Our Team

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CLINICAL TEAM

David-Hillstead

David Hillstead, PhD
Clinical Director
Aspiro boys 13 – 17
Carl-Smoot

Carl Smoot, PhD
Assoc. Clinical Director
Research & Program Evaluation
Jamie-Kaczmarek

Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Vantage Point boys/girls 13-17
Sandy-Smith

Sandy Smith, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Aspiro boys/girls 13-17
David Hillstead, PhD.
Clinical Director
  • Masters in Science from Brigham Young University
  • Doctorate in Marriage and Family therapy from Brigham Young University
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Utah
  • Clinical emphasis in emotionally focused therapy w/a special emphasis on emotional regulation techniques

Also specializes in: Family Systems / ODD / ADD/ADHD / Mood Disorders / Chemical Dependency / Depression / Anxiety Dr. Hillstead is a nationally recognized expert in the treatment of depression and anxiety in adolescents and young adults. With over 12 years wilderness experience he is approaching over 700 adolescent and family cases. In the last 5 years he has developed a special interest in understanding the underpinnings of oppositional defiant disorder, particularly as it relates to emotional regulation/mood disorders. With a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy he is naturally conscious of how the family system can play a strong role in the healing and resolution of these complex emotional regulation themes in both adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Carl Smoot, PhD.
Associate Clinical Director

Dr. Smoot received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Utah and worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment settings before co-founding Psychological Solutions, Inc. (PSI). He is a licensed psychologist and has over 15 years of assessment experience. He is well-versed in academic, neuropsychological, vocational, aptitude and personality assessment, including projective assessment tools.

Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
  • Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah
  • Licensed Clinical social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Bachelors in Psychology and Outdoor Recreation from Indiana University
  • Clinical emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders encompassing Cognitive, Solution focused, Collaborative Problem solving, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapies.

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Depression Attachment / ADHD / Mood Disorders / Anxiety As a youngster, Jamie was climbing trees and catching fireflies in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. Her love for the wilderness influenced her decision to obtain a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation with an emphasis in Environmental Education from Indiana University in 1999. With the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Baja, Mexico, Jamie was educated in leadership and team dynamics through an experiential adventure approach. She then began her career in 2000 serving adjudicated youth in the wilderness working for Alternative Youth Adventures (AYA), in South Central Utah.

Sandy Smith, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • Bachelor’s of Social Work degree from Southern Utah University
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Nevada and Utah
  • Clinical Case Manager, Therapeutic Family Care Program, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Private Practice specializing in Family Systems, CBT/DBT, divorce, and adoption

Also specializes in: NLD / Mood Disorders / PTSD / ADHD / Anxiety / Adoption / Divorce Depressive Disorders / Low Self Esteem / Anger Management / Sexual Abuse Sandy brings more than 25 years experience working with families, adolescent and young adults in clinical settings. Her clinical experiences include working for The State of Nevada’s Division of Child and Adolescent Family Services, 15 years practicing privately in both NV and UT., as well as 6 years in the therapeutic wilderness industry. Sandy is a warm and compassionate individual who puts her soul into the work she performs with each family she has the opportunity to work with and is dedicated to helping families heal and learn to live healthy and functional lives.

Gillan-Smith

Gillan Smith, PhD
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Aspiro/Vantage Point boys/girls 13-17
Ryan-Coley

Ryan Coley, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Men/Women 17-25
Caitlin Galt

Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Vantage Point men/women 17-25
Jessica-Williamson

Jessica Williamson, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Aspiro girls 13-17
Gillan Smith, PhD.
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters of Science in Counseling and Guidance from Brigham Young University
  • Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Brigham Young University
  • Nationally Certified Licensed Professional Counselor
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Utah
  • Clinically focused on family systems therapy, developmental stages of adolescence, substance abuse and recovery

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / Non-Verbal Learning Disorders / Mood Disorders Adoption Issues / PTSD Divorce Conflict / ADHD / Anxiety / Trauma Resolution / Depression / ODD Gillan brings more than 25 years of counseling experience working with families and adolescents in a wide variety of clinical settings. His clinical experiences include Wilderness Therapist at Aspen Achievement Academy, private practice in Salt Lake City, Program Director for Turnabout Day Treatment, Clinical Supervisor for Norton Sound Behavioral Health in Nome, Alaska, Adjunct Professor in the Clinical Psychology Department at the University of Alaska, Clinical Director for Outback Therapeutic Expeditions and most recently the Dean of Advising at Carlbrook School in Virginia.

