Norma Santiago, President
Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Norma came to California in the early ’70s and holds a bachelors of science degree from UC Berkeley in business administration with an emphasis is in organizational behavior and marketing. Norma served as El Dorado County Supervisor from 2005 to 2010 representing District 5. During her tenure as County Supervisor she focused on many issues including economic and workforce development, sustainable communities, forest management, transportation and environmental redevelopment to name a few. Norma uses this experience in her consulting business, Catalytic Connections which focuses on bringing together key partners towards building solutions and implementing projects that provide and economic, environmental, and social benefit.
Michael Levin, MD, Vice-President
Michael Levin has owned a home on the West Shore since 1998 and after retirement moved to Lake Tahoe in 2016. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and walking the dog, especially through Sugar Pine Point State Park. He joined the board in 2018 with the hopes of preserving and enhancing the beauty of public space in Tahoe, and keeping the Lake accessible to everyone.
Barton Tretheway, Treasurer
Barton Tretheway has had a passion for all things Lake Tahoe since he first visited in 1946. Though Chicago, Illinois is his primary residency he and his wife Jennifer enjoy several months winter and summer at their home in Rubicon Bay. In addition to having been an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Barton is founder and Managing Partner of Rubicon Solutions Group and a nationally recognized expert in strategy, governance and new product/service development. He serves on several nonprofit boards, and is immediate past chair of the Medic Alert Foundation International. “Our seven Lake Tahoe and Donner state parks are public treasures and I am committed to the work of the Foundation to ensure these parks will be here for current as well as future generations to enjoy”. Barton serves as the Foundation’s Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee.
Rosalee “Rosie” Smith, Secretary
Rosalee (Rosie) Smith has been visiting Tahoe since 1945 when she camped with her family at D.L. Bliss State Park. This began her love for the California State Parks at Lake Tahoe. She has had a cabin on Tahoe’s West Shore since 1968 and makes it her summer home now. She volunteered to help in the parks in 2000 and has been involved ever since with Living History Day at Sugar Pine Point State Park. She is a docent at the Vikingsholm and Ehrman mansions and also volunteers at the Sierra State Park Visitor Centers. Her passion for the parks led her to a position on the SSPF Board in 2010. Rosie serves as the board secretary and chairperson of our Events Committee.
Lolly Kupec, Immediate Past President
Lolly is the principal of Wild West Communications Group and has designed award-winning marketing materials for local, regional, and national clients, as well as Tahoe City’s sidewalk lights and gateway signage. She completed the North Lake Tahoe Community Wayfinding Signage Design Standards Manual and the Wayfinding Sign Site Master Plan. She served as President of SSPF from 2017-2020 and continues as the co- chairperson of The Donner Project and is the mastermind behind our signature fundraising events and marketing materials.
Bio coming soon!
Susan Grove, Board Member
Susan Grove retired after a 28 year career as a California State Park Ranger and Superintendent. She is dedicated to the Sierra State Parks and the increased quality in life they bring to park visitors, school children, and local business people. She loves to spend time in nature and is an avid hiker and camper. Susan is a native Californian and has personally visited over 200 California State Parks.
Barbara Hawn, Board Member
Barb is honored to join the Sierra State Parks Foundation board and to work with such committed and dedicated patrons of state parks. She says, “I look forward to sharing the mission of state parks and SSPF to the Northern Nevada community.” Barb was introduced to SSPF by attending an event at Vikingsholm. Her family has many treasured memories and celebrations spent at our Sierra State Parks. Barb brings a depth of fund-raising and community organizing experience. Barb is the chairperson of the Marketing Committee and also serves She serves on our Fund Development Committee.
Wes Kaguni, Board Member
Originally from Michigan, Wes gained an affinity for Lake Tahoe’s outdoor spaces while studying at UC Berkeley, sneaking out to ski and hike the Sierra between MBA commitments. Having enjoyed a successful career in energy commodities trading, Wes now lives in Tahoe City and owns several Cost Cutters hair salons in northern Nevada. Wes joined the board in 2020 hoping to help keep our parks beautiful and accessible to all.
