PPORA Board Member Bios

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Chris Young, Chair

Chris grew up in Texas and has been an active outdoorsman as far back as he can remember. Whether it was fishing at the lake, camping in the forests, or skiing in New Mexico or Colorado, some of Chris’ best memories from growing up were always in the outdoors. In 2019, Chris and his wife, Adrianna, along with their 3 sons, Jack, Cole, and Dean relocated to Colorado Springs to hopefully continue the outdoor legacy for his own family.

When his boys were young, Chris became involved in Scouting, first as an Assistant Scoutmaster then as Scoutmaster for their local Boy Scout Troop. During this time he took their Texas-based Troop everywhere from backpacking the Rocky Mountains, to sailing in the Bahamas, to canoeing the Boundary Waters of Canada, to whitewater rafting the rivers of the American west. Chris is also very proud that he was able to assist his two oldest sons reach the rank of Eagle Scout along the way through their adventures. Chris has a personal mission of helping to conserve outdoor spaces for all to enjoy and promoting health through participation in outdoor activities.

As a professional, Chris has taken his personal mission a step further by focusing on providing wealth management and financial planning solutions to business owners and leaders in the outdoor recreation industry. As a co-founder and financial advisor at local wealth management firm, he helps those that are passionate about the outdoors manage their financial matters to free up both their time and brainpower so that they can continue their focus on promoting the outdoors. Chris is excited to bring his skills around achievement, relationship-building, and opportunity development to the PPORA as he helps to drive the mission of shaping outdoor recreation within the Pikes Peak region."

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David Leinweber, Past Chair/Founder

David lives and breathes the outdoors - both recreationally and professionally. He has worked as a sales associate, manager, buyer, and owner in outdoor retail industry for over 35 years. Companies he has worked for include; Mountain Miser, REI, Colorado Outdoor Sports, Chickenhead Mountain Sports, Gart Sports, and Grandwest Outfitters. For the last 20+ years he has managed and owned Angler’s Covey, a Colorado Springs specialty fly shop and learning center.

In 2015 David took on the new challenge as founder of the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance partnering with Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC and Visit Colorado Springs. As chairman, he is working to promote the value of the Outdoor Industry to the Pikes Peak community and bring together stakeholders to increase our outdoor amenities, create better access to recreational areas, and promote greater participation in outdoor activities.

David currently serves on the executive committee of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office's Advisory Board and the Pikes Peak Chapter Trout Unlimited Board. He also has served on the American Fly Fishing Trade Association Board for 4 years from 2006 till 2010. Angler’s Covey is also a member of the Outdoor Industry Association and is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitter and was honored to be selected as the national Orvis Outfitter of the Year 2012 and Fly Shop of the Year in 2019.

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Greg Wellens, Board Treasurer

Greg Wellens is Colorado Native and owner of Adventures Out West.  AOW is an outdoor recreation and tour business offering Hot Air Balloon Rides, Jeep Excursions, Segway Tours and Zipline Adventures.  AOW is the unofficial oldest hot air balloon company in the world bring in business since 1973. Greg’s passion for the outdoors stems from a life growing up in Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.

His parents drug him along on all the adventures from Ski patrolling in Breckenridge, hunting in the San Juan’s and flying balloons all over the state. After graduating Colorado State with a Political Science degree, Greg spent his winters teach skiing in Aspen as a level 3 certified instructor and his summers running AOW and piloting hot air balloons. As the principle operator of AOW Greg manages partner relationships, employee retention, marketing efforts and new business development. AOW is the premiere tour operator in the Pikes Peak region, licensed by DORA and operates under a number of permits including the National Forest Service and City of Colorado Springs. AOW also has locations in Sedona AZ and Scottsdale AZ.

Greg’s family continues to live in Colorado Springs where he, his wife and 3 children get out and play whenever they can. “Our region is singularly unique and helping define the path is essential to a vibrant and sustainable outdoors.”