Ryan Coley, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Utah
  • Bachelors Degree from Huntington University.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Trained/experienced in substance abuse, adults with addiction, group therapy, and motivational interviewing.

Also specializes in: Depression / Anxiety / Chemical Dependency Mood Disorder / Substance Abuse / Attachment Issues / Self-Harm / Identity Issues Ryan’s clinical focus since 2010 is in working with our young adult students and has been a member of the Aspiro Family of Programs since 2009. Over the last four years Ryan has commanded an integral role in the design and creation of Aspiro‘s Young Adult chemical use/abuse Experiential Adventure based clinical wilderness treatment model. Ryan’s primary objective has been to establish long term successful family interventions, stabilization, and diagnostic assessments all while meeting each student where they are in the therapeutic process.

Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Graduate Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology W/emphasis in wilderness therapy from Naropa University
  • Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the State of Utah
  • Clinical emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders encompassing Cognitive, Gestalt, and Mind/Body Practice therapies.

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Anxiety / Mood Disorders / Trauma / Addictive Behaviors / ADHD Caitlin received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago focusing on Art therapy, sculpture, and painting. In 2008, she merged her love of art therapy and the outdoors by earning her graduate degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy from Naropa University in Colorado.

Jessica Williamson, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social work from Brigham Young University
  • Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University.
  • Trained/experienced in CBT, solution focused therapy

Also specializes in: Body Image / Trauma / Female Identity & Empowerment / Family Systems / PTSD / Attachment / Adoption / Depression / Anxiety Jessica has been working with adolescents therapeutically since 2009 and as a member of the Aspiro Family of Programs since 2009. Over that time, Jessica has worked in several positions including an Aspiro trail guide with the Vantage Point group and as the clinical coordinator. Jessica’s primary objective has been to establish long term successful family interventions, stabilization, and diagnostic assessments all while beginning where the student is in the therapeutic process.

Jamie-Ahern

Jamie Ahern, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Aspiro/Vantage Point boys/girls 13-17
Jason-Capel

Jason Capel, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Females 13-28
Brandon-Johnson

Brandon Johnson, MSW, CSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Ryon-Smith

Ryon Smith, MSW, CSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Jamie Ahern, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Tennessee
  • Bachelors Degree in Human Services from Black Hills State University
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Trained/experienced in treating adolescents with attention problems and autism spectrum disorders

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / ODD / Screen and Process Addictions / Chemical Dependency / ADD/ADHD As a clinician with Aspiro, Jamie’s primary objective is to help students and their families develop and work towards achieving mutual goals. Treatment and intervention areas often include process and other addictions, interpersonal/social struggles and deficits, depression and anxiety, cognitive rigidity, self-care and low ego strength. Jamie is a firm believer in an interpersonal, relational and strengths-based approach while relying on evidence-based clinical interventions.

Jason Capel, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Physiology from the University of Utah
  • Master in Social Work from the University of Utah
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Experienced in working with females who have mood, body image and eating issues

Also specializes in: Trauma / Self Harm / Eating Disorders / Chemical Dependency/Addiction / Mood Disorders / Anxiety / Depression Jason has over 18 years of professional clinical experience in both residential and wilderness therapy settings. He specializes in the treatment of suicidal behavior, self-injurious behavior, trauma, eating disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse using empirically supported therapies. Jason has extensive experience and training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and has developed adolescent DBT programs in residential treatment centers and wilderness therapy programs.

Brandon Johnson, MSW, CSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah
  • Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioral Sciences from Utah Valley University
  • Licensed Certified Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Clinical emphasis in Substance Use Disorders and Forensic Social Work
  • rained/experienced in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing

Also specializes in: Substance Use Disorders / Depression / Anxiety / Posttraumatic Stress Disorder / Oppositional Defiance Disorder / ADHD Brandon’s experience in counseling and providing support for others began during his time in the military. Brandon served two tours of duty in Iraq (2004-2005, and 2007-2008). During his military career, Brandon counseled his troops and led them into battle. Brandon learned how to utilize his troops strengths and to be aware of their weaknesses in order to effectively complete the mission, and get everyone back home safely. After Brandon’s military career, he worked at a residential treatment center with 15-17 year old boys, with the Aspiro Boys groups, and at the Salt Lake City Department of Veterans Affairs. Brandon’s therapeutic approach integrates interpersonal, cognitive behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. Brandon’s clinical specialization in Substance Use Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Trauma come form his experience working with adolescents and their families, and with combat Veterans. Brandon has been trained in Cognitive Processing therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing. Brandon believes that the wilderness creates an opportunity to build a foundation for long-term change and improvements in communication, relationships, and for students and their families to take committed action for their futures based on their experiences and the momentum they gain during the process of adventure wilderness therapy. When not working, Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife and baby girl. Brandon enjoys golfing, playing/watching sports, hunting, fishing, skiing, being in the outdoors, and travelling to new places.

