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2017 Election for the Board of Directors of the ACCT


 

This year three (3) positions are open for election. One position (1) is elected by Individual and Organizational members (B2B, B2C and Stakeholder/Affiliate), and two (2) positions are elected by current Accredited Professional Vendor Members (PVMs) in good standing.

 

 

Voting procedures for a Board Member Elected by the Individual and Organizational Members:

Voting for this position will only be conducted online prior to the conference. Current ACCT members in good standing may cast ONE vote.  Online voting will be available from December 12, 2016 until January 13, 2017.  Individual and Organizational Member voting will be completed electronically ONLY.  There will NOT be ballot election at the Annual General meeting. Click here to vote online now!

 

Voting procedures for positions elected by the Professional Vendor Members (PVM’s)

Elections for these two open seats will be held IN PERSON at the ACCT Annual Conference using a paper ballot during the Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 2, 2017.  Election results will be announced at the conference at the end of the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

 

 


Board Member (Elected by the Individual and Organizational Members):


 

 

John 'Bill' Carlson, Head Rush Technologies 

 

Brief Work History:

As the Director of Global Sales and Marketing with Head Rush Technologies, I work to bring adventure solutions to the adventure industry. We design products for those who want to climb, jump, and zip, and our outdoor equipment is made with safety as a top priority. My extensive sales and marketing experience will help me find methods to speak to current and future ACCT members and to promote ACCT and ACCT standards with limited resources. Additionally, I was an active member and chairman of the Safety Committee during my time at Pentax Imaging. While not directly related to ACCT, this experience reinforced a safety mindset.

ACCT Committee Involvement:

Though relatively new to ACCT, I have participated in the annual conference multiple years and look forward to more intensive involvement. At Head Rush I am committed to safe solutions for the adventure industry and, as a board member, would work to encourage every user to follow ACCT standards.

Nomination Statement:

My goal in joining the Board of the ACCT is to use my extensive sales and marketing experience to help the organization grow, engage with current members and to promote and encourage the widespread use of our industry standards. My global experience will be an advantageous in building international acceptance and expansion of ACCT outside the North American market. I take pride in speaking my mind and offering an outside perspective that provides a unique view of the organization. This opportunity will give me the chance to give back to our exciting community and build and stronger organization.

Position Statement:

My first experience with challenge courses was over 35 years ago while my father was stationed in Japan. In hindsight, these were exciting adventures but these courses had very few safety features. While in college in Colorado I started rock and mountain climbing which founded my belief in trusting your equipment and trusting your partners. My goal with ACCT is build trust in the industry that our organization is creating the best opportunities for safety and growth. This is accomplished by strengthening ACCT standards and advancing education. This includes engaging with the current member base and expanding membership on a regional, national and international level. It also involves engaging with current or potential regulators at these same level. Communication is key to ACCT growth.

 


 

Bahman Azarm, Outdoor Venture Group LLC

 

Brief Work History:

President of Outdoor Ventures since 2008. Owner of 9 aerial adventure parks. Has designed, built & trained
over 25 aerial parks since 2008. Established the first Swiss Style aerial adventure park in the U.S. 
 
 ACCT Committee Involvement:

Founding committee member of the ACCT Aerial Park Operations Task Force. Initial member of ACCT International committee. Committee member of the accreditation task force for a brief time.

Nomination Statement:

Bahman has immense appreciation and respect for outdoor activities, educators, and the experience and
impact it has on thousands of lives. From his earliest years Bahman has been immersed in outdoor life. Educated at an Outward Bound style school from the age of 9, Bahman gained personal growth and social skills from challenging outdoor expeditions. Growing up with a daily routine of a few hours of climbing, skiing, or hiking, combined with a professional life that included working in development work in Africa and a carrier in design and construction, led him to what is now his dream job. He now shares his passion for the outdoors and adventure with as many people as he can. Bahman founded and has led Outdoor Ventures since 2008 and with a dedicated team has designed and built over 25 aerial adventure parks, many of them among the largest in the industry. Bahman now owns nine aerial adventure parks. Knowing he has much to learn from the challenge course industry, Bahman would like to share his experiences of "payfor-play" side of things and gain knowledge of the educational side of running a ropes course in order to continue pursuing his passion of introducing as many people to the outdoors and it's therapeutic advantages.

Position Statement:

Bahman is passionate about introducing as many people to outdoor climbing in the safest manner possible. He believes that improving safety on both the operational side, as well as the equipment side, is paramount to building public confidence in this rapidly growing industry, and without it, the activity and our association may suffer. With it, hopefully more and more people will want to connect to the outdoors and gain a fun and valuable experience that will make them want to do more and more of it throughout the country.

 


 

Melanie Wills, Bradford Woods Outdoor Center - Indiana University 

 

Brief Work History:

Challenge course director, ACCT CCM current, 15 years in the challenge course industry as a manager, facilitator, trainer;  adept at universal design on challenge courses and facilities,   seasoned trainer on theory, philosophy and hard-skills on challenge courses, solid maintenance and building skills.

