Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group

Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group

Jason Bertolacci – Consultant, IMBA

Jason Bertolacci decided to combine a life-long love of cycling and the outdoors with his professional career when he came to International Mountain Bicycling Association in 2008.  Bringing with him a background in technology business development, Jason serves as IMBA’s Colorado and Wyoming Region Director and the Colorado Mountain Bike Association’s Executive Director.  He also helped found Outdoor Alliance Colorado–a statewide human-powered recreation partnership coordinating efforts to protect public lands, waters and snowscapes. He also helped launch the Bailey HUNDO 100-mile mountain bike race that donated $90,000 to Colorado charities in 2014.

Scott Braden – Wilderness Advocate, Conservation Colorado

Scott Braden has worked to protect public lands for over a decade as both an outdoor educator and wilderness advocate. He has worked on both legislative wilderness campaigns as well as administrative protection efforts, including the recent passage of the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act and Browns Canyon National Monument. Before working at Conservation Colorado, Scott worked at the Colorado Mountain Club, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Colorado Outward Bound School. He lives in Denver with his wife Karen and yellow lab Charley, but spends as much time as possible recreating on western public lands and rivers.

Wilderness Advocate, since May 2013:  B.A., University of Georgia, 1998. Conservation Director, Colorado Mountain Club, 2011-2013. Associate Director and Wilderness Advocate, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 2007-2011. Instructor, Colorado Outward Bound School, 1999–2006.


Tim Brass – State Policy Manager, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Tim Brass grew up hunting and fishing in Minnesota. As soon as he was old enough to drive he quit all organized sports to hunt and fish and followed this passion for the outdoors to earn a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and an M.A. in Environmental Planning. Prior to working for BHA, he worked as an environmental researcher for the Forest Service, National Science Foundation and Cooperative North American Shotgunning Education Program. Now living in Colorado with his wife Megan, Tim enjoys hunting waterfowl, big game hunting with a bow and fly-fishing high mountain lakes. He’s glad to be a part of an organization that stands-up for the wild, public lands he enjoys the most.  Feel free to contact Tim anytime with ideas on social media or southern rockies issues.

Deanne Buck  – Executive Director, Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition

Deanne Buck is has been the Executive Director of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition for four years. She brought to the position over 12 years work experience in all facets of the outdoor industry- from working at an outdoor specialty gear shop and climbing gym to an attorney for companies in the outdoor industry, and an advocate for conservation, access. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Alpine Club.

Deanne’s current position is a culmination of her passion for the outdoors, human-powered recreation, and working with businesses to better their bottom-line through a diverse workforce. Deanne lives in the foothills of the Colorado Front Range at 8,200 feet where she can access miles of trails out her backdoor.

Rick Cable – VP Natural Resources and Conservation, Vail Resorts

Rick has enjoyed a 35+ year career in the Forest Service. His vision and energy leading the five-state Rocky Mountain Region (2001-2011) led to nationally significant partnership with municipal water providers and recreation interests.  Rick also enjoyed a unique mid-career experience when he was U.S. Department of Agriculture’s choice to attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA.  (1989-1990). Rick was recruited to direct the merger of two state agencies, Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 2011.  As the first Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Rick was applauded for his leadership in effectively merging  two proud, and highly respected agencies, into a new organization.

Rick embarked on his “third” career in August 2013.  As Vice President for Natural Resources and Conservation, Rick oversees Vail Resort’s industry leading conservation and sustainability efforts.  Rick’s work in natural resources and conservation is primarily accomplished through longstanding partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service, state wildlife agencies, and non-profit conservation organizations.   Vail operates mountain resorts in the Lake Tahoe region, in Park City, Utah, four resorts in Colorado, the Grand Teton Lodge in Wyoming,  two mid-western resorts in Michigan and Minnesota, and Perisher Resort in Australia — providing our guests an “Experience of a Lifetime.”

