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    2014 WRMC Speaker Biographies


A Deb Ajango has presented nationally and internationally on the topic of risk management, emergency action planning, and wilderness medicine for nearly 20 years. In addition to presenting at the WRMC, she has presented at a variety of conferences on the topics of risk management, emergency action planning, medical screening, and med-legal. Deb currently serves on the risk management committee for SCA, is on the board of Alaska State Parks, and is on the steering committee for travel abroad. Deb has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology and has been an instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates for more than 20 years.
  Amy Ambachtsheer has over six years of experience as a program administrator and field instructor at Outward Bound. She currently serves as the program director at the Key Largo basecamp for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. At Outward Bound, she has worked primarily with the at-risk population and has extensive experience as both an at-risk field instructor and staff trainer.
  Dr. Aram Attarian is an associate professor in the department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University where his teaching and research focuses on the human dimensions of outdoor recreation. He is a former instructor and course director at North Carolina Outward Bound and currently serves on the School's BOD as chair of the Safety Committee. Aram is the associate editor for Accidents in North American Mountaineering and is a certified Wilderness First Responder and AMGA single pitch instructor. He is the author of Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs.
B Andrew Bailey is assistant professor of recreation and tourism at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He has been exploring the outdoors for over 20 years by himself, with groups, and now with his 2 year old little girl. His outdoor experience, both personal and professional, have compelled him to investigate the human/nature relationship on many levels. He specializes in psycho-social impacts of outdoor activities. When Drew is not teaching, advising, or researching, he can be found exploring the trails, crags, and rivers around Chattanooga with his 2 girls (wife, Stephanie and daughter, Anya).
  Aaron Ball has worked in the outdoor industry for over 16 years as a guide, instructor, and supervisor in the mountains and on the river. Currently, Aaron owns and operates Southwest Rescue, a company offering remote rescue education in the Four Corner’s region. He is also an alpine guide and avalanche instructor for San Juan Mountain Guides, a faculty member and the operations coordinator for Fort Lewis College’s Adventure Education Program, an instructor trainer for the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, and a senior instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center. Aaron has a master's degree in adventure education with a specific emphasis on risk management from Prescott College.
  Rebecca Bear currently works as REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach manager overseeing REI's education programs both in-store and in the field. She directs the instructor training program and supports REI's risk management committee. Prior to working at REI, Rebecca served as the chair of risk management committee for Passages Northwest and worked with Outward Bound International. Rebecca has an Ed.M. from Harvard University and a certificate in Sustainable Business from Bainbridge Graduate Institute.
Dr. Andrew Bobilya is an associate professor of Parks and Recreation Management at Western Carolina University (NC). He has over 20 years of experience as a wilderness instructor, trainer, and program coordinator for various outdoor and adventure education programs. His research interests include autonomous student experiences and first-year college student programs.


Nelson Bruni has been SCA's equipment manager for over a decade. His background includes stints as a trail crew leader, outdoor educator, and fire effects intern. A veteran of the US Coast Guard, Nelson is a Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator, and is USFS Chainsaw and Red-Card certified. He is an SCA Conservation Work Skills instructor and an Aerie Backcountry Medicine apprentice instructor. He currently resides in Vermont.


