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Staff

Colorado Headquarters Staff

Bryan Martin Executive Director

Bryan Martin

Executive Director

Bryan brings over 15 years of experience in the recreation and conservation space as both a practitioner and an advocate. Bryan began his career working for The Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C. and in Colorado.  He then went on to become the Field Operations Manager for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, and later, Director of Conservation for The Colorado Mountain Club. Most recently, he was the Western External Relations Officer for the Land Trust Alliance, the national convener, strategist and representative of more than 1,200 land trusts across America. He is deeply passionate about the outdoors and what outdoor experiences mean for kids. He believes that meaningful experiences in nature have tangible benefits for communities all over the country. Whether it’s a walk in the city park or an extended backcountry experience in Wilderness, the outdoors has the potential to change your life for the better.

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Elizabeth Williams Program Director

Elizabeth Williams

Director of Programs

Elizabeth grew up exploring her local creeks and forests as a child, but truly discovered the power of the outdoors while leading teens on backpacking and climbing programs during summers while in college. After graduating with a degree in Social Science and Communications, Elizabeth ran adventure programs at a residential camp before spending a year traveling and teaching in India and Nepal. Elizabeth started at Big City Mountaineers as the Marketing and Development Intern, but quickly returned to her experiential education roots by taking over as the Colorado Programs Manager. Currently the Director of Programs, Elizabeth leads program and field staff to deliver safe and transformative outdoor experiences to BCM youth. When not at work, Elizabeth is an avid skier, mountain biker, and outdoor adventurer.

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Doug Sandok

Doug Sandok

Corporate Relations Director

Born and raised in Minnesota Doug’s first outdoor experiences were canoeing and camping in the Boundary Waters. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and a minor in Urban Studies. Doug has built his life around being in the outdoors, traveling the world, and creating opportunities for others to learn and grow from challenge and adventure. Since early, pre Gore-tex, backpacking trips in the Rockies, to guiding and instructing in the Himalayas and South America, Doug has been shaped by the wild places and the people he shares those experiences with.  “There is no substitute for a wilderness experience – the growth that comes from a hard day moving through challenging terrain, and working with a team to reach a goal. Sometimes, it can be as simple as exploring your own ‘backyard’. and sleeping on the ground under the stars. Those are the elements that foster personal growth and deep friendship.” Doug’s professional background includes work with Outward Bound,  Where There Be Dragons, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Doctors Without Borders, and Paradox Sports. Doug takes his skills learned in these experiences and puts them to work empowering organizations to have greater impact through improving systems and program delivery, and through meaningful partnerships with supporters.

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Kandace Soiland

Kandace Soiland

Director of Finance

A native of Denver, Kandace spent her childhood exploring the great outdoors with her family. Kandace is delighted to work for an organization that offers outdoor experiences for children who may not have the opportunities she did. ‘My earliest and best memories are exploring the forest with my grandmother. The greatest gift she ever gave me was a love of nature.’ Kandace’s career includes raising two children while creating and growing a business and volunteering with various community organizations. Kandace holds a technical degree in Computer Information Systems and a BS in Finance.

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Theresa Simcic

Donor Relations Manager

Theresa comes to us from Allentown, Pennsylvania by way of Lexington, Kentucky. She grew up camping, hiking, swimming, and boating on the east coast. She has a passion for working with under-resourced youth and has a deep desire for every child to have access to the same opportunities for growth, learning and ultimately success in life. She believes that nature is the most dynamic tool for teaching and one of the greatest sources of inspiration. She is excited to be part of a team that is harnessing the power of the outdoors to provide a transformational experience for one of our most vulnerable yet promising populations.

Theresa has a B.A. from Shippensburg University in Psychology with minors in Anthropology and International Studies. She holds masters in Experimental Psychology and Public Policy from the University of Kentucky. She has previous professional experience building a nonprofit program that helps early-stage entrepreneurs. In her personal time, Theresa enjoys any fitness challenge, traveling, experiencing and learning new things, and exploring with her dog, Dakotah.

