Michigan Blueberry Commission Board Members
These are the blueberry growers in your region that have devoted countless hours, volunteering on your behalf, to guide the MBC and its decisions. Your industry is better off, because of their steadfast dedication to Michigan’s blueberry industry.
Kevin grew up in Southeast Michigan on his family’s centennial retail/wholesale greenhouse operation. In 2009, he graduated with a BA degree from The University of Michigan, with a degree in Public Relations/ Corporate Communications. He has served as Michigan Farm Bureau’s Horticulture/ Industry Relations Specialist for 5 years, and is also currently serving as the Executive Director of the Michigan Blueberry Commission. Kevin’s passion for Michigan’s specialty crop industry is no secret, and he enjoys his service to the Michigan Blueberry Industry. When Kevin’s not working at Michigan Farm Bureau, or for the Commission, or helping out at his family’s farm, he can be found floating on his boat on Higgins Lake, or flying down the two tracks on his four wheeler at the family hunt camp in Onaway.
Creela O. Hamlin
South Haven, Michigan
I am a fifth generation farmer, with a passion for producing safe and healthy food. As a producer of a variety of fruits and vegetables, I find it valuable to incorporate things learned in producing one crop to benefit another. I feel passionately about serving the agricultural community and preserving this way of life for the next generation.
Cell: (269) 214-6924
Cheryl Sullins owns and operates Jubilee Blueberry Farm with her husband Russ. Over the past 35 years, their farm has grew to 200 acres. Over the years Cheryl and her husband have been both independent and cooperative growers, and are currently members of MBG. Her passion for the Michigan Blueberry Commission grew out of the desire to inform and educate the public about blueberries, while creating unity within the blueberry industry.
South Haven, Michigan
Shelly Hartmann and her husband, Dennis, are lifelong residents of South Haven, Michigan. They have been married for 28 years, have 3 married daughters, and 7 grandchildren.
Shelly and Dennis own a large blueberry operation, known as True Blue Farms with a retail subsidiary known as The Blueberry Store, headquartered in Grand Junction, Michigan.
Currently, Shelly, appointed by Governor Rick Snyder, serves as the Secretary for the Michigan Blueberry Commission. She also serves on the board of the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program Advisory Council as well as the South Haven Chamber of Commerce. Shelly is the past president of the Michigan Blueberry Advisory Committee as well as the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association (where she currently serves as First Vice-President). Shelly is the Midwest’s alternate producer member of The United States Highbush Blueberry Council, where she has formerly served as the Board’s Secretary. Not only does Shelly work a full-time job, take part in the industry by being a member and serving on boards, she also takes part in several types of motivational/entrepreneurial seminars as a keynote speaker.
Shelly has penned an inspiring story of her rise to success in the book, Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul, has been featured as a guest speaker for the eWomen conference held in Dallas Texas, and previously graced the cover of Chicago City Woman.
Dennis Vander Kooi
An active member of a fourth-generation blueberry farm in the Zeeland/West Olive Area dedicated to preserving and enhancing a healthy Michigan Blueberry Industry through supporting innovation and research focused on improving Quality, Sustainability, and Marketability of our local farms.
Cell: 1 (616) 886-2169
As a fifth-generation farmer, Carly farms blueberries alongside her family at Brookside Farms. She is a graduate from Cornerstone University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing and Management. Carly returned to the farm full time in 2012 as the head of Food Safety and enjoys the various day to day roles that farming brings. She is looking forward to serving the Michigan Blueberry Commission, to help continue to educate, grow and preserve the Michigan blueberry industry for generations to come.
Carly lives in Bloomingdale with her husband Mark and three children Cooper, Jase and Tessa Jo.
Rob is a third generation blueberry farmer, who farms with his family at Cornerstone Ag. He has a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Biology from Cornerstone University. After working other careers post-college, he returned to his family’s farm and is now in charge of all harvesting operations. “My family has been blessed to be supported by the blueberry industry for over fifty years and I am happy to serve in this capacity to help Michigan farms continue to grow for many years to come.” Away from the business, Rob is blessed with a supportive wife, Lindsay, and two wonderful daughters, Hazel and Charlotte.
Bio coming soon.
Hello my name is James Sumners. I am a third generation blueberry farmer located in Southwest Michigan. I have owned and operated my own farms since 1991.
My goals are to help start and efficiently run a blueberry council that is dedicated to helping the Michigan blueberry community.
South Haven, Michigan
First generation blueberry grower. I started out as a retail manager then, in 1980, I decided to go to work on a blueberry farm. I have been growing blueberries for 38 years. We currently farm 95 acres in North west Van Buren County. 60% of our crop goes fresh.
I served for 10 years on the Van Buren County Farm Bureau Board (currently chair the Candidate evaluation committee). I served for 10 years on the Michigan State Horticultural Society Board, 1 year as president (currently serve on the Trust Committee). I am an MBG member (28 years) where I have served on various committees and panels.
Peggy and I live in South Haven; together we have raised 8 children and have been blessed with 5 grandchildren.