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden – CEO Verde Brand Communications

Kristin Carpenter-Ogden is founder and CEO of Verde Brand Communications, one of the leading brand communications agencies in the active outdoor lifestyle markets of bike, outdoor, snow, endurance and travel. She also founded and is principle of LivingUber, a coaching and consulting business dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in these markets as they grow their brand and business.

Kristin leads strategy for Verde and also develops new solutions for Verde’s clients to connect, engage and activate their audiences, fans, followers and customers. In her work with LivingUber.com, she helps business owners to build businesses that support an entrepreneurial lifestyle, ensuring that their lives and companies are passion-driven.

A competitive amateur cyclist, outdoor sport aficionado and sometimes mountaineer, she has built her dream lifestyle in the small Colorado mountain town of Durango. She’s a wife and mother of two active kids. Kristin produces a weekly Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast and newsletter as well, which can be accessed at here. Her first book will debut in 2016.


Jenn Dice – VP of Business Development, People for Bikes

Jenn Dice is the VP Business Network at PeopleForBikes. PeopleForBikes unites millions of individuals, thou- sands of businesses and hundreds of communities to make bicycling better for everyone. Jenn’s team is working to organize bike businesses and the industry into an influential voice both locally and nationally. Before PeopleForBikes Jenn worked as the chief policy strategist for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and directed their national and local public lands policy and access advocacy efforts for more than a decade. Jenn was part of a team that secured $200 million in federal funding for singletrack trails and bike parks, landed partnership and bike access agreements with the National Park Service, and led IMBA’s work before Congress and many national coalition partners. In 2011, Jenn was recognized by Outside Magazine’s “power list” of the top 25 people that influence the world outside. She earned her masters in public administration from the University of Kansas and worked for the South Dakota, Kansas and Colorado state legislatures. Jenn is an avid endurance mountain biker who has completed the Leadville Trail 100 14 times and was the first woman to hike up, and mountain bike down Mount Kilimanjaro.

Carlos E. Fernandez – State Director, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado

Carlos Fernandez is the State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado. Carlos joined the Colorado Chapter in January 2015 and leads a staff of 64 employees. Carlos works closely with the Colorado Chapter’s Board of Trustees as well as partner organizations, agencies, elected officials and other key decision-makers to advance conservation in Colorado and around the world.  Prior to taking on the role as Colorado State Director, Carlos served as the Conservancy’s Southern Andes Conservation Program Strategies Manager and was based in Bariloche, Argentina. He led the Patagonia team in their efforts to safeguard the grasslands through private lands conservation, sustainable sheep ranching initiatives and creating and strengthening public protected areas. Prior to that role, he spent six years based in Arlington, Virginia working as the Conservancy’s Senior Foreign Legal Advisor for South America.

Carlos is a native of Argentina and earned his law degree from Argentina’s Mendoza University before completing a graduate law degree at Georgetown University. He worked at international law firms in Buenos Aires and Washington, DC, specializing in corporate and financial transactions before joining the Conservancy.

Though Carlos first fell in love with hiking, biking and fly-fishing in Patagonia as a child, he continues to spend his free time enjoying the nature surrounding him wherever he goes.  Fly fishing is his favorite pastime whether in the Western Rockies or the Argentine Andes.  He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Carlos is excited to raise his daughter, Sophia, in Colorado’s outdoors.

Nathan Fey – Director Colorado River Stewardship, American Whitewater

Nathan is the Colorado River Program Director for American Whitewater, the Nations oldest river conservation organization. A 6th generation Coloradoan, Nathan grew up in Weld and Boulder Counties and has a long career as an active whitewater paddler and recreation advocate throughout the West.  Nathan has been a member of American Whitewater since 1990 and was hired by the organization in 2007 to oversee the organization’s Conservation, Access, and Safety Programs in Colorado. Nathan actively serves as the lead recreation representative in several high-level stakeholder efforts focused on the Colorado, Dolores, Yampa, Arkansas, and San Juan River basins, including State-led alternatives to federal management actions. Nathan is also a founding partner of Outdoor Alliance Colorado (OAC), and is serving as liaison for American Whitewater in OAC initiatives. Nathan’s interest and enthusiasm in serving on the Advisory Council is firmly rooted in his 15 year career as an advocate for Colorado’s recreational attributes and economic resiliency, and his firm commitment to aligning State policies to best reflect our State’s values.

