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Public Affairs and Administration from Western Michigan University. Michael is the Department Administrator for Climate and Space Sciences Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Michael previously worked at Western Michigan University as a higher education budgeting and finance administrator for over 20 years. Through personal family loss, he has experienced the devastating effects of ALS and is dedicated to raising public awareness and research funds for treatment and a cure. Michael joined the board in February 2015. Michael is past chair and treasurer of the board. Michael currently serves as the Administrator/Bookkeeper of the Board.
Amanda Mercer received her B.A. from Michigan State University and J.D. from Wayne State University. She has previously worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County, as an enforcement representative for the National Collegiate Athletic Association and as a solo practitioner. Amanda was a board member from January 2010 – May 2013. She captained the Channel for ALS Team of six women who broke the world record with a double- crossing of the English Channel in July 2012 and raised over $120,000 for research. Amanda is now Special Events Representative supporting the Swimathons for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS.
Sara Robins earned her B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University. She has worked in the Human Resources field for over 15 years and currently works at Vericel Corporation in Ann Arbor. She and her husband, Mike, own ShutterBooth Detroit, a company that rents photo booths for special events. She has been active in several charitable organizations and first became involved with Ann Arbor Active Against ALS through her friendship with the Lowenschuss-McGuire family, volunteering on committees for several years.Sara joined the board in January 2013. Sara is past secretary of the Board. Sara currently manages our Donor Database.