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Cheryl McCullough, Board Secretary

Cheryl has been involved with PPORA since its inception in 2015, joined the board as an ex officio then later as an at large member, taking on the officer position of Board Secretary.

She feels this is the most important collaboration of recreation businesses, nonprofits, and land managers in our region. Growing and advocating on behalf of outdoor recreation is vital to our region and provides a greater quality of life for our

residents and visitors. The Pikes Peak region is a premier destination for outdoor recreation and PPORA understands the importance of attracting and encouraging businesses to start and relocate in our region.

Cheryl joined Visit Colorado Springs (formerly the Colorados Springs Convention & Visitors Center) in 1997. Cheryl's degree in sales & marketing, CVB experience and native roots in Colorado Springs provide her with a great background to assist sports event-rights holders, tournament directors & event organizers with their planning needs. She enjoys spending time with her family and 3 dogs, fishing, gardening & traveling

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Toby Gannett, Vice Chairman

Toby is a recognized leader in consulting circles with boards of nonprofits, corporations and NGOs. His specific areas of expertise are Governance, Finance, Succession Planning, Strategic Planning, Innovation, CEO Selection, Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence. Has depth and breadth of skills and experience have earned him national, state and local awards and recognition.

Local awards include the Colorado Springs Mayor's "Spirit of the Springs Award", Leadership Pikes Peak "Community Inspiration Award" and the "Colorado Springs "Alumni and Friends Award and many "Best of Colorado Springs" awards.

Toby joined the PPORA board because he has a deep passion for the outdoors. His family has a long history of leadership in land conservation. They were founding members in the National Parks System, the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Geographic, USGS, the Royal Society, and the modern practice of Conservation Easements. His grandmother, Rep. Ann Gannett, was a leader and mentor to him in the efforts to preserve land near Walden Pond. Toby grew up in a family committed to outdoors and outdoor recreation. His sister is a former World Extreme Skiing Champion and he grew up living at his father's family-owned ski area in Southern Colorado which was recently acquired by Vail Resorts. He grew up in the nexus of business, conservation and the recreation industry.

Toby spends at least an hour outside each day hiking, biking, skiing, running, etc. The outdoors is where he recharges and spends time with his family. The long term preservation and stewardship of our region's land is a top priority for him.

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Walt Hecox, At Large

Walt grew up in Denver, attended Colorado College, and after graduate school and service in the Army returned to Colorado Springs for a career as a CC faculty member. Hiking, skiing, backpacking, Eagle Scout activities, and a love for Colorado's outdoors tethered him here for 43 years of active teaching and now retirement. Walt Hecox professor emeritus of economics in the environmental program, Colorado College, received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University (1969)

His specialization in courses and research related to regional resource, sustainable development and ecological economics questions. As a consultant he has managed and performed research for the World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, Southern African Development Coordination Conference, U.S. Military Academy, Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy and Colorado Department of Natural Resources. He helped organize a citizens group: Advocates For Pikes Peak Summit House; served for 4 years as Senior Program Advisor for El Pomar Foundation's Pikes Peak Heritage Series; has written about the outdoors as a Guest Contributor to the Colorado Springs Business Journal and Colorado Springs Gazette on Pikes Peak region tourism and recreation issues. Regional economics and management have been central to his research over the past 2 decades. He created and directed the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project 2004-2016 that brought student researchers to over 40 topics driving the economic and environmental dimensions to the 8-state Rockies Region, with annual Report Cards, Conservation surveys, and publication as well as press coverage in state, regional, national and international publications.

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Jeff Mosher, At Large

Jeff Mosher moved to the Pikes Peak region in late 2005 to complete his master's degree and work for several national sports organizations within the Olympic Movement. He transitioned to work for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, helping produce some of the most iconic events held in the area. He is currently the Marketing & Events Director for the City of Cripple Creek with responsibilities for economic and community development as well. These efforts include outdoor recreation initiatives in Cripple Creek and the surrounding area.

