Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council and Ambassadors

Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council and Ambassadors

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.

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.

Rick Cables – Owner, Rick Cables Consulting

Cables enjoyed a 35+ year career in the Forest Service, including assignments in Arizona, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Washington DC, Alaska and Colorado. He 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, Mr. Cables was applauded for his leadership in effectively merging two proud and highly respected agencies into a new organization. Cables embarked on his “third” career in August 2013. As Vice President for Natural Resources and Conservation, he led Vail Resort’s industry leading conservation and sustainability efforts—in conjunction with their longstanding partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. He started his own consulting business in November of 2017, specializing in conservation strategies and solutions, focusing primarily on forests, water, wildlife and recreation issues.

Carlos 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.

 

Bill Gamber – Co Founder and President, 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 him 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.

Gary Gomulinski – Executive Vice President of Commercial and Industrial, Alpine Bank

Gary Gomulinski is Executive Vice President of Commercial and Industrial at Alpine Bank, 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 Alpine Bank, Gary developed an Outdoor Industry Banking group for another bank in Colorado. As an amateur 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 – Founding Meteorologist & CEO, Open Snow

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.

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.

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.

Morgan Lommele – State + Local Policy Director, People for Bikes

Morgan Lommele is the State + Local Policy Director at PeopleForBikes, in charge of reviewing laws and policies from all 50 states to ensure bike industry leadership in legislative and regulatory affairs that affect the industry. For four years, she has also managed the joint partnership between the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes to improve access for people who want to ride electric bicycles. This work involves pursuing local, state and federal legislative and policy mechanisms to streamline the definitions and regulations around low speed electric bicycles for both on- and off-road use. A policy analyst by trade with 13 of years of expertise in government, non-profit, and consulting fields, Morgan holds an M.S. in Environmental Policy and Management from the University of Denver and an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado. Thanks to close to 10 years working in cycling advocacy, Morgan has worked on state and local issues, and biked, in almost all 50 states. Morgan spends any and all free time outside traveling, skiing, running, mountain biking, and adventuring with her husband, son and daughter.

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).

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.

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.

Peter O’Neil – 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.

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.  He grew up in New Mexico, and 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, US Forest Service

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.

 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.

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. 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, 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.

Dan Zimmerer Dan Zimmerer – State Partnership Coordinator, Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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.

Ambassadors

Our Outdoor Recreation Ambassadors provide additional support to the OREC office.

Rebecca Bear
Michael Brown
Ken Gart
Kenji Haroutunian
Todd Herrick
Penn Newhard
Phil Powers
Erik Weihenmayer
Suzanne White
Mark Woodworth
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden

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