Ryon Smith, MSW, CSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University
  • Certified Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Bachelors of Science in Parks and Recreation Management from Northern Arizona University
  • Clinically trained/emphasizes Positive Psychology, Family Systems, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, development of Emotional Regulation

Also specializes in: Anxiety / Depression / ADHD / Self-Esteem / Identity Development / Substance Abuse / Oppositional Behavior / Non-Verbal Learning Disorders Ryon has been a part of the Aspiro team since 2012.  Starting with Aspiro as a field guide, he has been an integral part of developing culture, implementing therapeutic interventions and facilitating adventure in our adolescent boys groups.  As a clinician, his unique field perspective lends itself well to his treatment approach which emphasizes concrete interventions, expanding comfort zones, coping skills, self-efficacy, and self-reflection. Ryon has a passion for demystifying oppositional behavior in adolescents.  He trains staff and professionals on the underlying factors that contribute to maladaptive behavior which helps to suggest the most appropriate interventions. Ryon has also helped to develop the family adventure component of Aspiro Programming as he regularly facilitates individualized experiences in all corners of the state of Utah. Ryon was born and raised in southern Arizona where he received his Eagle Scout.  After a brief collegiate tennis career, he worked as a ski school supervisor in northern Arizona where he discovered his passion for the marriage of therapy and recreation.  Currently living in Salt Lake City, Ryon enjoys the colder months by snow-skiing, snowboarding and ice-fishing.  When the sun is out, he enjoys tennis, golf, and cheering for Utah’s own professional soccer team, Real Salt Lake.


LEADERSHIP TEAM

Brian-Church

Brian Church
President, Founding Partner
Rick-Meeves

Dr. Rick Meeves
CEO
Josh-Watson

Josh Watson, LCSW
Director of Admissions
and Marketing
Woody-Crowell

Woody Crowell
Program Director
Brian Church
President, Founding Partner

Brian Church grew up in Redmond, Washington where he was the youngest of five children. Brian loved playing most team sports, as well as tennis and golf. Growing up in the shadows of the Cascade Mountains, he couldn’t get enough of the hiking, camping and fishing the region has to offer. After spending two years on the north island of New Zealand, Brian graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Communications (Public Relations emphasis).

Dr. Rick Meeves
CEO
  • Bio Coming Soon…
Josh Watson, LCSW
Director of Admissions and Marketing
  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia
  • Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Trained/experienced in CBT, Family Systems therapy, Adlerian therapy, Strengths-based therapy, Crisis and Risk Assessment
  • Also specializes in:crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships

Josh has over 12 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, and their families. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has performed many duties including a Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, and is currently Aspiro’s Admissions Director.

Woody Crowell
Program Director

Having worked with young adults and adolescent in various capacities since 1997, Woody is a great addition to the Executive Team at the Aspiro family of programs. Woody is no stranger to wilderness adventure therapy. As the initial owner/operator for eight years of the largest adolescent and young adult crisis intervention organization in the United States, woody maintained 55 employees and personally helped over 1,000 families seek treatment for their son or daughter. Woody worked as a Director of Admissions and Marketing Director for several Therapeutic Outdoor Programs, and was responsible for all admissions, marketing materials, website design/maintenance, the creation and updates of Parent and Field Manuals, and more. During this time he formed personal relationships with Clinical Professionals, Executive Directors, and Therapeutic Community leaders all over the country and is widely respected and trusted in the therapeutic wilderness and residential communities. Woody also has over 450 trail days as a Field Guide in Southern Idaho and Upstate New York, Logistics Coordinator and served as an Assistant Field Director in Southern Idaho.


ADMISSIONS TEAM

Josh-Watson

Josh Watson, LCSW
Director of Admissions
and Marketing
Sarah-Casson

Sarah Casson Rush, CC
Admissions
Chelsea-Dickinson

Chelsea Dickinson
Admissions
Sally-Domitrovich

Sally Domitrovich
Intake & Family Support Coordinator
Josh Watson, LCSW
Director of Admissions and Marketing
  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia
  • Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Trained/experienced in CBT, Family Systems therapy, Adlerian therapy, Strengths-based therapy, Crisis and Risk Assessment
  • Also specializes in:crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships

Josh has over 12 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, and their families. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has performed many duties including a Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, and is currently Aspiro’s Admissions Director.

