Peter Roy will never forget the first day of his
NOLS course. It was 1973, and his grandmother had
just given him a NOLS Wind River Wilderness course
as a high school graduation present. Roy hitchhiked
from New Orleans to the old lumberyard NOLS was using
at the time to outfit students in Lander, Wyoming.
There, he met his NOLS Instructor, Cody Paulson,
who took one look at Roy's stiff new hiking boots
and told him to fill the boots up with water, lace
them on, and keep them on his feet for 24 hours. "I
slept in those boots that night at the Noble Hotel,"
remembers Roy. "That next day was the hardest
day of my life," he says.
After swatting at bugs all morning on the way to
the trailhead, Roy looked at his empty bottle of bug
spray and asked Paulson how to get more. Paulson took
one look at the lanky 17-year-old and said, "That
bug spray's gonna have to last you the next 30 days."
And so began Roy's great NOLS adventure—a
journey that he says "ended up changing the trajectory
of my life." Roy's ties to NOLS culminated this
summer in his selection as chairman of the school's
board of trustees. He has served on the NOLS board
of trustees since 1999.
Roy has come along way since that first day in the
NOLS lumberyard. Shortly after his NOLS course, he
began his freshman year at Arizona's Prescott College,
where he says he quickly put into practice the leadership
skills he'd learned in the mountains. "I ended
up almost immediately in a leadership position,"
Roy remembers of his first week at school. "And
I ended up in leadership positions for the rest of
my life. A lot of the skills I learn on my NOLS course
ended up being relevant to what I did the rest of
my life. NOLS was, in many ways, my university."
Roy attended Prescott College for a year before
dropping out to work in a natural and organic food
store in his hometown of New Orleans, La. By 1978,
he was president of Whole Food Company and it had
become one of the largest-volume natural product stores
in the industry. In 1984, Roy founded and became president
of the Natural Foods Network, an industry trade association
that brought together the entrepreneurs of the natural
foods business. This association led to the eventual
merger of Whole Foods Market, Bread and Circus, Mrs.
Gooch's, Wellspring Grocery, Bread of Life, Fresh
Fields and Whole Food Company. He was president of
Whole Foods Market from 1993 until he left the company
at the end of 1998. By that time, Whole Foods Market
had opened 100 stores in 20 states and was doing over
$1 billion a year in sales.
Roy's relationship with NOLS took a different turn
in 1998, when his youngest daughter attended a NOLS
Semester in East Africa. "It was a phenomenal
experience for her but also on a different level an
incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience for
us as parents. There was a very significant turn around
in terms of her attitude and what she felt was possible
in her life."
At that point, says Roy, "I would have said
yes to virtually anything NOLS asked me to do."
Whatever the tasks ahead, Roy says he's excited
to be at the helm of the NOLS board. "I consider
it an honor and a privilege to lead the NOLS board
of trustees. It's something I take very seriously.
NOLS made a tremendous difference in my life and my
family's life and I'm certainly willing and grateful
to give back to the school in this way."
Other New Faces on the NOLS Board
Judy Heisley Bishop
Bishop took a 25 and over course in Kenya in 1993
and has stayed active with the school ever since.
She is the director of the Heisley Family Foundation
and works at Heico Acquisitions on special projects.
Bishop was the national marketing manager for Nutri/System
LP from 1992 to 1996. From 1989 to 1992, she was the
director of public affairs and marketing at the Corcoran
Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Bishop received
a bachelor's degree from Lake Forest College in 1988
and an master's in arts administration from the School
of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She currently
serves on the Board of Regents for Georgetown University.
She lives in Washington, D.C..
Fred J. Kleisner
In 1992, Kleisner graduated from the first of two
NOLS courses, a 25 and over Wind River Wilderness
course and a 25 and over Prince William Sound Sea
Kayaking course in Alaska. His instructors noted that
Fred was "born in a kayak". Kleisner served
on the NOLS board of trustees from 1996 to 2002, and
was re-elected to serve on the board in June 2003.
Kleisner is the chairman and chief executive officer
of the Dallas-based Wyndham International, Inc. He
joined Wyndham in 1999 as president and chief operating
officer, was named CEO in April 2000 and became chairman
of the board of directors in October of that year.
Throughout his professional life, Kleisner has assumed
an active role in the various communities where he
has lived, both in professional and civic pursuits.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan awarded Kleisner
with the nation's top honor for directing the best
summer jobs program in the United States when he was
chairman of the Summer Jobs of Youth Program in the
District of Columbia.