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    2015 WRMC Speaker Biographies


A Deb Ajango has presented nationally and internationally on the topic of risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine. In 2012 Deb was awarded the Reb Gregg Award for "exceptional leadership, service, and innovation in wilderness risk management," and in 2014, Deb received the Paul Petzoldt Award for "excellence in Wilderness Education." Deb is owner and director of SafetyEd. She also works as an instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates.
  Aram Attarian recently retired from NCSU where his teaching and research focused on the human dimensions of outdoor recreation. Aram has spent over 40 years in the field of adventure education and outdoor leadership working with a variety of populations and settings. He currently serves on the NCOBS board of directors where he chairs the Safety Committee. He is co-editor of Technical Skills for Adventure Programming: A Curriculum Guide (Human Kinetics, 2009), and is the author of Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs: Scenarios of Accidents, Incidents, and Misadventures (Human Kinetics, 2012). Aram was recently awarded the John McGrory Award (2014) recognizing his “unique contributions that enhance safe Outward Bound participation for students and staff”.
B Jarrod Ball is the western regional program director for the Student Conservation Association. He has led youth and adult trails teams, instructed trails maintenance and construction, and spent winters working as a professional ski patroller. Prior to his move to the outdoor industry, Jarrod evaluated and mitigated risk as a small business owner, manager, and officer of a title insurance agency. An Idaho native, he can now be found skiing, climbing and generally recreating with his family outside of Seattle, Washington.
  Chris Benson spent his formative years growing up in New Mexico, and after graduating in 2006 from Western State Colorado University with a B. A. in Geology, has enjoyed extensive field work as a river guide, mountain guide, ski patroller, avalanche forecaster, outdoor educator, and most recently, as the Southwest program director for the Colorado Outward Bound School. He has worked over 1,000 days in the field in places like Utah, Colorado, Alaska, Washington, and Ecuador.
  Eric Boggs M.S., M.A.T. has worked in outdoor and experiential education for over 15 years. Eric is currently the assistant director for Experiential Learning at University of Oregon's Holden Leadership Center, field staff for NOLS, a Wilderness First Aid instructor for WMI, and a Leave No Trace Master trainer. As an educator, Eric uses metaphors and humor to convey his messages. As a student, Eric practices mindfulness to balance the subjective hazards of spontaneity and creativity.

Adam Brown is a program quality manger at the Student Conservation Association. He joined SCA in 2007 and held a variety of field leader positions before transitioning into a staff position in 2012. He is currently focused on supporting program quality through analysis of organizational systems and processes, training implementation, and risk management. Prior to his work with SCA, Adam worked as an aquatics facility manager, river outfitter, and ski instructor at Massanutten Resort while attending college at nearby Eastern Mennonite University.


Ross Cloutier is the founder of the Adventure Studies Department at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia and the owner of Bhudak Consultants Ltd., which specializes in providing outdoor-related risk management services to schools, colleges and universities, businesses, and governments. Ross is recognized as a global authority in adventure-related legal liability and risk management and has worked in over 40 countries. He has conducted dozens of program reviews, accident investigations, hazard assessments, and risk management strategies.
  Pam Collins is a field safety specialist working on the Global Field Safety team for ExxonMobil. She is a former Boy Scouts of America leader for her Eagle Scout son's troop in Houston, Texas, and has extensive experience backpacking and hiking with the Boy Scouts and ExxonMobil. Pam is a certified risk assessor for the EM Global field safety process which includes scouting new locations and assessing risks.

Sam Daume has been in the insurance industry since 1986 and has worked with educational institutions since 1989. He joined the Fred C. Church Education team as an account executive in January of 2009. His experience includes 26 years as an account executive with three insurance brokers assuming various leadership positions including New England education practice leader for Marsh USA. Sam has provided risk management advice and insurance brokerage service to independent schools and colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes as well as several well known outdoor educational institutions. Married 27 years with two kids, Sam loves the outdoors and traveling with his family. His highlights include climbing and hiking in national parks, fly fishing for salmon in Quebec, and a family trip to South Africa. He is an active member of Massachusetts Audubon, Appalachian Mountain Club, Trustees of the Reservation, and Sierra Club.