Jeff joined the PPORA board because of his desire to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for citizens, visitors, and businesses within the Pikes Peak region. The rapid population growth and high visitation rates in the area requires that we be proactive with conservation and stewardship while also providing ample access to our abundant natural resources for all to enjoy. PPORA has done a terrific job of getting all the right people to the table to discuss these issues and act accordingly. The Pikes Peak region is fortunate to have such a positive organization advocating for the outdoor recreation industry.

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Brian Kerrigan, Ex Officio
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Brian currently serves as the manager of Mueller State Park in Teller County, where he has been in this role since 2018. He has worked with Colorado Parks and Wildlife for 17 years in various state parks across the southeast region of Colorado, ranging from reservoir-based parks to resource-based parks.

Brian's tenure as a park ranger and manager throughout southeast Colorado has given him an insight into the unique challenges faced by Colorado's state parks as they deal with increased visitation and resource impacts in recent years. 

Brian was a military brat and spent his early years living in various places across the US, but has deep family roots in Pueblo and the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. He has a B.S. Degree in Forestry from Colorado State University. Brian enjoys hunting, hiking, fishing, and packing in Colorado's backcountry with his two BLM pack burros.

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Dr. JD McKenna
At Large Scaled Capability

JD grew up in central Minnesota, where he joined the Boy Scouts at age 6 and joined the military as an Army Ranger and Green Beret. The first time JD came to Colorado, was to train up the newly formed El Paso County Search and Rescue team. Based on that experience, he spent the next dozen years working towards getting back to Colorado permanently.

JD has a Doctoral degree in Business Management with emphasis on Strategic Planning and Organizational Development; with a minor in Information Assurance and Security from Colorado Technical University (CTU). JD is the owner of a consulting and coaching hybrid business, where he helps SMB organizations solve their complex strategic level problems. This is collectively accomplished through facilitated workshops, and tools such as the Business Model Canvas and a Capability Gap Analysis.

JD supports several local organizations that help military personnel, on their transitional journey out of military service. He enjoys mountain biking, backcountry skiing, fishing with his family, and volunteering at local sporting events.

A little-known fact about JD, is that he spent 1 ½ years training in Europe as a mountain guide and wrote a training manual for the Army Special Forces community on winter and high-altitude survival.

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Emily Wagner, At Large, El Pomar Foundation

Emily grew up in Highlands Ranch, CO and has been drawn to the outdoors for just about as long as she can remember. What started as family camping trips and the occasional hiking excursion quickly developed into an obsession with venturing into outdoor spaces during every free moment she has.

Emily currently works at El Pomar Foundation and joined as a member of the 2021 Fellowship class. As a 1st Year Fellow, Emily supports Pikes Peak Heritage Series, Nonprofit Executive Leadership Program, Fellowship Recruiting, Sally Beck Fund and Western Legislative Academy. Emily also works with the Central Peaks and San Juan Regional Councils.

Emily graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2017 with a double major in International Affairs and Political Science with minors in Leadership and Spanish. Both during and after college, Emily has worked with various nonprofits whose focuses range from immigrant community integration to international development. While attending CU Boulder, she spent her summers teaching youth leadership in China, coordinating community development projects in the Navajo Nation and guiding backpacking trips for the school's Presidents Leadership Class. After college, she led a group of young adults on a four-month service trip to Haiti and Jamaica and loves learning about diverse cultures and exploring new places. Prior to joining the Foundation, Emily worked with an in-house legal team for a financial corporation in Denver.

Emily enjoys any and all opportunities to experience and learn about outdoor spaces and recreation. After hiking the 500-mile Colorado Trail in 2018, she has sought out ways to continually inform her perspective on the outdoor recreation industry, land management and conservation, equity in outdoor recreation and environmental protection. She and her six-year-old rescue mutt can be found hiking, camping, running, backpacking, kayaking and canyoneering together every chance they get.