President & Principal
Parallel Solutions LLC
Megan's professional background and passions include community growth and development, land and water conservation and stewardship, food and farming systems, housing, transportation, and access to nature and outdoor recreation.
Before launching Parallel Solutions in 2014, Megan worked for seven years at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy where she served as Associate Director and Director of Development for one of Michigan's largest land trusts. She managed the organization's staff and operations, guided land protection and stewardship programs, led fundraising efforts, and collaborated with public and private partners on community-based park and trail development projects.
From 1999-2007, Megan worked at Networks Northwest where she served as Regional Planning Director for a ten-county area in northwest Lower Michigan and worked with local, state, and federal governments, private businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and institutions to support, educate, and facilitate local decision-making, inter-jursidictional planning, and action related to community planning and development.
Megan currently serves on the boards of the Homestretch Non-profit Housing Corporation, Paddle Antrim, and SEEDS. She was appointed by Governor Snyder to serve on Michigan’s Complete Streets Advisory Council and is a past board member of the Michigan Association of Planning. She is a 1999 graduate of Miami University (Ohio) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies/Western College Program. She earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University. In 2013, she was nominated by the Land Trust Alliance as a participant in the American Express Leadership Academy and received professional development and non-profit leadership training from the Center for Creative Leadership. Megan was recognized by the Traverse City Business News as a "40 Under 40" leader in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, and as one of the region's "50 Leading Women in Business" in 2017. She was awarded the Roger Williams Planner Award for Excellence in the Professional Field of Planning by Grand Traverse County in 2005. She lives in Traverse City, MI with her husband and daughters. In her free time, you can find her gardening in her yard, trail running, camping, kayaking, or reading.
Parallel Solutions LLC is a small business. We welcome the opportunity to work as part of a team, and we build teams to meet a client's needs. Depending on the scope of work and outcomes you require, Parallel Solutions LLC may suggest a collaboration with an Affiliated Consultant or with additional professionals to advance your goals.
Harry Burkholder has over ten years of experience in community planning and development. He serves as the Executive Director for the Land Information Access Association. He is an expert in Trail Towns and a frequent guest speaker at statewide conferences regarding land and water trail development. Harry also has extensive experience helping local governments collaborate to develop and carry out policies and programs that advance community-wide recreation systems, preserve cultural and natural resources and achieve greater resilience. Harry earned a B.A. in political science from Western Michigan University and a Masters in urban and regional planning from Michigan State University. Harry is credentialed by the American Institute of Certified Planners. He serves as a volunteer member of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority.
Gary Howe is a photojournalist and writer whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Traverse Magazine, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Conscious Choice, Catholic Relief Services and Edible Grande Traverse. He is a professional member of the National Press Photographers Association, the Michigan Press Photographers Association and the American Society of Media Photographers. Gary is also a community college educator and a City Commissioner in Traverse City, Michigan. His passions include public space and multi-modal transportation. Gary has a bachelors degree in International Studies from Northern Michigan University. He also earned a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
Sarah Naperala has over 20 years of experience and has worked in the not-for-profit, research, technology and education fields. Performance management and professional development coaching are two of her specialties. Sarah also has extensive experience in not-for-profit policy and procedures development and evaluation. She worked as the Human Resources Director and as Special Projects Manager at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC). In her staff role at GTRLC, and now as a private consultant, she has guided and coordinated the work of land conservancies who are seeking Accreditation status from the National Land Trust Alliance. Sarah volunteers as community coordinator for the Orchard Heights Neighborhood of Traverse City, MI. She recently collaborated with neighbors, city staff, city commissioners and funders to develop a site plan and implementation schedule to improve a 3-acre neighborhood city park. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan Technological University.
Gabe Schneider, Founder and Principal of Northern Strategies 360, has 11 years of experience and specializes in government affairs, policy development and advocacy, and state and federal legislative action. Prior to launching his firm, Gabe served as the regional representative for Senator Carl Levin in northern Michigan. Over the course of his professional career, Gabe has worked on issues such as economic development, land and historic preservation, infrastructure development and maintenance, and agricultural and manufacturing job growth and retention strategies. He holds a degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College in International Relations with a specialization in Environmental Economics. Gabe volunteers as the Vice President of the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Mark VanderKlipp is an experience and systems designer, working in human-centered graphic design for over 30 years. He helps non-profits visualize the systems within which they function, empowering staff to deliver an experience that’s clear, relevant and human. He previously spent 24 years with Corbin Design, 13 as president, where he was the lead strategic designer for diverse healthcare, higher education, civic, corporate, trails and tourism institutions throughout North America. Since July 2016, Mark has worked as a NorthSky consultant with Rotary Charities, a design resource to the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project, and a strategic consultant to SEEDS He has served on executive committees of two international design boards: the SEGD and the Association of Professional Design Firms. In 2012, Mark earned his evidence-based design certification (EDAC) through the Center for Health Design, and in 2017 became certified in Systems Practice through +Acumen. He is a 1987 graduate of the University of Michigan. Mark is a partner with the consulting firm connect-cx.