The Park People Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

Kathryn (Kate) Ciurlik

Marketing Executive

Kate is a marketing executive and principle of a consulting firm devoted to driving growth and transforming business by defining, building and augmenting client’s marketing capabilities.  Additionally, she is an adjunct instructor at the Art Institute of Wisconsin, where she teaches marketing and works to develop students’ understanding of brand and marketing strategy and application through real-life marketing scenarios.  Previously, Kate worked in brand and marketing roles at several Wisconsin based, global companies including Sealed Air (Diversey), Kimberly Clark, Huffy Sports and Schwarz Pharma.  Kate earned a Master of Science in International Business from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Bachelor of Art, with majors in International Relations and Political Science, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  While in undergraduate school, during the summer, Kate worked as a Milwaukee County seasonal employee.  Kate enjoys walking and in-line skating at Sheridan, Grant and lake front parks.  She also loves smelling the roses at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park.  Kate joined the board of directors of the Park People in 2015.  She aspires to put her marketing skills to work to increase community engagement and involvement in preserving and enhancing our park systems.

Vice President and President Elect

Nadine Weske
Community Volunteer

Nadine Weske earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from UW Milwaukee in 1997. After graduation, she continued working in the insurance industry switching from sales to claims. In 1999, she moved to Madison with her husband accepting a new position and earned the prestigious CPCU insurance designation. After acting as Loaned Executive to United Way, she returned home to Milwaukee in 2005 to start a family and is now a stay at home mother of two. Nadine volunteers at her childrens' school, is a Girl Scout leader, on the parent advisory board of McMenamin Irish Dance Academy, member of the Junior League of Milwaukee and lifetime member of Lake Park Friends.  There are so many wonderful parks but Lake Park is her "neighborhood" park where friends can be found, has a fascinating history including being designed by Olmsted plus beautiful views of Lake Michigan.

Vice President

Barbara Ali
Barbara Ali is a local author of “101 Things to do in Milwaukee Parks”, and "The Milwaukee Bucket List" She blogs about the Milwaukee area parks at  She holds degrees in Psychology and Safety.  A retired US Air Force officer, she moved to Milwaukee in 2004.  Her introduction to the parks came from joining a moms’ group that visited different Milwaukee parks every Friday during the summer, when her son Omar was younger.  Her favorite park during the summer is South Shore Park on a Saturday morning, where she says there is a “real sense of community” with live music, fresh crepes, and a variety of healthy food choices at the farmer’s market.  During winter, she loves snowshoeing and greeting the sled dogs at Whitnall Park.

Pat Hintz, JD
Quarles and Brady

Patricia A. Hintz is an attorney with Quarles & Brady LLP where she practices in the areas of taxation and not-for-profit organizations. She advises clients in a wide variety of areas including partnership and pass-through taxation, low income housing tax credit projects, tax controversy matters before the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities and corporate and tax issues of not-for-profit organizations including public charities and private foundations.  Pat was selected as a "Woman in the Law" Honoree by the Wisconsin Law Journal (2014).  Prior to attending law school (from 1985 to 1991), Pat worked as a tax consultant at Deloitte & Touche LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She is a certified public accountant, licensed in Wisconsin. Pat received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, a M.S. in Taxation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.S. in accounting from Marquette University. She currently (since 2000) serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Milwaukee Bar Association. She previously served as treasurer of Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association, chair and treasurer of the tax section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, board member and treasurer of the Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness and a founding member and treasurer of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association.  Pat’s favorite park is Brown Deer. She has been playing golf since she was 13 and enjoys the challenge of a championship caliber course.  Pat knows that Brown Deer is a rare jewel as part of a public golf course system.

