Staff Members

Executive directorAmerican Whitewater

Mark Singleton

PO Box 1540

Cullowhee, NC 28723

Phone: 828-586-1930
Fax: 828-586-2840
Full Profile
Mark Singleton joined American Whitewater as Executive Director in November of 2004. Under Mark's leadership, American Whitewater's historically strong conservation and access program has been refocused and transformed into River Stewardship, an integrated approach to the mission work of American Whitewater. Stewardship recognizes the organizations ongoing commitment to the rivers we work to restore and protect. AW’s River Stewardship program adheres to the four tenets of our mission statement:

CONSERVATION: AW’s professional staff works closely with volunteers and partner organizations to protect the ecological and scenic values of all whitewater rivers. These goals are accomplished through direct participation in public decision-making processes, grassroots advocacy, coalition building, empowerment of volunteers, public outreach and education, and, when necessary, legal action.

RIVER ACCESS: To assure public access to whitewater rivers pursuant to the guidelines published in its official Access Policy, AW arranges for river access through private lands by negotiation or purchase, seeks to protect the right of public passage on all rivers and streams navigable by kayak or canoe, encourages equitable and responsible management of whitewater rivers on public lands, and works with government agencies and other river users to achieve these goals.

SAFETY: AW promotes paddling safely, publishes reports on whitewater accidents, maintains a uniform national ranking system for whitewater rivers (the International Scale of Whitewater Difficulty) and publishes and disseminates the internationally- recognized American Whitewater Safety Code.

EDUCATION: AW shares information with the general public and the paddling community regarding whitewater rivers, as well as river recreation, conservation, access, and safety. This is accomplished through our bimonthly AW Journal, a monthly e-news,, paddling events, educational events, and through direct communication with the press.

Under Mark's leadership, AW staff, members, volunteers, and affiliate clubs achieve the goals of conserving, protecting and restoring America’s whitewater rivers and enhancing opportunities to safely enjoy these wonderful rivers.

In 2011, The River Management Society awarded Singleton with the Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award. Criteria for the Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award includes:

Advanced the field of river management through contributions in areas such as science, education, interpretation, research, and/or law enforcement;

Developed innovative (or creatively adapted) river management techniques;

Organized conferences/meetings that advanced river management as a science and as a profession;

Developed or implemented new communication techniques to coordinate and connect managers;

Provided opportunities for increased awareness by citizens and river visitors of their role in caring for rivers and watersheds; and/or

Was an outstanding advocate for and promoted professional river management and outdoor ethics.

Mark is also the past Chairman of the Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of six human-powered outdoor recreation groups. The six membership groups of Outdoor Alliance have a long tradition of preserving public access to America's Outdoors. They work together to protect the places we care about with a goal of making a difference — for today and tomorrow. Members of the Outdoor Alliance include: Access Fund, American Canoe Association, American Hiking Society American Whitewater, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Winter Wildlands Alliance. Collectively, the Outdoor Alliance has members in all fifty states and a network of almost 1,400 local clubs and advocacy groups across the nation. The coalition represents the millions of Americans who hike, paddle, climb, mountain bike, ski and snowshoe on our nation’s public lands and waters.

Singleton has over two decades of involvement in the marketing of outdoor activities and nature based tourism. From 1990 to 2003 Singleton led the marketing efforts of Nantahala Outdoor Center as Marketing Vice President. He is also a past board member of the Outdoor Industry Association and for seven years Mark represented the interests of outdoor recreation on the North Carolina Division of Travel and Tourism Board.

Mark and his wife Debby, a faculty member at Western Carolina University, and their two daughters live in Cullowhee, NC.

