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Professional Staff

Mark Singleton

Executive Director

Mark Singleton joined American Whitewater as Executive Director in November of 2004. Under Mark's leadership, American Whitewater's conservation and access program has been refocused and transformed into the American Whitewater River Stewardship program, an integrated approach to the river restoration and conservation work of American Whitewater. The notion of river stewardship encompasses the three main mission pillars of AW's mission statement; conservation, access, and safety. American Whitewater has spent the last decade honing a regional approach to our river stewardship work. This approach allows us to leverage our grassroots base for good ideas and solutions at the local level. The best of those ideas percolate upward to inform dialog and shape policy at the nationally. This model works well to achieve results that enhance access and preserve unique whitewater resources.

In 2011, The River Management Society awarded Singleton with the Outstanding Contribution to River Management Award. Mark is also the past Chairman of the Outdoor Alliance, a coalition of human-powered outdoor recreation groups. Coalition members of Outdoor Alliance have a long tradition of preserving public access to America's Outdoors. Founding members of the Outdoor Alliance include: Access Fund, American Canoe Association, American Whitewater, International Mountain Bicycling Association, and Winter Wildlands Alliance. Collectively, the Outdoor Alliance has members in all fifty states and a network of 1,600 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.

mark@americanwhitewater.org

Kevin Colburn

National Stewardship Director

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 has since split his time between Missoula, MT and Asheville, NC.

kevin@americanwhitewater.org

Bob Nasdor

Northeast Stewardship Director

Bob is based out of Massachusetts and has been an avid paddler of the rivers of the Northeast for the past 10 years. Bob joined the staff of AW in 2012.

Bob brings a wealth of experience to the position from his 20-year career as a public interest attorney. Bob served as the executive and legal director for several programs aimed at improving policies and services benefitting low-income and homeless families. Following these roles he served as the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Massachusetts and has since formed a private law practice. These roles honed Bob’s advocacy, legislative reform, legal, grassroots organizing, and outreach skills.

bob@americanwhitewater.org

Dave Steindorf

Special Projects Director

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Dave Steindorf has been an active river advocate in California since 1997. As the primary negotiator for American Whitewater's interests in hydropower licensing in California, Dave has gained a reputation as a consensus builder. He has been able to gain the respect of agencies, non-governmental organizations, and licensees while successfully achieving the goals of his constituents. He was a signatory to the Rock Creek Cresta Settlement agreement, along with past American Whitewater Board President Kevin Lewis, and American Whitewater Conservation Director John Gangemi. This agreement provided for the first whitewater releases in California. Over the next two decades, Dave successfully restored flows to dozens of other rivers across California resulting in over 100 days of new recreational opportunities on rivers across the state.

Dave has a diverse range of recreational, professional and educational experiences that make him uniquely suited for his role at American Whitewater. Dave has more than two decades of experience working on federal hydropower licensing. 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 over a dozen recreational flow studies to quantify instream flow needs for whitewater recreation, 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 his professional experience in paddlesports, 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 in 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 non-governmental organizations, agencies, and Portland Gas & Electric 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.”

dave@americanwhitewater.org Ph. 530 518-2729

Theresa L. Simsiman

California Stewardship Director

Theresa brings over a decade of river advocacy experience to the position of California Stewardship Director. Since she first started whitewater kayaking in 1999 she has made it a point to get involved at the community level to advocate for river sheds and lands in in her back-yard. She cut her teeth in the world of hydropower by actively informing and encouraging advocacy from local paddling groups for the relicensing of the FERC Upper American River Project (UARP) owned and operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). After a stalemate in relicensing discussions, Theresa represented private boater interests and helped bring SMUD back to the negotiating table. She was subsequently invited to join the relicensing negotiations by the UARP coalition, which included American Whitewater, Friends of the River, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, American River Recreation Association, Camp Lotus, Foothill Conservancy, California Outdoors and Hilde Schweitzer. A relicensing settlement agreement for the project was signed in January 2007 bringing year around recreational flows to the South Fork American (SFA) River below Chili Bar, new recreational flows on the SFA below Slab Creek Dam and on South Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir. With a predictable flow schedule in place, Theresa then spearheaded community efforts to get a grant from the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to fund a private boating shuttle service in Coloma on the SFA below Chili Bar. In 2008 she wrote and secured the first matching grant from AQMD totaling over 76K for the shuttle program.

In time, Dave Steindorf recruited Theresa as a volunteer for American Whitewater asking her to be the Ecological Resource Committee representative for the FERC Mokelumne River Project owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. She later agreed to represent American Whitewater during the relicensing process for the Merced River Hydroelectric Project and help with efforts to stop the roll back of National Wild & Scenic protection on the Merced River. Having gained practical knowledge on working with utilities, federal, state & local agencies as well as local partner organizations, Theresa was eventually brought on to the American Whitewater staff as the California Stewardship Assistant in 2013. In this position she protected recreational flows on the Mokelumne River during the drought, advocated for State Wild and Scenic River status for the Mokelumne, helped remove an illegal fence blocking access to the Cosumnes River, and helped implement the first license required recreational flow releases on the South Fork American River below Slab Creek Dam and on South Silver Creek below Ice House Reservoir.

theresa@americanwhitewater.org Ph. 916-835-1460

Nathan Fey

Colorado River Stewardship Director

Version 2An 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 started guiding and introducing new paddlers to rivers in 1992 before relocating to Oregon to study at Lewis and Clark College in Portland. While in Oregon, Nathan investigated water quality in the Deschutes River basin with support from the U.S. Geological Survey, and worked to evaluate alternative water supply strategies for the Oregon Environmental Council. Nathan continued to teach and guide around the Northwest until he returned home to Colorado in 1999 to pursue a suite of outdoor education and conservation roles.