Suzanne Larsen, Board Member
Suzanne is a 30+ year resident of North Lake Tahoe. She has enjoyed working in the travel industry since moving to Lake Tahoe. She has participated in the vacation rental market as a vendor, both on a national and local level, and worked in lodging for five years when she first moved to Lake Tahoe. Suzanne, her husband and her now married daughter enjoy the history, beauty and uniqueness of living in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Her family enjoys skiing, golfing, fishing and hiking with their spirited Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenees rescue Tamsen. Suzanne is excited to have the opportunity to help educate and share the both the history and beauty of Lake Tahoe with visitors and locals.
Sarah Robertson, Board Member
Originally from Palo Alto, CA, Sarah spent her childhood summers living in Emerald Bay/Vikingsholm at Lake Tahoe as her Mother, Dr. Helen H. Smith was a Seasonal Interpretive Specialist for California State Parks for 47 summers at Emerald Bay.
Sarah attended Mills College in Oakland, CA and earned a BA in Legal Processes & Business Administration. From there she began what turned out to be a 41-year career as an executive leader in Global Supply Chain and Materials Management in various technical industries. Companies include GTE Corporation (General Telephone & Electronics/now Verizon), Philips Corporation, General Electric (Healthcare), and most recently Varex Imaging (spin-off of Varian Corporation). Though based in Salt Lake City, her work required extensive domestic and travel around the world for many decades.
Sarah resides in Salt Lake City, Utah and is married (37 years) with two grown sons. She and her family take full advantage of outdoor activities (cross country skiing, hiking, river running, biking) and has continued to travel to Tahoe and her beloved Emerald Bay each summer since leaving California in 1979. The splendor of the Tahoe/Donner State Parks are enjoyed by Sarah and her family each year. Being a new Board member, she is looking forward to using her business acumen and experience at Tahoe/Emerald Bay to best contribute to the Sierra State Parks.
Dr. Larry Bienati, Board Advisor
Larry Bienati joined the Board in 2008 and became its president in 2010. He has been a resident of Homewood for 20 years. Larry has served as a corporate management consultant for many leading organizations in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He has held faculty positions at Saint Mary’s College and California State University at Sacramento at the graduate level. He is a passionate supporter of the Sierra State Parks and refers to them as the “oasis of the spirit”.
Kate Shaw JD, Board Advisor
Kate is the principal of KLS Law in Tahoe City specializing in estate planing and the various benefits it can provide to families and individuals. She will able to help you leave a legacy with our parks that will benefit future generations.
Kate is originally from Jackson, Wyoming. She earned a BA in Law and Society from UC Santa Barbara in 2001, and her law degree from Seattle University in 2005. Kate is licensed to practice law in both Washington State and California. A former competitor on the National Freeskiing tour, Kate is your typical ski bum with a law degree.
Dr. Helen Smith, Board Advisor
It is a great pleasure to have Dr. Helen Smith participating as a Board Advisor of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. Dr. Smith has devoted a lifetime of tireless advocacy for the preservation of the Vikingsholm mansion. She spent 14 summers of her youth as a guest of the original owner, Lora Knight. She spent many years conducting tours of the mansion for park visitors and continues to work closely with the State Parks to maintain the mansion as well as perserve the legacy of this fabulous site. She is the foremost historian on all things Vikingsholm, and has published an excellent guide that is now sold throughout the Tahoe region.
Paul Verke, Board Advisor
Paul brings over 25 years of experience in writing, editing and community outreach to SSPF. He has served as a communications professional for the State of California since 1994. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a master’s degree in English from CSU Sacramento. A native Californian and lifelong backcountry skier, hiker and outdoor enthusiast, whenever possible Paul travels into the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. He is a native of Fair Oaks, CA.