Speaker Biographies


Credit: Nikole Wohlmacher

Toby Arnold.png Toby Arnold

Toby Arnold joined the Rippleffect team in the spring of 2010 as a guide and licensed boat captain. In the spring of 2011 he became the Island Manager before moving into his current position as the program director of Wilderness Education. Toby is responsible for directing the risk management policies and protocols for Rippleffect in addition to all open enrollment and after-school programing for the organization. Toby came to Rippleffect from the Virgin Islands where he worked as a sailboat captain and snorkel guide and previously from Washington State where he taught sailing and outdoor living skills on-board schooners Zodiac and Lavengro. Toby graduated from the Evergreen State College with a B.A. concentration in Maritime Business. Toby is also a certified ACA sea kayaking instructor trainer.

Leslie Arutunian.JPG Leslie Arutunian

Leslie Arutunian, after sixteen years in higher education, became the director and owner of Wildlands Studies in 2008. Operating in sixteen countries, with 42 faculty and 230 students, Wildlands Studies’ enrollment has increased 200% with above industry standards in risk management, academic accountability, faculty hiring standards, and insurance coverage. The result of living abroad and travel to 40 countries, Leslie’s personal interests lie in experiential education with a focus on the outdoors as a medium for personal empowerment. 

Quinn Branning-Arndt.jpg Quinn Banning-Arndt

Quinn Banning-Arndt first started working in experiential education at an outdoor learning farm with Forest Kindergarten. While working with groups she was responsible for contributing to weekly planning by creating activities related to each week’s environmental theme. Quinn started with Broadreach as an enrollment advisor for study abroad programs and now works as an international education coordinator, a position where she works with both outfitters and families to ensure each program’s success.

Walter Bezha

Walter Bezha spent most of his early years on Mother Earth out on the land with all of his grandfathers, traveling and learning the Dene traditions of Sahtú (Great Bear Lake) in the Northwest Territories. After thirty-two years in the resource development field with both the Federal and Territorial governments, he switched to working with Indigenous governance organisations. Walter is currently semi-retired, which gives him more time with his grandchildren on their traditional lands. Walter will continue his involvement with traditional knowledge projects; documenting this history has long been a priority for hım.

Brett Billings.jpg Brett Billings

Brett Billings is an elementary school teacher in New York City, where he leads an after school adventure learning group. He has been an experiential educator for five years, and before NYC, coordinated backpacking, canoeing, and mountain biking expeditions for at-risk New Hampshire teens, ages 12-16, as well as mentoring a caseload of 37 young men, ages 10-17, for the same nonprofit during the school year. In his previous role, he implemented positive behavioral interventions and supports in an expeditionary setting. He is currently working toward a Master's of Science in School Psychology. Website: http://www.brettjbillings.com

Mark Bixby.jpg Mark Bixby

Mark Bixby is a family physician who has been involved with wilderness adventures since the mid-1960s. He serves on the risk management committee for YMCA Camp Widiwagan, a wilderness tripping camp for teenagers based next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. He currently lives with his wife in Minneapolis Minnesota, although his job with ACGME (the organization that accredits medical residencies and fellowships) takes him to teaching medical centers across the country.

Brett-Christensen-1.jpg Brett Christensen

Brett Christensen, during his time at Colgate University, led trips for the Outdoor Education program ranging from dessert backpacking in Arizona to caving in Upstate New York. After graduating in 2016, he led a hiking trip in Alaska for Overland before joining the office full time in the fall, where he is a logistics coordinator and part of the risk management team.

Sydney Clark.jpg

Sydney Clark

Sydney Clark hails from the Midwest where she earned a BA in Sociology and Political Science and played Division I volleyball at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She subsequently spent two years in nonprofit coalition building and grassroots community development with Public Allies Chicago. From 2013 to 2015, Sydney served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan where she led a variety of education projects and explored the Tian Shan mountains. Sydney is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Manager at NOLS where she is primarily developing initiatives to increase accessibility to the outdoors. 

Joshua Cole.jpeg

Joshua Cole

Joshua Cole is an owner and guide at North Cascades Mountain Guides and has more than 15 years of experience working in the outdoor education and guiding industries. He has given trainings and presentations on wilderness risk management to numerous organizations. Josh served as Washington program director for Northwest Outward Bound School for 8 years, is a lead instructor for Wilderness Medicine Training Center, and has worked as a professional ski patroller. Josh is an AMGA certified ski guide, single-pitch instructor, and is working towards his AMGA certification in the rock and alpine disciplines.

Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook is the executive director of Teton Valley Ranch Camp in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and is a Masters Level social worker with over 25 years of experience working with diverse and special populations. Matty worked at Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Gang Camp as camp director for 13 years. Areas of special focus for Matty include: program design and development, adventure based counseling, risk management, youth development, leadership, visioning, behavior development, team building, effective positive communication, and diversity trainings. He lives in Victor, Idaho with his bide, Marcia, and their 3 beautiful children.

