Advisors & Program Consultants
Richard Gomez, BS, MS
Richard is a retired Naval Aviator, having served for 20 years in the Command and Control field. A 1986 Naval Academy graduate, Rich brings a unique perspective to experiential learning. His experience in the Navy included directing operations and maintenance of a squadron culminating in directing the Combat Direction Center on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. He served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made five deployments overseas including operations in most major military actions from the early 1990 though 2005. Through his experiences as a Naval Officer and visiting countries throughout the Mediterranean, he brings an energetic, in-depth background that challenges teams to achieve higher goals, enhance individual knowledge of self and others, and build leadership and communication skills in a fun and safe environment. Rich has facilitated programs since 2007, working with the full range of ages from youth through corporate executives. He has worked with Venture Up since 2008. Rich holds a BS in Physical Sciences and a Masters in Strategic Studies, and has returned to his native Flagstaff where he works with Venture Up in Arizona and nationwide.
David Van Sickle, MS, PhD
David has been awarded numerous research grants, including from The World Health Organization and Rockefeller Foundation to study asthma in native populations in southern India. Following the 3-year project, he landed served at the Center for Disease Control for several years. He began his work at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he studied cultural anthropology and environmental studies. He has done field studies in remote jungles of Mexico and was involved with the Glacier/Bob Marshal Ecosystem Project, a Wildlands Study program through San Francisco State University. He also worked in the Tropical Cloud Forest Ecology program in Costa Rica, a Northeastern University program. David speaks fluent Spanish and lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, writer Lolly Merrill and 3 children.
Christine Ameduri, MD
David Stilley, JD
Laura Barnes Winkler, JD
Thomas Christopher, MD
A thoracic surgeon from Richmond, VA, Tom created the idea for what is now Venture Up's Medical Teambuilding program, to be launched in 2010. The program is the the first medical quality assurance program of its kind in the world. Tom is developing the program with J. David Van Sickle, a former officer at the Center for Disease Control, and Venture Up founders. More information is forthcoming on our new website www.MedicalTeambuilding.com. Languages: Spanish
David Lengyel, MS
Managing Director since co-founding Venture Up in 1983, David has worked on the inside with top level executives designing customized programs for management teams. His clients include American Express, DuPont, Ernst & Young, Ericsson Communications, Michelin, Philips and Union Bank of Switzerland. Also a plant biochemist, he has extensive international business experience in addition to his expertise as a world class mountaineer. In November 1991 he met with industry leaders in Moscow at the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences to consult on an international crop testing program, similar to one he pioneered in Mexico. At the White House in Moscow he joined the Prime Minister's Innovation Council to discuss a self-contained eco-tourism site near the Altai Mountains, and the development of an outdoor experiential learning center. He was first to descend Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak, on nordic skis in winter, and is has many first nordic ski descents and winter mountaineering ascents in the Alps of Europe, including the Triolet and the north face of Les Droites in Chamonix. He also participated in government-sponsored trips to Romania, and to Chile and Argentina where he climbed Aconcagua and trekked in Patagonia. Other notable ice and rock ascents include Howser Towers in the Bugaboos, Athabasca, Andrometer and Polar Circus in the Canadian Rockies, Ames Ice Hose in Colorado, and the Black Ice Couloir in Wyoming.
MICHAEL DONNELLY, BA, MEd
Mike Donnelly has an extensive background in educational psychology and has worked with Venture Up since 1985 designing and delivering multi-day adventure programs for select populations. Also a lead guide on our annual Volcanoes of Mexico mountaineering expedition, Mike has also directed Venture Up's rock climbing and caving programs and developed numerous multi-day outdoor leadership programs for private schools in Arizona. Representing Venture Up, he has also worked as a technical advisor in Walt Disney films. He has a long history of first rock climbing ascents in Arizona and has notable climbs to his credit throughout the West.
DAVID FRANKS, BFA, MEd
David has been with Venture Up since 1990 providing experiential learning programs and facilitating ropes courses and rock climbing for corporate groups across the U.S. and Mexico. Also a hand-on artist, he provides creative direction for Venture Up and is responsible for designing and building many of our original props and games, especially on travel programs. He has represented Venture Up all over the U.S., Puerto Rico, Switzerland, France and Mexico. David is also well known as one of the pioneers opening up the Queen Creek rock climbing area. He is credited with many first ascents ranging up to 5.13.
MATT HUDSON, MBA, MA
Matt Hudson began his work with Venture Up in 1993 facilitating corporate training programs involving Ropes Courses, Strategic Games and Rock Climbing. He has represented Venture Up on programs throughout Arizona, Palm Springs, Atlanta, Chicago and Houston. As a member of the adjunct faculty at Prescott College, he taught Wilderness Leadership and Foundations of Adventure Education field courses. He also served as assistant director of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America, the national trade organization based in Boulder, Colorado. He has extensive rock and mountaineering experience in the Rockies, Sierras, Alps, Andes and Himalayas. Among his notable climbs: the Nose on El Capitan; Snake Dike on Half Dome; Naya Kanga in Nepal; and Mont Blanc du Tacul in Chamonix, France. He also taught English in Japan and worked for the Moscow Circus in Russia.
STUART PARKS, MS
An electrical engineer, Stuart worked for six years as a project leader in the corporate work force. His work involved a wide range of responsibilities -- from the initial design to constructing the final product to customer service training. At Honeywell, he worked in research and development as a design engineer on LCD display systems. At III-IV Systems, he was the senior design engineer in the same area. In Alaska, he worked for Total Engineering Systems Technology (TEST) where he was the senior staff engineer and designed an emergency shutdown computer control system, in addition to scheduling and supervising installation and the construction crew. At Venture Up he works as a program leader on and as a consultant for the physical design of custom ropes course programs and new construction. In the outdoors, he has extensive mountaineering experience in Alaska, Washington, Mexico, Nepal and France.
Eric is a magna cum laude graduate in marketing management and has climbed extensively throughout the West, Mexico, Canada and South America. He has numerous first ascents on the record in Arizona, including Lost in Space in Sycamore Canyon (5'11+). He has also climbed the Nose on El Capitan. Eric took his first adventure with Venture Up at age 14, in 1984. Also an expert kayaker, he works as a whitewater videographer. He has worked with Venture Up since 1994 involving Ropes Courses, Strategic Games and Rock Climbing. He has represented Venture Up as a technical advisor for rock climbing and kayaking for various photography shoots for national magazines. He lives in Concord newhampshire with his wife Carrie and two children.