Bill Gamber – Co Founder and President of Big Agnes/Honey Stinger

Bill Gamber grew up in Pennsylvania and learned to fish and enjoy the outdoors at an early age. A family owned honey business served as an entrepreneurial education for him and a catalyst for he and his Dad to visit beekeepers around the West and hone their fly fishing skills. Shortly after college at Lock Haven University, he bolted for Colorado and set up a small retail store and private label cut and sew brand called BAP!.

Bill co-founded Big Agnes and Honey Stinger and serves as president of both Steamboat Springs-based companies which boast a combined staff of over 90 employees. As one of the larger private sector employers in NW Colorado, Bill understands the benefits and costs of operating global brands from Routt County. With this in mind, he is particularly interested in programs that can help recruit or retain outdoor industry companies and jobs in Colorado.

Gamber loves to ski, climb peaks, ride mountain and road bikes, and fish with his Dad and three sons whenever possible. He has finished many Ironman distance triathlons and other races and climbed rock around the West but now recreates closer to home.

Ken Gart

Ken started Specialty Sports Venture, LLC (SSV) in 1994 and built it to over 140 stores and into the nation’s leading specialty ski and bicycle retailer.

Ken was chairman of the Board of Denver Bike Sharing (DBA B-Cycle). Ken is currently chair of the Board for RPM Events Group which owns the Colorado Classic and Velorama. The goals of the RPM Events Group are around health & wellness & economic development for Colorado. Ken has been called by Governor Hickenlooper his “Bike Czar”. This is a voluntary position to make Colorado the most bicycle friendly state in America.

Gary Gomulinski – Senior VP of Commercial Banking, Citywide Banks

Gary Gomulinski is a Senior VP of Commercial Banking at Citywide Banks, were he focuses on a range of banking solutions primarily for manufacturer and distributors.  Over his banking career Gary has developed an in-depth understanding of financing companies with seasonal business cycles like those in the Outdoor Recreation Industry.  Before Citywide Banks, Gary developed an Outdoor Industry Banking group for another bank in Colorado.

As anamateur athlete, he has competed in numerous trail running, endurance mountain bike, ski mountaineer and Ironman triathlons events.  Its these outdoor activities which drive his passion to get other outdoors.

Gary is currently the Board Chair for Boulder’s B-Cycle bike sharing program, as well as Active Boulder.  He has also served as the Board Chair for Women’s Wilderness Institute and board member of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance.  In the mid-90’s he worked as a development coach for USA Cycling, leading junior and senior development camps at the Olympic Training Centers in Colorado Springs and Lake Placid.  Gary also served as a conference director for the National Collegiate Cycling Association.

Joel Gratz

Joel really (really) likes three things: Weather, snow, and skiing. Joel holds a meteorology degree from Penn State and masters degrees in environmental studies and an MBA from the University of Colorado Boulder. Following years of missing powder days in Colorado, Joel studied mountain weather patterns and started sharing forecasts in 2007 via an email list called Colorado Powder Forecast. Currently, Joel and his fellow forecasters reach over 2 million skiers and riders through the OpenSnow website and mobile apps.

Kenji Haroutunian – Principal, NewNormal Consulting (California)

Kenji Haroutunian is a 30-year veteran of the human-powered outdoor industry, working for many years in specialty outdoor store management and teaching outdoor skills (including advanced climbing and wilderness navigation courses) during/after completing his degree at UCLA.  In 1999 he began working for Outdoor Retailer, eventually becoming Vice President for Nielsen Expositions (now Emerald Expositions), in 2010. During his tenure leading the OR shows, he launched many innovative programs like Green Steps, Project OR design competition, Business of Backcountry Forums and even the Virtual Design Center (a live Online Event).  Kenji left Emerald to launch his own national agency focused on core Outdoor in 2014, called Kenji Consults, in service to the greater outdoor ecosystem of brands, retailers, media, agencies and advocacy groups. Beyond his work life, he is a 2010 Access Fund ‘Sharp End’ awardee for his work leading Friends Of Joshua Tree in support of Search & Rescue services in the Park and the local-meets-global climbing community in Joshua Tree. Kenji currently serves as Vice-President on the Board of Directors of Access Fund and is a founding director of TeccSociety, a new events-industry technology organization. Kenji enjoys living with his family of five in Laguna Niguel, CA and enjoys rock climbing, trail running, skiing and performing in interesting musical situations.