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Leah Corrigan.JPG

Leah Corrigan

Leah Corrigan is a lawyer who advises and defends outdoor recreation businesses. She is an experienced litigator and the founder of Western Recreation Law Center, based out of Jackson, Wyoming. Leah spent ten years as a wilderness river guide before becoming a lawyer, and is an avid skier, mountain biker, and river-runner. She is passionate about helping her clients run a professional recreation business, while keeping the adventure in their operations.

Clare Dallet NEW.jpg Clare Dallat

Clare Dallat works at The Outdoor Education Group, Victoria, Australia, a not-for-profit outdoor education organization that works with 42,000 participants per year and employs more than 500 staff. For 13 years, she led their risk management team. Clare is completing her PhD at the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, focusing on systems approaches to risk assessment in outdoor learning. She has an MSc in Risk and Crisis Management. 

Sam Daume2.jpg Sam Daume

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 27 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, colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes as well as several well known outdoor educational institutions. Married 28 years with two kids, Sam loves the outdoors and traveling with his family. His highlights include climbing and hiking in national parks, flyfishing 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.

Brenda Davies.jpg Brenda Davies

Brenda ​Davies is the ​founde​r and director of​ Outdoor Access​, an accessible year-round recreation organization, creat​ing​ unique ​opportunities for individuals of all abilities. Brenda brings over 25 years of experience in design and implementation of adaptive recreation since receiving a degree in occupational therapy and outdoor education from the University of New Hampshire. ​Brenda's love of adventure started with an Outward Bound Semester Leadership course in the Southwest during college and has led to accessible travels with clients in Costa Rica, Acadia National Park, New Orleans, and more​. Our motto is: Yes We Can!!​

Dave Dennis.jpg Dave Dennis

Dave Dennis is the gobal safety and risk management director at Rustic Pathways. He has a Master’s degree in risk management and more than 20 years of experience in the adventure and student travel industry. Dave also owns a part-time consulting firm specializing in creating and implementing risk management and emergency response programs for both domestic and global tour operators. Dave is an avid snowboarder and adventure enthusiast living in Colorado with his wife and two children.

Paul Dreyer.jpg Paul Dreyer

Paul Dreyer has worked in and around the worlds of experiential education, leadership development, and group psychology for almost twenty years. He has had the opportunity to work at a variety of organizations and to support a diverse spectrum of students and clients. Currently, Paul is the Risk Management Director at Avid4 Adventure. He also works closely with Where There Be Dragons, the Cottonwood Institute, and NOLS.

Reth Duir.jpg Reth Duir

Reth Duir is Sudanese American and program assistant for Alaska Geographic. In 2013 he was nominated for a Chugach Children’s Forest Expedition, starting his path toward improving inclusion in the outdoors. He has volunteered with SCA, completed NOLS courses, and is completing his education degree at University of Alaska Anchorage. Reth develops more inclusive outdoor programs and raises grant funding building collaborative partnerships to increase capacity in Alaska. He is also a US Arctic Youth Ambassador. 

Jess Dunkin.jpg Jess Dunkin

Jess Dunkin moved to Yellowknife from Ontario in 2015 and has never looked back. When she isn’t working with NWT communities to support land-based programs, she can be found paddling, skiing, or tweeting about life in the #SpectacularNWT. Jess holds a Bachelor of Education from Trent University and a Ph.D. in the history of recreation from Carleton.

Todd Duncan 2.jpg Todd Duncan

Todd Duncan has managed and directed adventure, research, and education programs on six 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. 

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Caroline Dunn head shot.jpg Caroline Dunn

Caroline Dunn is a senior program manager at Earthwatch, where she manages international research expeditions, project logistics, risk management, emergency response, and maintains the operational no-go list. She is on the International Incident Management team and is a major incident manager. Caroline has a M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and a B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College. She is a former expedition leader, teacher, and counselor in Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. 

Josh Firmin.jpg Joshua Firmin

Joshua Firmin is the director of adventure programs for the Outdoor Sport Institute (OSI).  Josh is a registered Maine guide, ACA whitewater kayak instructor, and certified Wilderness First Responder. He enjoys whitewater kayaking and backcountry skiing. Josh has worked in the outdoor education field for over 10 years and is passionate about helping others discover their potential through outdoor sport. He lives in Industry, Maine with his wife and three children.  

Kathleen Floberg.jpeg Kathleen Floberg

Kathleen Floberg works for YMCA Camp Widjiwagan as their wilderness program director. Part of her duties include working with the camp board and staff to develop effective risk management practices for Widjiwagan’s canoe and backpacking programs. She spent many seasons leading canoe and backpack trips for Y camps and received a Master’s of Environmental Education degree from the University of MN, Duluth. Even though her current role keeps her at a desk most days, the wilderness still plays a significant role in her life. She also loves data collection and analysis!

Karen Foster.jpg Karen Foster

Karen Foster has been a program leader for All Out Adventures since the winter of 2004 and began working in the office in March 2007 as the development director. She was appointed executive director in October 2007. Karen studied history, political science, and secondary education at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and earned an M.S. in Educational Administration and Policy at the University at Albany, SUNY. Prior to her work at All Out Adventures, Karen worked as a high school history teacher, as a middle school-based program administrator, and as an educational program evaluator. She attended a NOLS backpacking trip leader course, is certified in Wilderness First Aid, as a Leave No Trace Trainer, and as a sea kayak instructor with an adaptive endorsement. 