Winslow Carroll teaches workshops on leadership, decision making, risk management and wilderness first aid to volunteers and staff at the Appalachian Mountain Club. Before coming to the AMC, Winslow was a guide in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, a NOLS instructor, and a leader and trainer for the Harvard First-Year Outdoor Program.
  Captain Andy Chase is a professor of Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy, in Castine, Maine. He began his professional sea-going career at the age of 16 as a deckboy aboard a Norwegian bulkcarrier. Captain Chase, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, has sailed aboard many types of merchant vessels, including tankers, container ships, tugs, and freighters. He has sailed as deckhand, Bosun, Third, Second, and Chief Mate. He was the subject of a book about the U.S. Merchant Marine by author John McPhee, entitled Looking for a Ship, and is the author of a book by Cornell Maritime Press entitled Auxiliary Sail Vessel Operations – a textbook for professional sailing.
  Tony Clapp was born and raised in Colorado and has practiced law there since 1996. Prior to practicing law, he was a fly fishing and whitewater rafting guide. Tony also taught skiing at the National Sports Center for the Disabled. He is a current member of the Winter Park Ski and Ride School and the executive director of CatSki U.S., a not for profit trade association serving backcountry snowcat tour operators in the United States.
  Joshua Cole is the Washington program director for Northwest Outward Bound School and has been a field instructor, course director, and trainer for Outward Bound. Josh is a mountain and ski guide for North Cascades Mountain Guides and North Cascades Heli Skiing and a lead instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center. Josh has an MSc in geological sciences, with several publications and presentations at national conferences.
  Nick Cross currently serves as the REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach Manager for central North Carolina, overseeing REI’s Outdoor School program in the region. Prior to working for REI he was the assistant director at NOLS Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. Nick has been a NOLS field instructor since 2001 and has 130 weeks experience working field-based rock climbing, mountaineering, caving and backpacking courses. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder, ACA SUP instructor, AMGA Single Pitch instructor, NASAR SAR Tech III and Leave No Trace Master Educator. Nick enjoys playing the harmonica and spending time with his wife Heather and their dog Abby.

Katie Dalbey, during the past 12 years, has taken on a number of roles, both in the field and as a program administrator, for Outward Bound. She currently serves as the director of FL At-Risk Programs for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. She has extensive field and management experience with both at-risk and standard populations. Katie has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Dickinson College and is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work from Florida State University.

  Brad Daniel is professor of Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies at Montreat College (NC). He holds an M.S. in Outdoor Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from Antioch University. Brad has led multiple, extended wilderness expeditions and environmental field trips since 1986. He has strong research interest in how these outdoor experiences contribute to life significance.
  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.
  Justin Doroshenko, M.Ed., is a senior instructor for Landmark Learning and a lead instructor for Starfish Aquatics Institute's Wilderness StarGuard program. Justin has worked in a variety of settings within the outdoor industry over the last 12 years, including extended backcountry and aquatic environments. He is also a paramedic in the state of North Carolina and has been involved with EMS and rescue for over 10 years.

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 10 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), Todd now helps administer operations as program safety manager for the Sierra Club.


F Lloyd Figgins is a British Adventurer and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, who has led expeditions all over the world. Having been to over 70 countries, he is able to draw on a wealth of experience to advise others on effective risk management strategies. Lloyd is a former soldier and police officer and qualified as a Wilderness EMT. In 2012 he completed a 3,200 mile row across the Atlantic Ocean in a 23ft boat!
  Marina Fleming came to NOLS through the Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program. She now works in the Marketing Department, and values the opportunity to expand the scope of NOLS to people from diverse backgrounds. Outside the realm of outdoor education, Marina enjoys the swim, bike, run endurance life.
  Bill Frederick is the founder of Lodestone Safety International, a training and consulting company specializing in health, safety and security for educational organizations operating abroad. Prior to that he served as safety director at SFS for 8 years and as an instructor/PD at OB for 16 years. He is a faculty committee member for WMA and holds an M.Ed from Harvard University and a CTH from the International Society of Travel Medicine.
Aaron Gorban has spent the past seven years directing the Appalachian Mountain Club's Leadership Training and Risk Management departments. During his tenure, Aaron has trained thousands of staff and volunteer leaders on behalf of the nation's oldest conservation organization. Formerly, he led environmental education programs and managed an outdoor education program for adults in Maine and New Hampshire. A Wilderness-EMT, Aaron also teaches Wilderness First Aid on behalf of SOLO.
  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. Wilma 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. She is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Board of Trial Advocates, 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, Wilma 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 Accreditation Council of the Association for Experiential Education, 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 Management Award, established by the WRMC in 2009.