Todd Herrick

Todd Herrick has lived in Colorado since 1992 with his wife and 3 children.  Real Estate partnerships include The Denver Merchandise Mart, The Peaks Hotel in Telluride and Gunnison River Farms.  The Farm is a working peach and hops operation as well as basecamp for fishing trips down the Gunnison Gorge. Outfitting ventures include Telluride-based helicopter skiing operation known as Helitrax; Black Canyon Anglers, a fly fishing guide service on The Gunnison River.  Todd is also a partner CapRock, a Colorado spirits company making gin and vodka. Todd is an instrument rated pilot, holds a 100 gross ton captain’s license with The Coast Guard, has climbed the West Rib of Denali, is an avid backcountry skier and was actively involved in the 1992 Americas Cup Campaign.

David Leinweber  – Owner, Anglers Covey

David has worked as a sales associate, manager, buyer, and owner in outdoor retail industry for 35 years. Companies he has worked for include; Mountain Miser, REI, Colorado Outdoor Sports, Chickenhead Mountain Sports, Gart Sports, and Grandwest Outfitters. For the last 20 years he has managed and owned Angler’s Covey a specialty fly shop located in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. Angler’s Covey has developed a mission focused on teaching fly fishing, with camps, classes, private lessons and guided trips year-round. He promotes Angler’s Covey as the place to learn to fly fish and banks on customers buying their gear to outfit their adventure.

In 2015 David took on the new challenge as founder of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance partnering with Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. As chairman, he is working to promote the value of the Outdoor Industry to the Pikes Peak community and bring together stakeholders to to increase our outdoor amenities, create better access to recreational areas, and promote greater participation in outdoor activities.

David currently serves on the Cheyenne Mountain Chapter Trout Unlimited Board. He also has served on the American Fly Fishing Trade Association Board for 4 years from 2006 till 2010. Angler’s Covey is also a member of the Outdoor Industry Association and is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitter and was honored to be selected as the Orvis Outfitter of the Year 2012.

Tony Lewis – Executive Director, Donnell-Kay Foundation

Tony currently serves as the Executive Director of the Donnell-Kay Foundation; a private family foundation established to enhance and improve education in Colorado (1999 – present).   The Foundation has a focus on strengthening education in Colorado from early childhood through higher education, using policy research, analysis and critical thinking in ways to improve state and local policies. Over the last 20 years, Tony has led major climbing expeditions in Asia, South America, Africa, Europe and North America, and many foreign trekking and climbing trips, both privately and for the Colorado Outward Bound School. Tony earned his Bachelor’s degree in Forest Management Science from Colorado State University and his Master’s in International Studies from University of Denver. His interests include: climbing, foreign travel, beekeeping, blacksmithing, bike riding, art, farming.

Annelise Loevlie – CEO, Icelantic Skis

Annelise Loevlie is a Colorado native, co-founder and CEO of Denver based Icelantic Skis and an avid outdoors women.  In addition to captaining Icelantic skis, Annelise volunteers her time to various industry Boards and community initiatives including the Board of Directors for the Snowsports Industries of America and other various boards and councils concerned with active lifestyle, economic development, and women in leadership.  Icelantic was recognized as one of Colorado’s Companies to Watch in 2013 and was recently awarded the President’s “E” Award for Outstanding Export recognition from the US Department of Commerce.  In her free time, Annelise travels the world to ski, climb and explore, loves to eat from her garden, write and sit in the sun.