  Curt Davidson is a doctoral student at Indiana University. His research focus is on social support, group development, and a multitude of outcomes of adventure education. He also published a book on facilitating student learning last year. Curt has worked as an instructor with a number of organizations including Outward Bound and Summit Adventure.
  Paul Dreyer was born in South Africa and moved to the United States as a small child. He has continued to seek out travel, adventure, and education ever since. Paul has worked in and around the worlds of experiential education, leadership development, and group psychology for over eighteen years. He has had the opportunity to work at a variety of organizations and to support a diverse spectrum of students and clients. Across these organizations, Paul’s scope of practice has also been varied; he has worked as a facilitator, curriculum designer, expeditionary leader, risk management consultant, staff trainer, and counselor. Currently, Paul works primarily as a consultant with a number of educational organizations, including Avid 4 Adventure, the Cottonwood Institute, the Tandana Foundation, Where There Be Dragons, and NOLS, where Paul is a senior instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. Much of Paul’s experience comes from teaching, leading, and counseling groups in remote and challenging settings or environments around the world.
  Julie Dubin has spent much of her life exploring the great outdoors in Colorado (her home state), around the United States, and in as many faraway places as possible. Julie’s extensive travel, her service as a park ranger in Colorado, her work as a naturalist guide in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and her work at Children’s Environmental Trust Foundation International (CET) laid the groundwork for her to co-found Global Explorers, now No Barriers Youth. Over the last 11 years of her work with Global Explorers she developed, implemented and managed international and domestic educational experiences for students from around the U.S. She is considered an expert on ecotourism and educational travel and has participated in international forums on these topics. She recently transitioned to a new position at No Barriers as director of Human Resources. As part of her work, she also directs Risk Management for No Barriers.

Todd Duncan has managed and directed adventure, research, and education programs on five continents. He specializes in developing new programs, and has been creating and running programs in Hawaii and Belize for ten years, where he also served with the Wildlife Conservation Society as manager for Glover's Reef Marine Research Station. After two years as the director of safety and student life for the School for Field Studies (SFS), he now helps administer operations as program safety manager for the Sierra Club. Todd serves on the WRMC Steering Committee.


F Kate Farthing is in her eighth year at Broadreach and currently acts as the director of Field Operations, which includes overseeing both general and program specific risk management practices. Her perspective ranges from being a field instructor for many years to coordinating and scouting programs to her current position overseeing the team of program coordinators at Broadreach. Kate has attended the NOLS Risk Management Conference three times.
  Bill Frederick is the founder of Lodestone Safety International specializing in health, safety, and security for educational and service organizations operating abroad. Prior to that he served as director of safety at The School for Field Studies for 8 years and as an instructor and program director at Outward Bound for 16 years. He is a faculty committee member for Wilderness Medical Associates International. He holds an M.Ed from Harvard University and a CTH from the International Society of Travel Medicine.
Mary Gibson Scott retired last year from a 34-year career in public service, most recently serving as superintendent of Grand Teton National Park for almost a decade. She is deeply committed to connecting people to national parks, particularly citizens who have not had a traditional or cultural connection to outdoor recreation. Mary is a member of SCA’s board of directors, serving as a member of the Risk Management Committee, and was recently certified as a WFR through NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute.
  Diane Girard has been serving clients in the area of risk management and insurance for over 30 years. Relationship development is key to the depth of her work with clients. She brings many years of underwriting experience from working within insurance companies, giving her a unique perspective in serving her clients. Diane joined Durham & Bates in 2006. Durham & Bates is a 108 year old local and employee owned Portland, Oregon firm. She is an agent and works with many nonprofit clients as well as those in the for profit sector. She holds both CPCU and CIC designations, as well as a degree in education. Diane has lived in the Portland area for 20 years, having grown up and lived in Minnesota prior to that. Outdoor activities include hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and cycling are among the things she loves to do in her free time.
  Laura Gladrey Griebling, following years of working in high stress situations, developed an interest on the impact of stress on patients and colleagues alike. Her background in international work, emergency medicine, infectious disease, and family practice gives her a unique ‘bag of tricks’ to share with her patients and students. After many years of guiding in both the mountain and whitewater settings she has turned her attention to international work, teaching and providing care in remote settings such as Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Chilean Patagonia, Uganda, and Southern Sudan. She has recently completed a post-masters in Psych-Mental health, with an emphasis on trauma and stress integration. An instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute for many years, Laura has a passion for education, specifically in the outdoor setting.
  Wilma Gray, born in Ontario, Canada, received her B.A. degree from Queen’s University in 1984 and J.D. from New College of California in 1996. She has been practicing law since being admitted to the California Bar in 1997, joined McNamara Law Firm in California 1998, and became a partner in 2005. Wilma is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Society of Barristers, the American Bar Association, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, and the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California. When not working in trial or deposition, she loves to get outdoors to enjoy hiking, canoeing, biking, skiing (cross-country and downhill), and snowshoeing. Winter recreation time is spent volunteering at the Disabled Sports USA Ski School at Alpine Meadows at Tahoe.

