Meet the Commissioners
Christine Crumbaugh and her family have always had close connections to Michigan's agricultural and natural resources. She is currently a managing member of her family's 3,000 acre crop farm, Crumbaugh Legacy, Inc., based in Gratiot County. She farms with her husband. Their two sons are studying agriculture at Michigan State University. Crumbaugh Legacy takes pride in being a part of Michigan agriculture raising sugar beets, corn, soybeans, and wheat. The farm also has ~150 acres enrolled in Michigan's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, through which farm lands are removed from production to be managed for conservation goals. The farm's business philosophy is to combine modern agricultural practices with environmental stewardship and to do business with the utmost integrity; creating a legacy for generations that follow.
Christine is currently serving on the board of directors for GreenStone Farm Credit Services, one of America's largest rural lenders. She is currently a member of GreenStone's Audit Committee and recently served as the Finance Committee chairperson.
Christine's other professional affiliations include Michigan Farm Bureau, where she is currently serving as the chairperson on the Feed Grains, Wheat & Oilseeds Advisory Committee and is also a director and Legislative Committee member for the Gratiot Area Chamber of Commerce. She is a grower/owner of Michigan Sugar Company, which is the third largest beet sugar processor in the United States. The company produces more than 1 billion pounds of sugar annually. Her family's farm is a member of the Michigan Corn Grower's Association.
Christine graduated Summa Cum Laude from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Economics and a minor in Marketing. She obtained an Associate's degree in Sales and Marketing from Davenport University.
In 2010, Christine's passion for photography turned into a part time business venture as she now operates a custom portrait and landscape photography business. She does freelance photography work for agricultural businesses and organizations.
Growing up in Michigan, Christine has always valued the bountiful natural resources the state has to offer -- from the waters of the Great Lakes to the fertile farm ground on which her family operates their business - and has strong connections to Michigan's outdoor heritage. In her free time she enjoys boating with her family and salmon fishing on Lake Michigan. She appreciates the enthusiasm her husband and son have for deer hunting and recently began snowmobiling the trails of Michigan with her family. As a photographer, she enjoys capturing the natural, implicit beauty of "Pure Michigan."
Louise Klarr of Bloomfield was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Snyder in January 2013.
She is a team member of the Kinship Conservation Fellows, a groundbreaking environmental leadership program that embraces market-based solutions to environmental problems. The organization concentrates on connecting with alumni, collaborating on projects, and impacting with environmental solutions. Kinship fellows hail from around the world. Klarr also is chairman of the Maggie Creek Ranch LP, located in Elko, Nevada. Maggie Creek is an Angus-based cow/calf operation that spans 400,000 acres in arid high desert in northeastern Nevada. Maggie Creek is very involved with local ranching outreach events and collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to continually improve the land. Maggie Creek Ranch has received several certificates of merit for their management of their riparian areas.
Klarr has taken whitetail with bow, muzzleloader and gun. She is happy to catch a bluegill on #14 dry fly or through the ice with a mousey worm. She attended the University of New Hampshire and has a degree in animal science. She and her husband have five children who also love to hunt and fish.
John Matonich, Chairman
John Matonich of Davison was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in 2010, and reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2014. He was appointed Chairman of the Commission in 2015.
Matonich is the president and chief executive officer of ROWE Professional Services Company, a firm specializing in consulting engineering, surveying, planning, landscape architecture, aerial photogrammetry and land development services in Michigan and across the country.
Matonich joined ROWE in 1981. He was named a principal (owner) in 1992, promoted to president in 1997 and to chief executive officer in 2001. John was also elected ROWE's chairman of the board in 2006.
A licensed professional surveyor in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, Matonich is a past president of the Michigan Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) and a current treasurer on the board of the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors. He is a past director and treasurer of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Foundation.
At the national level, Matonich served as president of the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) in 2009-2010. He is chairman of the Joint Government Affairs Committee for the NSPS headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Matonich also serves in advisory and adjunct roles at public universities. He is a member of the Surveying Curriculum Advisory Committee at Michigan Technological University, a role he also filled at Ferris State University for a number of years. He also has served as adjunct faculty to the University of Michigan-Flint Earth Sciences Department.
A writer as well as a surveyor, Matonich has been published in "Professional Surveyor" magazine and is a contributing writer for "American Surveyor" and the "Michigan Professional Surveyor."
Born and raised in the west end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, John has been an avid outdoorsman all his life. From raising beagles with his father as a young boy so they could hunt snowshoe rabbits together, to quietly wading brook trout streams, to hunting the elusive whitetail, he is always looking forward to the next opportunity to enjoy Michigan's outdoors. One of his cherished accomplishments was catching Michigan's second largest steelhead for 1989 (21 lbs. 14 oz.) in Manistee Lake and being awarded a Master Angler by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He has hunted, fished and camped all over Michigan but always enjoys some quiet time fishing for walleye off the dock of his cottage on the east shore of Lake Gogebic.