Kim Miller – CEO, Scarpa North America

Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and was adopted as a baby by his American parents who moved them to Denver when he was very young. After a rough experience in high school, Kim ended up in an Outward Bound Course designed for at-risk youth. The Outward Bound course and the people he met there changed his life and pushed him towards a life in the outdoors. He decided to go to college and find a job in Outdoor Education and the Outdoor Recreation Industry. Since that time, outdoor sports have been Kim’s passion, life, and career. Kim had many jobs at Black Diamond Equipment  over 18 years but his work was focused mostly in Product Development, Sales, Marketing and technical equipment production. The specific job title did not matter to him as long as it required that he ski and climb as part of his work. In 2005 SCARPA Italy decided to start a US based subsidiary and they asked Kim to be the CEO of the new business. He had worked for Scarpa through Black Diamond as their distributor for almost 25 years and was very familiar with SCARPA. In 2006, Kim set up and started Scarpa N.A. where he has worked as the CEO since. Kim is still an avid and skilled rock and alpine climber and backcountry skier. Kim is currently on the BoD of SIA and lives in Boulder, CO with his sons (10 and 15 years old).

Len Necefer, Ph.D. – CEO, NativesOutdoors

Len Necefer, Ph.D. is the CEO of NativesOutdoors. Since beginning the Instagram account @NativesOutdoors in March 2017 this organization has blossomed into an outdoor gear brand and direct work with the outdoor industry and policy in the intersection of public lands, outdoor recreation, and tribes. He holds a Doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy & a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas. Len is an avid climber, mountaineer, cyclist, and auto racer.

Penn Newhard – Founder/Managing Partner, Backbone Media

Penn Newhard is the founder and managing partner of Backbone MediaLLC, a leading active lifestyle agency with offices in Carbondale and Denver CO and Jackson, Wyoming. Periphery to Backbone are foundational roles in two sister companies, FastG8 (pronounced fast-gate), a digital media agency and boutique PR agency rygr (pronounced rigor). Prior to starting Backbone in 1997, Penn worked as the advertising and marketing director for Climbing Magazine, as a backcountry ski and climbing guide, whitewater raft guide, and for Aspen mountain race department and as a snowmaker. A graduate of Brown University  (’86) with degrees in business and political science, Penn also did a stint hedging municipal bonds against the futures market for Mabon Nugent & Co. in Manhattan (1986-89).
An avid skier, climber, cyclist and outdoorsman, Penn served as an origianl ambassador for non profit 1% for the the Planet, and currently serves on the board as vice chair for Protect Our Winters and chairman of the board of 5 Point Film Festival. A published author and photographer for outdoor titles, Newhard also penned 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America with skiers Chris Davenport and Art Burrows. Penn lives in Aspen, Colorado with his wife Kirsten, four children Chapin, Lacey. Natalie, Teagan and dog Dash.

Cailin O’Brien-Feeney – Recreation Advocacy Manager; OIA

Cailin joined The Outdoor Industry Association in 2015 as Local Recreation Advocacy Manager. Previously he focused on backcountry ski advocacy at Winter Wildlands Alliance, ran the Idaho Outdoor Business Council, and participated in Outdoor Alliance.

Prior to graduate school – Natural Resource Management at University of Idaho – Cailin spent the better part of a decade working as an outdoor educator and guide across the West. His first job was at REI. Cailin’s outdoor passions include all manner of skiing, biking and whitewater boating.

Peter Oneil – Executive Director, Colorado Outward Bound School

Peter O’Neil is the Executive Director of Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), the first Outward Bound School in North America, founded in 1962 in Marble, Colorado. Peter has a long history with COBS, starting as a student on a winter ski mountaineering course as a college student. Peter joined COBS as its executive director in May 2012. He is a high-energy, serial entrepreneur with many years of start-up and turn-around experience, and he thrives on building and leading teams of high-performing individuals to grow businesses and accomplish common goals. Peter spent a decade with COBS as a course director, instructor, logistics coordinator and intern.