Reb Gregg is a Houston, Texas attorney specializing in outdoor adventure and education law. He is a member of the WRMC Steering Committee, the Board of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network, and the Risk Management Committee of Outward Bound International. Reb serves as legal counsel to the Association for Challenge Course Technology and to a number of adventure programs including summer camps, college and secondary school outdoor programs, and challenge course and zip line operators and builders. He is a frequent lecturer and writer, and honoree of the Charles (Reb) Gregg Wilderness Risk Managment Award.


Amberleigh Hammond is a program quality manager and functions as the national medical screener for the Student Conservation Association. Her primary focus is screening, leader training, incident response, and compliance with field standards. Prior to the SCA, Amberleigh was at Outward Bound for six years as the national senior medical screener for OBUSA. Amberleigh teaches wilderness medicine courses and is an EMT and ski patroller. This will be her second year serving as a WRMC Steering Committee member.
  Catherine Hansen-Stamp is an attorney in Golden, Colorado, where she advises recreation and adventure providers on law, liability and risk management issues. She speaks and writes on these issues both regionally and nationally, and has presented at the WRMC since its inception in 1994. Cathy provides legal counsel to a variety of organizations, including recreation, adventure and sport program providers, camps, schools, outfitters, and guides. She is a member of the Wyoming and Colorado Bar Associations, and co-authors articles for the ACA Campline.
  Liz Hardwick has been a NOLS instructor since 2002. With over 170 weeks teaching NOLS courses, she has worked in many countries and in many skill types. As well as field courses, she teaches cultural competency and leadership training seminars for NOLS instructors. Prior to coming to NOLS, she worked in the non-profit sector doing youth addictions counseling and social justice work.

Tim Hare has worked in outdoor and international settings for the past sixteen years. He has worked as a climbing and mountaineering instructor, trainer and course director for Outward Bound throughout the western US, Alaska, and Patagonia, and as an instructor and program director for Where There Be Dragons in Bolivia and Peru. He has given professional trainings to Outward Bound and Dragons’ instructors, school faculty, and to conference attendees. Working in his current position as director of risk management at Dragons, he has been keen to explore the challenges and lessons from engaging and managing risk in dynamic, culturally nuanced, international settings. Tim believes that healthy risk taking is essential for living an inspired and full life.


Jonathan Igoe has worked with students in schools, recreation programs, and summer camps for the past twenty years. A 1997 graduate of Yale, Jonathan is a director at Overland where he hires a staff of 200 leaders. He lives in Williamstown, MA with his wife and three children.

David Janney, like many outdoor professionals, has traveled a varied and winding path. After earning a degree in History and Philosophy, he served as director of outdoor programs at a liberal arts college. He has worked extensively as a commercial river guide running expeditionary river trips in the Western U.S. from Arizona to Alaska. In addition to working winters as a ski patroller and telemark instructor, he has taken breaks to climb mountains and sea kayak. David's love of travel has inspired spending significant time in India, Nepal, Tibet, Central America and the Middle East. Interest in Wilderness Medicine came early in his outdoor career after becoming an EMT and WFR in 1990. David became an RN/BSN in 2004. Holding current certification in emergency medicine, he is also nearing completion of a fellowship in Wilderness Medicine. He currently splits his professional time between working as a field instructor for NOLS, teaching medical courses for WMI, and working as an RN in both emergency and hyperbaric medicine. While making Portland, OR his home base, David still spends significant time in the mountains, on rivers, and abroad.


