Meet the Staff

Photo Courtesy of Tabor Hill Winery

Meet The West Michigan Tourist Association Team

Dan Sippel

Name: Dan Sippel
Title: CEO
Email: Dan@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 245-2217 ext 102
Get In Touch With Me For: Administration, board of directors or staff questions.

Favorite Summer Activity in West Michigan: It’s always hard to choose between all of the options, but I tend to be on or near the water. Sea kayaking, fishing and boating are passions that keep me busy in the summer. Golfing as many of the beautiful Michigan courses as possible is always a welcome challenge as well.

Favorite Winter Activity in West Michigan: Skiing, snowshoeing and ice hockey outdoors, and visiting our incredible cultural venues.

Best Place in West Michigan to Eat: I love the “farm to table” type restaurants throughout WM. Some of my favorites include: Food Dance in Kalamazoo, Real Foods in Rockford and Stella Trattoria in Traverse City, but I am always trying to find great experiences in Culinary Tourism.

It’s your first visit to West Michigan, where should you head first? The beaches are world class in West Michigan and I have seen many visitors amazed at the grandeur and beauty that is Pure Michigan Beaches. Our Beachtowns make the experiences even better with “apres-beach” activities.

Best Spot for Kids to Visit: So many great places from Michigan’s Adventure to Fredrik Meijer Gardens, Boyne Mountain and Avalanche Bay Water Park and our many historical and cultural destinations, museums and nature activities.

Favorite Outdoor Activity in West Michigan: Being outdoors and enjoying the natural beauty of the woods and waters in all of West Michigan.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: Spring, when the salmon run and the morel mushrooms announce the beginning of the season is my favorite.


Name:
Jess Povenz
Title: Office Manager
Email: Jess@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 245-2217 ext 101
Get In Touch With Me For: Any questions regarding billing of memberships, publications, trade shows, and online advertisements!

It’s your first visit to West Michigan, where should you head first? Silver Lake! We camp there every year and there is something for everyone of all ages.

Best spot for kids to visit: There is no way I can choose just one! My top 3 would be: Country Dairy, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: That would have to be fall! My family and I love the outdoors that time of year and you can’t beat the fall colors in Michigan!

What do you love most about West Michigan? There is so much to do – no need to vacation outside of Michigan when we can “staycation” right here!


Courtney ShefferName:
Courtney Sheffer
Title: Marketing Director
Email: Courtney@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 245-2217 ext 105

Get In Touch With Me For: Joining our mailing list, signing up to receive West Michigan Press Releases, website updates, information for connecting on our social media, questions on our newsletters, ideas on how WMTA can promote your business.

Favorite Winter Activity in West Michigan: Going to the beach! Lake Michigan is always fun in the summer, but in the dead of winter when the lake is frozen for hundreds of yards out from the shore, and full of caverns, hills, and ice balls formed by the waves, it’s truly majestic.

It’s your first visit to West Michigan, where should you head first? Straight to the shores of Lake Michigan! Gorgeous sandy beaches, miles of public shoreline, and gallons and gallons of clean, fresh water. Swim in it, boat on it, or relax next to it: there’s no wrong way to enjoy Lake Michigan.

Favorite outdoor activity in West Michigan: Definitely camping! There’s so many great public & private campgrounds to choose from, and it’s the perfect way to hit all of the things that I enjoy doing outdoors in West Michigan at once: hiking, kayaking, swimming, disc golfing, and (of course) s’mores!

What do you love most about West Michigan? My favorite thing about West Michigan is that it seems to offer the best of both worlds, in any given category! It boasts large, metropolitan cities and small, cozy towns. Nationally recognized dining experiences, and “Mom & Pop” restaurants whose food can’t be beat. Sprawling international festivals, and intimate concerts. No matter your tastes, you’ll find something in West Michigan that’s right up your alley.

 

wittpic1Name: Jeremy Witt
Title: Public Relations & Marketing Manager
Get in touch with me for: Press release questions, participating in trade shows, signing up or getting your information in our newsletters, how to get featured in our editorial.
Email: Jeremy@WMTA.org
Phone: 616.245.2217×107

Favorite Summer Activity in West Michigan: During the summer, I love to go with friends and family to local breweries that have outdoor seating where we can enjoy the weather. Nothing beats sitting outside at Founders, Mitten Brewing, or Brewery Vivant on a sunny day surrounded by good company.

Best place in West Michigan to eat: One of my favorite places to eat is Green Well in Grand Rapids. This is partially because I took my girlfriend there on our first date, but also because they had a fantastic Korean barbecue beef brisket. You just can’t top that combination.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: Fall is my favorite season. The colors are beautiful and the weather is perfect for walking around outside. Events such as ArtPrize thrive in these conditions and it’s always fun to see Grand Rapids full of wonderful art.

What do you love most about West Michigan? What I love most about West Michigan is the wide variety of things to do. There is both city life with shopping, dining, and entertainment, but also the great outdoors with trails, lakes, and camping. It’s the best of both worlds and it is all very accessible without needing to leave the state.