Peter is passionate about every enterprise he engages in whether it’s instructing students, working with clients, leading a sales team, or ski mountaineering in the Colorado backcountry. As a trustee of Denver Academy, an independent K-12 school for students with learning differences, as well as a life-long proponent of Outward Bound’s teaching philosophy, he is committed to changing the lives of students through non-traditional and experiential education. Peter received his BA in Psychology from Colorado College and his MBA from Stanford University.  He is the proud father of three wonderful children who are the love of his life.

Phil Powers  – CEO, The American Alpine Club

Phil Powers joined the American Alpine Club (AAC) as executive director in May of 2005. His previous experience in the non-profit world includes service as vice president for institutional advancement at Naropa University and seventeen years with the National Outdoor Leadership School as chief mountaineering instructor and development/partnerships director. He remains an owner/guide with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

Powers has led dozens of expeditions to South America, Alaska and Pakistan’s Karakoram Range, including ascents of K2 and Gasherbrum II without supplemental oxygen. He made the first ascent of the Washburn Face on Denali, naming it in recognition of the impact longtime AAC member Bradford Washburn’s photos had in the planning and route research of many Alaska climbs. Powers also made the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk’s Western Edge in Pakistan, and the first winter traverse of the Tetons’ Cathedral Peaks.

He is the recipient of the American Mountain Foundation’s VIIth Grade Award for climbing achievement; the AAC Mountaineering Fellowship Grant; the Mug’s Stump Climbing Grant; and the Wilderness Education Association’s Paul Petzoldt Award for Excellence in Outdoor Education (2007). He received the American Alpine Clubs highest award for service, the Heilprin Award, in 2012.

Don Riggle – Director of Operations, Trails Preservation Alliance

Don Riggle has been selected to represent the motorized (OHV) portion of the Colorado outdoor recreation council.  This  includes motorcycle trail riding, atv/utv users, snowmobiles, and 4WD full size vehicles.  OHV recreation represents the 2nd most positive economic impact on the Colorado economy.

Don has been a resident of Colorado since 1980.  Grew up in New Mexico  He has a BS degree from the University of New Mexico, and  a MBA from Boston University. He brings an extensive resume of off road recreation activities that have been ongoing since 1980. He is the founder and current Director of Operations for the Trails Preservation Alliance, a Colorado based 501c3 organization.


Jason Robertson – Deputy Director for Recreation, Lands,  and Minerals

Jason Robertson serves as Deputy Director for Recreation, Lands, and Minerals in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States Forest Service.  The Rocky Mountain Region hosts 29M recreation visitors annually, manages 28 mountain resorts, 4.8 million wilderness acres, the Forest Service’s largest outfitter and guide program, over 19 thousand miles of trails, and 43 fourteener mountain peaks. Robertson has worked on policy and budget for the Bureau of Land Management, legislative affairs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in Managing and Access Director positions for the non-profit American Whitewater.  Robertson began his career in recreation working as a climbing, rafting, and hiking guide. Robertson continues to participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities including kayaking, canoeing, hiking, climbing, skiing, and mountain biking, and is looking forward to more time on Colorado’s river with his daughters.

Brady Robinson – Executive Director, The Access Fund

Brady Robinson is the Executive Director of the Access Fund, the national organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. A long time Outward Bound and NOLS instructor, he currently serves on the board of Outward Bound Peacebuilding and is a founding board member of the Outdoor Alliance. Brady started climbing in Minnesota in 1989 and has since climbed all over the world, with some of his biggest climbs in Pakistan and Patagonia. Brady believes that outdoor recreation, increased youth participation and a healthy outdoor economy are all critical to the future of the conservation movement; this was the theme of his 2012 TEDxBoulder talk. Brady lives in Boulder, CO with his wife Lucia and daughters Tessa and Cora.

Mario Molina – Executive Director

An avid alpinist, snowboarder, mountain biker, guide, and life adventurer, Molina previously served as international director at The Climate Reality Project, where he designed the organization’s climate leadership trainings and oversaw its post-Paris Agreement international strategy. Prior to his work at Climate Reality, Molina led strategy and programs as deputy director at the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE).