ACCT Committee Involvement:

ACCT Membership Committee - current member, ACCT Universal Access Affinity Group - developed and currently leading.

Position Statement:

I am very interested in universal design and approach on challenge courses and working with people of all abilities. I'm also interested in adventure programming for veterans and their families. I also work with equine-assisted learning and therapeutic riding programs. My current academic focus is Public Health -with a Physical Activity Focus. I am looking at connected this with my work in the industry.

 


 

Michael R Smith, ArborTrek Canopy Adventures LLC


Brief Work History:

22 years of challenge course facilitation, training, program management with 18 years of vended design, installation, inspection, and business development experience.  Currently operate two aerial adventure parks and vend consulting services, inspections, and training.   ACCT BOD member from 2014-current.

ACCT Committee Involvement:

ACCT BOD (2014-present); former Chair of the Marketing Committee

Nomination Statement:

It has been my pleasure to serve the Association as a board member during the past three years.   I am not certain I had a good concept of the hours or efforts that serving would require when I was elected three years ago.  It was extremely challenging and immensely rewarding.  I am very proud of the work that has been completed and progress made over the past few years.  I am excited to continue that effort as ACCT rolls out Program Accreditation, ACCT University, enhanced member benefits and continues to define its role as the leading advocate and educator for the challenge course and aerial adventure course markets. 

Position Statement:

I am an advocate for effective programming, the value of wild places, and the power that well-crafted adventure programs can have on individuals, small groups, and communities.  I am outspoken, hard-working, and committed to seeing ACCT Program Accreditation, ACCT University, and new support programs rolled out over the next three years.    My background includes 22 years of experience in adventure education with most of my time focused on programming and operations.  I am the managing partner of ArborTrek Canopy Adventures, which operates aerial adventure parks and delivers traditional challenge programming.  I am extremely familiar with the needs of operators and practitioners.  At the same time, I have also worked as a trainer, designer, installer, and inspector and am familiar with the needs and challenges of vendors.    I am excited to continue to serve on the Board and grow ACCT and am seeking your support and vote.  

 

CLICK HERE TO VOTE ONLINE NOW!!! 

 

 


 Positions elected by the Professional Vendor Members (PVM’s):


 

Mandy Stewart, Experiential Resources Inc (ERi)

 

Brief Work History:

 

Camps, Outdoor Education, Experiential Education, Commercial Zip Line/Canopy Tours; Operating, Consulting, Training, Business Development.

ACCT Committee Involvement:

Chair, ACCT PR & Marketing; Member, Program Accreditation Task Force.

Nomination Statement:

I am putting myself forward as a candidate for the ACCT Board of Directors because in recent years I’ve worked with members of the BOD, the volunteers of our committees/task forces/work groups, and the ACCT Staff on various projects that hit on all facets of the association. I have served as Chair of ACCT PR & Marketing since 2014, was a member of the Program Accreditation Task Force, and have assisted multiple ACCT committees/groups in their endeavors. Through this I’ve gained a unique perspective of what has and hasn’t been working, how the different parts work, and how they can be built to work better. My past board experience includes multiple positions on non-profit boards focused on adventure, education and/or the outdoors, including serving as President for the MI Alliance for Environmental & Outdoor Education. My 10+ years of industry experience ranges from commercial zip line/canopy tours to outdoor and experiential education - some installing and inspecting, more training, operations, and development - and includes working with two PVM companies. I understand and appreciate multiple perspectives, and have the ability to create systems and processes that help organizations make active progress toward long term, comprehensive goals. Since it’s looking like we might need a little love in that area, I thought I’d double down on my commitment to the association and offer my help. Thanks much for your consideration.

Position Statement:

 There are several hot button issues that I feel need addressing, however one of the most pressing is Program Accreditation/Endorsement (feel free to get a hold of me and ask me why – my word count is limited here). We need to roll out a pilot program in 2017, and it needs to be right. We also need to do more to educate both the public and our own industry on the standards, certification, regulation, qualifications and what all of them actually mean. To do this, we need to get at least the foundation of ACCT University built, and we need to do more outreach to other professional organizations and regulatory bodies. There’s more, but if you think about the impact of just these two things being done well, it’s kind of big deal. So let’s just leave it at these two for now.

 


 

Matt Andrews,Sterling Rope Co. Inc.

 

Brief Work History:

I received my Bachelor's Degree from University of New Hampshire  in 2002 with a Major in Outdoor Education and a Minor in Psychology. From there I moved to Maine to design and implement an experiential learning curriculum at Portland High School for HIOBS. This program still runs today. After HIOBS I transitioned to a local camp where I spent two years as the Challenge Course Director designing programs for youth and adults. More recently I've worked for a highly regarded rope manufacturer supplying products to the challenge course and zip line industry.

ACCT Committee Involvement:

I've been a member of ACCT for over 8 years and have been attending the annual conference since 2006.

