Meet the team

Meet the team

The Aspiro Team

Aspiro is dedicated to providing a high level of care to all of our clients. We want you to feel confident that your child is safe and receiving the very best opportunity for change. Our multi-disciplinary treatment team is made up of compassionate and experienced professionals that share a focus of attaining positive outcomes. Please take some time to meet our team members below.

  • All
  • Admissions Team
  • Clinical Team
  • Field Management Team
  • Health and Wellness Team
  • Leadership Team
  • Vantage Point
  • Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
    Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
    CEO
  • Josh Watson, LCSW
    Josh Watson, LCSW
    CMO
  • Katie Thoma
    Katie Thoma
    CFO
  • Kayleen Richter, PHR
    Kayleen Richter, PHR
    HR Director
  • Woody Crowell
    Woody Crowell
    Program Director
  • Ryan Coley, LCSW
    Ryan Coley, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Carl Smoot, PhD
    Carl Smoot, PhD
    Assoc. Clinical Director Research & Program Evaluation
  • Gillan Smith, PhD
    Gillan Smith, PhD
    Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17
  • Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Vantage Point Males/Females, Ages 13-17
  • Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Vantage Point Males/Females, Ages 18-26
  • Ryon Smith, LCSW
    Ryon Smith, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Brandon Johnson, LCSW
    Brandon Johnson, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Jason Capel, LCSW
    Jason Capel, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Females Ages 13-26, Males Ages 13-17
  • Leigh Uhlenkott, MS, LPCS, NCC, LMHC
    Leigh Uhlenkott, MS, LPCS, NCC, LMHC
    Vantage Point & Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Adolescent Males & Females, Ages 13-17
  • Grace Larson, MSW, CSW
    Grace Larson, MSW, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Females, Ages 13-26
  • Sarah Rothstein, LCSW
    Sarah Rothstein, LCSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Amanda Cencak, LCMHC
    Amanda Cencak, LCMHC
    Vantage Point & Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Adolescent & Young Adult Males/Females, Ages 13-26
  • Anna Pierotti
    Anna Pierotti
    Vantage Point Program Coordinator
  • Mark Widmer, PhD
    Mark Widmer, PhD
    Independent Research Director
  • Dr. Cheronne Anderson
    Dr. Cheronne Anderson
    Psychiatric MD
  • Jessica Williamson, LCSW
    Jessica Williamson, LCSW
    Family Services Director
  • Shannon Weaver, LCSW
    Shannon Weaver, LCSW
    Associate Director of Marketing & Outreach
  • Jolene McGuire
    Jolene McGuire
    Associate Director of Admissions
  • Nicole Andra
    Nicole Andra
    Admissions Counselor
  • Ryan Schaffer
    Ryan Schaffer
    Admissions Counselor
  • Joe Nagle
    Joe Nagle
    Field Director
  • Tyler Carroll
    Tyler Carroll
    Risk Management Coordinator
  • Kevin Owen
    Kevin Owen
    Recruiting
  • Scott Shaffer
    Scott Shaffer
    Ropes Specialist Trainer
  • Robert Owen
    Robert Owen
    Field Operations Manager
  • Stephan Fanale
    Stephan Fanale
    Associate Field Operations Manager
  • Raushan “R.A.” Rowser
    Raushan “R.A.” Rowser
    Logistics Manager
  • Justine Hewitt
    Justine Hewitt
    Assistant Logistics Manager
  • Kyle Oberly
    Kyle Oberly
    Academic Coordinator
  • Ian Ferguson, RN
    Ian Ferguson, RN
    Registered Nurse
  • Dale Christensen, MD
    Dale Christensen, MD
    Medical Director
  • Luke Eckert
    Luke Eckert
    Assistant Medical Coordinator
Rick Meeves, PhD, LMFT
CEO

Professional Experience

Josh Watson, LCSW
CMO

Also specializes in: crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships/leadership development

Josh has been working with adolescents, young adults, and their families since 2001. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has fulfilled several roles at Aspiro including Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, Admissions Director, Strategic Development, and currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer. He is passionate about carrying out the mission of Aspiro and creating the best possible experience for our clients. When Josh is not at work he enjoys traveling, cooking, outdoor adventure (of course!), golf, and spending time doing just about anything with his wife and two daughters.

