Our Staff

Guided hiking, biking, backpacking trips since 1997Get to Know AOA

AOA has come a long way over the last 20 years. In 1997 we were proud of our three guides and operations throughout Arizona, now Arizona Outback Adventures has grown to over 100 staff and guides offering hiking, backpacking, and cycling trips across the American West.

With a degree in biology from Arizona State University and a few years of guiding experience under his belt, Seth Heald realized he wanted to make a career in exploring and sharing the outdoors with others. The learning curve is steep in every business, but Seth was determined to create a guide company where customer service is top priority and outdoor guides can build a career out of their love of adventure. Through much trial-and-error, persistence, humor, and with deep passion for the outdoors, AOA has grown in many ways, yet still the people, guides, staff and trip guests, are the heart and soul of AOA.

 

Seth Heald – President and CEO

 

Hometown: Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, Canada

What type of tours do you guide? I have guided them all, but I now navigate more meetings than rivers or canyons.

Hobbies: A lifelong passion for Reptiles and Amphibians, “herps”

Memorable moment from your job: At the request of the Havasupai Tribe I was the first person on the ground to assess the damage to the waterfalls and camping facilities 3 days after the infamous 2008 flood. In addition to the serious work of documenting the damage, it was surreal to be the first to stand at the base of a now dry Navajo Falls and swim/jump in the brand new waterfalls.

 

Our Guides

We take pride in having the best guides in the business. All of our previous clients will tell you our guides enhanced their experience more than they thought possible. We have over 50 experienced guides on staff. All guides must learn our 50 page guide manual, complete a thorough training, all are CPR / First Aid certified and many have advanced training such as Wilderness First Aid, Swift-water Rescue and National Outdoor Leadership School degrees. Multi-day trip leaders are required to maintain valid certification as a Wilderness First Responder. Our guides are teamed to maximize their individual expertise ensuring your every need is satisfied. On a multi-day trip, guides are at your service 24 hours a day for the duration of the trip. They will be eager to answer all questions, solve any problems, and keep your adventure fun and worry-free.


A – F

Chris Anderson, Multi-day Tours Guide Manager

At AOA since: 2011

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

What type of tours do you guide? All multi-day tours

Fun fact: I began my career by teaching outdoor survival and primitive living skills across the West.

What do you love most about guiding? My favorite part of guiding is growing the outdoor community by helping people to become passionate about the areas that I am passionate about.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

AJ Baker

Coming Soon!

 

Casey High

Coming Soon!

 

Chris Rutz

Guiding since: 2016

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

What type of tours do you guide? All single-day tours!

Hobbies/fun facts: I have lived in Scottsdale since 1995 and have an extensive background in outdoor adventure. I have been a competitive athlete much of my life including road and mountain bike racing, triathlon and most recently a professional obstacle course racer (OCR). When not competing I am exploring the southwest camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing and canyoneering. In 2014 I retired early from a 23-year career in the insurance industry. Outside of guiding I am an OCR coach, steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and private adventure guide for my girlfriend and two cats.

What do you love most about guiding? I love introducing first timers to the southwest. For many the southwest is a dream destination that holds great fascination and mystery. My goal as a guide is remove some of that mystery but leave just enough so they want to come back on another adventure.

 

Cimarron Anderson

Guiding since: 1998

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Austin, MN; but I have spent the last 19 years in Utah, Colorado and Arizona.

What type of tours do you guide? Multi-day tours

Hobbies: I’m a yoga instructor and love to greet the rising sun leading an outdoor yoga class.

What do you love most about guiding? I love connecting people with the outdoors. Seeing the inspiring, healing, and empowering feeling people get by spending time in nature. It’s good for the body and soul and I feel brings people back to the important things in life.

A memorable moment from your job: A trip where I had 6 newbie women campers who were very concerned about going to the bathroom outdoors. They pulled me aside from the male guests and we did a detailed impromptu tutorial and technique-sharing crash course on how to ‘pee in the woods’. It was hilarious and quickly broke the ice. Awesome trip!

 

Elaine Stanton

Guiding since: 2016

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Moscow, ID

What type of tours do you usually guide? Single-Day tours

Hobbies: Mountain biking!

What do you love most about guiding? The people I get to work with, the pride AOA has in the tours we do and being in the great outdoors.