Bill Frederick.jpg Bill Frederick

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/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.

Kim Glodek.jpg Kim Glodek

Kim Glodek is the associate program director for Education and Outreach at the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. She oversees education and outreach strategies for school and community partners. She is a field instructor and designer and facilitator of professional development for Outward Bound and youth serving organizations throughout  the Philadelphia area.  As an outdoor and experiential learning professional, Kim is an advocate for providing appropriate, quality, and standards-based training for the field.

Jose Gonzalez.jpg Jose Gonzalez

Jose H. Gonzalez started his career in outdoor education in 1989. His love for the outdoors and commitment to teaching has earned him the opportunity to teach for Outward Bound, the American Canoe Association and several universities. Jose has been an AEE Accreditation program reviewer and has conducted safety reviews for Outward Bound. He possesses a doctoral degree in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction. Currently, he teaches at CSU Northridge in the Recreation and Tourism Management department and for NOLS Wilderness Medicine.

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reb_gregg_use this.jpg Reb Gregg

Reb Gregg is a Houston, Texas attorney specializing in outdoor adventure and education law. He is on the the Board of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network and on 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, a former WRMC Steering Committee member, and honoree of the Charles (Reb) Gregg Wilderness Risk Management Award.

Amberleigh Hammond2.jpg Amberleigh Hammond

Amberleigh Hammond is a Safety and Systems Manager and functions as the national medical screener for the Student Conservation Association (SCA). Her primary focus is screening, leader training, compliance with field standards and incident management/response. Prior to the SCA, Amberleigh was at Outward Bound for six years as the national senior medical screener for OBUSA. Amberleigh is an Outdoor Emergency Care instructor, teaches wilderness medicine courses, and is an EMT and ski patroller. This will be her third year serving on the WRMC Education Committee.

CathHansen-Stamp.jpg Catherine Hansen-Stamp

Catherine Hansen-Stamp is an attorney in Golden, Colorado and a current member of the WRMC Education Committee. 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 with Reb Gregg.

Tim Hare 2017.jpg Tim Hare

Tim Hare has worked with Where There Be Dragons in Bolivia, Boulder, and Nepal since 2005 as an instructor, program director, curriculum developer, staff trainer and, currently, as director of risk management. Previously he worked for Outward Bound between 2002 and 2012 as an instructor, course director, and staff trainer in Colorado, Alaska, and Patagonia. A passionate educator, Tim believes that experiential and outdoor education are great tools for understanding our place in the world and learning to live a creative, compassionate, and authentic life; healthy engagement with risk is essential to that learning.

Ava Holliday.jpg Ava Holliday

Ava Holliday is a researcher and practitioner of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a PhD candidate at the University of Washington in the Anthropology department, she explores how diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are designed and implemented, as well as their successes and sticking points. She puts her research into practice as a founding partner of the Avarna Group, an organization that provides resources and insights for organizations implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Jeff Jackson2.jpg Jeff Jackson

Jeff Jackson, PhD, is an award-winning educator and longtime contributor to the WRMC, introducing concepts such as sensemaking and systems planning. Jeff is a professor and coordinator of Algonquin College's Outdoor Adventure guide training diploma, where he oversees 10,000 student field days per year. He is the author of Managing Risk: Systems Planning for Outdoor Adventure Programs. His PhD research is in safety culture, peer influence, and internalizing safety values.

Ryan Jaret.jpg Ryan Jaret

Ryan Jaret has over 26 years of guiding, outdoor education instruction and leadership experience. Ryan is the senior training and program designer for L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools, overseeing all aspects of training and curriculum for a variety of outdoor programs and activities, in 38 locations and 16 states. Prior to L.L.Bean, Ryan has worked as an instructor and program director for Outward Bound, and guided and instructed a variety of activities across the country and internationally. 

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Anna Johnson

Anna Johnson's introduction to wilderness environments began at a traditional summer camp and continued as a student with ActionQuest aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean. In addition to several years working on tall ships in remote environments, she has spent 18 summers working for ActionQuest with roles including operational director, head EMT, trip update manager, food coordinator, and photographer. During the year, Anna lives in DC and spends her free time volunteering with a dog rescue organization.   

Skip King 2.JPG Skip King

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 and mountain operations manager. He shifted to marketing communications in 1990, and has since handled many of the ski industry's most visible incidents. This mix of hands-on communications and operational experience makes him a rarity in the crisis management field. In private practice since 2002, he serves a variety of clients in the active outdoors industry, including the Outward Bound USA organization and ski resorts in North America and Europe.

Tracy Knutson.jpg Tracey Knutson

Tracey L. 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_new.jpg Alex Kosseff

Alex Kosseff is the executive director of the American Mountain Guides Association, founder and president of the Outdoor Safety Institute, and author of the AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership. As a consultant, he has assisted over 100 outdoor education, recreation and conservation programs in improving their risk management practices. Alex lives in Boulder, Colorado and loves climbing, skiing, packrafting, and teaching in the outdoors.