Locally, Matonich is past chairman of the Flint & Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and past chairman-elect of the former Flint Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as well as past president of the Davison Chamber of Commerce. He also is a member of the Burton Rotary Club, Davison Optimists Club, and past chair of the Lapeer Downtown Development Authority. Matonich is a board member of the Lapeer Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Flint Watershed Coalition, MUCC, NRA and SCI (Flint and Northwoods Chapters).
Commissioner Matonich earned his bachelor of science degree in land surveying with honors from Michigan Technological University in 1981. He resides in Davison with his wife and has two children, Katelynn and Matthew.
Timothy L. Nichols
Timothy L. Nichols of Williamston was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in 2009 and reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2012. He served as chairman of the commission from 2010 to 2013. Upon graduation from Haslett High School in 1968, Nichols entered Iron Workers Local Union 25 Apprenticeship and Training Program. He graduated in 1972 as a journeyman iron worker.
Nichols is a principal and one of the founders of the BUILD Funds and Labor-Management Fund Advisors, (LMFA) LLC, with over 25 years of senior management experience in the building and construction trades. Prior to joining LMFA, Nichols served as director of external relations for the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO in Washington D.C. He was responsible for the department's external relations, including government, public, and interdepartmental. He coordinated the National Committee on Labor-Management and headed the department's legislative task force. Nichols also was responsible for coordinating relations with the department's Canadian building and construction trades councils and staffs.
Prior to his position at the Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, Nichols served as secretary-treasurer and president of the Michigan State Building Trades Council. In this capacity, he coordinated the efforts of over 125 local building trades unions with over 80,000 members throughout the state of Michigan. He also served as a business agent for Ironworkers Local #25. In addition to his involvement in the building trades, Nichols also has served on numerous not-for-profit and community boards. In the 1980s, Nichols was a member of the Ingham County Fair Board, serving as president for four years and vice president for eight years. Nichols was the first person ever to have a term extended beyond the two consecutive four year term limit for any county appointment. Nichols was appointed by Lansing Mayor David Hollister to serve for two years as secretary of board of Lansing Michigan Entertainment Authority and oversaw operations of Lansing's minor league baseball stadium, Lansing Convention Center, and the Lansing City Market. From 1989 to 1996, Nichols received many appointments by Governor James Blanchard and Governor John Engler, serving on the Michigan State Building Authority and as vice-chairman of the Construction Safety Standards Commission of Michigan from 1989-1996. Nichols sat on the Michigan Labor Management Council from 1990-1992, and in 1994, Governor Engler appointed him to the Michigan Privatization Commission. From 1988-1993, Nichols served as vice-chairman of the board of the Michigan Apprenticeship and Steering Committee and then chairman of the board from 1994-1996. Nichols was secretary on the board of directors for the Metro Realty Corporation (Real Estate Investment Trust) from 1990-1996.
Throughout his career, Nichols has served on many civic boards, including the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, the Sparrow Hospital Foundation, Chief Okemos Boy Scouts, Lansing Community College Foundation, and Red Cedar Recreation. He also helped to establish the Dollars to Diabetes (DADS) all trades softball tournament in Lansing, which has raised over $450,000 to date for diabetic research. Nichols was co-chairman for the grand opening ceremonies of Oldsmobile Park baseball stadium, coordinated the creation of the food bank for Iron Workers Local #25, and currently sits on the Michigan United Conservation Club Advisory Board.
Nichols helped to establish the Douglas Griffith Community Service Award Breakfast for Kids. This award pays tribute to labor leaders from the mid-Michigan area for their many years of community commitment and dedication. Proceeds raised are donated to the Sparrow Hospital Foundation for the Children's Miracle Network.
Commissioner Nichols and his wife of 42 years, Judy, had one son, Brian (deceased), and a daughter, April (Scott) Nolan, of Fowlerville. Two grandsons, Garrett and Grant, and granddaughter Morgan complete the family.
Vicki J. Pontz
Vicki J. Pontz was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Rick Snyder on December 31, 2013.
Ms. Pontz was appointed Director of the Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA) October 1, 2008. THE GLLA is a program of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University offering two leadership development programs targeting agricultural, natural resource, environmental, business, manufacturing, and community development professionals. The GLLA empowers facilitative leaders who will propel Michigan forward toward economic and environmental vitality. The GLLA brings together leaders from various backgrounds and exposes them to critical issues associated with sustainability of Great Lakes communities along with innovative, equitable and inclusive approaches for addressing those issues. Vicki is responsible for curriculum development and delivery, staffing the GLLA Board of Governors, participant recruitment and selection, managing the budget and staff and fundraising. She is currently embarking on an effort to permanently endow the program so that all future generations may benefit.
Prior to her involvement with GLLA, Ms. Pontz was the Director of the Environmental Stewardship Division at the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) for five years. The Environmental Stewardship Division (ESD) seeks to support production agriculture activities in Michigan, while protecting the environment and public health. Vicki had responsibility for several programs including Right to Farm, Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, Farmland Preservation, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Migrant Labor Housing, County Drains, Conservation Districts and the Groundwater and Freshwater Protection Program. Under Vicki's leadership, ESD forged several opportunities to partner at the local, state, and federal level to deliver conservation programs and included non-governmental stakeholder groups in the planning and implementation of these programs.