David Johnson has been a medical educator and practitioner for over 35 years. He has presented at many of the WRMC meetings on topics including medical/psychological screening and OSHA standards and medicine. He is uniquely qualified to offer practical insights and suggestions on a wide range of medical topics that are relevant for people who play, work, and learn in remote and difficult environments.


Skip King began working in emergency medical services before graduating high school. He worked EMS in Boston during college, then became a professional ski patroller and, later, a patrol director. He shifted to communications in 1990, and has since handled many of the ski industry's most visible incidents. In private practice since 2002, he serves a variety of clients in the active outdoors industry, including Outward Bound.
  Tracey Knutson is a licensed attorney whose primary practice involves working with recreation and adventure sports commercial operators, public land administrators, and recreation oriented educational groups. An experienced trial lawyer, Tracey defends recreation companies and sports groups from liability claims, often negotiating pretrial conclusions that minimize time and expense. In addition, she provides risk management and training services. Tracey's belief, when it comes to recreational endeavors, is that risk and opportunity exist simultaneously. Learning how to maximize the opportunities in your recreational endeavors by minimizing or mitigating the risks is a key component of operating a quality adventure sport or recreational endeavor or business.
  <strong><img src="file:///dogwood/Users/gkjackson/Library/Application%20Support/Adobe/Contribute%20CS5/en_US/Sites/Site1AssetsTemp/Alex_Kosseff.jpg" width="417" height="417" align="right"></strong>Alex Kosseff is the executive director of the American Mountain Guides Association, founder of the Outdoor Safety Institute, and author of the AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership. Over 50 outdoor education, adventure, and conservation programs have benefited from risk management reviews he has conducted. As the Appalachian Mountain Club’s first risk manager, Alex established risk management systems for 8,000+ annual trips. Based in Boulder he is an active outdoor instructor, climber, backcountry skier, and packrafter.

Emily Ledingham is a senior NOLS field instructor and administrator. She has accumulated over 130 weeks of experience instructing hiking, mountaineering, whitewater, and back-country ski courses. Emily currently supervises faculty and risk management as a program supervisor at NOLS Rocky Mountain and NOLS Yukon.

  Drew LeemonDrew 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.
  Andrew Leider specializes in program design and strategy for organizations in transition. He is a leadership coach for social and environmental professionals and senior consultant at Potrero Group. Andrew is the founder of two nonprofit educational organizations and has held leadership positions with Montana Yellowstone Expeditions, Voyageur Outward Bound School, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. He lives in San Francisco where he is teaching his 3-year old daughter to surf, climb, and navigate BART.
  Joanna Lemmon is the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program progamming manager. Over the last five years, Joanna has been delivering outdoor leadership trainings to youth workers, teachers, and volunteers to equip them with the skills, knowledge and resources to get urban youth into the outdoors. Prior to working with the AMC, Joanna volunteered for the Sierra Club's Inspiring Connection Outdoors and Parks and People in Baltimore, working to engage urban youth in the natural environment.
  Rachel Lettre is SCA’s Eastern Regional program director and joined SCA in 2001. Rachel is responsible for the development and oversight of SCA’s Eastern Programs including national high school crews, community programs, corps programs, and interns. In this role, she works collaboratively with federal, state and local land management agencies, non-profit organizations, and partner organizations to develop innovative conservation service programs. Rachel brings over 14 years of experience engaging underserved populations in urban communities including Washington DC, Newark, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. She received a B.A. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management from Indiana University and a postgraduate degree in Outdoor Education from Edinburgh University. Prior to SCA, Rachel worked as an environmental and outdoor educator in residential, backcountry and urban settings.