Amberleigh Hammond is the Risk Mitigation Systems 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. She, along with Dr. Moore, recently updated SCA medical guidelines and has worked over the years with Dr. Johnson to update the WMA medical guidelines, providing screening advice to several outdoor education programs. Amberleigh teaches wilderness medicine courses and is an EMT and ski patroller.
  Catherine Hansen-Stamp is an attorney in Golden, Colorado. 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 for ACA Campline and the Outdoor and Recreation Adventure Law Center with Reb Gregg.
  Tim Hare, Where There Be Dragons Director of Risk Management, has worked in outdoor and international settings since 1999. He has given professional trainings to Outward Bound and Dragons instructors, school faculty, and conference attendees. An accomplished rock climber and alpinist, he has climbed and guided throughout the US West, Alaska, and the Andes. Tim believes that healthy risk taking is essential for living an inspired and full life.

Dr. Seth Hawkins has over 15 years of experience in wilderness and field medical care. He is board certified in both emergency medicine and EMS, and is the first physician to be designated a Master Fellow by the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He serves as medical advisor/director for numerous groups, including NC Outward Bound School, Landmark Learning, and REI. When indoors, Dr. Hawkins works as a clinical emergency physician and vice president of Mountain Emergency Physicians.



Jeff Jackson is a professor and coordinator of Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley's Outdoor Adventure professional guide training diploma, where he oversees 18,000 student field days per year. He teaches courses in leadership, risk management, and systems planning, and is completing a PhD on peer influence on safety motivation. He is an award-winning educator and co-author of the widely adopted textbook Managing Risk: Systems Planning for Outdoor Adventure Programs.


Ken Kalisch has more than 40 years of experience in adventure education as a college professor, field instructor, program manager, researcher, and author. His classic book, The Role of the Instructor in the Outward Bound Educational Process, has been used for leadership training at numerous colleges and outdoor programs over the years. Ken is currently an associate professor of Outdoor Education at Montreat College (NC).
  John Kelley has worked in outdoor and experiential education for the last 15 years. He is currently the head of school at the Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona. He has been an instructor at a number of therapeutic wilderness programs, international schools, collegiate outdoor programs, and adventure travel organizations. In addition to his work at Verde Valley, John teaches periodically at Prescott College and works as a climbing guide in a variety of locations.
  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.
  Alex Kosseff is the founder of the Outdoor Safety Institute and author of the AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership. He believes that outdoor programs can do a better job with risk management and has assisted over 50 outdoor education, recreation and conservation programs in improving their practices. As the Appalachian Mountain Club's first risk manager, Alex established risk management systems for 8,000+ annual trips. He lives in Bozeman, Montana and enjoys instructing in and exploring the Yellowstone ecosystem and beyond.

Linda Leckie has been teaching physical and health education and outdoor education for the past 30 years. Former director of outdoor education at the Bishop Strachan School in Toronto, Linda has taken students on a wide variety of remote travel experiences thorughout her teaching career: kayaking in St. Andrew's and the Baja, canoeing in Florida, a band and choir trip to Europe, coaching tournaments to the USA. Linda is a seasoned educator and a veteran of the summer and winter trail. In addition to guiding wilderness travel experiences she has led risk management and leadership workshops for ORCKA, COEO and AEE.

  Emily Ledingham is a senior NOLS field faculty and administrator. She has accumulated over 130 weeks of experience instructing wilderness hiking, mountaineering, whitewater and backcountry ski courses. Emily currently supervises faculty and risk management as a program supervisor 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.

Laura (Nulman) Luttrell is the program manager for Student Conservation Association's National Conservation Crews program in the eastern half of the US. She supports 30+ crews of high school students, along with their adult leaders, as they engage in trail work, habitat restoration, and other hands on conservation work in National, State, and Municipal Parks and Forests. She joined SCA in early 2013 and, before that, worked in Outdoor Programming and Outreach with REI. Laura is a NOLS and Towson University graduate and is based in Baltimore.