Sarah Casson
Admissions Counselor

Sarah began her work in the private sector back in 2005. Her background is in customer service and marketing, with extensive experience that includes both residential and outdoor program settings. Sarah’s education is in psychology and her passion is helping families. Through her sincerity, ability to listen, and expert knowledge she is able to support families through challenging circumstances. Over the years Sara has gained leadership and responsibility in her positions as Admissions Director with other wilderness therapy programs. Her enthusiasm is unparalleled. Sarah has always enjoyed working with families in different settings and has been exposed to many different cultural environments throughout her life From being a Nanny in Akumal, Mexico ensuring that the family enjoyed their vacation to her internship at St Mary’s Boys home in Portland, OR where she found her passion in supporting and working with at risk youth. “I feel incredibly fortunate to join this amazing team at Aspiro and to continue doing what I love most!” “When I am not working, I truly enjoying being in the outdoors – camping, hiking, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or running with my two dogs. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, traveling and white water rafting. The outdoors can be healing for all of us!”

Chelsea Dickenson
Admissions Counselor

Chelsea has over 6 years of experience working with families in private sector treatment. Her primary focus has been in customer relations, marketing, and financing. “I’ve had the unique opportunity to work with hundreds of schools and programs in the private treatment industry as well as educational consultants and other related professionals. Aspiro is a program I have worked with in the past and I have always admired the passion and reputation of the Aspiro Group. I’m honored to be a part of the team. ” Chelsea is a certified family coach and is passionate about helping individuals reach for their personal goals. With schooling in social work, business communication, marketing and her financing knowledge, Chelsea brings a unique skill set to Aspiro and the families we serve. Born and raised in beautiful North Idaho, Chelsea is a sixth generation Idaho native. Her close connection with her pioneering ancestry has instilled a deep appreciation for the sustaining and healing powers of nature. Chelsea enjoys spending time hiking and camping with her family in North Idaho. She is the mother of two, a step-mom of one and a foster mom of three. “Being a mom and the journey of parenting is my biggest inspiration and teacher. I also understand the complexity and heartaches of parenting. I’m thrilled to be working with families who are seeking solutions.” Chelsea also enjoys volunteering her time for her local women’s charities. She finds it especially rewarding to work individually with women facing adversity and who are trying to create a better life for themselves.

Sally Domitrovich
Intake & Family Support Counselor

Sally has been with Aspiro since May of 2012 and has had the unique experience of working with a large volume and a wide range of students as a member of Aspiro’s Orientation Team and transportation department before transitioning to her current role as an Intake and Family Support Coordinator. Sally was born and raised in the heart of the Central Valley of Northern California. She grew up exploring and enjoying nature and the outdoors at her family’s cabin, basking in the sun at the lake and ocean, and playing every sport her parents could enroll her in. After high school, she received a scholarship to play soccer at the University of California Santa Barbara where she endured a career ending injury. With her playing days over, she transferred to California State University Stanislaus where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in TESOL, while working as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team. Sally also went to graduate school at CSU Stanislaus where she received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Supplemental Credentials in Fine Arts and English. Sally spent many years volunteering and working with youth in the community coaching soccer teams and running soccer camps in the summers. When not working, Sally enjoying anything active outdoors. She and her significant other, Jake, can be found hiking, camping, mountain biking, dirt biking, snowboarding, fishing, or simply lounging in the sunshine with their children (a German Shepherd and a mutt).


FIELD MANAGEMENT TEAM

Woody-Crowell

Woody Crowell
Program Director
Sharon-Clegg

Sharon Clegg
Director of Medical Services
and Risk Management
Billy-Nicola

Billy Nicola
Assistant Program Director
Dan-Lemaire

Drew Macfarlane
Field Director
Drew Macfarlane
Field Director

Drew was born in Wyoming and spent the next 10 years moving around the country, from Phoenix to Manhattan, to Denver where he spent his Junior High and High School years. He finally found home when he moved to Utah after high school, and has lived here ever since. Drew has always been passionate about the outdoors. Growing up he developed a true love for nature and would jump on the chance to mountain bike, rock climb, hike and most of of all go fly-fishing. After studying psychology and language in college, he became a fly-fishing guide. He established his own Outfitter, guiding clients in Utah and all over Patagonia Chile. Drew has spent most of his adult life volunteering with troubled teens and young adults. He is very active with the youth in his community, serving as a coach and a mentor. He has dedicated much of his time to substance abuse counseling with addicts and their families. In 2009 Drew converted his volunteer experience into a career in the Wilderness Therapy industry. He has spent more than 700 days on the trail, working with students from all over the world. As a guide he brought a magic to the trail that touched his students and colleagues on a profound level. He has also worked as a facilitator of trainings and workshops, an emergency responder and most recently as a Field Director at Aspiro.