Ian Stafford

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Bob Nasdor

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American Whitewater

Hattie Johnson

Phone: 970-456-8533
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Kestrel Kunz

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American Whitewater

Ian Stafford

Boulder, CO 80305

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Colorado Stewardship Director

Nathan Fey

1601 Longs Peak Ave.

Longmont, CO 80501

Phone: 303-859-8601
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An active paddler in Colorado and the West since 1990, Nathan grew up in the Boulder area and began his boating career racing C-1 slalom and OC-2 downriver. Nathan began guiding and instructing in 1993 in Colorado before relocating to Oregon where he received his Degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland. Nathan continued to teach and guide around the Northwest until he returned to Colorado in 1999 and turned his focus towards collaborative river conservation and watershed protection.

Nathan has worked for several years with federal and state agencies, national and statewide non-profits, and local community groups to protect river resources in western Colorado and throughout the state. Nathan is the former Executive Director of the San Miguel Watershed Coalition, and a Core Committee member of the Dolores River Watershed Coalition, both in Southwestern Colorado. He has also served on the Advisory Board of the SW Colorado Program of The Nature Conservancy, and the Colorado Watershed Assembly.

In 2005, Nathan received the William C. Kenney Foundation’s Leadership Grant award, a prestigious award supporting individuals working to address water resource issues in the western United States. With support from the River Network and the Kenney Foundation, Nathan has worked on grassroots community River Stewardship issues in the Uncompahgre River basin in southwest Colorado.

Since joining AW's Stewardship Team in 2007, Nathan has been actively engaged in Wild and Scenic Rivers management, Access, and Conservation across Colorado.

Nathan is a fifth generation Coloradoan and lives in Longmont, Colorado.

Theresa Simsiman

Sacramento, CA

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Evan Stafford

Fort Collins, CO 80524

Phone: 970-420-5378
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Finance director

Laura Wilson

PO Box 1540

Cullowhee, NC 28723

Phone: 828-586-1930
Full Profile
I was born in Greenwich, CT where I lived until I was 6, and then moved up the coastline to Guilford, CT. where I spent my formative years. When I was fifteen, I relocated to Tryon, NC (1989), and then Cullowhee where I have lived for the last seven years. Because I was a single parent, I maintained a full-time job while I attended college as a full time student. In May 2003, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S.B.A. degree from Western Carolina University. In the fall of 2004, I entered WCU’s Masters of Accountancy program where I graduated in August 2005.

I enjoy working for American Whitewater, doing my friends’ taxes, cooking, swimming, canoeing & parenting.

Membership coordinator

Carla Miner

3691 S 3200 W

West Valley City, UT 84119

Phone: 801-649-2327
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Growing up in northern Montana, I learned to appreciate the beauty and majesty of the many rivers and lakes in 'big sky' country. The North Fork of the Flathead river and other rivers and lakes adjacent to Glacier National Park were the sites for many memorable days for my family. After living in Colorado and Washington for many years, I returned to my native Montana in 1998. I became associated with AW part time in 1999 in the Conservation office and assumed the additional responsibilities of Membership Coordinator in May 2003. I now make my home in Utah and I enjoy gardening, biking, and needlework. Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my two children and three grandchildren. I am more than happy to assist members in any way possible and I am only an email or phone call away!
Membership directorAmerican Whitewater

Bethany Overfield

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National stewardship director

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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Kevin has been an avid whitewater boater for over 15 years, and has paddled rivers and creeks in almost every state with gradient. Raised in Pennsylvania, Kevin moved south to attend the University of North Carolina at Asheville where he earned a undergraduate degree in environmental studies, with an emphasis on field ecology. While at UNCA, Kevin co-founded the UNCA Paddling Club and avidly explored the regional steep creeks both on foot and in a kayak. Shortly after graduation Kevin headed west to the University of Montana to get a masters degree in environmental studies that was focused on stream restoration and ecology. Montana proved an excellent base to paddle wild multi-day rivers, and to playboat on the Clark Fork and Lochsa. In 2001, Kevin was hired as AW's Eastern Conservation and Access Associate to tackle several tough dam relicensings and other projects across the east. Based in Asheville again, Kevin quickly developed a skill set focused on river management, negotiation skills, natural resource law, and regulated river restoration. Kevin became AW's National Stewardship Director in 2005, and now lives in Missoula, MT.