Mel Mac Innis is the Sierra Club Outdoors assistant director for Volunteer Engagement. Mel supports and trains volunteers to lead in the outdoors for the Sierra Club. She leads day hikes, backpack, and river rafting trips as a volunteer and as a commercial guide. She's an open water swimmer, a whitewater guide instructor and a first aid and CPR instructor. Mel's undergraduate and master's degrees are in the Humanities from San Francisco State University.
  Brendan MaddenBrendan Madden is the national director of operations for Outward Bound Canada. Over the last two decades, he has been a senior instructor and program director at both Outward Bound and NOLS. He was previously the director of Hulbert Outdoor Center in Vermont.
  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.
  Natalie Mello is the vice president for member services and training of The Forum on Education Abroad. Mello joined the Forum in 2011 after serving as director of global operations in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division at Wrcester Polytechnic Institute for 18 years. She has been involved with national education abroad organizations, particularly in the area of risk management, and has become recognized as an expert in responsible risk management for off-campus experiences.
  Katie Baum Mettenbrink brings over ten years of experience as a program administrator and field instructor at NOLS. She is the staffing coordinator at NOLS Professional Training, a senior NOLS field instructor, and also works as a consultant and administrator for NOLS Risk Management Services. Before coming to NOLS Pro, she supervised faculty and risk management as the program manager at NOLS Alaska and has accumulated over 130 weeks of field experience on extended wilderness expeditions.

Frances Mock is an attorney specializing in advising outdoor education and recreation programs. She is counsel to NOLS, Outward Bound, 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, cross country skiing instructor for special needs populations, and in other adventure-based industries for ten years before becoming an attorney.

  Joe Moore joined the ACA as a member in 2011 and quickly earned certifications in coastal kayak and SUP while working as the Accessibility Technician at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. He is actively working as an Adaptive Paddling instructor trainer and is currently working towards certification as a SUP instructor trainer. Joe learned to sea kayak on a NOLS Semester in Patagonia in 1990. Since then he has taught skills and lead personal and professional day trips and expeditions from Alaska to Belize, from Baja to Maine.
  Angus Murray, LOLA owner, is the past director of Outdoor Education at Rosseau Lake College in Ontario and Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Calgary. After leaving Calgary he worked at Shawnigan Lake School on Vancouver Island with the Outdoor Pursuits and Search and Rescue programs and developed their Junior Leadership Program. In the last 13 years Angus has developed and led national trips from coast to coast to coast in Canada, and on 5 continents internationally. On May 21st 2008, he became the 50th Canadian to summit Mt. Everest. Angus has delivered Trip Leader training to 43 CAIS schools and over 750 staff and faculty in the past four years. As an experienced educator, a seasoned trip leader, first aid instructor, and outdoor program director, Angus has safely run international leadership and service expeditions for Canadian schools to Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico, the French and Italian Alps, Ecuador, Russia and Nepal.

Bob Myron has been an American Canoe Association instructor and a registered Maine guide since the 1980s. As an instructor trainer in SUP, canoeing and coastal kayaking, Bob enjoys sharing his passion for the woods and waters with others. Bob is the founder of Outdoor Leader Trainers of America (OTLOA), which specializes in ACA instructor certification courses, guide training workshops, customized staff trainings, and outdoor leadership courses for organizations around the country.


Steve Neal, risk management officer for Outward Bound USA since 2007, has been a risk management and safety professional for 37 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 a licensed insurance professional providing loss control and claim services to the outdoor recreation industry. A native Mainer or "Maniac", Steve enjoys sailing, biking, skiing, and all the outdoor activities New England has to offer.

Chip Noble is an avid outdoorsman and gear junkie with 16 years of mapping, GPS, and satellite communications experience. As the Outdoor Recreation Product manager at DeLorme, Chip designs GPS and Satellite Communication solutions for consumers, enterprise professionals and military. Chip's resume includes design management of DeLorme Topo USA software, PN-series GPS technology, and the inReach satellite communication and navigation technology. Chip lives in Maine and is married with two young girls.