Vicki also served as MDA's Legislative Liaison for five years, overseeing legislative and regulatory activities for all MDA divisions; working directly with members of the Michigan Legislature on issues ranging from food safety, bovine tuberculosis, horse racing, pesticide regulation and water use.
Prior to joining MDA, Vicki was employed by the Michigan Farm Bureau as a regional representative, Legislative Research and Communications Specialist, and finally as Legislative Counsel. Her areas of expertise include natural resources and the environment and K-12 education. Ms. Pontz was intricately involved in the creation of the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program and the Groundwater and Freshwater Protection Act. She also piloted significant revisions to the Michigan Right to Farm Act, the Farmland and Open Space Preservation Act, Rails to Trails legislation, and several policies relative to wildlife management.
Ms. Pontz graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of science degree and is a graduate of the Natural Resource and Environmental Leadership Institute. Vicki is currently chair of the Board of Deacons for the First Congregational Church in Portland and has served as a director for the Downtown Development Authority for the City of Portland. Ms. Pontz is a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau and an avid hunter, hiker, and cyclist. She has cycled the entire Michigan Great Lakes shoreline and has plans in place to bicycle the entire shoreline of all five Great Lakes.
JR Richardson, of Ontonagon, was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm in 2007 and reappointed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2011. He was appointed chairman of the commission in 2013.
He is a life-long resident of the Upper Peninsula. His 31-year career in the paper industry ended in December 2007. He began as a union coal handler, paper machine laborer and recovery boiler operator in 1976 with Champion International Corporation. Throughout his career, Richardson worked as a process engineer, engineering supervisor, production supervisor and quality and environmental manager. Richardson ended his paper industry career as an operations and technical manager for Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. Since December 2007, he has worked for the New York-based TRAXYS Corporation, which creates renewable energy alternatives for producing power in the U.P. A graduate of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Richardson holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and has completed course work toward a business engineering administration degree.
While working in the forest products industry, Richardson has been a leader in developing safe, profitable, environmentally friendly processes and procedures. He directed the development of an environmental management system that led the way to the state of Michigan's Clean Corporate Citizen designation for the Ontonagon paper mill. The Ontonagon facility became the first paper mill in the state and only the fourth industry overall to receive this designation. Under Richardson's leadership, the mill also attained a longevity award from the Clean Corporate Citizen program in 2004 and three Neighborhood Environmental Partnership designations. Richardson chairs the Michigan Timber Advisory Council. Richardson also received the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Partner in Conservation Award in 1993 based on his work with local sportsmen's groups on habitat rehabilitation and fish plants, along with managing an award-winning wastewater treatment plant in Michigan. He was honored by the Michigan Manufacturer's Association as a finalist for the John G. Thodis Award in 2006 and has received numerous awards from Champion International for team excellence and selected for the Chairman's Award of Excellence in 1996, celebrated at the corporate headquarters in Chicago. His community involvement includes service on the Ontonagon Village Council and EDC from 1996 to 2004 and serving as a member of the volunteer fire department, Marina Commission, and as a hazardous materials certified technician. Richardson also is a member of the Rotary Club, Whitetails Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Ontonagon Valley Sportsmen's Club, and the Lake Superior Special Designation Task Force, president of the Upper Peninsula Sports Fishermen's Association, and chair of the Solid Waste Planning Committee. For the timber industry, he has served on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Task Force for Best Management Practices, is a certified storm water inspector and a C-3a certified wastewater treatment plant operator in the state. Commissioner Richardson resides in Ontonagon and is an avid fly fisherman, annual backpacker in the Porkies, hunter, stamp and antique collector, and outdoorsman. He says "come on up to the U.P. and we can go fishing, eh?"
Rex E. Schlaybaugh, Jr.
Rex E. Schlaybaugh, Jr. of Birmingham was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission by Governor Rick Snyder in January 2012. Schlaybaugh is chairman emeritus of Dykema Gossett, a national law firm, having served as chairman and chief executive officer from 2002 through December 2011. His professional practice involves extensive work in the mergers and acquisitions area, counseling boards of directors on corporate law matters and related securities law matters. He has received a number of recognitions with respect to his professional achievements.
Schlaybaugh earned a bachelor's of arts degree from Albion College in 1971 and a law degree from the University of Detroit School of Law in 1973.
Throughout his career, Schlaybaugh has served on many civic boards, including 15 years on the Board of Trustees of Oakland University, where he served a term as chair, and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, where he also served as chair. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Board of Directors of The John Hancock Life Insurance Company, and is vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition.
Schlaybaugh is an avid fly fisherman, hunter and sailor. He resides in Birmingham with his wife of 40 years, Jan, and has one daughter, Casey, who works in advertising in New York City.