WebAmerican Whitewater

Ryan Groth

Asheville, NC

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Ryan assists American Whitewater as a part-time contractor providing technical expertise for the AW web site and other internet initiatives of the organization. He is also an experienced whitewater boater.


Stewardship director

Dave Steindorf

4 Baroni Drive

Chico, CA 95928

Phone: 530-343-1871
Full Profile
Dave Steindorf has been an active river advocate in California since 1997. As the primary negotiator for American Whitewater, Dave has gained a reputation as a consensus builder. He has been able to gain the respect of Agencies, NGO's, and Licensees while successfully achieving the goals of his constituents. He was a signatory to the Rock Creek Cresta Settlement agreement, along with past AW Board President Kevin Lewis, and AW Conservation Director John Gangemi. This agreement provide for the first whitewater releases in California. He has since worked diligently to organize and sustain the releases on the North Fork Feather River.

Dave has a diverse range of recreational, professional and educational experiences that make him uniquely suited for his role at AW. Dave has more than 8 years of experience working on FERC Relicensing. Dave is somewhat of an anomaly, in that he has not only worked in an advocacy role but also as a consultant for several Utilities in the West. During that time he has had a role in 12 recreational flow studies as well as studies on angling and flat-water boating. Dave is also able to draw on his vast experience in a variety of recreational pursuits including having worked professionally in the areas of Paddling, Angling, Cycling, and Outdoor Retail. In addition to this breadth of experience Dave also has a degree in Economics and a Masters in Education.

Dave was introduced to rivers at age 7, when his father put a fly rod into his hands. Learning to kayak later on was a natural progression from his childhood love of rivers. Dave's passion for river conservation issues inspired him to make a video, "More than Plumbing", which won an award for best amateur video at the 2000 National Paddling film festival.

Dave strongly believes that flowing rivers are an undervalued resource not only in this country, but also around the world. He feels that education is the key to river conservation. "Most of our progress on the North Fork Feather has been due to our ability to educate the other NGO's, agencies, and PG&E to the value of whitewater boating. However, the best way to improve people's notions about whitewater is to get them on the river. Couch Potatoes make lousy river advocates."

Stewardship director

Thomas O'Keefe

3537 NE 87th St.

Seattle, WA 98115

Phone: 425-417-9012
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Tom first got his start paddling and playing in the water during early childhood canoe trips to the Adirondacks in upstate New York. After a brief diversion as a competitive swimmer and water polo player through high school and college, Tom came back to paddling and began his first serious whitewater while living in Japan and shortly thereafter became a full-fledged fanatic with the University of Wisconsin Hoofers. Tom has traveled across the country and around the globe in search of great rivers and most recently completed a final descent of the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges, before the gates were closed on the world's largest dam. Tom has been a volunteer with American Whitewater for more than a decade and a Regional Coordinator in the Pacific Northwest for the past several years. Tom received his undergraduate degree at Cornell University before completing his graduate work in aquatic ecology at the University of Wisconsin where he received his PhD. In recent years Tom has worked at the University of Washington where his research projects have focused on the dynamics of nutrients returning salmon bring to river ecosystems and the structural development of riparian forests along large floodplain rivers. Tom has experience working with resource agencies including the National Park Service and Forest Service as many of his research projects have been conducted on public land. Tom has also taught courses in aquatic ecology, including watershed ecology and management, both at the university level and for youth programs. Bringing a wealth of experience to the organization, Tom contributes skills in river and fisheries ecology, teaching and outreach, grant writing, multimedia, web development, and inspiring local volunteers to help build American Whitewater's stewardship program. He is based in Seattle, WA and works closely with volunteers throughout the Pacific Northwest region on projects in Coastal WA/OR, the Columbia River watershed, Puget Sound, Fraser River watershed, coastal BC, and Alaska. In addition Tom covers project work in the Upper Midwest. And when the water's up, Tom still finds time to play on the water.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!