Katie Thoma
CFO

Katie graduated from University of Northern Iowa and brings over 18 years of experience in accounting and business management to the Aspiro Group. Katie has been with the Asprio since 2013 and oversees the company’s financial planning and management. She is a valuable member of the leadership team and brings her business management knowledge, as well as her insight and practical viewpoints, to the planning and oversight of the company. Katie enjoys running, biking and spending time with family.

Kayleen Richter, PHR
HR Director

Kayleen Richter, Human Resource Director for Aspiro Group, is an HR professional with over 11 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She is certified through Human Resource Certification Institute as a Professional Human Resource Manager.  Kayleen has been with the Aspiro team since April 2013, managing employee relations, training, recruiting, compensation, performance management, employee engagement, compliance, workers compensation, benefits and more.  She has been a Society for Human Resource Management Member since 2015. Kayleen loves working with people and helping employees have a great experience while employed at Aspiro. Kayleen enjoys running, volleyball, camping, boating, and most of all spending time with and raising 6 beautiful children.

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.

Ryan Coley, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

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 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 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.

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

Carl began working in mental health in 1990 and soon thereafter entered a Ph.D. program in Psychology at the University of Utah. After completing his degree, he supervised three school-based mental health programs around the island of O’ahu. Carl moved back to Salt Lake City because of his love of the outdoors and opportunities to work in wilderness programs completing psychological evaluations. He has an in-depth knowledge of learning and developmental disorders, as well the ways they interact with mental health and other adjustment problems. At Aspiro since 2012, Carl runs a weekly supervision meeting, mentors field guides, consults on difficult cases, and completes psychological evaluations.

Away from work, Carl enjoys fly fishing and duck hunting. He has been married for twenty years to Dr. Tracine Smoot. Together they have three children and one grandchild.

Gillan Smith, PhD
Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / Non-Verbal Learning Disorders / Mood Disorders Adoption Issues / PTSD Divorce Conflict / ADHD / Anxiety / Trauma Resolution / Depression / ODD

Gillan began his therapy career in 1987, counseling with adult survivors of sexual trauma. He brings more than 30 years of experience working with families and adolescents in a wide variety of clinical settings. In the late 1980s, Gillan became a canoe guide in North-eastern Canada at the Taylor Statten camps for girls. He began in 1990 as wilderness therapist at Aspen Achievement Academy following his own transformative experience in the wilderness. He has returned to the role of wilderness therapist twice since. He was the clinical director and primary therapist for five years at Walkabout/Outback Wilderness Therapy program and he has been working as primary wilderness therapist at the Aspiro program for the past 5+ years. Gillan has also worked in a number of administrative positions over the years. He served as the Program Director at Turnabout Day Treatment program (now called Stillwater Academy). He was a Clinical Supervisor at Norton Sound Behavior Health in Nome, Alaska, where he worked directly with the Native Alaskan people in remote villages, and he supervised the therapy team as Dean of Advising at the Carlbrook School in South Boston, Virginia for five years. Gillan has worked extensively as an outpatient therapist in Salt Lake City and was an adjunct professor in the Clinical Psychology department at the University of Alaska. He celebrates 25 years of marriage with his wife Mary. Together they are raising their four beautiful children ranging from 22 years to 13 years old. Gillan has found his niche as a wilderness therapist in working with adolescent boys who have become addicted to video gaming, are dealing with depression and anxiety, and who experience difficulty with transitions, struggle with empathy for others, and who have challenges with cohesion in the family system. Gillan’s years of experience and expertise are greatly appreciated by families, students, and professionals as he approaches treatment with a caring and knowledgeable approach.

Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
Vantage Point Males/Females, Ages 13-17

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.

Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
Vantage Point Males/Females, Ages 18-26

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Anxiety / Identity Issues / 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.