Linda Leckie

Linda Leckie taught physical and health and outdoor education for 30 years at the Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. She has taken students on a wide variety of remote travel experiences throughout her teaching career, including kayaking in St. Andrew’s and the Baja, canoeing in Florida, a band and choir trip to Europe, and coaching tournaments in 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, WRMC, and AEE. 

Emily Ledingham.jpg Emily Ledingham

Emily Ledingham is a senior NOLS field instructor and administrator. She has accumulated over 150 weeks of experience instructing hiking, mountaineering, whitewater, and backcountry ski courses. Emily supervises faculty and risk management at a variety of NOLS locations, and also supports NOLS curriculum development and faculty training.

Drew Leemon_2014.jpg Drew Leemon

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.

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Andy Leider.jpeg

Andy Leider

Andy Leider is a senior consultant with the Outdoor Safety Institute focusing on organizational development and culture change, bridging the space between field operations and organizational management. He is a past director with the Orfalea Foundation, Outward Bound, Montana Yellowstone Expeditions, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and he holds a Somatic Coach certification from Strozzi Institute. He lives in the bay area where he is teaching his 5-year old daughter to surf, climb, and navigate BART.

Brendan Madden2.jpg Brendan Madden

Brendan Madden is director of learning and adventure 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.

Marcy Marchello.jpg Marcy Marchello

Marcy Marchello has developed and managed accessible outdoor recreation programs for DCR’s Universal Access program since 1995. In the role of program coordinator, she manages adaptive recreation in Massachusetts State Parks, oversees a contract of outdoor recreation providers, serves as a risk manager, supervises seasonal staff and trains them in risk management, purchases equipment, and continues to develop new programs. Marcy has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Education from Lesley University and the National Audubon Expedition Institute. She received further outdoor leadership training from Woodswomen and has lead hiking, backpacking and birdwatching trips. Numerous exposures to the lives of people with disabilities from a young age, as well as being a cancer survivor, have shaped her view that everyone deserves access to nature and the benefits of outdoor recreation. She relies on a team approach for risk management to maximize the strengths and expertise available and ensure ongoing evolving best practices.

Will Marling_NEW.jpg Will Marling

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.

Ann McCollum.png Ann McCollum

Ann McCollum is an associate attorney at Adams and Crow law firm in New Mexico. Her general practice focuses on litigation for education, business, and non-profit organizations and is informed by 8 years as a risk management consultant for camps and schools, 20+ years as a classroom/outdoor educator, M.Ed. in counseling, two-time NOLS graduate, and 100+ weeks leading groups in the field including guiding treks to Everest Base Camp. She has been trained and certified as both WFR and WEMT, and has served as AEE accreditation reviewer and on the ACA National Standards Commission.

Leah McDonald.jpg Leah McDonald

Leah McDonald came to Rippleffect in 2006 as a lead guide for our social service programming. She became the youth program director in 2008, and has worked since then to expand and improve Rippleffect’s impact with youth in Maine. Before coming to Rippleffect, she worked with island youth as an Island Institute fellow on Chebeague Island and as a therapeutic guide at the adolescent wilderness therapy program Summit Achievement. She is also a registered Maine sea kayak and recreation guide, a Wilderness First Responder, a certified ACA sea kayak instructor, and a licensed social worker. Leah lives in Cumberland with her husband and two daughters.

Laura McGladrey1.JPG Laura McGladrey

Laura McGladrey has instructed for NOLS for over 15 years and is a nurse practitioner with dual certification as a Family and Psych-Mental Health Nurse practitioner, practicing both emergency medicine and psychiatry. She currently works at Tennyson Center for Children with a focus on behavioral emergencies and trauma, as well as maintaining practice serving law enforcement, EMS and fire fighters experiencing traumatic stress. She has a background in international and relief work and continues teaching wilderness medicine and lectures nationally on Psychological First Aid.  

Traci McKee.jpg Traci McKee

Traci McKee is an attorney with Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt in Fort Myers, Florida. Her practice focuses on defending individuals, corporations and governmental entities in a diverse array of personal injury claims. Traci regularly defends schools, school boards, and other entities with custody of children. Traci has argued cases on behalf of Florida schools all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court. She also stays busy chasing after 2 energetic boys, Brett and Braden, ages 8 and 6.

Zander McRae.jpg Zander McRae

Zander McRae is a Pacific Northwest grown transgender identified male who has always possessed a great love of and passion for nature and the environment. He is now beginning a journey to transform his passion and hunger for adventure in to a long term career in the outdoor industry.

Katie Baum Mettenbrink.jpg Katie Baum Mettenbrink

Katie Baum Mettenbrink has worked in outdoor education since 1999. She currently leads NOLS Risk Services, which provides risk management training and consulting for organizations around the world, and chairs the WRMC Education and Steering Committees. She is also a senior field instructor at NOLS, with 140 weeks of experience on extended wilderness expeditions. Before landing in her current role, she oversaw staffing for NOLS Custom Education, was the program manager at NOLS Alaska, taught environmental education in the Pacific Northwest, and worked for the outdoor program at Princeton. She lives in Lander, Wyoming with her partner and young son.    