A memorable moment from your job: Rigging and de-rigging every raft AOA owns for large group tours is always a memorable time!

G – L

Gary Elbert

Coming Soon!

 

Jen Skubicki

Coming Soon!

 

Jim King

Guiding since: Guided trips back in the 1980s and am glad to be back!

At AOA since: 2017

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

What type of tours do you usually guide? Single-day Tours

Hobbies: I’m a corporate business healthcare executive turned outdoor junky. I love hiking, biking, skiing, traveling and people!!

What do you love most about guiding? The privilege of sharing the outdoors with our customers!

 

Karolina Losack

At AOA since: 2014

Hometown: Czech Republic

What type of tours do you usually guide? Single-Day tours

Hobbies: Rock climbing and spending time with my family

 

 

Kathi Reichert

Guiding since: 2013

At AOA since: 2013

Hometown: Canonsburg,  PA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Single-day Tours

Hobbies: mountain biking, hiking, traveling, exploring, trekking, volunteering at the Grand Canyon,  rock climbing, skiing or snowboarding and of course, eating. Fun fact- on a trip in Mongolia I shared a ride to the far reaches of western Mongolia with an eagle for 5 hours. I’m wilderness first responder certified.

 

Kevin Thomas

Coming Soon!

 

Larry Emmott

Coming Soon!

M – R

Matt Cairns

 

Melissa McGinnis

Guiding since: 2014

At AOA since: 2014

Hometown: Madison, WI

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Love hiking/backpacking. Grand Canyon is my favorite place on the planet. I hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2010. Certifications- WFR, LNT

 

Meredith Francis

Guiding since: 2008

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Dallas, TX

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours

Hobbies/fun facts: During my semester at NOLS, I built and lived in a Quigloo (quinzhee & igloo hybrid snow shelter) for 3 weeks in the Grand Teton backcountry. I am a 9th generation Texan and a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Mostly, I love watching never-been-camping families show up to a trip a little apprehensive and nervous, and see the utter joy a week outdoors of hiking and camping gives them.  That to me is the reason I guide.

A memorable moment from your job: Bryce canyon sunrise. Everytime.

 

Michael Guidone

Guiding since: 2013

At AOA since: 2017

Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Day Tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Construction/remodeling, mountain bike racing, trail running

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Being outdoors, meeting new people, showing others the outdoors

 

Rex Anderson

S – Z

Sam Fawkes

Guiding since: 2012

At AOA since: 2015

Hometown: Wheaton, IL

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours, Backpacking and hiking trips

Hobbies/fun facts: I love basketball, snowboarding, working out, mountain biking, watching movies, and good BBQ. Certified personal trainer. Worked for Gatorade and as a clinical test athlete.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? What I love most about guiding is getting away from it all, unplugging and not having to deal with hectic society. Life is simple in the backcountry and it shows you what you really need to live and what really matters.

 

Steve Sproviero

Guiding since: 2011

At AOA since: 2011

Hometown: Grew up in New England, lived in Princeton, NJ. Started, built & sold a Market Research & Business Services firm. Currently spend September through Mid-May in Arizona and Mid-May until early September on the Jersey Shore.

What type of tours do you usually guide? Day tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Nickname is “SPRO”.  I enjoy Hiking, Water Sports, Golf, wood working, Home improvement projects. Fun things – Hiked through Peru, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Completed six marathons. Married for over 40 years – two daughters – two son in-laws – two grand kids.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I really enjoy the interaction with the guests. Especially when they are so excited about the areas that we take them to. so many people don’t realize that AZ is so green, has such a wonderful topography, and great temperatures.

A memorable moment from your job: I was scheduled to take out five ( 5 ) guests on a dawn hike. When I picked them up I noticed that they were all very physically fit. As a explained the plan for hiking a trail they mentioned that they were all trail-runners. Luckily I trail run – so quick regroup and off we went. It was a tough morning – at least for me.

 

Stephanie Warner

Guiding since: 2009

At AOA since: 2015

Hometown: Lancaster, OH

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours and the occasional day tour

Hobbies/fun facts: Served in the US Peace Corps. Loves exercise, fitness and health, rock climbs and practices yoga

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I love that I get to work in the beautiful outdoors and share that love with others. I love helping people to step outside of their comfort zone, challenge themselves a little bit and inspire them to continue to play in beauty of the world around us. I love that I get to meet people from all walks of life and share a unique experience with each and every one of them.