Ryon Smith, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Anxiety / Depression / ADHD / Self-Esteem / Identity Development / Substance Abuse / Oppositional Behavior / Autism-Spectrum

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 was born and raised in southern Arizona.  After a brief collegiate tennis career, he moved north and 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.

Brandon Johnson, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Substance Use Disorders / Depression / Anxiety / Post-traumatic 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 traveling to new places.

Jason Capel, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Females Ages 13-26, Males Ages 13-17

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.

Leigh Uhlenkott, MS, LPCS, NCC, LMHC
Vantage Point & Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Adolescent Males & Females, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: NLD / Spectrum Disorders / Learning and Executive Functioning Issues / Substance Dependence / Obesity / Self-Esteem Issues / Adoption / School Refusal / Anger Management / ADHD / Oppositional Defiance Disorder

During her 20 years of experience, Leigh has worked at a therapeutic boarding school for boys specializing in learning disabilities, 3 wilderness therapy programs; Expedition/Nomadic model, Transition Model, and now an Adventure based programming model working with adolescents with multiple diagnoses, and a school in Broward County, FL providing counseling, prevention work, and substance abuse counseling for adolescents. Leigh also has training in and a certification for working with transgendered clients. She has extensive experience working effectively with these clients and is passionate about doing so. Leigh’s eclectic approach fosters her ability to be creative with each individual she works with, finding the best possible interventions to meet their needs. She enjoys helping struggling families’ find their common ground so that they can move forward out of crisis. Leigh has a particular strength in utilizing wilderness therapy to find the perfect metaphors and rites of passage to support real change and sustainable success. When not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, friends, and her two rescue dogs—Fluffy and Yoda.

Grace Larson, MSW, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Females, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in working with adolescent and young adult females with: Anxiety, Depression and Mood Disorders/ Trauma and PTSD/ Social Anxiety and Social Communication Disorders/ Self-Esteem Issues and Identity Development Issues.

Since 2011, Grace has dedicated her professional career to understanding and empowering the lives of struggling adolescents and their families. After working in a variety of mental health contexts, Grace found her home in the wild outdoors of Utah at Aspiro, starting in 2015. An avid rock climber, whitewater raft guide, and backpacker; Grace found a way to meld her passion for the outdoors with her training in individual, group and family therapy.

With individualized treatment plans utilizing a variety of evidenced based interventions, Grace engages her students through a series of milestones: 1) Acknowledging the issues and impacts of the issues, 2) Developing motivation to change, 3) Skills acquisition and powerful mastery experience, 4) Application of change and acceptance, and 5) Preparation for transition. Through group therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Training, Grace teaches and leads the group culture in effective interpersonal communication, developing meaningful relationship skills, challenging judgement, and changing automatic patterns of thinking and acting. In her family work at Aspiro, is important to Grace to allow a space for deeper understanding of the child, time to repair relationships, and a space for deepening connection while fostering greater independence. Through comprehensive diagnostic assessment, individual and family intervention, and communication between past and future treatment providers, Grace strives to enrich and empower the lives of her clients and their families for long term success.

Sarah Rothstein, LCSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

Sarah grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania watching both of her parents work in professions that support and help others facilitate change in their lives, so it was only natural that she do the same. This led her to attend Columbia University where she received her degree as a MSW.

Her love for the outdoors and for adventure sports let her to UT, where she is able to combine her passion for her job with her love of skiing, hiking, backpacking and more. Sarah began her career in an acute mental health hospital, a rehabilitation center, and then a therapeutic boarding school. It was this setting where she found she loved working with adolescents and discovering the big hearts they have inside but are often masking. She states, “It is wonderful when kids finally understand that you see the person they are underneath their behaviors and the noise they are creating in life. I love seeing them break through that oppositional behavior, using small moments in therapy to redefine who they are.”