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Megan Aranow

Megan Aranow

Summit for Someone Coordinator

Megan began her journey with Big City Mountaineers as a volunteer adult mentor on a weeklong backpacking expedition with Denver teens. An avid believer in the power and magic of experiencing challenges in the outdoors, she is fiercely dedicated to supporting people – and teenagers in particular – in getting outside and connecting with nature. Prior to coming to BCM, Megan directed a teen leadership development program for five years through a camp in California. In her role as the Summit for Someone program coordinator, she is thrilled to have the opportunity on a daily basis to encourage others to get involved with engaging, fun, and meaningful programming at BCM.

Hailing from Colorado, Megan grew up immersed in the Rocky Mountains and continues to seek adventure and reflection here. A graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder with degrees in Environmental Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies, she’s chosen to pursue work that is geared toward physical and mental wellness since then. She is an avid hiker, practices yoga, and is an amateur aerialist and ukulele player.

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Regional Program Staff

Bix Firer

Colorado Program Manager

Bix began working with BCM as an Overnight Camp Instructor in 2012 and has been Colorado Program Manager since 2016. Bix has worked with schools and youth development non-profits delivering and developing outdoor experiential education programming in Alaska, Colorado and Wisconsin. These experiences and his own adventures have taught him that the greatest personal growth comes from the challenges, joys, and camaraderie of learning outside. Bix has a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MA from University of Chicago. When not working with students outdoors, Bix is most likely climbing, eating, biking, hiking, and packrafting in Colorado’s mountains with his dog, Bodhi.

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Mike Gundlach

Mike Gundlach

Pacific Northwest Program Manager

Mike started backpacking at the age of 7 and has been an avid backpacker and outdoor sports enthusiast ever since.  He grew up in the Pacific Northwest and considers this part of the country home. Mike has been working with under-resourced youth in a variety of outdoor capacities since 2003 and was originally introduced to BCM as a volunteer in 2012. Prior to working for BCM he was the Operations Coordinator for Northwest Service Academy. Time spent outdoors in nature has had a profound effect on Mike and he is passionate about sharing the transformational power of the outdoors with youth that may otherwise not have an opportunity to participate in this life-changing activity. When not working for BCM Mike can be found volunteering with local youth organizations, mountain biking, hiking, or enjoying a yoga class.

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Andrew Benda

Minnesota Program Manager

Hailing from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Andrew recalls his most formative moments as those involving saunas and Lake Superior in his hometown of Houghton. Andrew moved to Minneapolis shortly after his first backpacking trip on Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail. Prior to this he spent several seasons leading trips and handling logistics for Camp Manito-wish YMCA in the Northwoods of WI. Andrew is an amateur filmmaker and musician, and enjoys field-recording while on the trail.

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Four Legged Staff

Bodhi Dog

Bodhi

No longer the youngest member of the BCM dog crew, Bodhi has been hiking and watching his people climb since he was 8 weeks old.  He is passionate about moose poop, fetch and bunnies. While at work, Bodhi loves to keep Willa in line and see what food has been dropped in the kitchen. Bodhi cannot wait until the end of summer so his people have more time to play fetch and go running. Bodhi prefers to be reached by smoke signals.

Willa Mae Dog

Willa Mae

Willa is the current puppy of the BCM crew. Born in Montana, this little lady spends her time following her mom around, hassling Bodhi, and taking naps in the sun spot on the office floor. She loves skiing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, ice cream (if she can get it), and chasing grasshoppers.

Willa can be reached solely through Instagram: @willa_mae_adventure_dog

Dakotah Dog

Dakotah

Dakotah is KY born and raised (he bleeds blue – Go Cats!) but is loving his new CO lifestyle. If he’s not busy smelling everything CO has to offer, he can be found searching his co-worker’s trash cans for food scraps, policing the office dog pack, or cuddling by his mom’s side. Dakotah prefers all communication go through his assistant, Theresa.

Loki Dog

Loki

Hailing from a small mountain town in Colorado, Loki fosters an avid interest in snow and weather that is sub-50 degrees. He enjoys fetch, but is honestly more interested in having you chase him while he runs away with unreasonably large sticks in his mouth. A peacekeeper among the office dogs, he is always willing to share his bones. Loki responds most readily to the sound of a squeak toy.