A memorable moment from your job: My first time taking a group up Angel’s Landing is a memory I will always cherish. The group pushed themselves to do something phenomenal. The awe and pure joy and sense of accomplishment on each and everyone of their faces when we had made it to the top is something I will always cherish. The bonding and teamwork that took place as the group worked together to get up and down the path safely was incredible. It was an amazing experience and to know I laid a hand on helping this group achieve it reinforces why I am a guide.

 

Tim Dice

 

Todd Frein

 

Tyler Gates

 

Tyler Michael

 

Whitney Schuette

Guiding since: 2014

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Iowa City, IA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking and backpacking tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Constantly working in various capacities in the off season; from working in a genetic research laboratory to digging drainage in a cornfield, Whitney enjoys learning new skills year-round. Between tours, Whitney enjoys getting as much time outdoors as possible.  Some of her favorite activities include, rock climbing, running, swimming, kayaking, and bagging peaks.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Whitney loves meeting new people and sharing the places she loves with whoever she comes across.

 

Will Burkhart


Interested in becoming an outdoor guide? Check out Job Opportunties.

Office Staff

Every member of our staff has a love of the outdoors and adventure and each has a unique set of life accomplishments that make AOA a very special organization. Everybody on the AOA team wears many hats and some of our best guides are among our office staff. We are dedicated to making every guest’s experience extraordinary (often life-changing), while respecting and preserving the very special places we visit. We think that AOA is an exceptional place to work, and our staff agree. In 2014 we were voted as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work. We strive every day to share our enthusiasm for the outdoors with our travelers and bike rental customers.


Administrative

Rick Hill, Director of Technology/CFO

At AOA since: 2001 (started as a consultant)

Hometown: Tucumcari, NM

Hobbies: Photography, fishing, riding my mountain and road bike, hanging out with my grandchildren. As a college student I spent 8 months in Brazil and 9 months in Japan to help create what is now GPS.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel?I enjoy everyone I work with. It is one of the best work environments I’ve ever been in.

A memorable moment from your job: Going to Sky Camp in British Columbia is my most memorable experience with AOA.

 

Maryanne Heald, Permits Manager

Guiding since: 2005

At AOA since: 2009

Hometown: Tacoma, WA

Hobbies/fun facts: Off-road triathlons and hunting for desert reptiles!

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I love to see people getting to know and love the amazing places we travel to just as much as I do!

A memorable moment from your job: We had one guest that showed up multiple years for the same backpacking trip in the Superstition Mountains, and I was the guide two of those tours. I loved that she was so drawn to that place and the group camaraderie of the trip. They were definitely two of my favorite Superstition adventures!

 

Annemarie Kruse, Director of Marketing

At AOA since: 2013

Hometown: Tacoma, WA

What type of tours do you usually guide? I get in the field as much as possible and love guiding all our trips but especially cycling!

Hobbies/fun facts: Has traveled to 17 states and 22 countries.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Life is never boring working in the outdoor industry. I love being surrounded by other people who love the outdoors as much as I do.

 

Siera Whitten, Marketing Coordinator

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Hobbies/fun facts: Finding the best foodie and craft-brew hotspots in town, Arizona-native but grew up spending most of the year in Lake Tahoe (to become a ski-bum, duh), loves jumping off cliffs (and into water), swimming, hiking, weightlifting and traveling often!

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Everyone shares a true passion for the outdoors and adventure outside of the office. We walk our talk and know how to work hard to play hard. For me in the marketing department, it’s not hard to do marketing/come to work every day for AOA because I love/live by everything we value and stand for.

Bike Rental Shop

Cary Cox, Bike Shop Manager

Mechanic since: 1970

At AOA since: 1997

Hometown: Newton, IA

Hobbies/fun facts: Hitting things with sticks (drumming) and putting wires between things, or not.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Observing a complicated system actually work!

 

Tyler Coplea, Bike Mechanic/Guide

Mechanic since: 2007

At AOA since: 2015

Hometown: Fountain Hills, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? All tours!