Woody Crowell
Program Director

Having worked with young adults and adolescent in various capacities since 1997, Woody is a great addition to the Executive Team at the Aspiro family of programs. Woody is no stranger to wilderness adventure therapy. As the initial owner/operator for eight years of the largest adolescent and young adult crisis intervention organization in the United States, woody maintained 55 employees and personally helped over 1,000 families seek treatment for their son or daughter. Woody worked as a Director of Admissions and Marketing Director for several Therapeutic Outdoor Programs, and was responsible for all admissions, marketing materials, website design/maintenance, the creation and updates of Parent and Field Manuals, and more. During this time he formed personal relationships with Clinical Professionals, Executive Directors, and Therapeutic Community leaders all over the country and is widely respected and trusted in the therapeutic wilderness and residential communities. Woody also has over 450 trail days as a Field Guide in Southern Idaho and Upstate New York, Logistics Coordinator and served as an Assistant Field Director in Southern Idaho.

Sharon Clegg
Risk Management

I had the privilege of growing up on the Wasatch Front of Utah spending countless Saturday’s fishing with my Dad and Grandpa in Utah’s lakes. I grew to love the outdoors and the beauty that it provides. After living in Puerto Rico for 18 months, I returned to pursue a career in healthcare. I attended Utah Valley University and later received my Bachelors Degree from Utah State University in Community Health Education. I hold a Master’s in Curriculum Instruction and Development from the University of Phoenix. During my time at Utah State I worked as a Health Education Intern for a therapeutic program that provided services to low income families. I loved the work that we did and seeing families become stronger and self-sufficient. My background in developing and successfully launching one of Utah’s newest vocational training facility, writing outdoor educational curriculum, teaching medical training courses and working on accreditation committees affords me the opportunity to share my experience with the wonderful people at Aspiro. I have taught and trained hundreds of Field Guides, Logistics Departments and students over my career and gain great joy in watching them find their passion in life. In addition to my educational background, my passion is in Emergency Medical Services. I have spent 15 years working from a volunteer to part time status as a firefighter and advanced EMT. I have seen first-hand the devastation that drugs and alcohol play on our youth and want to assure that young people have the opportunity to change their lives. It was my career in EMS that took me to first wilderness job were I worked for 4 years as their Medical Coordinator. I instantly was hooked to wilderness and the power of change that comes along with it. Children have the inherent gift to succeed; sometimes it just takes some additional perseverance for it to shine through.

Billy Nicola
Assistant Program Director

Billy grew up in the beautiful, yet often overlooked state of North Dakota. He has always enjoyed being active, playing in the outdoors, and building relationships with others. Billy graduated college with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, but quickly found himself pursuing a different path. He initially came to us with the intention of being a seasonal guide for one summer, but quickly realized Aspiro was not something he could easily walk away from. He worked in the field as a guide and team leader with the boys group for two years before stepping into the position of Assistant Program Director. On top of daily logistics, his primary responsibility is to oversee the hiring, training, and staffing processes for guides at Aspiro. He also manages all of Aspiro’s land permits so our groups can experience the most beautiful places in Utah. Billy says the reason he is with Aspiro is because he has never had a job where co-workers feel like family and everyone is so genuine and caring. Billy has personally benefited from being immersed in an atmosphere that encourages healthy confrontation, growth, and positive change. He desires to continually create and share that environment with not only guides and students but in his personal life as well.

Jess-Shade

Jess Shade
Field Operations Manager
Katie-Maxson

Katie Maxson
Logistics Director
Ellwood-Crowell

Ellwood Crowell
Transportation Manager
Dan-Lemaire

Dan Lemaire
Staff Development and
Special Projects
Dan Lemaire
Staff Development and Special Projects

I grew up in Alaska and had the good fortune of seeing some very remote and very beautiful places in my childhood. In Alaska, there was only time and money to do just what was necessary to be happy and healthy and no more. There were no stop lights, there was no rush hour traffic, and the nearest McDonalds was a 4-5 hour drive away. I knew more about Moose than I knew about Disney movies, and I could find my way out of a remote mountain valley easier than I could find my way out of a grocery store. I believe in the power of simplifying life – of making life about relationships and the transforming force called love. I began my career in engineering and in research, but found a much better fit in coaching and quickly became a full-time ski coach. After many years of using coaching as a tool to grow and heal adolescent minds, I decided to call it what it is, and joined the therapy industry. I continue to love introducing young people to the joy of mountain sports and outdoor living.