Ginger Mihalik.jpg Ginger Mihalik

Ginger Mihalik is the executive director of the Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School. She has been with the organization since 2010 and has over 15 years of nonprofit leadership experience. In her role at Outward Bound, Ginger provides strategic leadership which has resulted in rapid program growth. The school has gone from serving 1,000 students in 2010 to over 7,000 students in 2017 and has expanded character education programming. Ginger managed to add a robust sea kayaking program, start a nationally recognized community building initiative called the Police Youth Challenge, and bring the first high ropes challenge course to Baltimore. Her expertise has proven vital as the school continues to grow, reaching more students and communities in the Chesapeake Region.

Frances Mock2.jpg Frances Mock

Frances Mock is an attorney specializing in risk management and claims management for experiential education and adventure-based programs. She is counsel to NOLS, Outward Bound, LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School, and other clients providing advice about responding to deaths, animal attacks, sexual assaults, and other serious incidents, the resulting claims and lawsuits, as well as other general risk management issues. She has spoken at numerous national conferences for the outdoor and study abroad industries and is also a full-time Clinical Professor of Law at Duke Law School.  Frances worked as a Class V whitewater rafting guide, a volunteer cross country skiing instructor for special needs populations, and in other adventure-based activities for ten years before becoming an attorney.  

Casey Montandon.jpeg Casey Montandon

Casey Montandon, an avid river runner and canyon explorer in the desert Southwest, has worked with the Colorado Outward Bound School in multiple positions and is currently based out of Moab, Utah as the program director. He firmly believes that if staff are emotionally invested in the program they work for, they will take a greater responsibility for the safety in the entirety of it.

Mike Moran.JPG Mike Moran

Mike Moran is the newest member of the Outward Bound USA Safety team (Associate Director of Safety) and the WRMC Steering Committee. Mike came to OBUSA after a 32-year worldwide, self-directed wilderness experiential learning endeavor as a member of Naval Special Warfare.  He has conducted, led, and supervised many of the highest risk operations imaginable on sea, air, and land. That journey developed his depth of experience with training, operations, crisis response, curriculum development, safety, and risk management. Mike is a life-long outdoorsman, adventurer, and adrenaline junkie who lives for anything that gets him outside and into the elements.

Caroline Nassiff.jpg Go to Top

Caroline Nassif

Caroline Nassif is the operations manager at Earthwatch, where she helps support the organization from behind the scenes. She is also one of the risk managers on the Incident Management team, and has helped manage incidents from both in and out of the field. She delivers regular training to the staff on both risk management and emergency response. Caroline is also an avid SCUBA diver and has traveled the world exploring many different reefs.

Steve Neal.jpeg Steve Neal

Steve Neal, Risk Management Officer at Outward Bound USA and a member of the WRMC Steering Committee, has been a risk management and safety professional for over 40 years. As a former paramedic, he developed a keen understanding of the importance of proactive loss prevention. His career spans his current position with Outward Bound; 9 years as risk manager for the City of Portland, Maine; 20 years in the ski industry focusing on ski patrol, safety and risk management; and 6 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. He is excited to welcome the WRMC to his home turf. 

Katie Nelson.jpg Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson serves as the associate program director of Safety and Delivery at the Philadelphia Outward Bound School, one of OB USA’s 11 regional schools. In this role, she oversees all aspects of program safety and staff training and development, for which she relies on her decade of experience with Outward Bound, serving as a course director and staff trainer, as well as the 60+ backpacking, paddling, climbing, and multi-element expeditions she’s instructed with a variety of participant populations. As a committed outdoor professional and risk manager, she recognizes the importance of providing tools and dynamic trainings to engage both field staff and program participants in established safety systems. 

Paul Nicolazzo_NEW.png Paul Nicolazzo

Paul Nicolazzo has over 35 years of experience instructing, training staff, and managing outdoor programs. He has taught wilderness medicine for 30 years and is the president and director of Wilderness Medicine Training Center International. Paul is a member of the Wilderness Medicine Education Cooperative and one of the contributing authors of the WFA and WFR scope of practice documents and as well as the trauma chapter for the new Wilderness EMT textbook conceived and edited by Seth Hawkins, MD. He is the author of the wilderness medicine handbook, the Art & Technique of Wilderness Medicine, and Case Studies in Wilderness Medicine.

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Gretchen Ostherr.jpg Gretchen Ostherr

Gretchen Ostherr has over 25 years of outdoor education instruction and leadership experience. Gretchen is the director of L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Programs, overseeing all aspects of the schools and trips which served over 150,000 people in stores and in the field in 2016. Prior to L.L.Bean, Gretchen held leadership positions at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, as a program director and the director of new program development, and Outward Bound USA where she was the director of the Outward Bound Training Institute. She has a M.Ed. from Harvard University.

