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.
Katherine has split her career between that of Naturalist Guide, Aerial Surveyor, Project Manager, and Coordinator of salmon data synthesis projects and symposiums. Certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), she administers KMTA's Grant Program and works with community members as they apply for funding to support local projects within the Heritage Area. Katherine holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Minnesota, and a Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing & Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from Penn State. Outside of KMTA, Katherine tackles invasive species issues by coordinating the Kenai Peninsula-Cooperative Weed Management Area, and guides eco-tourism trips in Iceland.
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.
Lia’s two favorite aspects of her work as Trails Coordinator are the places and the people. She endeavors to learn the region’s trails both as an avid trail runner, recreational skier, nascent mountain biker, and expert candy-carrying mother and through their history, ancient and recent. Lia is encouraged by the stewardship and development trail work carried out in local communities and strives to leverage local knowledge with regional resource sharing, including through Iditarod National Historic Trail stewardship and the development of an Alaskan Trail Towns program. Trained as an oceanographer at the University of Washington, Lia has crossed the equator measuring trace metals and taught at UAA. She’s coached for Girls on the Run, Junior Nordic, and Spyder Soccer and guided “runcations” with Run Alaska Trails. Her favorite food is Alaskan alpine blueberries.