Nomination Statement:

I would be a valuable addition to the ACCT Board of Directors because of my experience facilitating courses and manufacturing the components required for the safe administration of adventure programming. For years, I have been dedicated to the philosophy behind experiential education and committed to fostering personal growth wherever possible. I will be a voice of the manufacturer while staying true to the principals and vision of ACCT.These are the values I learned during my years at UNH and have embraced in my professional career.

Position Statement:

The Challenge Course field has expanded from a unique tool for education and growth into a multi-million dollar adventure based recreation activity. The introduction of roadside adventure parks and proliferation of zip lines around the world has brought what was once a fringe activity into the mainstream. It is important for us as an industry to embrace the commercial expansion of these activities awhile remaining relevant to our educational and developmental roots. It is imperative that we develop standards and coordinate with governing bodies to help them understand the unique challenges and goals of our members so we can avoid being regulated out of existence and establish a clear path for advancement in the years to come.

 


 

Ben Kopp,  Signature Research Inc.

Brief Work History:

  1. Facilitator for Clemson University - May, 2001 though May 2004.  
  2.  Facilitator for Winshape Wilderness March 2004 through May, 2011.  
  3. Installer, inspector, training for Signature Research March 2004 through May, 2016.    
  4. Director of Operations for Signature Research June 2006 through May, 2011.
  5. Owner of Signature Research June, 2011 through present.                                                                                     

ACCT Committee Involvement:

  1. ACCT Government Relations Committee - February 2012 through February 2014                
  2.  ACCT Board of Directors - February, 2014 through present
  3.  ACCT Board of Directors Treasurer - February 2016 through present 

Nomination Statement:

I have served on the ACCT board of directors for the past 3 years, that time has included both very difficult and challenging times that required hard decisions to be made, as well as very rewarding times in the forward movement in some very large initiatives within our association. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve these last 3 years and request the privilege of an additional 3 years on the board.  I bring a perspective of a board member that has seen immense change within our industry over the last three years as well as the view of a small business owner in our industry that is changing and growing very quickly. I would consider it an honor to continue to represent the PVM community on the ACCT Board of Directors

 

Position Statement:

  1. As the owner of a company that works and supports programs in both the commercial realm of our industry as well as the traditional educational use of challenges courses I am passionate regarding the continued growth and support for both of these very important segments of our industry.      
  2.  As an active PVM within our association, I feel one of the most important responsibilities should I be reelected, is the support of PVM’s, the PVM identity and PVM role within the association and the greater industry.        
  3. I feel one of the most pressing issues facing ACCT as well the greater industry is the rapidly changing regulations at the local, state and federal levels.  Continuing to influence the implementation of intelligent regulations is a major goal.        
  4. The continued growth and relevance of our international association around the world is of utmost importance.  The continued support and growth of that portion of the association should be supported and encouraged. 

 


 

Carson Rivers,  Challenge Towers 

 

Brief Work History:

Carson grew up around the outdoor industry as his father owned and operated a canoe and kayak outfitter.  Carson also had an extremely active youth scouting career.  He began working as a camp counselor 20 years ago and has since worked for a wide variety of camps, university outdoor programs, non-profit outdoor education centers, outdoor outfitters, commercial guide services, experiential education providers, wilderness orientation programs, expeditions, and other outdoor related organizations. He started out part time at Challenge Towers in 2007 splicing nets on nights and weekends to pay his way through grad school and over the last 10 years has grown into a Vice President role within the company and its affiliates.  He currently oversees much of Challenge Towers (a professional vendor member of ACCT) operations, High Gravity Adventures (a commercial Aerial Adventure Park), Blue Ridge Learning Centers (an Experiential Education provider), and provides advisory support and financial assistance for Aerial Adventure Tech (equipment and technology sales and distribution).  

ACCT Committee Involvement:

Member - Vendor Accreditation Panel (formerly known as the Review Committee) - 2013 to Present

Vice Chair - Aerial Park Standards Task Force - 2014 to Present

Nomination Statement:

Over the past 10 years, Carson has given his life’s energy and passion to the challenge course industry and cares deeply about its future.  Being an educator, a commercial operator, and a versatile employee within a PVM, Carson believes that his broad range of experience gives him a unique perspective that will help him to represent all stakeholders and provide the strong leadership that ACCT needs to address the complex challenges it faces.  He also has great admiration for those who have served on the ACCT Board of Directors in the past and believes that PVMs still have a vital role within the association and should continue to contribute to its leadership.  He would consider it a great honor to be elected to the Board of Directors by the group of PVMs he is so proud to be a part of.

Position Statement:

Critical needs that Carson sees within the association right now are as follows:

  • Continued standards development.  There are critical gaps in our standards right now that need to be addressed to better reflect the changing landscape of our industry.
  •  The refinement of our current vendor accreditation system and the development of program accreditation is vital for the ACCT brand to stay relevant.
  • The development of standard work at height practices for our industry.
  • Continued emphasis on government relations efforts.

 


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