Mike Lucas has 29 years in the insurance industry working as a risk management consultant and insurance broker for clients in manufacturing, engineering, public and independent schools, and experiential education. He and his team at Fred C. Church Insurance have gained in depth experience and deep appreciation for the world of experiential education working with current clients that range from Aerie Backcountry Medicine to World Leadership School, SCA, and Outward Bound. Mike also brings invaluable experience as a fire protection engineer, safety engineer, industrial engineer, lumber yard worker and textile worker. A father of three nearly all grown children, Mike lives on Emerson Pond in Rindge, New Hampshire where hiking, skiing, biking, snowshoeing, and kayaking are all enjoyed right outside his back door.


Brendan MaddenBrendan Madden is national director of operations and national safety officer at Outward Bound Canada. He has been active in the expedition-based adventure education field for over 20 years, mostly as a program director and senior instructor at both Outward Bound and NOLS. Brendan has also been a risk management trainer and consultant at NOLS. He was once the director of Hulbert Outdoor Centre in Vermont. Brendan continues to be fascinated by the confluence of systems thinking and human-factor elements in outdoor risk management.
  Dr. Will Marling earned his undergraduate (1986), graduate (1989) and post-graduate (1997) degrees in a variety of disciplines. In 2000 he was trained by the National Organization for Victim Assistance© (NOVA) and added to his skill set and experience base in responding to people in crisis. His praxis has been informed as a responder to a variety of national and international events from violent crimes to natural disasters.
  Kati Mayfield manages the youth outreach and volunteer programs at the Mazamas. She grew up in Colorado and moved to Oregon in 2010 to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Kati joined the Mazamas as volunteer manager in 2012. Shortly thereafter she began piloting programs and partnerships to bring more youth into the Mazamas, and in 2015 launched the Mazama Mountain Science Program, an overnight residential outdoor education program designed to introduce classrooms of 5th graders to the wonders of the alpine environment. An inquisitive newbie in the fields of outdoor recreation and education, Kati looks forward to hearing from the experts at this conference.
  David McEvoy began volunteering for the Student Conservation Association in 1983 and has worked for SCA, the NPS, USFS and other outdoor and land management organizations since that time. He has worked as a paramedic since 1990 and founded Aerie in 1995. With Aerie, Dave trains his staff to teach wilderness medicine courses to outdoor organizations and the US military throughout the US, in addition to teaching courses in Central America, Africa, and Asia.
  Kira McGieson is a Northwest native and spends her time in, on and around the beautiful water of the Seattle area. She is a Wilderness First Responder and an ACA Level III coastal sea kayak instructor with 5 years guiding and teaching experience. Getting her start in the San Juan Islands of Washington state at YMCA Camp Orkila, Kira has trained new instructors and led a 4-week sea kayaking course for youth. Be sure to ask her about the 9-day backpacking trip she led with women who were up to 50 years her senior! Kira has enjoyed facilitating workshops on working with LGBTQ youth with organizations such as the Northwest Outward Bound School, the YMCA, as well as at the AEE international conference. Kira feels lucky to be able to combine her passion for LGBTQ advocacy with her passion for working with youth outdoors in her work as program director for OUT There Adventures.
  Katie Baum Mettenbrink has worked for NOLS since 2003, where she currently provides risk management consulting and training to organizations around the world as the leader of NOLS Risk Management Services. She is a senior field instructor with over 135 weeks of experience on extended wilderness expeditions in the Western US, Alaska, and Chilean Patagonia. Before landing in her current role, she supervised faculty, risk management, curriculum, and student outcomes as the program manager at NOLS Alaska and oversaw hiring and strategic growth of the professional training instructor pool as the staffing coordinator for NOLS Pro. She serves on the steering committees for the WRMC and the NOLS Faculty Summit, and lives in Lander, Wyoming with her husband.

Frances Mock is an attorney specializing in advising outdoor education and recreation programs. She is counsel to NOLS, Outward Bound, LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School, and other clients providing advice about responding to serious incidents, claims, and lawsuits, as well as other matters such as ADA compliance, liability release forms, contracts, and general risk management. Frances worked as a Class V whitewater rafting guide, volunteer cross country skiing instructor for special needs populations, and in other adventure-based industries for ten years before becoming an attorney.