Molina grew up in the highlands of Guatemala, and has a deeply rooted respect and relationship with the mountains and outdoor culture. He has trained corporate leaders, government officials, NGO groups, athletes and activists, on climate change strategies, communications, and engagement. He has spoken widely on climate policy including for the World Bank, IBM, the Mexican and Philippines Senate, the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, and various global stages. Mario now calls the Rockies home, where he lives with his wife and peak-bagging Australian Shepherd outside Nederland, Colorado.

 Sarah Shrader – Owner, Bonsai Design

Sarah Shrader is the Owner of Bonsai Design, a world-class aerial adventure course design/build firm based in Grand Junction.  Sarah’s attention to detail and profitability has facilitated Bonsai’s exponential growth over the last twelve years, helping to position Bonsai as an industry leader in sustainable outdoor aerial adventure.  From treetop canopy tours to 3000 foot ziplines, Bonsai pushes the edges of the industry with their innovative designs that captivate hundreds of thousands of participants who experience their courses each year. Sarah also is a Founder of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley, a group of businesses and organizations committed to economic development in the outdoor recreation industry in Western Colorado. The ORC has had statewide recognition as a leader of the grassroots effort to bring economic diversity to Colorado through the outdoor recreation industry. Sarah is actively involved in the Grand Valley community, serving on the GJEP Board and encouraging K-12 education funding, economic vibrancy and sustainability.  Sarah and her husband, Thaddeus, and their three boys spend their free time skiing, hiking, climbing, paddling, and biking on our public lands.

Brian St. George  – Deputy State Director for Resources and Fire, BLM Colorado State Office

Before joining the Colorado State Office in October 2014 as the Deputy State Director for Fire and Resources, Brian was the Field Manager for Gunnison Field Office in southwest Colorado where he was heavily involved in the conservation of Gunnison sage-grouse and the expansion of recreation opportunities for the Gunnison Basin. Before that, he was in charge of the land-use planning group in the Colorado State Office. He also served as the acting branch chief for social and cultural resources. He started with the BLM after graduating from Indiana University with a masters degree in land-use planning. He also holds a degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. His career in public land and resource management includes work for the BLM, the City of Lakewood, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and rural communities in southern Africa.

During his tenure with BLM Colorado, he has focused on developing comprehensive resource management plans for public lands. This experience provides broad exposure to the resource management issues and challenges in the state, and the wide variety of stakeholders and interests involved in public land management.


Margaret Taylor – Assistant Director of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Margaret Taylor is the Assistant Director of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  She has worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (and the former Colorado Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation) since 1998, starting as a seasonal employee to her current position.  She began her permanent career as a Park Ranger at Cherry Creek and Castlewood Canyon State Parks, was the Senior Ranger at St. Vrain State Park and the Park Manager of Roxborough State Park.  From there she served as a Deputy Regional Manager in the Northeast Region.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biological Science from Colorado State University.  Margaret is a fourth generation Colorado native.  In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband Ryan and two daughters, Madeline and Avery.

Dan ZimmererDan Zimmerer– State Partnership Coordinator

Dan Zimmerer currently serves as the Statewide Partnership Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). In his current role, he coordinates CPW’s efforts in support of the Colorado Outdoor Partnership and the annual Partners in the Outdoors Conference. Both of these initiatives provide a platform for organizations across the spectrum of the outdoor industry to gather, collaborate and discuss how to advance and balance outdoor recreation and conservation. Dan has a Bachelor’s degree in natural resources from the Ohio State University and has worked in the field of natural resources for over 15 years. In his spare time, he can be found somewhere in Colorado’s great outdoors either fly fishing, mountain biking or rock climbing.