Also specializes in: Family Systems / Depression Attachment / ADHD / Mood Disorders / Anxiety/ Substance Abuse/ Trauma

Amanda Cencak, LCMHC
Vantage Point & Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Adolescent & Young Adult Males/Females, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Autism-Spectrum/ Anxiety / Depression / ADHD / Self-Esteem / Identity Development / Social and Relational Skills

Amanda Cencak is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor with a Masters of Science in Professional Counseling from Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Amanda has over 10 years of experience working with adolescents in a variety of contexts.  Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, Amanda worked as a trip leader for an adventure travel company, exploring the Western United States and the Blue Ridge forests with groups of lively teens.  Amanda has spent 3 years as a clinician at a residential treatment facility for adolescents.  Most recently worked providing mental health services for a nonprofit in the community of Park City, UT.   Specializing in adolescent therapy, Amanda works to establish trust and create an honest and caring relationship with her clients that will enable them to efficiently cope with their struggles and productively communicate with their families. Trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy,  Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, and Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS), Amanda helps teens learn and implement new ways of relating to their experiences while fostering their personal growth with an approach of Positive and Strength-Based Psychology.  In the balance of her interests, Amanda is often found outside, exploring the surrounding mountains of the Wasatch and Uinta ranges with her 4-legged sidekick, Tater.   When the weather grounds her pursuits of the outdoors, she enjoys the pastimes of personal creation in the kitchen and crafting realms and sharing the delicious accomplishments with her friends and family.

Anna Pierotti
Vantage Point Program Coordinator

​Anna has been with the company since 2015 as a clinical assistant and field guide for Aspiro’s Vantage Point program. From experiencing the therapeutic benefits of adventure growing up in Colorado to seeing the change in the students at Aspiro, Anna is excited to make the field of wilderness therapy her future. In her free time Anna enjoys whitewater kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, watercolors, and international travel. Anna works to incorporate her diverse background in outdoor recreation, theatre, and visual arts into her everyday therapeutic facilitation.  Anna is currently attending Prescott College to receive a graduate degree in Master of Science in Counseling. Her interests of study are in Somatic Counseling and Adventure Based Psychotherapy. She hopes to bring that knowledge and experience to the wilderness adventure therapy field.

Mark Widmer, PhD
Independent Research Director

Dr. Mark Widmer is a tenured professor of therapeutic recreation at Brigham Young University. He has conducted research in the area of Wilderness and Adventure Therapy for 18 years. He is a licensed recreational therapist who conducts and published research in refereed journals. He has several ongoing research projects with leading therapeutic outdoor programs.

Dr. Cheronne Anderson
Psychiatric MD

Dr. Cheronne Anderson is a psychiatrist in Murray, Utah. She received her medical degree from University of California Davis School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Jessica Williamson, LCSW
Family Services Director

Also specializes in: Body Image / Trauma / Female Identity & Empowerment / Family Systems / PTSD / Attachment / Adoption / Depression / Anxiety

Jessica Williamson joined Aspiro in 2009, working since then in nearly every department, including as a Clinician. This wealth of experience aids her as the Family Services Director, as she offers an additional layer of support to families, and continues in her passion of helping families develop and strengthen healthy relationships.

Shannon Weaver, LCSW
Associate Director of Marketing & Outreach

Shannon brings over 20 years of experience to Aspiro working with families and students as a counselor, therapist, and teacher. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked as a therapist in a number of settings, including county mental health, substance abuse clinics, residential treatment centers, and private practice. As a therapist she has been rewarded by seeing people heal, discovering their strengths, finding confidence, and building positive relationships. Shannon also is a certified teacher and has recently spent 6 years in China with her family teaching English and doing private practice therapy. She is passionate about helping students and families and has a very caring approach that is informed by her years as a clinician. Shannon enjoys working in admissions and assisting families as they begin their powerful experience in Wilderness Adventure Therapy. She is able to compassionately guide families through their questions and concerns while providing comfort during the process.  Shannon loves the beautiful landscape and outdoor opportunities that Utah has to offer, and she especially enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and 2 children.