Graham Ottley serves as program director with Outward Bound California with their High Sierra and Joshua Tree programs. He has been working in the field of outdoor and experiential education since completing his undergrad in Outdoor Education at Montreat College in 2004.


Jeremy Oyen has worked in the outdoor education industry for 25+ years at the local, regional, and national level. He is the current Curriculum and Training coordinator for REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach and is responsible for alignment and development of the REI Outdoor School National Program curriculum including classroom and field programs. He joined the REI team in April 2011 after working for the American Canoe Association and Cleveland Metroparks Institute of the Great Outdoors.



Donald Pachner worked at a respected international insurance brokerage firm for 25 years before turning his outdoors and environmental volunteer work into a business 11 years ago. His growing firm Pachner & Associates specializes in insurance for outdoor recreation, outdoor and nature education, environmental conservation and research organizations, trail associations, and outdoor clubs around the U.S. He has authored articles for the American Mountain Guides Association Mountain Bulletin, American Institute for Avalanche Research & Education Instructor Newsletter and teaches professional development courses for mountaineering guides & guide services. Outside of work, he volunteers with Sierra Club, Audubon, and other outdoor and conservation organizations.
  Justin Padgett is the executive director of Landmark Learning, a nationally accredited school that focuses on professional development for outdoor educators. He holds an MS in Training and Development from Western Carolina University and is a nationally registered paramedic and Wilderness EMT, playing an active role in emergency medical services since 1994. Justin has 20 years of trip leading experience in the areas of mountaineering, rock climbing, rafting, whitewater kayaking, and caving. He has been a traveling trainer internationally since 1996 and is well known for his presentation style, humor, and anecdotes.
  Sascha Paris is the Sierra Club’s Outdoor Activities Training Manager. Since 2003, Sascha has trained hundreds of Sierra Club volunteer trip leaders and program managers who lead thousands of outings for 200,000 members annually across the country. Sascha brings both institutional program management and educational experience from his work as an instructor and course director for Outward Bound, program director for the University of California, San Diego, and instructor for WMI of NOLS.

Milosz Pierwola, Esq. is an attorney turned world adventurer. In 2011, he started the company that has catered to unique clients from large cities around the world. Through the process of introducing himself to responsible outdoor adventure, he overcame many obstacles that have more impactful significance to those for whom access is difficult. He has developed a presentation to detail his integration from urban dweller to outdoorsman and the miscommunication between social media portrayal and reality with respect to the wilderness.


Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin has served as NOLS' diversity and inclusion manager for over three years. In this capacity she has trained hundreds of faculty and staff within NOLS on inclusion and cultural competence both in the field and in traditional office settings. She has also facilitated workshops for external organizations such as the Student Conservation Association, the Outdoor Educator's Institute, and Green Mountain College.
  Gates Richards is a senior instructor for the 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, WA; Gunnison County, CO; and is an Intermediate EMT in Lander, WY. 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.

Billy Roos has had 50 years of experience with Outward Bound as a student, instructor, course director, medical screener, facilities manager, and as director of safety for OBUSA. He has been on 25+ expeditions to Alaska, South America, and the Himalaya. Billy is a WRMC Steering Committee member.


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.
  Bryan Simon, West Point graduate and former US Army Ranger and infantry officer, is an AMGA certified single pitch instructor, a Fellow in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine, and a registered nurse. He holds a diploma in Mountain Medicine from the UIAA/University of Leicester and is a Vertical Medicine Resources partner and medical guide. He has published articles on climbing/wilderness medicine in Climbing, Dead Point Magazine, Wilderness Medicine, and Nursing, among others.
  Aaron Slosberg, before working with Where There Be Dragons, was the program coordinator for UCLA Outdoor Adventures where he managed the university's group wilderness excursions and outdoor leadership training program. He has an MA in history from UCLA with a focus on U.S. influences in Latin America and Southeast Asia. As executive program director, Aaron manages Dragons' regional program directors, supervises the work of course directors, and manages Dragons' instructor training.