Jess Shade
Field Operations Manager

Raised throughout the Southeast, year-round outdoor activities were a large part of Jess’ childhood. From car camping at the lake to team sports such as baseball, lacrosse, and collegiate ultimate Frisbee, any excuse to be outside was a good one. It wasn’t until graduate school at Emory University, however, that backpacking and sport climbing became influential passions. These interests sparked reflection and led to a deeper knowledge of self. The outdoors became a place where character took on a more elemental importance. Inspiration to be and do one’s best were fundamental. As her master of divinity program was drawing to a close, Jess was faced with a crossroad; should she continue into PhD work focusing on the ancient Near East, Hebrew, and archaeology or do something else with her mid-20s? One Google search fed into another and eventually led her to the field of wilderness therapy. Jess was hired by Aspiro in March of 2012 and began work as a field guide that June after completing her degree. Mountain biking, canyoneering, and skiing quickly became additions to Jess’ outdoor passions. Jess has worked in all of the Aspiro groups, but found a long-term home with the Kairos young adult population. Specifically she found herself drawn to the Kairos 1 group comprised of individuals on the Autism spectrum, those struggling with social anxiety, and nonverbal learning disorders. From March 2013 to August 2013, Jess was the Kairos Team Leader. In July of 2013, Jess began co-leading tryout training weeks and was named Aspiro’s Staff Development Coordinator in February, 2014. Jess has been the Operations Manager since June 2014.

Ellwood Crowell
Transportation Manager
Katie Maxson
Logistics Coordinator

Kate cut her teeth in the wilderness industry packing food in the dungeon of SUWS of Idaho and backpacking through the Sawtooth mountains with her family. Her journey lead her to the Southeast where she worked in logistics and as a field guide for various programs since 2006. The west called her home and she joined the Aspiro family in 2012 where her powerful organizational skills and passion for supporting the growth of students quickly earned her a place among the logistical giants in the industry. Since assuming the mantle of Logistics Coordinator; Kate has applied the relational approach we use in therapy to business; gaining the respect of our suppliers as well as increasing the quality of gear provided for our students. Through Kate’s exceptional leadership our student’s enjoy a higher level of comfort and security than found in your typical wilderness environment. Her commitment to quality and risk management ensure your child’s adventure with Aspiro will be as safe as it is impactful. When Kate is out of the hustle and bustle of the Logistics Department she can be found playing with her dogs, spending time with her family, riding bikes, ice climbing, quilting, and working in her garden.

Shane-Maxson

Shane Maxson
Director of
Adventure Programming
Tyler-Carroll

Tyler Carroll
Risk Management
Tyler-Halls

Tyler Halls
Staff Training & Development
Master Facilitator
Eric-Rydzewski

Eric Rydzewski
Staff Training & Development
Shane Maxson
Director of Adventure Programming

Shane grew up rambling around in mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Having a turbulent childhood of his own; Shane found the support of mentors who helped guide him through those rough waters toward the journey of healing and helping others. Before entering the world of wilderness therapy Shane created an outreach program for adjudicated youth where they could work on community service hours while developing skills within the building trade, and continuing that mission years later when he partnered with Cooper Reis in providing their adult clients the opportunity to transition back into the workforce by working in a community food co-op. In 2009, the wilderness bug bit and Shane became a field guide in a newly created wilderness program in North Carolina. This experience was life changing and through the tutelage of some of the industry giants he grew to find that the calling to change lives was one he had been hearing all his life. Shane joined the Aspiro family in 2011 as a field guide. Through his dedication to our students and the clinicians he worked with Shane quickly earned the role of Team Leader, progressing to his current role in Adventure Programming. Shane has worked tirelessly with facilitators, clinicians, and industry professionals to craft a dynamic training platform for clinically relevant high adventure activities. Shane love’s the moment when another person realizes that they are far more capable than they ever knew; he is blessed by having that opportunity to train field staff in the creation of that experience within themselves and the students with which they work. In addition to training facilitators Shane also works closely with the risk management team in order to foster a culture where guides and students not only identify the detrimental risks in life, but also know how to find the courage to embrace the risks leading to success and accomplishment. Shane is on the Outdoor Behavioral Health Council and designs and facilitates Adventure Therapy workshops across the country. If the weather’s right Shane can be found in Little Cottonwood Canyon climbing or on a road trip finding adventures with friends and family.