Judy DoodName: 
Judy Dood
Title: Distribution Coordinator
Email: Judy@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 260-2649
Get In Touch With Me For: Sending copies of our guides and answer phone inquiries

It’s your first visit to West Michigan, where should you head first? I would say the Sand Dunes, as they are a true beauty of nature.

Favorite outdoor activity in West Michigan: Camping; love being outdoors, and enjoying the beauty of  all the areas of Michigan.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: Spring/Fall (hard decision).

What do you love most about West Michigan? The seasons.

 

kristin-boogaard-west-michigan-tourist-association

Name: Kristin Boogaard
Title: Account Executive
Email: Kristin@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 328-4646
Get in touch with me for: Promoting your business! Maybe you are contemplating membership with WMTA or advertising in one of our 2 publications? Maybe you are a current member looking for additional ways to promote your business through WMTA? I can help! My goal is to develop a relationship with you as your “strategic marketing partner”, working with your best interest at heart to help you grow. Honesty, integrity and creativity are my guiding principals. I am very passionate about WMTA and that translates into working hard for you!

Favorite Summer Activity in West Michigan: Running with my Chocolate Lab Chip or hiking with my husband and 3 year old in the woods. I feel the best when I am in nature, feet to the ground with all of the sights and sounds that can go unappreciated in my busy life.

Favorite Winter Activity in West Michigan: Snowshoeing! With a 3 year old at home, sledding is my other fav. She helps me enjoy the fun winter kid’s activities that I am unlikely to pursue as an adult.

Best place in West Michigan to eat: I love all food but in my travels, the meal that stands out the most in my mind is the fabulous authentic Polish meal that I enjoyed overlooking Lake Michigan at Leg’s Inn in Cross Village. The beautiful journey from Harbor Springs along the Tunnel of Trees (M-119) is the icing on the cake.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: Every time a new season starts I always seem to say to myself, “This season is my favorite!” If I had to pick one it would be Autumn. I love the cooler temperatures, the beautiful colors and the fresh produce from our wonderful Michigan farms. Fresh apples, cider and fresh donuts are Fall in Michigan to me.


Karen BreckonName:
  Karen Breckon
Title: Account Executive
Email: Karen@WMTA.org
Phone: (616) 240-3491
Get in touch with me for: Promoting your business through many of West Michigan Tourist Association’s extensive membership benefits.  I welcome you to contact me anytime you have questions or interest in advertising on our dynamic new website or in our annual Carefree Travel guide.  If you have questions about your current benefits, accessing your on-line membership profile, or how to become a WMTA member I can help you.  If your business or organization is located in West Michigan, I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you.  I am dedicated to promoting travel and tourism throughout the West Michigan region.  Utilizing one of West Michigan Tourist Association’s various marketing and media outlets, I would be happy to provide information and insight on how WMTA can provide value to your business.

Favorite Summer Activity in West Michigan: Traveling!  I love to travel with my family and friends to many great destinations that West Michigan has to offer.  From ball parks to theaters, from farm markets to the beaches, from museums to festivals, there is always something new to discover or uncover.

Favorite outdoor activity in West Michigan: My favorite outdoor activity would be boating. Lake Michigan water is mesmerizing as you soar the coast with the breeze in your hair and the sun on your face. If you can catch the sun setting too, even better.  The colors are equally fascinating.

Favorite Season in West Michigan: I love shoes (what woman doesn’t) but I especially love flip flops. So if I had to choose a favorite season, it would be flip flop season. Any time I can kick them off and jump in a pool or a lake, it’s a great day. With more than 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan, and one big Lake Michigan, there are plenty of opportunities to kick off the flips and dive right in.

What do you love most about West Michigan?  Born and raised outside of Chicago, I have had my fair share of lights, traffic and gobs of people. That’s not to say that you can’t find the hustle and bustle in West Michigan, but to me West Michigan is unfiltered. The nights are dark and not polluted with city lights making the stars incredible for viewing. The people are friendly and inviting in their communities. There is small town charm as well as big city life coupled with world class dining, breweries/distilleries and entertaining attractions. I am proud to call West Michigan home.

 

Name: Sarah Hurd
Title:  Publication Intern
Get in touch with me for: Carefree Travel Guide business listings and editorial.
Email:  intern@wmta.org

Favorite Winter Activity in West Michigan: I love snow, and living in West Michigan means that I get to enjoy quite a lot of it each winter. There are so many lakes and hills to take advantage of for ice skating and sledding, and nothing beats curling up next to a big window with a good book, a cup of coffee, and a dense snowstorm.

 

Best place in West Michigan to eat: I always enjoy dropping by the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids because of the vast variety of food and drink options all in one place. They also have a number of events like a weekly farmers market and antique market, so there’s always something new to check out.

 

Favorite Season in West Michigan: Unsurprisingly, I love winter most of all—I’m a winter baby, and I like the cold. Plus, what’s more beautiful than an untouched blanket of stark white snow?

 

What do you love most about West Michigan? There is so much variation on this side of the state—sprawling city life in Grand Rapids, long stretches of sandy beach along the shore of Lake Michigan, vast hills and waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula. It really is one of the most unique areas to live in with so many options for recreation within driving distance.