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Speaker/Instructor Biographies

Robert Aberle

Robert Aberle is a Lead Paramedic and currently works for American Medical Response NW in Clackamas County Oregon.  Robert has 22 years of experience in EMS and joined the AMR Reach and Treat Team in 2001.  Robert has served in the military and is a vital resource for the team with swiftwater and rope rescue operations.  He holds national instructor certifications with each.

Laurie Adams

Since 1999, Laurie Adams has been an active member of Jefferson County, Oregon, Camp Sherman Hasty Team, which is a small team that trains all members in all aspects of SAR.  Laurie's primary SAR interests include mounted, navigation, and Air Scent, having spent considerable time in the last few years, along with Kate Beardsley, developing some searching and scanning practices to help improve mounted teams' effectiveness in the field.

Laurie's long standing activity in the world of education and fly-fishing has had her in remote locations in the field and brings proficiency in SAR scenarios closer to home.

Jeff Beckman

Jeff Beckman has been on the San Diego Mountain Rescue Team for 7 years. He is qualified as a Type I Alpine rescuer and Technical Rescue Specialist. Jeff has been closely involved with the deployment of technology in the command post, including the use of computer aided search planning tools. Professionally, Jeff is a mechanical engineer working primarily in the aerospace industry.

Patrick Bentley

Patrick Bentley works at Utah State University for the University Inn and Conference Center as the Coordinator for the Utah State University Ropes Course.  He annually hires, trains and leads facilitators on how to run low and high events at the USU Course.  He is also a Safety Officer/Senior Instructor for the Leadership Challenge Camp which works with the USMC JROTC and AF JROTC units throughout the nation.  Additionally Patrick works as the Experiential Program Coordinator for Sherwood Hill Recovery Resort.  He is certified as a Level II facilitator and a Ropes Course Manager through the Association for Challenge Course Technologies (ACCT) for the past 3 years.

Patrick received his Master’s degree from USU in Instructional Design with an emphasis in Adventure Programming with a Bachelor degree in Parks and Recreation. He has been a valuable member of the Cache County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team for the past 16 years and has served as their Commander, a team lead and Quartermaster at various times.  He is currently serving as one of their Training Officers as well as the liaison for the Mountain Rescue Association for his team.  Patrick is the only civilian in the valley to have earned the Medal of Valor from the Cache County Sheriff’s Office.

Bill Burke

An internationally recognized four-wheel drive trainer with comprehensive off-highway driving expertise, Bill Burke regularly provides instruction to a diverse group of clients that include Toyota Motors USA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Defense. He has served as a recovery specialist with the 101st Airborne Division, completed a 1,200 mile off-road race in Africa, and founded the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers' Association. Burke has produced DVD training videos and has appeared in publications including Truck Trend, National Geographic, Men's Journal and AutoWeek.

John Carlson

John Carlson has been volunteering with Wind River SAR for some twenty years, primarily in the backcountry and wilderness areas of Skamania County, Washington.  Carlson also serves as the County’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

Over the course of 20 years he has spent a great deal of time and energy pursuing the “Perfect 24 Hour SAR Pack.”  The dawning realization that no such thing exists led to an understanding that basic principles were more useful than specific brand names or pack types.

Eduardo (Eddy) Cartaya

Eduardo (Eddy) Cartaya is a USFS LEO with Deschutes NF.  He has over 20 years of SAR experience at local, regional, and federal levels.  He served as a SAR Coordinator for the National Park Service and instructs annually for the NPS SAR school.  Certified at Level III through the National Cave Rescue Commission he has participated in and managed several large scale cave rescue missions and is one of the most active cave explorers in the NW. 

Eddy is a member of both PNW and Deschutes SAR MRA teams is an active backcountry LEO, and the USFS Regional RRT team leader.  He is a federal firearms and use of force instructor, Tactical Tracking Operations School Instructor, and a graduate of the Command and General Staff Academy.

In 2012 he was awarded the USDA Unsung Hero Award for two back country alpine SAR saves following traumatic snow mobile crashes as well as the investigation and apprehension of two major cases involving wildfire arson and destruction of archeological resources (pictographs) in one of the forest’s largest lava tube caves.

Eddy is a partner and lead instructor for Crackerjack First Response Specialists LLC and specializes in technical rescue and wilderness tactical operations.

Sean Collinson

Sgt. Sean Collinson has been a member of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for the last 19 years and on the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office SAR team for the past 14 years and the Sergeant on team for the past 9 years.  Sgt. Collinson is also a member of the Child Abduction Response Team (CART) and the Peer Support Team for the Sheriff’s Office.  Sgt. Collinson has received extensive training in search management and ICS and is currently a Ground Search Management instructor and Managing Land Search Operations instructor for the State of Oregon and is the Vice Chair of Oregon State Sheriff’s Association Search and Rescue.  Sgt. Collinson has also been involved in several hundred search and rescue missions across the state of Oregon to include the helicopter crash on Mt. Hood (2002), the search for Fred Frauens (2003) and assisted Hood River County with the Nikko Cooke, Kelly James and Brian Hall search in December of 2006.  Sgt. Collinson has received meritorious service awards in 2002 and 2012, for his service in SAR; and he and his team received the SAR Program of the Year in 2010.  In 2013 he was part of the Ground Search Management Team that received the SAR Program of the Year as well.

