Directors and Staff
Board of Directors
Tom Progar – President
Tom graduated from Michigan State University with a finance degree and began his career working for the Detroit Tigers. After attending VegMichigan’s Vegfest, his eyes were opened to the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of a vegan diet. Tom has been involved in vegan advocacy for over 10 years now and is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Eastern Michigan University. It has become his life’s work to bring about a more humane, sustainable, and healthy food system.
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.”
Rhea Linn has a Bachelor’s 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. Rhea 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.
Sarah Chouinard has lived in Michigan for 8 years, originally raised on the East Coast. Sarah is a new organizer of the VegAnnArbor Meetup group sponsored by VegMichigan and hosts monthly dinners and events local to the Ann Arbor area. Sarah has a background in biology, philosophy and business and her love for animals has brought the three together as she strives to promote a plant-based lifestyle, as well as provide education to those starting their own journeys. Sarah also spends time volunteering with animals and doing activism.
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 – Membership Director and College Outreach Coordinator
Noelle Grain is serving as the Membership Director and College Outreach Coordinator, where she helps promote the many benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. Noelle has 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
Melissa McKimmy 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. As the Event Coordinator, Melissa 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.