Jolene McGuire
Associate Director of Admissions

Jolene Williams comes to Aspiro with close to 20 years of experience in the wilderness programming and education fields. Parents have come to appreciate Jolene’s professional problem solving and communication skills, as well as her insight and compassion. She has mastered the art and skill of conducting a complex orchestra of details involved in helping young people along their paths to improvement. Jolene is a born and raised Southern Idaho native. Growing up on her families’ cattle ranch, a love of the outdoors was fostered. When she is not managing the admissions process at Aspiro, she enjoys hiking, biking, running, and yoga. She is the mother of two young daughters that keep her active in sports and school related functions as well.

Nicole Andra
Admissions Counselor

For as long as she can remember, Nicole has always had the passion to work with young people and has been doing so in the capacity of Treatment Programs since 1997. Her experience has ranged from working as a mentor to young people, to helping parents through the emotional process of Admissions as both an Admissions Counselor and Director. Nicole has a passion and a talent for building solid and personal relationships, with both industry professionals and the families she serves.

Ryan Schaffer
Admissions Counselor

Ryan has been at Aspiro since April 2015; first as a field guide and now an admissions counselor.  His passion for education and development shows in his diverse experience as a teacher, administrator, and house coach at a therapeutic boarding school.  Ryan grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and received his degree in speech communications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He has spent the majority of his adult life abroad teaching in Mexico, France, South Korea, and most recently lived in Münster, Germany for seven years as a business English teacher and an associate English professor at the Münster University of Applied Sciences.  If he’s not outside climbing, hiking, snowboarding, or disc golfing, he’s most likely reading, writing, or dabbling in music.

Joe Nagle
Field Director

Joe Nagle received a bachelors degree in Outdoor Education from Black Hills State University in South Dakota. He has been teaching and mentoring in adventure education for over 15 in various settings. Through this experience, he learned about the mastery experiences adolescents and young adults can discover when engaged in the outdoors. He now works as Aspiro’s Field Director where he helps field guides turn adventure into formative therapeutic experiences.

Tyler Carroll
Risk Management Coordinator

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 and now Operations Manager 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.

Kevin Owen
Recruiting

Originally from Raleigh NC, Kevin moved to Utah specifically seeking employment at Aspiro in 2009. After two years as a field guide and a lead for the young adult program, he moved to a residential program to resume education. Kevin returned as a guide to Aspiro in early 2014, and currently works as our Associate Field Director. Kevin’s job entails providing training and support to our field team, as well as hosting our professional development sessions on a weekly basis.

Scott Shaffer
Ropes Specialist Trainer

Scott Shaffer grew up in Idaho where he spent  time camping in the mountains with his family, going backpacking, and learning to mountain bike, rock climb, and ski.  He graduated with a degree in Secondary Education and History from the University of Idaho and decided to apply his education as a primitive wilderness guide in Southern Idaho.  In 2014, Scott found his way to Aspiro where he worked as a field guide for a year and a half, then began working as the Professional Development Coordinator, and finally moving to the Adventure Facilitation Team.  Scott teaches guides how to facilitate adventure with a therapeutic approach and emphasis on risk management.  In his free time, Scott enjoys adventuring in the mountains with his wife and two dogs.

Robert Owen
Field Operations Manager

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Robert moved to Utah in 2010 to be a field guide for Aspiro. In 2011 he left to work at a therapeutic boarding school, and returned to Aspiro in 2013 as a field guide. Robert is now the the Associate Field Operations Manager, and oversees our expeditions and weekly staffing needs.

Stephan Fanale
Associate Field Operations Manager

Originally from central Massachusetts, Stephen moved to Utah to work as a field guide in 2015, after working as the Program Director for a residential program for adolescents with autism. Stephen is now the Associate Field Operations Manager, and oversees our expeditions and weekly staffing needs.

Raushan “R.A.” Rowser
Logistics Manager

Raushan, also known as R.A. is a native of Atlanta GA. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Tennessee State University in 2007 where he also played college football. After graduation he had the opportunity to play football professionally with the Arena Football League (AFL). Over the span of four years he played for several teams across the league where he concluded his football pursuits here in Salt Lake City with the Utah Blaze in 2011. He fell  in love with the outdoors and mountains, so he decided to make Salt Lake his permanent home in the fall of 2011.

