Directors and Staff
Board of Directors
Tom Progar – President
Tom has been serving on the VegMichigan board for 5 years and was elected president in 2018. After attending VegMichigan’s Vegfest over 10 years ago, his eyes were opened to the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet and it has become his life’s work to bring about a more humane, sustainable, and healthy food system. He is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. Tom graduated from Michigan State University with a finance degree and began his career working for the Detroit Tigers and later for his family’s business.
Paul Krause — Vice President
Paul is a pharmacist and former owner of The Medicine Cabinet pharmacy in Southfield. “Going vegan is very comprehensive,” he states. “As a society, we need to start accentuating preventative health care through our food choices. Furthermore, the planet can’t sustain a meat-eating society much longer. Finally, the evolution of factory farming has lead to the continued imprisonment and torture of animals.” Paul graduated from Wayne State University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Detroit.
Rhea Linn has served as the VegMichigan Greater Lansing Area coordinator since 2013, where she manages the Greater Lansing Vegan Meetup group, which has quickly grown to more than 1,000 members in the past few years. Rhea’s focus is on promoting awareness of the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a vegan (plant-based) lifestyle by holding monthly potlucks and restaurant nights to create a fun-loving, supportive community. Prior to serving as VegMichigan’s Greater Lansing Area Coordinator, Rhea served on the Board of Veg West Michigan for two years as Treasurer. Rhea has an Associate Degree in Computer Science and has worked for the State of Michigan in the Information Technology field for the last 35 years, where she is currently a wireless engineer.
Sarah Chouinard has lived in Michigan for 8 years, originally raised on the East Coast. Sarah is the organizer of the VegMichigan AnnArbor Meetup and hosts monthly dinners and events in the Ann Arbor area. Sarah also spends time volunteering with animals and doing activism. Sarah has a B.S. in Biology and an M.A. in Philosophy. Her love for animals has brought these fields together as she strives to promote a plant-based lifestyle and provide education to those starting their own journeys.
Angie became active in animal advocacy in 2011 and hasn’t looked back. Her love for all animals was what sparked this desire and then learning more about the suffering they continually endure is what sustains that passion. She has a background in nutrition and exercise sciences and higher education administration. She has completed the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate course from eCornell and hopes to use what she’s learned from that course, as well as information from books, articles, and life experience to encourage others to make kinder, more informed choices when making consumer purchases.
Noelle Grain – Program and Operations Manager
Noelle Grain joined the VegMichigan staff in 2018, helping promote the many benefits of a plant-based lifestyle by expanding membership and college outreach. Prior to joining VegMichigan, Noelle spent 15 years working in public policy and corporate affairs in both environmental and animal rights advocacy. She has worked with major food and apparel brands to implement policies that benefit animals as well as in regulatory compliance as an environmental inspector and with various environmental NGOs. Noelle holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Political Science and an M.S. in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies from Michigan State University.
Melissa McKimmy – Event Coordinator
As the Event Coordinator, Melissa McKimmy administers all facets of event planning and management throughout Michigan, focusing on promoting the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Her areas of experience include environmental sustainability, urban agriculture, land use, and human services. Melissa is currently a Steering Committee Member of the Capital Area Food Council. Melissa earned a B.S. in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and an M.S. in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies from Michigan State University.