Meet the Board

Welcome to the section where you get to put a face to a name and meet the dedicated members who make up our executive board. Each has written a short bio about themselves. Feel free to send us an email with any questions about Surfrider, comment on a bio, or to just say hey. Without further ado here they are,

Chair- Ingo Griessmann


My professional life has been spent working in the international automotive and commercial vehicle markets since the mid-eighties.  In recent years I became involved in a company that produces exhaust systems utilizing DPF/SCR technologies that allows the on-road/off-road commercial vehicles to meet the EPA clean air initiatives.  Currently I am now involved in a project for dual fuel strategies for the heavy duty truck markets.  In addition, I am a Principle in the Black River Winds Group.

I still remember the day that I got my hands on Surfer magazine back in 1974 and just couldn’t get it out of my head!  I have been surfing and traveling extensively since 1978, all the while enjoying sailing, boating, fishing, and wake boarding. In recent years, long distance SUP had become a hobby of mine. I am also an avid collector of old long boards and surf art!  Living in Detroit, we enjoy the inland waterways and the Great Lakes and the unsalted life style that they offer.

Secretary- Vicki Saarela



I grew up in Michigan and have always had a passion for the outdoors, especially fresh water.   I was fortunate enough to have lived on a small lake, where I would swim, fish and take advantage of various water sports.  As a Michigander I spend my free time at Lake Michigan hot spots, including Oval Beach, Sleepy Bear Dunes, and Grand Traverse Bay. I also fell in love with the beautiful Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula and hooked my record fish on the Pier Marquette River.

I have a deep passion for the water, it’s where I feel most comfortable and at peace.  It’s no wonder I settled down with my family on a small lake in Lake Orion.  I’m sure my son will grow up having the same passions as me being able to enjoy the water like I did as a kid. ( I know my two golden retrievers Bell, and Charlie do, they go swimming every day and would not have it any other way!)

I’m currently raising my one year old son Andrew.  I resigned from a marketing and sales position at a senior retirement community.  I love the freedom of my time and was excited when the opportunity came up to get involved with this great organization Surfrider.  It clicked right away to be a part of something that I naturally have a passion for.  The commitment to myself is to give back and help protect our coasts and water, not only for myself but for my son and future generations to enjoy.

Treasurer- Claudia Griessmann

Claudia was born and raised in New York. She attended school out of state but returned to New York City to attend her latter years of college at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She lived in NYC for 10 years and loved the city lifestyle.  She is currently married with three children and two dogs and resides in Michigan.

Volunteering has always been an important part of her life. In NY she volunteered at Sloan Kettering. Living in Michigan surrounded by all the lakes, boating has become a part of her life. She is committed to keeping the lakes clean and joined Surfrider to assist with the cause.

Project Manager- Julia Griessmann


Project Manager

My whole life I have lived, at most, a block from the Michigan lakes. My free time is spent swimming, paddle boarding, wakeboarding, and using these waters in almost any way possible. They have had an unimaginable impact on my upbringing and they are where I feel most comfortable. My love for the water stems from the many soccer tournaments spent on the Lake Michigan coast and summers in my own backyard on Upper Straights Lake. I feel a strong sense of gratitude towards these lakes that have shaped who I am, and I want to help protect them for years to come!

Surfrider presented a way to spread the word about how we can preserve the beaches and waters we all love.  Being a part of this organization allows me to give back and I feel a sense of responsibility to help preserve the lakes that have given me so much.