Tyler Carroll
Risk Management Specialist

Tyler felt the call of the Mountains back in his home state of Alabama. After graduating with his Bachelors in psychology and minor in Sociology in 2007 he entered the guiding world of wilderness therapy and by Christmas Day 2008 began his first week on trail with Aspiro as lead guide. Since those early days, Tyler has been an important part of 6 years of growth and positive change within Aspiro. With this extensive experience his role as Risk Management Specialist is critical in the continued development of the program. Since taking on this role; Tyler has streamlined our incident tracking system, creating a database which gives us the ability to develop a greater understanding of safety and risk mitigation than ever before. Along with incident tracking, Tyler is on the ground, visiting groups in the field providing real time risk assessment and training opportunities. Tyler is Aspiro’s primary trainer for Crisis Intervention and Driver Safety. In his free time Tyler can be found pet-sitting other peoples dogs and enjoying the Beauty of Utah. Tyler also enjoys downhill mountain biking, motorcycles, dirt bikes, and fishing.

Tyler Halls
Staff Training & Development Master Facilitator

Tyler was born and raised in the shadow of the Wasatch mountains in Utah. His thirst for adventure grew at an early age through trips taken with the Boy Scouts and his family. Tyler fell in love with sports playing on various teams and eventually becoming a coach himself. When life threw him a curveball he came to Aspiro to find healing and reevaluate his path. His experience as a student at Aspiro lead him to his true calling; helping others through the power of adventure. Tyler joined the Aspiro family as a field guide in 2011. Tyler has applied his love for the outdoors helping students who fall through the cracks find unimaginable success during his time working first as a field guide and then Team Leader of the Vantage Point program. Tyler’s ability to break down complex adventure’s into powerful learning experiences for students had to be shared, so in 2013 Tyler joined the Facilitation team; beginning the process of training our staff to be the best in the nation. Tyler is an expert skier, mountain biker, canyonneer, and climber; he now brings this skill and experience to our field guides by creating overwhelming mastery experiences for them while teaching them the skills to provide the highest level of safety and the most therapeutic adventures possible for our students. When Tyler is not busy teaching adventure you can bet he is on one himself or spending time with his partner in crime Bri and their dog Max.

Eric Rydzewski
Staff Training & Development
Jake-Thelen

Jake Thelen
Mt. Bike
Facilitation Trainer
Liz-Lemaire

Liz Lemaire
Dietary Specialist
Jake Thelen
Mt. Bike Facilitation Trainer

Jake was born in the heart of the Arizona desert. His childhood was spent camping and fishing in the mountains surrounding Tucson, as well as with family in California and Minnesota. Jake embraces challenge; whether through playing college baseball at CSU Stanislaus where he earned Top10 all time batting average for doubles, triples, and stolen bases or his avid passion for downhill mountain biking. Jake joined the Aspiro family in 2011 as a field guide in the Boys group. As his talent for encouraging tremendous outcomes with oppositional boys grew he was elevated to the position of Team Lead. Jake loves teaching and mentoring adolescents; from his time as a little league coach he developed a passion for helping youth find success and accomplishment through challenge. In 2013 Jake took over management of Aspiro’s mountain bike fleets, building an in-house bike shop, and facilitating mountain bike adventures for our students. Jake has been instrumental in increasing the quality of our mountain bike program, even going above and beyond working with Utah communities to build mountain bike skills parks for all to use. When not mountain biking, Jake can be found Splitboarding in the Wasatch backcountry, playing with his children (dogs) Hailey and Marley, and riding dirt bikes through the vast desert landscape. Jake’s significant other Sally joins him on his many adventures.

Liz Lemaire
Dietary Specialist

Liz was born and raised under the Utah sun. Ever since a young age she enjoyed camping and spending time in the outdoors with her family. When she met her husband; she discovered her love for adventure. Liz joined the Aspiro family in 2006 as a field instructor. Throughout her time she has worn various hats; including logistics, administrative, and transport. Her love for the students at Aspiro made her the perfect fit for her role as Dietary Specialist. Liz is the heart and soul of the Aspiro diet. She ensures each week students receive the highest quality food possible; working one on one with them to help them pick out a balanced diet from the cornucopia available in the food store. She works tirelessly with local vendors and distributors to find the freshest produce and a diversity of food to keep our students healthy and happy. Through Liz’s leadership, Aspiro can accommodate any dietary need; whether religious, allergies, gluten/ dairy / nut free, and even diabetics. The days of bland dehydrated rice and beans are a thing of the past. When Liz isn’t busy taking care of our students she can be found spending time with her friends and family, cooking with her mom, going to Zumba, and playing disc golf. Liz feels she has the best job in the world not only because she gets to help people; but because she gets to work with the love of her life.