Nate Ostis.jpeg Nate Ostis

Nate Ostis is a Rescue 3 Swiftwater Rescue instructor and a Level 5 Advanced Swiftwater Rescue instructor trainer for the American Canoe Association. He is a firefighter, WEMT-B, a NSDS open water diver, and an ice rescue technician. Additionally Nate instructs for NOLS, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, and the department of emergency programs at University of Utah. He is the author of The NOLS River Rescue Guide which recently won the National Outdoor Book Award for Best Instruction. He founded Wilderness Rescue International in 2002 and teaches approximately 20 river rescue courses a year.

steve pace.jpg Steve Pace

Steve Pace serves as the director of standards development and accreditation at the Association for Experiential Education. He is also Professor Emeritus at Prescott College. During his 25 years at Prescott, he served as dean of resident degrees, director or risk management for field activities, chair of the Adventure Education program, and later, the Human Development and Counselor Education program. Before coming to Prescott College Steve worked for eleven years at the Voyageur Outward Bound School serving as a program director, safety officer, course director, and instructor. Steve's areas of expertise include outdoor education and college program administration, risk management of field activities, interpersonal and group communication, mediation and conflict resolution, and therapeutic use of adventure education.

don Pachner.jpg Don Pachner

Don Pachner is president and founder of Pachner & Associates, LLC, whose mission is to provide insurance expertise and representation to the wilderness recreation, nature and outdoor education, environmental conservation and research communities, including those with foreign operations. He has authored articles and regularly presented professional development classes on insurance to the mountaineering and climbing industry through the American Mountain Guides Association and to the trail association community. As a past presenter on insurance topics at the WRMC, he has served on the America Outdoors Association insurance committee and National Park Service Vendor Advisory Committee Sub-committee on Insurance Requirements.

Anne Peick.jpg Anne Peick

Anne Peick is a senior NOLS field instructor and administrator. She has over 200 weeks of experience instructing hiking, mountaineering, whitewater, climbing, and backcountry ski courses. Anne currently works in the field staffing office and has also supervised staff as a program supervisor at NOLS Rocky Mountain. Prior to her work with NOLS she was an instructor for Outward Bound. She is working towards AMGA certification in the rock discipline.

Scott Pierce

Lieutenant Commander W. “Scott” Pierce currently serves as the Incident Management Division Chief at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. His major duties include serving as Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, First-Line Supervisor for eight boat stations, and primary oversight of maritime oil spill response cases within the Sector’s Area of Responsibility, which encompasses Maine, New Hampshire, Lake Champlain, and Lake Memphremagog. LCDR Pierce has over 14 years of service and has previously served as a Command Center Chief on the Great Lakes, a maritime law enforcement instructor at a Coast Guard training command, an Enforcement Division Chief in Alaska, and an underway Deck Watch Officer on a 210-foot cutter in south Florida. 

Mike Pigg.jpg Mike Pigg

Mike Pigg has been involved in the experiential education industry for 15 years as an educator, trainer, and administrator. He has a long history with Outward Bound Australia where he served for several years as the safety director, and then general manager. In addition, his experience in Australia includes extensive work within the tertiary/vocational training sector. Mike joined the OBUSA safety department in 2015, where he helped manage and monitor safety systems and practices across all eleven OB schools in the US. Today Mike is the director of operations at the Colorado Outward Bound School, and a member of the AEE Accreditation Council.

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Derek Prill

Derek Prill is a veteran Army medic and non-commissioned officer with two college degrees in the fields of adventure education and recreation. He spent several years working for YMCA Camp Chingachook as the wilderness program director where he developed a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan for all off-site programs. He used the material taught in the workshop to reduce the program risk by focusing or field leadership training program and developing an aligned field manual to help affirm policies and procedures off-site. Currently Derek is a lead instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center and serves as an adjunct instructor at Green Mountain College in Vermont, instructing both academic adventure courses and instructor training courses for their outing program.

Gates Richards 2.jpg Gates Richards

Gates Richards is a senior instructor for NOLS Wilderness Medicine. Gates has been involved in outdoor education and EMS since the early '90s. 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 NOLS Wilderness Medicine in 1998 and now bears the title of special programs manager. He oversees NOLS Wilderness Medicine's WEMT and instructor training programs and is a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

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Rafael Rosa

Rafael Rosa directs SCA’s programs’ operations, strategy, and staff. From 2014 to 2016, he served as regional vice president for partnerships for SCA’s central region. Rafael brings to SCA more than 25 years of museum education experience at the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, most recently as vice president of education. In 2012, a program Rafael developed with community partners, Using Cultural Symbols to Introduce Monarch Conservation and Nature-Based Activities in Chicago, received the Urban Communities in Conservation Award from the US Department of Agriculture.

Elyse Rylander.jpg Elyse Rylander

Elyse Rylander has spent the last dozen years working in the outdoor industry. From teaching canoeing and kayaking, to facilitating on a challenge course and guiding kayaking, camping and glacier hikes in Alaska, Elyse believes passionately in the power of connecting people to nature. She has turned this passion into advocacy for the queer community by founding OUT There Adventures, providing consulting and training for outdoor organizations, and publishing pieces in mainstream publications and academia. 

paul_salmon.jpg Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon holds a chair in Human Factors and is creator and director of the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He currently holds a prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and has over 16 years’ experience in applied Human Factors research in various domains. He currently leads major research programs in the areas of transport safety, sport and outdoor education, cybersecurity, and workplace safety. Since 2011 Paul has led the UPLOADS research program which has involved the development and implementation of an incident reporting and learning system for the Australian outdoor education sector. In 2016 Paul was awarded the Australian Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s Cumming Memorial Medal for his research contribution.