Cheri Briscoe
Community Volunteer

Cheri (Frederick) Briscoe has been interested in nature and conservation all of her life. She was elected to the Waukesha County Board from 1984-1996, where she served as Chair of the Recycling and Waste Management Committee and several others. She helped start recycling centers in Elm Grove and Brookfield and also helped to found the Elmbrook Senior Taxi. She was a founding member of AROW (Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin). Upon leaving the Waukesha Board she moved to Milwaukee and resumed teaching.  After retiring from Milwaukee High School of the Arts in 2001 she became involved with the Great Waters Group of the Sierra Club and served as Chairperson for 5 years.  She currently serves as chair for the Milwaukee County Parks Advisory Commission. Cheri has a B.S. Degree in Education from Southeast Missouri State College.  Cheri is the Chair of the Oak Leaf Trail Passport Program.   Her favorite parks are any that have a stamping station for the Oak Leaf Trail Passport program including Estabrook Park where she can enjoy the Beer Garden.

Jim Ciurlik, CPA
Security Frist Financial Services

Jim currently spends most of his time providing pro-active tax planning, accounting and advisory services for self-employed entrepreneurs, small businesses and people nearing or in retirement.    Jim’s prior corporate experience includes work with Arthur Anderson, Ernest Young, Miller Brewery, Oscar Mayer and the National Bank of Commerce (now part of Sun Trust Bank).  In addition to time spent helping entrepreneurs, Mr. Ciurlik is frequently involved with one or more start-up ventures where his role varies.  In the past, he has acted as a general manager or owner, for a Greeting Card Company, a Wine and Beer distributor and importer, and three start-up web-based companies.  Over a two year period, Mr. Ciurlik also had the privilege of working as the chief strategist on a team responsible for building two joint venture retail banks with 37 branches in Europe and Central America.  Jim also spent 5 years teaching in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Jim has a Bachelor degree in Accounting from the University of Milwaukee, a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin Madison and a teaching certificate from UW-Milwaukee.  While at UW- Milwaukee, Jim was part of two national qualifying Cross Country teams (NAIA Division II) and a three time recipient of UW- Milwaukee Scholar Athlete Award.  Jim grew up on the South-side of Milwaukee where he spent five summers working as a Milwaukee County Park seasonal employee.  Jim’s favorite parks are Sheridan, Warnimont and Grant where today he enjoys taking long walks, swimming, and playing on the bluffs.

Natalie Fairbanks
Milwaukee Public Museum

Natalie Fairbanks is the development communications coordinator at the Milwaukee Public Museum, and she is a member of the American Alliance of Museums’ Public Relations and Marketing board. Natalie is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. As a former park ranger, she believes that public parks enrich our communities. Natalie is also a certified Wisconsin Master Naturalist and spends many weekends hiking, biking, canoeing, and enjoying the outdoors. Her favorite parks are Riverside Park, Grant Park, and Whitnall Park, where she spends time volunteering at Wehr Nature Center.

John Machulak, JD
Machulak Robertson and Sodos, S.C.

John Machulak is an attorney and the founder of Machulak, Robertson & Sodos, S.C., a general practice law firm. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, first growing up on the south side and then moving to Wauwatosa. After graduating from at the University Chicago, receiving his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and marrying Susan Robertson (now deceased) while in school, he and Susan returned to Milwaukee, living first on the northwest side and then moving to the Tippecanoe neighborhood. Three children later, John and Susan moved to the north side and settled on the Milwaukee River. John regularly bikes to his office on the East Side and loves the Oak Leaf trail. John has great childhood memories of the Menomonee River Parkway including swimming in the Menomonee River. He spent many hours with his young children in Wilson Park and Whitnall Park and on the south shore. Later, he and Susan were regular volunteers monitoring the border between Doctors Park and the Schlitz Audubon Center.  Recently, his favortite park to spend time in is Kletzsch Park.

