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Maritime Heritage Alliance

Board of Directors



Rich Brauer, President


Rich Brauer is president of Brauer Productions, Inc., an independent film and video production company he founded in 1977 after graduating with a B.A. in Motion Picture Production and Undersea Photographic Technology from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.  

Brauer received the Michigan Filmmaker of the Year award at the 2009 Traverse City Film Festival, presented by filmmaker Michael Moore.  Past recipients have been actor Jeff Daniels, writer Kurt Luedtke, and actress Christine Lahti.

Brauer has written and directed 9 feature films and hundreds of corporate, non-profit, educational and commercial projects. He enjoys supporting independent filmmakers. 

He co-founded the Inland Seas Education Association in 1989 and the Maritime Heritage Alliance in 1982, where he currently serves as president. He also serves on the board of directors of COGNITION, a science and learning center in Benzie County.

He has three adult children and 5 grandkids and lives on an old fruit farm on Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan.


Brett Derr, Vice President 


Captain Bretton J. Derr was reared in the great sailing state of Wyoming! Born on the winds of the high plains he found his way to Northern Michigan via the sailing ships of the eastern sea board. As a Tall Ship Captain, his cowboy boots can be found stomping around the helm directing deckhands of the Schooner Manitou. He has been a member of the Maritime Heritage Alliance for 8 years and is starting his third years as a board member and his first year as the Vice President. 




Doug Roberts, Secretary


BA Lawrence University, MA Eastern Michigan University, MSW University of Michigan

Fellow in Institute of Court Management,  Nursing Home Ombudsman for the State of Michigan.

Moved to the area in 1993 after 10 years at United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan.

Has served on the boards of: Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit, Committees of United Way in Traverse City, Chamber of Commerce in Suttons Bay and Wellness in Traverse City

Held a USCG Captains License (100 Ton) for 10 years

Has two Atlantic crossings and 11 years living on a sailboat in the Mediterranean.

Past President of Maritime Heritage Alliance.



Jay Ruzak


Jay has been an MHA member for over 20 years and has served as:  Board President, Advanced Crew Training chair, and
many other positions.   He has been a Schooner Madeline Captain for more than 15 years and is currently its senior captain.  In an earlier life he was a Captain in the USAF.  He also used his Cal Berkeley BA in economics and his MBA from the University of Chicago to advantage in mangement with several steel companies.    After that, he and his wife Cindy owned and operated the Greyhare Inn and vineyard.   


Heather Jankens 


Heather has been a member of MHA for 16 years and is a mate on schooner Madeline, a coordinator of Small Boat shenanigans, and purveyor of sailing chaos. When not sewing large canvas she is sailing to see the world on extreme vessels and obscure races, such as the Draken Harald Harfagre and one of the few to complete the Kraken Cup. Heather believes that our best connection to the world we live in is by playing in, on and around the water and is always happy to expose new people to its joy and complexity. 





Board Meetings

The MHA Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Monday.

Meetings are held at:

Discovery Center Collaborative Building

13170 S West Bayshore Dr.

Traverse City, MI 49684

Please view our calendar for the most up-to-date meeting schedules of the MHA BOD and committees.



Are you interested in joining our Board of Directors?

Click here for a board application 

Maritime Heritage Alliance
13268 S West Bay Shore Dr
Traverse City, MI 49684