Jay Satz NEW.jpg Jay A. Satz is the senior director of Partnerships and Innovation for the Northwest Youth Corps (NYC), where he is responsible for developing new conservation service program models, managing relationships with NYC’s key partners, and supporting programs in the field. Jay is an award winning conservationist with an over 30 year career of connecting youth to conservation, creating and running effective backcountry conservation service programs, and developing and promulgating effective risk management practices for NYC, SCA, National Park Service, YMCA, and other organizations. In addition to his work with NYC, Jay serves on the boards for Aerie Backcountry Medicine, the YMCA of Greater Seattle Camping and Outdoor Leadership Branch, Washington’s National Park Fund, and has been a standing member of the Wilderness Risk Management Steering Committee since 1995.

Adam Shepherd.jpg Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd, executive director of Rippleffect, has worked in experiential education and youth development for over 20 years. His career in the field began as a guide and counselor at a residential Adirondack summer camp where he moved on to take over a director role for 10 years. Upon leaving this position, Adam worked as a guide for REI in New York City and the Appalachian Mountain Club before joining Rippleffect.  Adam is a registered Maine sea kayak and recreation guide, a Wilderness First Responder, and certified ACA sea kayak instructor. He holds a Master's in Nonprofit Management and specialized in organizational development and capacity building–both of which he sees as critical in creating an effective organizational crisis response plan. He, along with the rest of the Rippleffect team, are thrilled to welcome the WRMC to our home and look forward to being good representatives of the local outdoor community.

Jay Satz NEW.jpg

Jay Satz

Jay A. Satz is the senior director of Partnerships and Innovation for the Northwest Youth Corps (NYC), where he is responsible for developing new conservation service program models, managing relationships with NYC’s key partners, and supporting programs in the field. Jay is an award winning conservationist with an over 30 year career of connecting youth to conservation, creating and running effective backcountry conservation service programs, and developing and promulgating effective risk management practices for NYC, SCA, National Park Service, YMCA, and other organizations. In addition to his work with NYC, Jay serves on the boards for Aerie Backcountry Medicine, the YMCA of Greater Seattle Camping and Outdoor Leadership Branch, Washington’s National Park Fund, and has been a standing member of the Wilderness Risk Management Steering Committee since 1995.

Colby Smith

Colby Smith is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast who was fortunate enough to stumble into one of the greatest jobs in the world working in Student Services at Outward Bound USA in 2008. A few years later he took his talents to Colorado Outward Bound School where he has been been interviewing and medically screening students since 2013. He is passionate about matching students with COBS courses so they can have life changing experiences in the wilderness. 

Steve Smith.jpg Steve Smith

Steve Smith is the Climbing Education manager for the Mountaineers, and also runs Experiential Consulting, LLC, specializing in risk management consultation for outdoor programs. He has been associated with Outward Bound since 1998, first as a mountaineering instructor, then staffing manager, and is currently a board member for the Northwest Outward Bound School, where he also chairs the school’s safety committee. He has written emergency response plans, training manuals, field manuals, designed crisis response scenarios for a wide variety of organizations, conducted safety audits, presented at over 30 professional conferences, and published articles in outdoor magazines and journals. He has presented at WRMC every year since 2010 and is a member of the WRMC Education Committee. Steve lives in Seattle and loves to explore and photograph the wildlife, mountains, and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest.

Doug_Stevens_Flatirons_Photo.jpg Doug Stevens

Doug Stevens is a Boulder, Colorado attorney who has provided legal services to outdoor recreation and adventure travel organizations for many years. He has defended serious and high-profile personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Doug frequently assists clients with all facets of their risk management, emergency response, litigation, and contractual needs. Doug speaks and writes on these issues for outdoor professional groups throughout the country and is licensed in both Colorado and Wyoming.

Sara Stinnette.jpg Sara Stinnette

Sara Stinnette is currently the admissions and HR director at Broadreach Global Educational Adventures and has an MS in outdoor education from the University of Edinburgh. She has worked as a program manager for the Girl Scouts in upstate New York, at various summer camps, and spent a year in Americorps running an after-school service learning program for at-risk middle school students. 

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Shana Tarter.jpg Shana Tarter

Shana Tarter is the assistant director of NOLS Wilderness Medicine. In addition to 25 years experience in wilderness medicine and outdoor education, she chaired the Wilderness Risk Management Conference Steering Committee for five years. She serves as a reviewer for the Wilderness Medical Society's Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. She is an active wilderness medicine instructor, risk management educator, and frequent conference presenter.

Ben Tettlebaum.jpg Ben Tettlebaum

Ben is a senior instructor with NOLS Wilderness Medicine and holds his WEMT.  He has worked with NOLS for more than a decade, leading both NOLS expeditions and NOLS medical courses.  For over 20 years, Ben has been involved in the outdoor industry--from working with at-risk teens to running his own international travel company.  Ben is also an attorney and has worked primarily on sustainable food systems and clean energy litigation.

