As Executive Director of KMTA, Jessica oversees strategic partnerships, program development, operations, community engagement, and fundraising. Originally from Syracuse, NY, she has 15 years of experience creating more liveable and connected communities through outdoor recreation, active transportation, and public-private partnerships. Jessica holds a Master in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Villanova University. She lives in Girdwood, AK with her family, where she hikes, skis, bikes, trail runs, and chases her 1.5 year old around.
Ari is a lifelong Alaskan and has worked in many capacities throughout Alaska including as a commercial fisherman, a trail crew builder, a fish biologist, an alpine ski program director & coach, a remote fishing guide and is also the owner of Chugach Adventures. He has developed many strong partnerships with many throughout Alaskan tourism and with other organizations throughout southcentral Alaska. He has extensive knowledge of federal permitting, production management, & all types of logistics. He has called Girdwood home, along with his wife Melanee who he met at the top of Turnagain Pass' Cornbiscuit Mountain, and their three children: Mia, Col Dov and Taz, since 2006.
Karen was born in the KMTA community of Seward and raised in another KMTA community - Cooper Landing. Now based out of Anchorage, she has spent the last seven years running a documentary-style family photography business along with educating multiple children at home. As KMTA’s Marketing and Communications Manager she works to consistently articulate the vision and mission of KMTA and increase the awareness of the National Heritage Area in a progressive and collaborative manner. Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Communication with emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising from the University of Alaska Anchorage as well as a Digital Art degree from Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna. When not working or wrangling a herd of children she plays softball, races road bikes and enjoys being physically active as much as possible.
As the Anchorage Outdoor School (AOS) Program Manager, Sarah works to connect young Alaskans to their public lands through residential, place based educational programs. Drawn toward education in nontraditional settings, she has worked with The Glacier Institute, Montana Outdoor Science School, Teton Science Schools, and The Traveling School, teaching and traveling with students in South America on an experiential overseas semester. Sarah now lives and works within the National Heritage Area, calling Moose Pass home and working seasonally for the Forest Service as a backcountry ranger and wildland firefighter on the Chugach National Forest. She holds a B.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology from the University of Puget Sound, and loves to be in the mountains learning, recreating, and foraging for her favorite wild foods.