Ken Solis, MD, MA

Ken Solis, MD, MA. is an ER physician who graduated. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and has a Master’s in bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Ken became interested in invasive plant species when he discovered that buckthorn trees, garlic mustard and other invasive plant species were prevalent not only in his small forested yard, but also along the street sides and parks themselves. From 1994 to 1995 he surveyed and documented the presence and density of invasive plants in over 40 parks to make the case that they had to be addressed – or risk forever losing the native plant community. The Park People learned of his surveys shortly thereafter and began the volunteer “Weed-Out!” program to try to control invasives in various parks.  He was also instrumental in promoting  the creation of a park system’s  “natural areas manager” position and staff so that these areas would receive the professional attention that they deserved.  Ken is also interested in “Big History” (history extending back to the Big Bang) and is most well-known for being a “freestyle” jump rope pioneer/expert who has been on national TV, set 2 Guinness World Records, did 100’s of shows, and wrote instructional books and videos.  Ken’s favorite natural areas are Cudahy Preserve and “Canal Woods” of the southernmost Root River Parkway.

Adam Nowaczynski
HR Consultant, Mindlanse

Adam Nowaczynski is a HR Consultant for Mindlance and works in IL at Abbott Laboratories. He has served on the board of the Friends of Pulaski Park Cudahy in the position of Vice Chair for the last 2.5 years.  Adam holds a bachelors degree from Cardinal Stritch University, an HR Certificate, as well a double masters in Management and Business Administration respectively also from Cardinal Stritch University.  Adam is active in the city of Milwaukee as a Volunteer with Visit Milwauke, Milwaukee's tourism and conventions bureau, and has been a Volunteer Shift Captain with that organization for the last 12 years.  Adam has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Milwaukee for 7 years, and also has had experience leading an employee giving campaign as Co-Chair for the Milwaukee United Performing Arts Fund for one of his former employers.  Adam lives with his partner Tim in Cudahy, WI.  Adam's favorite parks (he has more than one) are the Mitchell Park Domes; Grant Park; and Whitnall Park.  Adam enjoys the outdoors and the beauty and haunts nature supplies in each of these unique parks.

Lucas Olivieri
Milwaukee County Human Resources

Lucas Olivieri moved back to his hometown of Milwaukee in the Spring of 2015. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 earning Bachelor’s degrees in Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Psychology. After graduating, he opened a mens apparel store in St. Louis called SwedLife. In 2015 he sold his equity in the business to return to Milwaukee and now works in Human Resources for Milwaukee County’s Behavioral Health Division. He is passionate about his family, diversity, the Milwaukee community and empowering others. He is an active volunteer at the United Community Center and enjoys connecting with community leaders, cycling on the Oak Leaf Trail, and spending time with his fiancée at their new home in Glendale. His favorite park is Estabrook Park where he enjoys the beer garden with his fiancée and friends while watching skateboarders in the near by skate park.  

Past President
Susan Spoerk, JD
Thomson Reuters

Susan Spoerk has been with Thomson Reuters since 1991. She currently works with large law firms in Wisconsin as a Westlaw Account Manager.  Sue earned her Master in Leadership in 2011 and her Juris Doctorate in 1991, both from Marquette. She received her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. Between undergraduate studies and law school she worked for U.S. Senator William Proxmire. Sue is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar. She is also the past-president of the Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association. She has served on the board of directors of The Park People since 2006.  Sue has served as Chair of the Friends Group Committee. As Board President she was mindful of board governance and worked to maximize the efficiency of the organization.  She currently serves as Historian and wrote the 40th Anniversary timeline for TPP.   Her favorite park is Whitnall where she enjoys walking the trails in Fall, cross country skiing in the Winter and golfing in Summer as well as enjoying the Thursday night concerts in the nearby Botanical Gardens.


Executive Director

Dawn St. George, Ph.D.

Kaye Hernon

Kaye has a Masters in School Business Administration and worked for a school district for many years.  Her emphasis was on policies and procedures while managing AP/AR, payroll, reports, software training.   She always enjoys a challenge and the opportunity to assist in making systems run more efficiently.  Several non-profit accounting systems have benefited from Kaye’s input.  She has enjoyed hiking and biking on many of the trails.  Greenfield Park was a childhood favorite that was also shared with her children.  She now is looking forward to sharing the parks with her grandchildren.

Directors Emeritus

Roger L. Boerner

Robert Cowan

Joy G. Teschner

David Kinnamon