CUPPAD Regional Commission Staff

Dotty LaJoye, Executive Director – dlajoye @ Phone Ext. 1376

As Executive Director for the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission, Dotty oversees day-to-day operations of the Commission staff and projects.


Richard Smith, Community Planner– rsmith @  Phone Ext. 1378

Richard is CUPPAD’s lead person in land use regulations, such as subdivision and zoning ordinances. He works with local and regional organizations on economic development planning and implementation and also provides technical assistance to local units of government, and is also involved in demographic/census data, recreation plans, and master plans. Richard holds a BA in Sociology from Graceland University and a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa.


Emilie Schada, Regional Planner – eschada @  Phone Ext. 1380

Emilie administers arts and cultural programming, trainings, and grant writing for the CUPPAD region as well as through the Upper Peninsula Arts and Cultural Alliance. She has worked as a community / economic developer for local units of government since 2001 and provides technical assistance in this arena. As one of ten re-granting agencies across the state, she administers the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs mini-grant program to increase meaningful arts-related programming in our region. Emilie holds a Master of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Western Michigan University.


Peter VanSteen, Transportation Planner – pvansteen @  Phone Ext. 1379

Peter is our lead person in transportation planning, access management, traffic counting, non-motorized and other transportation projects.  He represents our region in statewide planning efforts and assists communities with transportation-related technical assistance.Peter holds a degree in Business Administration from Valparaiso University.


Steve Lenaker, GIS Coordinator – slenaker @  Phone Ext. 1381

Steve specializes in developing and analyzing maps for local units, staff, and others using various methods. Steve develops, analyzes, and maintains an extensive set of data layers used by staff for planning and map purposes and builds appropriate base maps for local and regional projects.  Steve also assists with the local and regional 911 emergency management programs, and assists other local communities developing and maintaining their GIS systems and GPS equipment. Steve holds a degree in Geography, with a minor in GIS & Spatial Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.


Nathan Fazer, Community Planner – nfazer @  Phone Ext. 1377

Nathan brings over 10 years experience in planning and GIS and primarily works with local units to develop master plans, but also assists with recreation plans and zoning; is the lead on the Regional Prosperity Initiative (RPI); works to enhance the Regional GIS/Web GIS; and also provides support to Delta County’s GIS. Nathan holds a BS in Planning with a minor in Geography from Northern Michigan University


Ben DuBois, GIS Technician/Planning Assistant – bdubois @  Phone Ext. 1307

A graduate of Grand Valley State University in Geography with an emphasis in Urban Planning and GIS, Ben provides mapping and GIS support under the direction of the GIS Coordinator. Ben is primarily tasked with providing direct GIS support to Delta County under the Regional GIS, and is the primary staff on parcel mapping for Delta County. Ben also provides assistance on various planning and transportation projects.


Scott Lawrence, Videographer – slawrence @

A graduate of Northern Michigan University in Fine Arts with a concentration in Digital Cinema, Scott is helping to add additional value and a new dimension to CUPPAD’s already robust master planning service area by customizing community centered videos for their marketing purposes helping communities utilize this important communication tool.



The CUPPAD Region

Click the map below to pull up county-specific information and resources.