Nathan served as the Executive Director of the San Miguel Watershed Coalition and as a Core Committee member of the Dolores River Watershed Coalition, both in Southwestern Colorado. He co-founded the San Juan Field School and has 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 on water resource issues in the western United States. With support from the River Network and the Kenney Foundation, Nathan established a grassroots River Stewardship community group in the Uncompahgre River basin in southwest Colorado.

Nathan has been a member of American Whitewater since 1990 and joined the Stewardship Team in 2007. Today, Nathan oversees project staff, teams of engineering, legal, and hydrology firms, and hundreds of volunteers, while actively serving as the lead recreation representative in several high-level stakeholder efforts working on River Management Plans for the Upper Colorado, Dolores, Yampa and San Juan River basins. Nathan is a founding partner of Outdoor Alliance Colorado, and serves as liaison for American Whitewater's membership in OAC initiatives. In 2015, Nathan accepted a volunteer position on the Advisory Board of the newly established Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, and on Boulder County's Resilience Leadership Team. Nathan has been recognized for several contributions to rivers and water management in the West. In 2003, Nathan was recognized by the USDA for his role to the development of Instream Flow Management Strategies for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado. In 2010, Nathan was recognized by the US Department of Agriculture and Interior - jointly, for his “significant contributions of time, effort, and collaboration” in helping manage the Lower Dolores River Corridor in Southwestern Colorado. In 2012, Nathan was awarded the Partner in Conservation Award by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, for his scientific advancements and contributions to the US Bureau of Reclamation's Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.

nathan@americanwhitewater.org

Kestrel Kunz

Colorado Stewardship Assistant

Kestrel first joined the American Whitewater team as a dedicated intern in 2015, before becoming a part-time staff member in 2016. In her new position, Kestrel assists the CO Stewardship Director with grant-writing, research, event-coordination, communications, and direct advocacy with State and Federal agencies.

Kestrel graduated from Quest University Canada in 2016, where she studied environmental chemistry, watershed science, and environmental management. While at Quest, Kestrel served on student council, re-established the Environmental Club, and co-chaired the Outdoor Rec Club for 3 years. She received Distinction for her undergraduate thesis - an international field research project investigating physical lake science in British Columbia and Peru. Kestrel also has experience in corporate sustainability, grant-writing, marketing, and outdoor education.

Kestrel grew up paddling with her family in Vermont and Eastern Canada, and later found her passion for watershed conservation while kayaking in Ecuador during high school. After studying and paddling in British Columbia for 3 years, she found her passion for water issues in the Western US during an exchange semester at Colorado College. Since then, she's been studying, working, and paddling between BC and Colorado. Her three favorite rivers are the Upper Cheakamus - BC, Mad River - VT, and Bailey on the NF South Platte - CO. If she’s not on the river, Kestrel can be found skiing in the mountains or baking bread at home.

kestrel@americanwhitewater.org

Thomas O'Keefe

Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director

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 on a trip to Japan in 1992 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; in 2003 he completed a final descent of the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges, before the gates were closed on the world's largest dam.

Tom began work with American Whitewater in a volunteer capacity in 1995 and served as a Regional Coordinator in the Pacific Northwest before joining the staff in 2005. 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 Zoology. Tom worked at the University of Washington where he coordinated research projects focused on the dynamics of nutrients returning salmon bring to river ecosystems and the structural development of riparian forests along large floodplain rivers. Through his work as a river ecologist, Tom gained experience working with resource agencies including the National Park Service and Forest Service as many of his research projects were 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 with family and friends.

Pacific Northwest Office
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115-3639
ph. 425-417-9012
okeefe@americanwhitewater.org

Megan Hooker

Associate Stewardship Director

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Megan joined the American Whitewater team in February 2011 as the Stewardship Assistant. Her love of rivers was sparked while rafting classic western rivers like the Green, Rogue, and San Juan during her formative years. She also spent many weekends as a child at Lake Powell in Southern Utah, and eventually began to make the connection that her enjoyment of that landscape came at a great cost to the Colorado River. This realization fueled her passion for river protection and conservation, inspiring her to learn as much as she could about rivers – both in and out of school. She studied geology at the College of Wooster, environmental hydrogeology at Northern Arizona University, and later earned a master’s degree in environmental law from Vermont Law School.

Megan has experience with environmental law and policy, science, and non-profit communication and fundraising. Since earning her master’s degree in 2004, she has put her skills and passion for protecting rivers to work for a variety of non-profit environmental groups. Before joining American Whitewater, she worked for over three years as a legal and development assistant at a public interest environmental law center. She also has experience reviewing state agency files and drafting 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue letters for industrial stormwater, municipal wastewater, toxic waste, and dredge and fill violations under the Clean Water Act.

As Stewardship Assistant, Megan supports the Stewardship Director’s river conservation and restoration projects, with an emphasis on national policy and projects in the Pacific Northwest and California. She currently lives in Bend, Oregon, and when she’s not being a river wonk, you’ll likely find her on her yoga mat, hiking, or getting her hands dirty in her garden.

Contact information: (p) 541-728-0849 (email) megan@americanwhitewater.org

Carla Miner

Membership Director

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 Manager in May 2003. My home is now 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!

carla@americanwhitewater.org

Laura Wilson

Finance Director

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 Jackson County, NC where I have lived ever since. 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.

laura@americanwhitewater.org