Irene Vilar – Founder, Americas Latino Eco Festival

Irene Vilar is and award winning author and Guggenheim fellow, publisher, and founder of the Colorado non profit Americas for Conservation + the Arts 501(c)(3). AFC+A is the mother organization of the annual Americas Latino Eco Festival, leveraging latino leadership for conservation gains; Vilar Creative Agency, the first nonprofit literary agency in the US dedicated to the dissemination of minority literature of the Americas; and Mandel Vilar Press, advancing diversity and conservation in publishing. Vilar founded The Americas book series published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Vilar was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her memoir, The Ladies’ Gallery, was a Philadelphia Inquirer and Detroit Free Press Notable Book of the Year and was a finalist for the 1999 Mind Book of the Year Award. Her latest memoir, Impossible Motherhood, has been published in Italy, France and Germany, and won the 2010 IPPY Gold Medal for Best Memoir/Autobiography and the 12th Latino Book 2nd Place Award for Best Women’s Issues. Both memoirs explore generational and national trauma. Vilar gave the keynote at the 2010 National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators on Latino mental health, “Severe Depressive Disorder: Overcoming Adversity and Stigma”. Vilar is also a member of the Oxford Union Debate Society, debating on reproductive health and women rights.

Bruce Ward – Executive Director, Choose Outdoors (Forest Service)

Bruce Ward is the president and founder of Choose Outdoors, a nonprofit coalition of outdoor recreation interests, focused on increasing support for, and participation in, all forms of outdoor recreation in order to connect all Americans to the land.  He also represents recreation interests on the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative. He has worked as a consultant for various companies focused on public/private partnerships and increasing support for outdoor recreation. He also served as the first National Coordinator of National Trails Day, laying the foundation of what is now one of the most successful celebrations of the outdoor experience coupled with a message of volunteerism.

Nick Watson  – Executive Director and Co-Founder of Veterans Expeditions

Nick Watson is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Veterans Expeditions (VetEx). Nick served 5 years as a US Army Ranger with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He is a graduate of Airborne School, Ranger School, S.E.R.E. Survival School, Non-Commissioned Officer Primary Leadership Development Course, Combat Lifesaver, and Field Sanitation. He was involved with numerous national and international deployments. After leaving the military, Nick received a Recreation Management degree from the University of Vermont and has worked numerous outdoor industry jobs across the country for the last twenty years including NPS Park Ranger, NPS Biological Technician, Trail Crew Boss, Wilderness Guide, Field Staff, and Field Director. Nick has a great deal of experience leading groups of people outside. He uses this experience to design and create innovative trips and expeditions with a very talented volunteer staff of veteran leaders at VetEx. He is a Keen Ambassador and works with other outdoor industry brands to help get veterans and non-veterans outside and active. Nick was recognized as 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for creating an outdoor community that extends back home with VetEx vets. He is committed to creating outdoor community, breaking down the gap between military veterans and non-veterans, and providing a voice for military veterans in the outdoor industry. Nick lives in Salida, Colorado where you can find him on the local trails, in the Arkansas River, or planning the next trip.

Erik Weihenmayer

Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. When he stood on the top of Carstensz Pyramid in 2008, he completed his quest to climb all of the Seven Summits-the tallest peak on each of the seven continents.

In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world. Erik continually seeks out new adventures, focusing his efforts on empowering people traditionally swept to the sidelines of life. He founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world.

Erik is the author of two best-selling books: his memoir, Touch the Top of the World and The Adversity Advantage, which offers lessons for turning challenges into greatness. He is an internationally recognized speaker and brings his message of living a No Barriers Life to audiences around the world.

Suzanne White

Suzanne White retired as a Senior Program Officer at the Colorado Health Foundation in Denver, CO in 2015. In this capacity, she worked to identify opportunities for funding to support the mission and strategies of the Foundation. In particular, she is worked to implement a collective impact model to address pressing health issues in Colorado. Suzanne has 30 years of experience in health care management, policy, and philanthropy. She has a long-standing commitment to conservation and the environment and is passionate about enjoying time in outdoors spaces in Colorado and around the world. Suzanne has a BA from Colorado College and a Master’s degree from Harvard University.


Jill Corbin Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Jill Corbin Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Jill Corbin Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us
Jill Corbin Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (303) 892-3840 oedit.info@state.co.us