As a result of R.A.’s football pursuits he has always been heavily involved with community related volunteer and youth outreach programs in the respective cities that he was in.  Additionally, in 2008 Raushan ran an after-school program in the metro Atlanta area for inner city at risk youth ages 6-11.

Raushan comes to Aspiro with 6+ years of process and personnel management experience within the transportation/logistics and retail industries. Before Aspiro, he served as an Operations Supervisor for a Salt Lake based company, where he managed and provided operational oversight to a 200+ tractor-trailer sub-division. He is excited to apply his expertise to the Logistics department and support Aspiro in changing the lives of today’s youth.

In his spare time, R.A. enjoys working out, hiking, cooking, traveling, skiing and keeping his competitive juices flowing by participating in anything sports related.

Justine Hewitt
Assistant Logistics Manager

A New Hampshire native, Justine spent her youth hiking and skiing with her family in the White Mountains. After graduating the University of New Hampshire with degrees in Business Management and Communications she moved out west and quickly fell in love with the mountains and desert. She first heard of Aspiro during a winter spent as a ski instructor and knew that was where she needed to be. At the end of the season she went on a try out, intending to guide for the just the summer. More than two years later she is still with Aspiro, now working in the logistics department. In her work, Justine is privileged to see students at both the beginning of their stay and the end of their stay, highlighting all of the changes they have made during their time in the program. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, biking and exploring new places.

Kyle Oberly
Academic Coordinator

A transplant from Pennsylvania, Kyle moved to Utah in 2012 after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. A passion for working with adolescents lead him to a therapeutic boarding school where he held a variety of positions over the last five years. He found his true calling over the last two, where he was teaching College Readiness and Psychology, while acting as the school’s Registrar. Kyle is very knowledgeable about and talented at teaching executive functioning skills, as well as helping students to work with any learning deficits.  He joins Aspiro as the Academic Coordinator where he will be developing and implementing the curriculum. He’s excited about the possibilities in his new outdoor classroom where he can bridge his love for education, psychology, and being in nature.

Ian Ferguson, RN
Registered Nurse

Ian Graduated Cum Laude from Westminster College with a BSN. He was introduced to the power of psychiatric nursing on rotations at University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. During his tenure at UNI Ian discovered a passion for this field. He was then selected for a Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City where he had a well-rounded experience working in every department of the hospital, including more time with psychiatric medicine.

Ian has 6 core emergency nursing certifications; BLS (Basic Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course), ENPC Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course, and NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program).

Ian’s passion for nursing developed after his three-year-old son stopped breathing for over 4 minutes. After almost losing his son Ian reflected on the supportive, caring nurses in the hospital, and the impactful role they played in helping his family through a difficult time. He was then inspired to become a nurse in order to make such a difference for others.

Ian has been working in trauma and emergency nursing over last 2 years and enjoys helping people in times of crisis. Ian says, “Seeing the impact and changes that come from great medical care and intervention are what make my job so enjoyable, making it feel like it’s not really a job at all.”

When he isn’t working Ian loves spending time with his wife and children outdoors; hiking, camping, boating, mountain biking, baseball, football, and soccer. He is an avid skier, snowboarder, rock climber, and mountain biker, which gives him great enthusiasm about Aspiro’s Adventure Therapy approach to treatment. Ian has found much confidence and satisfaction through adventure, as well as peace and healing in the outdoors.

“I absolutely love my job,” says Ian. “I love being able to make a difference in the lives of the patients I work with and I am so enthusiastic about joining such a dynamic team at Aspiro.”

Dale Christensen, MD
Medical Director

Professional Experience

Luke Eckert
Assistant Medical Coordinator

Luke has been working as an instructor and guide in the outdoors since his was 14. Since receiving his undergraduate degree he has funneled his experience into creating safe and therapeutic experiences at Aspiro Adventure. During this time, he pursued opportunities to learn more about medical safety in the wilderness context, resulting in a number of certifications including Wilderness First Responder. Luke also spent more than 6 years working as a volunteer responder for a rescue squad. His passion for the both the physical and mental health of Aspiro students makes him an ideal Assistant Medical Coordinator.