Hobbies/fun facts: Climbing and mountain biking. I’m not Shaun White or Carrot Top!

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Showing amazing places to people!

A memorable moment from your job: Running out of the Grand Canyon with an ultra-runner after guiding in Supai for 5 days and wearing a massive pack, as well as going off of just four hours of sleep!

 

Jake Plapp, Bike Mechanic/Guide

Mechanic since: 2010

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Sedona, AZ

Hobbies/fun facts: Re-tapping crank threads

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? My favorite thing about my profession is introducing new comers or first-timers to the world of cycling, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors.

 

Kapri Gonzales, Bike Mechanic/Guide

Guide/Mechanic since: 2016

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Queen Creek, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? Primarily Mountain Bike/Cycling, occasionally River/Hiking

Hobbies/fun facts: I used to race at the domestic elite level for road cycling, mostly local racing and ventured in some national races. I won the women’s fixed gear dog tags at the 2012 Wolfpack Marathon Crash race, and was the only female to get invited to the Red Bull Ride n Style in 2012, which I did attend. I am beginning my final year at ASU and am getting my bachelors in Health Promotion. Although, I do not race anymore, I still ride for fun… mostly mountain bikes 🙂

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I absolutely love meeting new people! I love to learn from others about the places that they have been to or have lived in. I love to travel and I have learned about new places from my guests that I now want to visit. Also, I enjoy teaching others how to ride bikes and helping to build their confidence. Many people are worried their first time on a bike, but when they have an awesome experience riding with AOA, they become more confident in themselves and usually talk about wanting to get into riding back home.

Day Tours

Jon Colby, Director of Day Tour Programs

Guiding since: 1981

At AOA since: 2011

Hometown: Tempe, AZ

Hobbies/fun facts: Once rode the Pemberton on my Huffy (walked some)

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Meeting people.

A memorable moment from your job: Roll starting a bus and trailer backwards down a boat ramp

 

Alyssa Gallagher, Day Tours Program Manager

Guiding since: 2008

At AOA since: 2011

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

What type of tours do you usually guide? None- office dweller extraordinaire (But really- day tours, I run all the corporate team building events)

Hobbies/fun facts: I worked in wilderness therapy (Hoods in the Woods) for two years, which is what got me into guiding/the outdoor industry!

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I like sharing my hobbies with guests on a daily basis and getting people into the outdoors!

 

Kelly Hauer, Adventure Advisor

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? Bike Rental Facilitator, Tour Coordinator, Office Sanitation 😉

Hobbies/fun facts: I learned how to turn my jeans into a flotation device while treading water! Boom! Hobbies include making casseroles- because they are just delicious (no, I’m not southern), snowboarding, hiking, running, biking, camping.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I like being around people who appreciate nature and want to go explore it!

 

Macey Hallstedt, Adventure Advisor

Guiding since: 2016

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

What type of tours do you usually guide? After guiding in Lake Superior this past summer, I now guide a mouse ALL OVER a computer screen.

Hobbies/fun facts: I talk to myself on hikes, enjoy anything on which I can put guacamole, and have explored 17 countries.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Seeing peoples’ eyes light up because nature is just THAT DOPE. Also cheesy guide jokes. Personal favorite: “How deep is the water here?” “About waist-deep on a duck.”

A memorable moment from your job: Every time someone brings in food.


Multi-Day Tours

Brian Jump, Director of Multi-day Trip Programs

Guiding since: 1998

At AOA since: 1998

Hometown: Brunswick, Maine

Hobbies/fun facts: Walking my dog Bubba, gardening, road and mountain cycling, I was once a gymnast (Connecticut state champ in the all-around at age 12), still enjoy hucking gainers off big cliffs

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Gosh, trying to narrow down what I like best about the Adventure Travel Industry is a most difficult task. I’ve tried and failed because just when I think I’ve figured it out, another ‘best’ reason reveals itself. I guess that’s to be expected during my twentieth year in an ever evolving company in a very dynamic and growing industry! Today, the best part of the Adventure Travel Industry is my co-workers, this group of people care about what they do and bring their ‘A’ game to all the aspects that make AOA great. Just today I’ve seen the operations staff going out of their way to set the guides up for a successful trip, two guides taking time away from their off season to figure out the nuances of trail conditions for the upcoming season, a trip developer trying to create the most spectacular guest experience in uncharted terrain and the sales team dreaming better ways to tell the story of how excited they are about the experiences we offer. Tomorrow, who knows, maybe it’ll be the sound of Havasu Creek singing me to sleep while the canyon walls frame an endless sky. The Adventure Travel Industry is the best for so many reasons and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

 

Josh Kloepping, Multi-day Tours Program Manager

Guiding since: 2008

At AOA since: 2008

Hometown: The great state of Texas

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and cycling.