Steve Neal, risk management officer for Outward Bound USA and a member of the WRMC co-sponsor committee, has been a risk management and safety professional for 40 years. After an early career as a paramedic, he developed a keen understanding of the importance of proactive loss prevention. His career spans his current position with Outward Bound; nine years as risk manager for the city of Portland, Maine; 20 years in the ski industry focusing on insurance, safety, and risk management; and six years as an insurance professional providing insurance, loss control, and claim services to the outdoor recreation industry. A native Mainer or "Maniac," Steve enjoys all the seasons and outdoor activities New England has to offer.

Paul Nicolazzo is an outdoor professional with 35+ years experience leading trips, training staff, and designing and managing outdoor programs, including 22 years with Outward Bound as an instructor, staff trainer, climbing specialist, white water specialist, and program director. He has authored numerous books, field manuals, and articles on wilderness medicine and outdoor program risk management. Paul has extensive technical and field expertise in general mountaineering, ski mountaineering, rock climbing, canyoneering, and all inland whitewater and expedition paddle and rowing sports.


Alec Norton has worked in the outdoor industry for the past nine years, as an outdoor trip guide in Vermont, Alaska and Tanzania; a guide on a cross-country bicycle trip; and now as the director of operations and risk management at Overland. He has an MA in History from Stanford. A Wilderness-EMT, he oversees Overland's trip planning and risk management teams and manages staff training.



Gretchen Ostherr has over 25 years of outdoor education instruction and leadership experience. She is the senior manager of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Schools, overseeing all aspects of their programs, which served over 130,000 people in stores and in the field in 2014. Prior to L.L.Bean, Gretchen held leadership positions at HIOBS, as a program director and the director of new program development, and at Outward Bound USA where she was the director of the Outward Bound Training Institute. She has a M.Ed. from Harvard University.


Graham Ottley works with Outward Bound California's High Sierra and Joshua Tree programs and serves as program director and safety director for the organization. In addition to Outward Bound, Graham has been involved with a number of outdoor organizations including the SCA, Nantahalla Outdoor Center, NOLS, and Nature Bridge. He holds a MBA focusing on non-profit administration and enjoys playing outdoors as much as possible.


Don Pachner turned his outdoor organization and environmental organization volunteer work into specialty insurance brokerage firm Pachner & Associates, LLC in 2003 to serve the wilderness recreation, nature & outdoor education, environmental conservation, and research community. He is on the America Outdoors Association Insurance Committee, the National Park Service Advisory Committee Sub-group on Insurance Requirements, and has regularly taught insurance courses for AMGA mountaineering guides & guide services.
  Jeff Parker is the executive director at Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) based in Eugene, OR. NYC works throughout a 4 state area, serving over 1,000 young adults each year in outdoor conservation programs that combine education, leadership, community, empowerment and challenge. Jeff began with NYC in 1994, after applying for what he thought would be a summer job. Two decades and many pairs of work boots later, he remains as passionate about the transformational power of Corps programs as he did on day one. Jeff holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington and an MS in Environmental Science from the Evergreen State College. He is a member of the Corps Network Board of Directors and serves on the Steering Committee of the Public Lands Service Coalition. Jeff and his family call Eugene home, but they play and adventure throughout the Pacific Northwest.
  Jill Penwarden is an attorney and partner at Rimon, PC in Lake Tahoe, California, where she practices in the areas of sports and recreation defense and business litigation. Jill represents recreation providers including ski areas, resort owners and operators, travel outfitters, golf courses, and climbing gyms. She defends her clients against lawsuits and provides advice on risk management, insurance, and corporate matters. Jill is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.
  Becca Polglase has been in the outdoor experiential and adventure education field for 17 years and is currently the director of education at The Mountaineers. She has a Master's of Science in Organizational Management and Leadership, and is trained as a YMCA Working With Youth trainer, Teen Leadership director, and Day Camp director. Becca has a decade of experience building successful partnerships with youth-serving agencies to provide meaningful outdoor experiences for youth from a wide variety of demographics. An outdoor enthusiast, astronomy and geology hobbyist, occasional tide-pooler and lover of Ponderosas, she spends her free time skiing, canoeing, canyoneering, biking, hiking and exploring.

