Community wellness through rowing

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Next board meeting

  • 21 Oct 2021 7:00 PM Virtual: See Calendar and Slack Event for link

Elected Board Members

The Grand Rapids Rowing Club is a member-owned non-profit. The Board members are all volunteer members of the club who serve for a one-year term. They are elected by the members at the club's annual membership meeting each January. Nominations are taken during the November board meeting and are placed on the ballot during December. If any club member wishes to run or to nominate a club member for a board position, please contact a current board member, send a message, or attend a monthly meeting. 

The following elected positions comprise the Board of Directors (starred positions are officers):


  • Primary Club Contact
  • Manage board and staff
  • Regatta and core functions
  • Contracts and rentals

Julie Bennett

Julie began rowing when her second son began HS rowing as a freshman at FHE. Rowing has since become the 3rd most important thing in her life, right behind God and family. She has always loved the water, growing up in Empire and having a father who was an avid fisherman and charter boat captain. Currently, Julie coaches while competing on the Masters' team; continually honing her skills behind the oar. 

Julie holds degrees from NMC, Hope College and GVSU. She has spent over 30 years in education and is currently the IT Educational Specialist at NorthPointe Christian Elementary. She sits on the board of Froebel USA and is a guest lecturer. People seem to like her because she is polite and rarely late. She likes to eat ice cream and really enjoys a nice pair of slacks. 

Vice President*

  • Insurance
  • Club affiliations
  • Non profit documentation

Gideon Sanders

Gideon Sanders has been a member of Grand Rapids Rowing Club since 2016, when he decided to get back into the sport after a brief break. He started rowing in 1989 the first day he stepped on to campus at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. He rowed competitively for all four years. Gideon also had the chance to compete three times in the Head of the Charles, The San Diego Crew Classic and the Dad Vails Regatta all four years. Gideon also participated in the Summer Olympic Rowing training under Tony Johnson at Georgetown University in 1992. 


  • Financial liaison
  • Accounts receivable, collections, accounts payable
  • Tax forms
  • Monthly reports

Katie Wynalda

Katie has always been active, participating in tennis and volleyball in high school and field hockey in college.  Katie began rowing with the club in 2019 after purchasing a learn to row class from her school auction.  She grew up spending her summers on Gun Lake and has always loved being on the water.  

Katie has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with an accounting emphasis from Hope College and a Bachelor’s of Education from Calvin College.  She currently teaches 2nd/3rd grade at NorthPointe Christian Elementary School.


  • Manage incoming communications
  • Record and publish board meeting minutes
  • Coordinate agenda

Ann Christensen

Ann started rowing because she thinks rowing shells are beautifully elegant machines. A while ago, she took a learn to row class with the Greater Houston Rowing Club. That's all it took. Since then, she has rowed with the Knoxville Rowing Association and the Fort Worth Rowing Club. Lucky for us, she found GRRC and has been a part of our crew since 2015. She loves sculling more than backpacking (which is a lot) and can often be found rowing a handsome single down the Grand River.   

Membership Director

  • Memberships and dues structure
  • Club social events
  • LTR days, expos and shows
  • Team store and clothing orders
  • Manage waivers and safety certifications
  • Member recruitment, retention, education and mentoring

David Visser

David is enthusiastic about what 2021 will bring to our club. His bio will be up shortly.

Director of Rowing

  • Coordinates all programming
  • Liaison between Coaches and Board
  • Coordinates season schedule 

Justin Ebert

Justin learned to row in southern New Jersey under Coach Bob Kerstetter. During this time, he rowed with crews that went undefeated for two consecutive years, including two 1st place finishes and one 3rd place finish at the SRAA National Championships. Justin later rowed at Grand Valley State University under Coach John Bancheri. Justin’s time in the Men’s Freshman and Varsity 8+ included multiple 4th place finishes at the Dad Vail Regatta, 3rd place at the ACRA National Championship, and 1st place at the San Diego Crew Classic. Justin routinely competed at the Head of the Charles Regatta and had the privilege to pull for the Laker Navy in the 2013 Henley Royal Regatta.

Justin coaches the Men’s program at Forest Hills Central High School and spends time vexed by single sculling in the offseason. In his day job, he helps middle market companies thrive as a commercial banker. Justin and tolerant wife, Sarah, live and work in Grand Rapids.


  • Shell, parts and equipment inventory
  • Coordinate equipment repair and maintenance
  • Repair and maintenance education
  • Launch registrations
  • Water jugs, laundry, portable restroom
  • Dock-in/Dock-out
  • Gas and oil

Daniel Williams

Dan grew up in metro Detroit playing hockey, golf, and swimming. He is relatively new to the rowing scene. He hopped on an erg at the end of 2019, jumped into a single scull summer 2020, and rowed a half marathon 3 months later.  Rowing started out as a new way to stay in shape and quickly turned into a passion.

Dan graduated from the University of Michigan and is currently a plant manager for a local family business that builds screen printing equipment. He lives in Rockford with his wife, Liz, and children, Evie and Everett. He is excited to serve Grand Rapids Rowing Club as Boathouse Director and looks forward to the year ahead (psyched to get his new Nelo shell on the river).

Co Director

  • Shell, parts and equipment inventory
  • Coordinate equipment repair and maintenance
  • Repair and maintenance education
  • Launch registrations
  • Water jugs, laundry, portable restroom
  • Dock-in/Dock-out
  • Gas and oil

Ben Cance

Ben has been a rowing member for a few years now. He has recently taken on a huge role in maintaining the boathouse, repairing and rigging boats, and caring for the grounds. His personal bio is coming. Stay tuned . . . 

Safety Director

  • Fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, exit signs
  • Gasoline safety
  • Repair reporting and procedures
  • Safety procedures, launches, logbook, PFD, whistles
  • Training for first aid, CPR, boater safety, emergency responder

Steve Lasater

Steve, although born in Nebraska, was fortunate enough to get to grow up in Texas. He has also lived in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Louisiana, before moving from New Orleans to Grand Rapids in 1987 “for the nightlife” (not really). He is a physician with a private practice in the field of Age Management Medicine, Clinical Lipidology, and Hormone Replacement. In addition to having had a long career in Family Medicine, he has also practiced Hyperbaric & Undersea Medicine. Certified as a Divemaster, he loves SCUBA diving, as well as sailing, and it is rumored that he even keeps a motorboat around somewhere. He has also previously been a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. He took a Learn to Row class in 2013, and greatly enjoys rowing in doubles, quads, fours, and eights, as well as in RiverDancer, his vintage single scull. His charming wife Bonnie, lovely daughter Courtney, and supportive son, Peter, have learned to put up with his rowing habit.

Steve’s goal as Safety Director is to help maintain the personal safety of all GRRA members, students, and guests, both on and off the water.

Communications Director

  • Web and social media
  • Media contact and coordination
  • Press releases
  • Mailing list and newsletter

Open Position

This position is currently open. If you are interested in serving as our Communications Director, please contact a GRRC Board member. 

Appointed Board Members

Junior Booster Representative

  • Appointed by Junior Boosters
  • Appointment approved by board of directors
  • Voting board member
  • Club membership required

David Box

David has just joined us as the Liaison to the Board. His bio and photo is coming. Welcome to the team. 


Marketing & Recruitment Committee - Amy Wolters

Development Committee - Jen Schafer, our wonderful and "Get it done at all costs" Chair, is stepping down. If you are interested in serving as our Development Chair, please talk with Jen Schafer or a GRRC Board member. 

GRRA is a member of

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State Games of Michigan logo

GRRA is a member of

North American Rowing Association logo
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