Hobbies/fun facts: Ironman Triathlon finisher and recipient if REI’s Top Guide Award for 2011.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? The moment when you see people get inspired by, and completely fall in love with, nature.

A memorable moment from your job: Leading a group of wounded veterans, many with one and even two amputations, on a five-day hike across the Grand Canyon. We summited on the 15-year anniversary of 9/11. I left this trip in complete awe of their spirit, positive attitude, and complete determination.

 

Hansi Ebert, Puzzle Master

At AOA since: 2002

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Hobbies/Fun facts: I began whitewater rafting trips at the age of 18 and worked in various places such as California, Idaho , Utah, ARizona and Wyoming. I obtained a BA in Tourism/Business from Black Hills State University, one of the first tourism degrees ever offered! I love hiking, weightlifting, handstands, doodling, spending time with my two kids and getting outside of my comfort zone.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? The adventure travel industry attracts creative, athletic and engaging people, so I am always surrounded by people who are fun and therefore, there is never a dull moment at work.  I love taking a bunch of information and organizing it so it is easy to understand and people walk away feeling informed.  I am fueled by the satisfaction that comes with carrying out memorable trips that leave a lasting impression on our guests and clients.  I love tackling all the steps it takes to accomplish that.

 

Megan Anderson, Adventure Ninja

Guiding since: 2006

At AOA since: 2004

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours, backpacking, etc.

Hobbies/fun facts: Hiked JMT in 2016 while pregnant! Favorite trail lunch = apple & cheese sandwich.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? The community and culture inherent in AOA and the outdoors in general.

 

Chris Jolley, Adventure Architect

Guiding since: 1991

At AOA since: 2002

Hometown: Orem, UT

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day Charity/Challenge tours.

Hobbies/fun facts: Mormon, Bartender at Gay Bar, Bull Rider during the “off season”, Ragnar for Dogs, Race Participant, Running with the Polar Bears Participant 2016.

 

Bethany Cava, Adventure Architect

Guiding since: 2010

At AOA since:

Hometown: Syosset, NY. Lived all over the US ever since!

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking, backpacking, and the occasional cycling tour

Hobbies/fun facts: I love sports, reading, and motorcycle camping (where we load up all our camping gear onto our bikes and ride somewhere cool to hike and camp for the weekend).

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I love that I get to put together awesome outdoor vacations for people to some of my favorite places. And they pay me to travel, too! How cool is that?

 

Courtney Cox, Multi-day Trip Administrative Coordinator

Guiding since: 2014

At AOA since: 2015

Hometown: Glendale, AZ

Hobbies/fun facts: I am an Arizona native, have a hot pink kayak, and I guided in South Africa for 4 months. My hobbies include hiking, biking, kayaking and cooking.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Being around other nature lovers (dirt bags) and getting to try new things (road biking, paddle boarding, rafting).

A memorable moment from your job:We scouted a kayaking trip at the Verde River. The water was fast and the overgrown vegetation made for an interesting trip! It was a great day with the AOA river guides.

 

Aya Nameth, Adventure Consultant

Guiding since: I have been guiding myself through life since birth so somewhere between 2 and 3 decades.

At AOA since: 2014

Hometown: Dallas, TX to Saadiyat, Lebanon to Houston, TX to Peoria, Z to Skagway, AL to Peoria, AZ. Apparently the definition of hometown is where you grew up. I’m not sure I’m “grown up” yet so I attribute all the places I’ve lived to being a part of my growing up.

What type of tours do you usually guide? The epic adventurous ones…mostly multi-day.

Hobbies/fun facts: I decided to run away and become a glacier-trekking/heli-hiking guide in Southeast Alaska once (because what else does one do after a big breakup?) and it turned ou to be one of the best decisions of my life…Once I actually learned how to dress for the cold that is…apparently “cotton kills” is a real thing outside of the 115 degree Arizona heat. Who knew?

