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Risk Management Consulting
Gain Expert Perspective

Through NOLS risk management consulting you receive a professional assessment that will improve the way you handle the inherent hazards of taking people into remote and wild places. You choose the most appropriate review format:


On-site review:
A NOLS reviewer explores your program through on-site dialogue with administrative staff, trip leaders, participants, and parents.
Field Audit:
A NOLS reviewer observes and assesses your program.
Plan development:
A NOLS consultant designs field practices, emergency response plans, and/or administrative plans that help you manage risks and respond to emergencies.
Remote review:
A NOLS reviewer assesses components of your program remotely by reviewing paperwork and talking with administrative staff, trip leaders, participants, and parents.

Risk Management Consulting Process
1. Design: You engage in active dialogue with the NOLS risk management senior consultant to help you identify focal points for your review. During the design process you determine the most appropriate review format.
2. Preparation: The NOLS reviewer analyzes your written program materials, which you have collected. During this phase you prepare for the exploration phase by scheduling site visits and meetings between the NOLS reviewer and appropriate staff or participants of your organization.
3. Exploration: For each of the four review formats, the NOLS reviewer spends time in active dialogue with members or participants of your organization. The NOLS reviewer develops recommendations or materials that preserve the core nature of your programs, and concludes with a preliminary presentation of observations.
4. Final Report: The NOLS reviewer develops a final report, providing concrete observations and recommendations.

Post-review consultation: The risk management consulting process includes four hours of post-review consultation with the NOLS risk management senior consultant to provide support during the implementation of suggestions and recommendations.


Next Step: Contact Us!
Talk to our risk management senior consultant to discover how we can help your organization. Contact us at 307-335-2222 or at


Risk Managment Consultants


Katie Baum Mettenbrink has worked for NOLS since 2003. She is a senior field instructor with over 135 weeks of experience on extended wilderness expeditions in the Western US, Alaska and Chilean Patagonia. She supervised faculty, risk management, curriculum and student outcomes as the program manager at NOLS Alaska and, most recently, oversaw hiring and strategic growth of the professional training instructor pool as the NOLS Pro staffing coordinator. She currently leads NOLS Risk Management Services, which provides consulting and training to organizations around the world. She serves on the steering committee for the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) and the NOLS Faculty Summit, and has a B.A. in American history from Princeton University. She grew up in Portland, Oregon and now lives in Lander, Wyoming with her husband, Pat.

Liz Tuohy, director of education for NOLS, is a senior consultant for NOLS Risk Managment Services. She has worked at the school since 1994, serving as field instructor, admissions officer, and program manager for NOLS Rocky Mountain, overseeing risk management, student outcomes, curriculum, and staff performance for 250 staff annually. Her perspective is based on direct oversight of field staff and countless conversations with outdoor, adventure, and international program administrators. Liz is former chair of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) Steering Committee and has a B.A. in biology from Colorado College.

Drew Leemon, director of risk management at NOLS, began his career in outdoor education in 1979 and has held his current position since 1996. He is a past chairman of the Wilderness Risk Managers Committee and is on the steering committee for the Wilderness Risk Management Conference. He has published papers on wilderness injury and incident data and is co-editor of the Manual of Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programming and co-authored Risk Management for Outdoor Leaders.

John Abel has been a NOLS employee since 1991. He has extensive field experience instructing rock climbing courses and instructor course programs. John has also been involved in many sides of internal risk management at NOLS; he has worked as an admission officer, staffing coordinator, and program supervisor. John teaches leadership seminars for NOLS staff and instructs widely for NOLS Professional Training. In addition to teaching Risk Management Trainings, John has created and instructed courses for the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, Google, and the Building Goodness Foundation. He holds an M.A. in leadership and organizational development from the Leadership Institute of Seattle.

Dave Yacubian has been with NOLS since 2000. In addition to working as a field instructor, he has program supervised in New Zealand, and worked extensively for the wilderness medicine institute with well over 100 courses taught. Dave teaches risk management trainings for NOLS Risk Management Services and has instructed courses for the United States Air Force, Google, and Bowdoin College. Dave is the owner of Ready SF, a San Francisco based company specializing in risk management and emergency preparedness services. He sits on the risk management committees of The Crossroads School and Environmental Traveling Companions and is on the safety committee of Outward Bound California. Dave has two daughters who bring him endless joy and risk management opportunities.


"I enthusiastically recommend the NOLS external review process. Program assessment and refinement are critical in any organization, and obtaining outside perspectives from highly qualified risk management professionals is an essential element. In our experience, the NOLS review team was easy to work with, thorough, and insightful. The feedback we received was constructive and progress-oriented, with clear and actionable recommendations. I’m certain we are a stronger program for having gone through the review process."

Derek Doucet
Director of Outdoor Programs Middlebury College



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