Whitney Tome.jpg Whitney Tome

Whitney Tome, as the executive director of Green 2.0, leads a campaign to increase the racial diversity of the mainstream environmental movement. Whitney was the director of diversity and inclusion at the National Parks Conservation Association, and a program manager and mediator at the Meridian Institute. At Environmental Defense Fund, Whitney served as a strategist in dozens of state and federal political campaigns and launched the Fisheries Leadership and Sustainability Forum. Whitney earned a B.A. from Middlebury College and a J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law. 

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Gitte Venicx.jpg Gitte Venicx

Gitte Venicx is a program manager at Earthwatch, where she manages several grant-funded projects that engage corporate employees, educators, students, and the public in citizen science opportunities. She is an active member of the International Incident Management team and has supported the management of incidents large and small. Before joining Earthwatch, Gitte worked at the Union of Concerned Scientists, looking at impacts of climate change in the northeastern U.S. She has been on many Earthwatch expeditions in countries that include Trinidad, Ecuador, Belize, and the U.S.

Mark Vermeal-wrmc-2016-161.jpg Mark Vermeal

Mark Vermeal is the National Safety director for Outward Bound USA, an educator, and professional climbing guide. In Mark’s role, he is responsible for the oversight of safety management systems for Outward Bound’s $44 million national network of eleven regional schools in the US serving over 40,000 students, and 146,000 participant days, annually. Mark has 20 years of experience overseeing program safety and managing staff at organizations like the nation’s largest conservation organization, 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. Mark currently serves on the Outward Bound International Risk Management Committee, Outward Bound Canada Board Risk Oversight Committee, the American Alpine Club’s Education Task Force, the WRMC Education Committee. He has presented at the WRMC since 2007.

Brett Wagenheim.jpg Brett Wagenheim

Brett Wagenheim is a sales and project manager at Garmin International. In this role, she is focused on supporting and educating businesses, agencies, and organizations who use inReach satellite communication devices in professional capacities to manage the safety and coordination of staff and assets in the field. Brett came to Garmin after several years in the mountain rescue field where she worked as a climbing ranger for the USFS on Mount Shasta, as well as a ski and alpine mountaineering guide for Shasta Mountain Guides. As a Mount Shasta Climbing Ranger, Brett and the other USFS staff led high-mountain search and rescue efforts and coordinated operations with Siskiyou County SAR and Cal-Fire in the Mt. Shasta Wilderness and nearby rock climbing area, Castle Crags. She has first-hand knowledge of the communication and resource challenges that guide outfitters and SAR teams face in the field, and she shares this experience within Garmin to guide product development and help create customized communication and technology solutions for backcountry professionals.    

Dan-White1.jpg Dan White

Lieutenant Dan White began his career with the Marine Patrol in 1997, serving as an Officer in Section Three in the Bristol, Bremen area for nearly fifteen years. His duties included operating patrol vessels in the mid-coast area in addition to conducting patrols by land. In September 2011, he was promoted to Sergeant, working from South Portland to Bath, where he supervised, trained, directed and evaluated Marine Patrol Officers and Specialists. His responsibilities also included organizing and directing search and rescue operations and overseeing and conducting investigations. In May of 2015, White was promoted to Lieutenant of Division I, which stretches from Kittery to Belfast. As Lieutenant, he is responsible for planning, directing, supervising and evaluating all Marine Patrol activities of the Sergeants, Officers, and Specialists in the Division. The Marine Patrol is a Bureau of the Maine Department of Marine Resource that provides law enforcement, search and rescue, public health, maritime security, and public safety services on Maine’s coastal and tidal waters.   

Jed_Williamson_3.jpg Jed Williamson

Jed Williamson, President Emeritus of Sterling College, is an education and risk management consultant who co-authored the Manual of Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programs and is Editor Emeritus of Accidents in North American Mountaineering. Jed is former faculty of University of New Hampshire and a former instructor, program director, and director for Outward Bound. He has served on Boards of the American Alpine Club, NOLS, SCA, and AEE and on the Steering Committee of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference and currently serves on the Boards of Central Asia Institute (Chair), Upper Valley Educators Institute, New Hampshire Outdoor Council, and Heartbeet Lifesharing.

Al Wright.jpg Al Wright

Dr. Al Wright is professor and outdoor coordinator in the Recreation and Tourism Management department at California State University Northridge where he teaches courses in leadership and outdoor education. He has worked with risk management and safety management issues for outdoor programs throughout his professional career. He has supervised both land-based and water-based outdoor programs that served over 10,000 participants a year.  

David Yacubian 2017.jpg David Yacubian

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 NOLS Wilderness Medicine with well over 100 courses taught. Dave teaches risk management trainings for NOLS Risk 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.

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Lester Zook

Lester Zook is the owner of WILD GUYde Adventures, providing adventure guiding and staff training for summer camps, groups, and families in the various back-country areas of Virginia and West Virginia.  He also works for Horizons Consulting, providing experiential leadership development and team-building. His doctorate is from the University of Virginia (1995).   He is married to Robin (35 years), has 4 grown children, 3 grandchildren, and a cat named Bruce.

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