Rachael Price, NOLS Diversity and Inclusion manager, began instructing for NOLS in 1988 and has since served the school in numerous roles. As the Spanish Programs Coordinator, she developed and successfully ran local educator courses and fostered relationships with communities in Mexico and Chile. As a program account manager and risk management consultant for NOLS Professional Training, Rachael customized NOLS courses and trainings to meet a broad range of audiences. As branch director of NOLS Patagonia, she created an inclusive leadership environment for a diverse team. Rachael has participated in NOLS' Diversity and Inclusion “Train the Trainer” program and has extensive experience as a facilitator.


Joel Reid is a course director and staff trainer with the Northwest Outward Bound School, lead instructor and trainer with the Wilderness Medicine Training Center, and owner of Cascade Outdoor Education which offers wilderness medicine courses in the Seattle area. He usually lives and plays in the small town of Mazama, WA.
  Gates Richards is a senior instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. Gates has been involved in outdoor education and EMS since the early 90's. Over the years he's worked outdoor programming throughout the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest and Alaska. He's worked urban EMS in Washington, DC; Seattle, Washington; Gunnison County, Colorado; and is an Intermediate EMT in Lander, Wyoming. Gates began teaching for WMI in 1998 and now bears the title of WMI Special Programs Manager. He oversees WMI's WEMT and Instructor Training programs and is a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

Elyse Rylander is the founder and executive director of OUT There Adventures. She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts, Gender Studies, and LGBT Studies from the University of Wisconsin and is also a Master of Arts in Adventure Education candidate at Prescott College. Elyse is entering her 10th season as an outdoor educator and guide. She got her start on the lakes and rivers of the Midwest but has spent the last 4 summers as a lead sea kayaking and camping guide in the Prince William Sound of Alaska. She has also worked for an organization serving at-risk and homeless youth north of Seattle where she oversaw a drop-in center and crisis line, and provided case management services to queer youth. Elyse is an American Canoe Association sea kayaking instructor, Wilderness First Responder, and has training in motivational interviewing, trauma informed care, behavior management and de-escalation, and positive youth development. She has presented at the Association for Experiential Education International conference and facilitated workshops on creating inclusive spaces for queer people for the YMCA, NWOBS, and Cocoon House of Snohomish County, Washington.


S Jay Satz is the Northwest Regional vice president at SCA, where he serves as a senior risk management advisor. He joined SCA 25 years ago leading a conservation crew of teens and recent immigrants to the Seattle area. He has served as program manager, traditional skills instructor, and vice president of program and safety for SCA. As a member of the WRMC steering committee since 1995, Jay is committed to building a community of dedicated professionals to support each other in our important work.

Steve Smith, WRMC Steering Committee Chair, has greatly enjoyed (and grown from) his association with all three of the WRMC’s sponsoring organizations. He is the national director of risk management for the SCA, providing risk management tools and resources for students and staff in all 50 states. A two-time NOLS alumnus, he has also served over 15 years at Outward Bound as a mountaineering instructor, staff trainer, staffing manager, and board member. Based out of Seattle, he routinely finds humility climbing in the North Cascades.


David Story is ExxonMobil’s Global Field Safety coordinator located at the ExxonMobil Upstream Research Co. in Houston, Texas. Dave began his career with Exxon Company USA in 1978 after graduating from the University of Texas in Austin with a B.Sc. in Geology. Over his 35 year career with ExxonMobil he has worked predominately in North America splitting his time between Production and Exploration assignments. Dave’s current responsibilities include oversight responsibilities for all of ExxonMobil’s Global field activities in uncontrolled environments.


