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WDHOF Member Roster Detail

Valerie Van-Heest , 2006

Valerie began diving in 1978, while in high school growing up near the shores of Lake Michigan and Great Lake shipwrecks became her life-long passion. She co-founded Chicago’s Underwater Archaeological Society, was instrumental in establishing Southwest Michigan’s Underwater Preserve , and co-founded Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates (MSRA) , for which she continues to serve as president. With each non-profit, she uses her professional architectural, management, and marketing talents to lead the fundraising, research and documentation of Great Lakes shipwrecks, producing drawings, articles, documentary films, and books, as well as museum exhibits designed through her exhibit design firm, Lafferty van Heest and Associates. Since 2008, she has written six non-fiction books, published through In-Depth Editions, including one for young readers. Her latest book, Fatal Crossing, recounts the tragic loss of Northwest Airlines Flight 2501 in Lake Michigan in 1950 and her work with author/explorer Clive Cussler to search for the wreck of the plane. She regularly lectures on the topic of shipwrecks and maritime history and has appeared on multiple television news features as well as the History Channel and Discovery Channel. Preserving shipwrecks and contributing to the wealth of Great Lakes Maritime knowledge is her hallmark. Contact Valerie at www.valerieolsonvanheest.com