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.


Justin Talbot is the director of wilderness programs and risk management at the High Mountain Institute in Leadville, Colorado. HMI's defining program is a semester-long academic and wilderness program for high school juniors. HMI also offers a Summer Term, wilderness medicine, avalanche, and other custom courses. Justin has presented at the WRMC several times and reviews the risk management practices of other small schools with outdoor programs.
  Shana Tarter is the assistant director of 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 digital and social media. 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.
  Anneliese Thies is the admission manager for the Rocky Mountain program at the Colorado Outward Bound School. She oversees the medical screening and enrollment for backcountry expeditions in the Colorado wilderness and Ecuador. She has been training medical screeners since 2012 and consults on medical screening and admissions policy for Outward Bound USA. Outside of Outward Bound Anneliese has worked as a field researcher and has presented internationally on labor rights, agriculture, and community development. She is an avid rock climber and trail runner.

Liz TuohyLiz Tuohy has worked at NOLS 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. She currently leads NOLS Risk Management Services, which offers consulting and training to organizations internationally. Liz is part of the WRMC Steering Committee.


Janae Turner has over ten years of experience as a program administrator and field instructor at Outward Bound. She currently serves as the safety and education resource coordinator for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. During a short break in her OB career, she taught students with language based learning disorders at The Howard School in Atlanta. Since returning to OB, she has worked to adapt classroom based anti-bullying curriculum to fit wilderness expeditions.



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 AEE Accreditation Council, the Steering Committee for the WRMC, and has presented at the WRMC since 2007.


Ryan Wagner is the former Wilderness Program director at Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Boulder Junction, Wis. where he was responsible for the staff hiring, training, and field operations for Camp Manito-wish's tripping program that deploys over 250 canoeing, bacpacking, or kayaking trips each season ranging 3-45 days in length. This is Ryan's fourth Wilderness Risk Management Conference. Last fall he hosted and chaired the first annual Midwest Risk Management Symposium where organizations gathered to share ideas and strategies for managing risks much the same as the WRMC.

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 seven years. Prior to joining the department, 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.


Ken Wylie is an internationally certified mountain guide and a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations. Ken has 30 years of experience as a mountain guide and experiential educator for organizations including Yamnuska Mountain School, Outward Bound Canada, and Outward Bound USA. He has also taught Adventure Programing at the University of Calgary and as a faculty member at Mount Royal College and Thompson Rivers University. Author of Buried, published by Rocky Mountain Books Fall 2014, Ken is the owner operator of Mountains for Growth Life and Leadership Development. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Ken currently resides in the Appalachian mountains of southwest Virginia.


Y David Yacubian is the owner of Ready SF, a San Francisco based company specializing in risk management and emergency preparedness services. He is a trainer for NOLS Professional Training, and instructs for NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. From 2005-2010, Dave was the risk management director for NatureBridge. Dave has worked as a field instructor for a variety of programs. He serves on the board of ETC, and volunteers as a raft and sea kayak guide.

Karmina Zafiro has worked with educational institutions facing issues and crises related to town-gown relations, accidents, injury and death, litigation, activist action, labor negotiations and organizational restructuring/layoffs. She has worked with outdoor education clients including NOLS, HMI, and Overland. She has also managed crises for universities including UC Hastings College of the Law and UC Santa Cruz. Karmina is a senior director at Fineman PR a public relations agency renowned for its crisis communications practice.


Lester Zook directs the Outdoor Ministry program at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg VA. In addition, he owns WILD GUYde Adventures - a guide service for taking families, camp groups, scout troops, and individuals climbing, caving, and paddling in the Shenandoah Valley, along Virginia's Blue Ridge, and in the caves and mountains of West Virginia's Allegheny Front. His doctorate is from the University of Virginia, and he is a member of AMGA, PCIA, and NSS. He and his wife Robin have four children and one grandson.






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