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? There’s nothing like hanging out with a bunch of like-minded adventure seekers that can match your stoke level…being able to say that’s my job is pretty rad.

 

Paul Stevenson, Adventure Consultant

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Alpharetta, GA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours, backpacking, etc.

Hobbies/fun facts: Swimming, cycling, mountain biking, running, camping, backpacking. Avid cyclist and triathlete- frequently competing at the regional and national level. Graduated from ASU in 2015 as a double major in Sustainability and Economics.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I love working at AOA as it combines my passion for cycling and the outdoors with problem solving and critical thinking (using my noggin).

 

Dove Luidhardt, Adventure Consultant

Guiding since: 2013 (worked as a National Park Service Ranger for the 2 years prior at Arches and Rocky Mountain National Parks)

At AOA since: 2013

Hometown: Apache Junction, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours

Hobbies/fun facts: I love hiking with my Australian Cattle dog on all the beautiful trails Arizona has to offer! Nature photography has always been a passion of mine, and is perfectly combined with my love of hiking and backpacking.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I enjoy sharing my excitement and love for the insanely gorgeous Southwest territory with people from all parts of the world and walks of life! There is nothing more rewarding than introducing people to the outdoors and all the benefits that they have to offer 🙂 I believe that many people in this day and age are affected by the “Nature Deficit Disorder” (look it up!) and it is my mission to fix that!

A memorable moment from your job: How can I pick one? I think the most memorable moments from my job are supporting guests on trips that are out of their comfort zones. Sharing in joyful tears of celebration at the top if the Bright Angel Trail after hiking from the bottom of the Grand Canyon is definitely a memorable moment!

Operations

Lucas Brown, Multi-day Tour Operations Manager

Guiding since: 2013

At AOA since: 2013

Hometown: Markesan, WI (population 1,400- 0 stoplights)

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking, backpacking, and the occasional cycling tours

Hobbies/fun facts: A friend and I once put 10,000 miles on his Pontiac GrandAm over a 3-week period on a road trip from Wisconsin to Glacier National Park to Alaska and back. It was the trip of a lifetime.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? It’s always very memorable and rewarding to see the look on a person’s face when you share your favorite places and experiences and you can watch it become one of their favorite places or experiences.

A memorable moment from your job: Jumping from Havasu Falls for the first time with a group of awesome guests.

 

Brannon Glenn, Multi-day Tour Operations/Guide

Guiding since: 1997

At AOA since: 2011

Hometown: Seattle, WA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking, backpacking and cycling tours

Hobbies/fun facts: The plural of Octapus is Octopodes…look it up.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Traveling with different people from all over the world is amazing but the best part is the people I work with to make trips special.

A memorable moment from your job: The slot canyons are memorable, so is the expanse of Death Valley. The Grand Canyon has lots of memories, so does the hoodoos of Bryce. I guess it’s all pretty memorable!

 

Michael Blaylock, Multi-day Tour Operations

Guiding since: 2014

At AOA since: 2017

Hometown: Monroe, GA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day hiking and backpacking tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Mountain biking, discovering new music and adventure time.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Being able to tell people that places like the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Yosemite are my office – killer view man!

 

Deven Cardenas, Multi-day Tour Operations/Guide

Guiding since: 2016

At AOA since: 2016

Hometown: Marietta, GA

What type of tours do you usually guide? Multi-day tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Nature photography

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? I love that I get to work with such amazing people and get to do what I love every day.

A memorable moment from your job: I remember my first river tour off (fam) and the fun I had running my own rig by myself.

 

Tim Montgomery, Special Operations

Guiding since: 1992

At AOA since: 2012

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? River tours

Hobbies/fun facts: 62 trips in the Grand Canyon.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Being on the water.

 

Mark Morgan, Special Operations

Guiding since: the 90s

At AOA since: 2012

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

What type of tours do you usually guide? River tours

Hobbies/fun facts: Started training as a river guide at the age of 16. Enjoys his downtime with his family and getting his two sons and daughter out on the water or bikes as often as possible.

What do you love most about guiding/working in adventure travel? Working with people that also have a love for the outdoors.


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