Colorado Headquarters Staff
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.
Director of Programs
Bix Firer (MA University of Chicago, BA University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) has worked in experiential and adventure education with national nonprofits and school districts in Chicago, Milwaukee, Colorado and Alaska since 2007. Bix first worked for Big City Mountaineers as an Overnight Camp Instructor in 2012 and stepped into the role of Program Director in 2018. His passion is facilitating challenging and fun experiences that help adults approach youth and each other with energy and empathy and a sense of adventure. While not working, Bix can be found exploring the high country of Colorado and the Canyonlands of Utah by his own power with his wife Emma and dog Bodhi.
Doug SandokCorporate 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.Email Doug
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.
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.
Megan AranowSummit 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.Email Megan
Regional Program Staff
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.
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.
Minnesota Program Manager
David fell in love with backpacking and canoeing in the forests of Vermont as a child, began mountaineering at 15 in Wyoming, and started guiding professionally in Alaska at 18. He has managed wilderness trips, guided, and taught climbing, sea kayaking, canoeing, mountaineering, skiing, and backpacking across the country for the last 8 years. Most recently David worked out of Seattle with under-resourced youth on 1-3 week backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering trips.
David is passionate about helping young people experience the outdoors and strongly believes that everyone should have access to nature and natural spaces. A graduate from Carleton College, David feels right at home in MN, although he is continually impressed with how polite MN drivers are compared to those in his hometown of NJ. In his free time David loves to play music and swing dance.
California Program Manager
Growing up the youngest of six in an immigrant, single parent household, playing outside has always been an escape for me. Even after lots of learning in schools (BS from Wake Forest and MS from U. Missouri – St. Louis) and even teaching in them, I can say the strongest lessons I’ve learned were on rope, on trail, and on a boat.
After working as a conservation biologist for a decade in the US and abroad, and outdoor educator (cycling instructor, team facilitator, climbing guide, wilderness therapist, and sea kayak guide in California and Alaska) for the past decade-plus, I realize these lessons were made stronger because they reinforced the strong values I learned growing up in my family.
These days I try to give back, including volunteering in state prisons, tutoring math in after school enrichment programs, and playing phone tag with the wonderful BCM volunteer community 😊 as I try to create exceptional outdoor experiences so kids like me can leverage the lessons learned as part of a team outdoors and use them to flourish in all parts of their lives.
Four Legged Staff
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.
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.
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.