Paul Tame is a senior lecturer at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, where he has worked for the last 11 years, leading expeditions both domestically and internationally, facilitating and teaching in the classroom, and serving the school's risk management committee. Before moving to Colorado, Paul worked for Outward Bound (in 6 countries) and NOLS. He currently works as a consultant with Action Learning Associates.
  Shana Tarter is the assistant director for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. In addition to two decades of experience in wilderness medicine and outdoor education, she chaired the Wilderness Risk Management Conference Steering Committee for five years.
  Travis Taylor specializes in a full range of executive-level consulting and communications strategies and services for corporate, nonprofit, and government clients. He has extensive experience in crisis and issues management, media training, corporate communications, community building and public affairs. Travis helps clients prepare for and manage volatile situations, including labor negotiations; employee and activist demonstrations; natural disasters; product recalls; workplace accidents; eminent domain and land use issues; legal actions; and legislative issues.
  Su Thieda is the deputy director at EarthCorps. She joined the conservation service field in 1979 as a corps member with the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC). Her subsequent promotion to crew leader characterizes her 30 year career that started with building trails, teaching environmental education, coordinating backcountry crews of high school students, training crew leaders, to present day responsibilities that come with guiding a Seattle based non-profit of 22 staff and 50 corps members who are relentlessly working to restore the ecosystems of the Puget Sound region. A graduate of the Wilderness Recreation Leadership program based in the Adirondacks, her passion for mountains and adventure is still unsatisfied. Su believes in changing the world one step at a time. Su has been a Re-evaluation Counselor and member of United to End Racism for 20 years.
  Nathan Trappe is the director of all of Broadreach’s partnership programs and the director of training. He has been a leader and administrator for experiential education programs for many years and has a master’s degree in Educational Psychology, Measurement and Evaluation. Despite spending an inordinate amount of time becoming and Excel master, he is in the field as much as possible, practicing what he teaches, and continually improving processes for training staff and making better programs.

Liz TuohyLiz Tuohy has worked for NOLS since 1994, serving as field instructor, admissions officer, 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 currently serves as NOLS director of education and on the WRMC Steering Committee.



Mark Vermeal, vice president of safety for Outward Bound, USA, is responsible for the oversight of safety management systems for all Outward Bound Charters in the US. Mark has almost 20 years of experience managing staff at organizations like the Student Conservation Association and White Mountain School. As a Wilderness EMT Mark managed emergent situations, and has been a wilderness medicine instructor and a classroom teacher in anatomy and physiology. With rock, ice, and alpine guiding experience, he is a certified AMGA rock instructor and single pitch instructor provider who co-owns and guides for Mountain Sense. Mark currently serves on the Steering Committee for the WRMC and has presented at the WRMC since 2007.


Doug Wilson grew up in Alaska and started climbing and skiing in high school. He has been a member of Mazamas for 34 years and has served as president, climb leader, mountaineering instructor, and chaired their risk management and climbing committees. He recently retired from a 32-year career as a senior engineer at Intel Corp where he analyzed root cause failure of microchips and worked on manufacturing process improvements.

Jess Wilson is the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Leadership Training manager and has worked delivering leadership and risk management trainings to AMC staff and volunteers throughout the Appalachian region for eight years. Prior to this role, Jess led and supervised volunteer trail crew programs and guided adults and families on hiking and backpacking trips in New Hampshire and Maine. Jess is a Wilderness EMT and is a SOLO Instructor.


Dr. Al Wright is professor and chair of Recreation and Tourism Management at California State University Northridge, where he teaches courses in leadership and outdoor education, supervising both land-based and water-based outdoor programs that serve over 8,000 participants a year. He has worked with risk management and safety management issues for outdoor programs throughout his professional career, and has had direct experience at all levels of the process from both a field and administrative perspective.


Y 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.

Karmina Zafiro specializes in crisis communications and issues management and consumer PR. She has worked with many educational institutions facing issues and crises related to criminal investigations, town-gown tension, accidents, injury and death, litigation, activist action, labor negotiations and organizational restructuring/layoffs. Karmina has handled crises and issues for clients including UC Santa Cruz, UC Hastings, National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Teton Valley Ranch Camp, and Schools of the Sacred Heart.


Lester Zook works with Horizons Consulting LC – a group that uses experiential learning to help organizations succeed and unleash individual potential. Previously, Lester directed the Outdoor Ministry and Adventure Leadership program at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. His doctorate is from the University of Virginia (1995), and he is a member of AMGA, PCIA, and NSS. In addition, he owns WILD GUYde Adventures – a guide service taking camp groups, scout troops, families, and
individuals into the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley, and the Potomac Highlands of Virginia and West Virginia to climb, cave, and paddle. He has presented at the WRMC since 2008. Lester is a father of four and a granddad of two.






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