FAMILY SERVICES TEAM

Jessica-Williamson

Jessica Williamson, LCSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Aspiro girls 13-17
Brandon-Johnson

Brandon Johnson, MSW, CSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist
Ryon-Smith

Ryon Smith, MSW, CSW
Clinical Wilderness Therapist

Jessica Williamson, LCSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social work from Brigham Young University
  • Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University.
  • Trained/experienced in CBT, solution focused therapy

Also specializes in: Body Image / Trauma / Female Identity & Empowerment / Family Systems / PTSD / Attachment / Adoption / Depression / Anxiety Jessica has been working with adolescents therapeutically since 2009 and as a member of the Aspiro Family of Programs since 2009. Over that time, Jessica has worked in several positions including an Aspiro trail guide with the Vantage Point group and as the clinical coordinator. Jessica’s primary objective has been to establish long term successful family interventions, stabilization, and diagnostic assessments all while beginning where the student is in the therapeutic process.

Brandon Johnson, MSW, CSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Utah
  • Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioral Sciences from Utah Valley University
  • Licensed Certified Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Clinical emphasis in Substance Use Disorders and Forensic Social Work
  • rained/experienced in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery, Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing

Also specializes in: Substance Use Disorders / Depression / Anxiety / Posttraumatic Stress Disorder / Oppositional Defiance Disorder / ADHD Brandon’s experience in counseling and providing support for others began during his time in the military. Brandon served two tours of duty in Iraq (2004-2005, and 2007-2008). During his military career, Brandon counseled his troops and led them into battle. Brandon learned how to utilize his troops strengths and to be aware of their weaknesses in order to effectively complete the mission, and get everyone back home safely. After Brandon’s military career, he worked at a residential treatment center with 15-17 year old boys, with the Aspiro Boys groups, and at the Salt Lake City Department of Veterans Affairs. Brandon’s therapeutic approach integrates interpersonal, cognitive behavioral, and psychodynamic theories. Brandon’s clinical specialization in Substance Use Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Trauma come form his experience working with adolescents and their families, and with combat Veterans. Brandon has been trained in Cognitive Processing therapy (CPT) for PTSD, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Motivational Interviewing. Brandon believes that the wilderness creates an opportunity to build a foundation for long-term change and improvements in communication, relationships, and for students and their families to take committed action for their futures based on their experiences and the momentum they gain during the process of adventure wilderness therapy. When not working, Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife and baby girl. Brandon enjoys golfing, playing/watching sports, hunting, fishing, skiing, being in the outdoors, and travelling to new places.

Ryon Smith, MSW, CSW
Clinical wilderness therapist
  • Masters in Social Work from Arizona State University
  • Certified Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Bachelors of Science in Parks and Recreation Management from Northern Arizona University
  • Clinically trained/emphasizes Positive Psychology, Family Systems, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, development of Emotional Regulation

Also specializes in: Anxiety / Depression / ADHD / Self-Esteem / Identity Development / Substance Abuse / Oppositional Behavior / Non-Verbal Learning Disorders Ryon has been a part of the Aspiro team since 2012.  Starting with Aspiro as a field guide, he has been an integral part of developing culture, implementing therapeutic interventions and facilitating adventure in our adolescent boys groups.  As a clinician, his unique field perspective lends itself well to his treatment approach which emphasizes concrete interventions, expanding comfort zones, coping skills, self-efficacy, and self-reflection. Ryon has a passion for demystifying oppositional behavior in adolescents.  He trains staff and professionals on the underlying factors that contribute to maladaptive behavior which helps to suggest the most appropriate interventions. Ryon has also helped to develop the family adventure component of Aspiro Programming as he regularly facilitates individualized experiences in all corners of the state of Utah. Ryon was born and raised in southern Arizona where he received his Eagle Scout.  After a brief collegiate tennis career, he worked as a ski school supervisor in northern Arizona where he discovered his passion for the marriage of therapy and recreation.  Currently living in Salt Lake City, Ryon enjoys the colder months by snow-skiing, snowboarding and ice-fishing.  When the sun is out, he enjoys tennis, golf, and cheering for Utah’s own professional soccer team, Real Salt Lake.