Garin Duffield

Garin Duffield grew up in Eugene, OR, and has worked as a volunteer for the Dexter and Sheridan Fire Departments. He has always enjoyed the outdoors, and is an avid runner, fisherman, and backpacker. He is a member of the 2012 Reach and Treat (RAT) academy and currently works full-time on the RAT ambulance for American Medical Response.

Matt Estes

Instructor Matt Estes, N7YDI, is a volunteer specialist with Mountain Wave Emergency Communications. With a background in law enforcement and radio broadcasting, he has been an active amateur radio operator for over 26-years.

John Gibson

John Gibson has been a Deputy with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office since 1995. Deputy Gibson has been involved with search and rescue starting as an Explorer with Multnomah County SAR in 1986, holding the positions of Squad Leader, Post President, and Advisor. In 1997, Deputy Gibson became a Search and Rescue Coordinator with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He held the position of President of the Mt. Hood SAR Council for four years. He also held the position of President/Chair of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association for seven years, and is currently the Vice Chair of the SAR Council. He is also a member of the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Search and Rescue. Deputy Gibson also instructs "Managing Land Search Operations" classes as well as incident-command courses. Deputy Gibson was involved in the searches for three high-profile missing children: Ashley Pond, Miranda Gaddis, and Matal Sanchez.

Keith Gillespie

Keith Gillespie works full time as a firefighter/paramedic for the Albany Fire Department in Albany Oregon. He has been in the Northwest since 1979. On his days off Keith is seasonally found kayaking or rafting the Pacific Northwest Rivers. With over 20 years’ experience in diving, river rescue, emergency medical services, firefighting, hazardous materials, technical rescue, search and rescue, and whitewater boating. He is committed to safety using progressive techniques and equipment while maintaining the high standards recognized in the rescue industry. He is uniquely able to impact a casual instructional style to help learn technical skill sets. Keith is one of the top instructor resources in the Northwest. Having spent time in the U.S. Army and National Guard, he has had his share of experiences and training. Shortly after graduating Chemeketa’s EMS and fire programs, he began adding Rescue 3 International to his credentials. He is now an Instructor Trainer and the Regional Instructor Resource Center for Washington and Oregon. Keith has traveled throughout most of the United States -- and even a few parts of the world -- teaching. Oregon is where he calls home.

Robert Glaeser

Robert Glaeser has 18 years of EMS experience and joined the AMR Reach and Treat Team in 1999.  Robert is currently assigned to operations in Clackamas County Oregon, and has extensive backcountry and alpine experience to help train current and new Reach and Treat Team members.  With his backcountry and former military experience, Robert has been a vital component in developing new and more efficient training modules.  He also has extensive experience being deployed to wildfire incidents, natural disasters, and extreme sporting events.  Recreationally, Robert enjoys water sports and flying fixed wing aircraft.

Edwin Grant

Edwin Grant has over 28 years law enforcement and K9 experience. He was assigned to the largest manhunt in the US for 3 years working with all federal, state, and local agencies on the Eric Rudolph Olympic and serial bomber case. Edwin also worked K9 search and recovery for 9/11 and major hurricanes. He has worked all disciplines of scent detection dogs, Narcotics dog training for 12 years, ATF Arson and Accelerant dogs for 8 years, Trailing and Cadaver dogs for 27 years.

He is an expert witness in grave detection and analysis as well as water search and recovery. Edwin has been credited with over 100 water finds and recoveries. He has been involved in many high profile cases for the FBI, SBI, Missing and Exploited Children Center.  He was awarded the NC Governor Award for Officer of the Year, The Southeast Officer of the Year Award, The Shikar Safari Award, The Sophia Silva Award for the saving of human lives, and the FBI award for Exceptional Service in the Public Interest. Edwin has been involved in over a thousand searches and has instructed, coordinated, and trained K9s all over the United States and around the world.

Eric Gunnerson

Eric Gunnerson has been a member of the Cache County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team in Utah for the last 19 years and has held positions of Commander and team leads throughout those years.  He is currently the team lead of the Technical Rope Rescue Team and he feels an important part of the team’s training is to “keep things simple and consistent in rope rescues.”  Eric holds a master’s degree from the University of Colorado in German and has attended numerous SAR conferences throughout Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Oregon.

Eric spent 7 years coaching in Leadville Co. for the ski jumping and cross country racing teams and another 23 years in Logan coaching gymnastics to preschool thru college athletes. He has competed for the German National B team in gymnastics and feels that one of the best ways to instruct others is to get them out and get their hands and feet dirty.  Eric has been a professional hardwood flooring contractor for the last 23 years as well as a strong member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.

Joel C. Hardin

Joel C. Hardin’s tracking career began in April of 1965 with induction into the U.S. Border Patrol.  There he quickly found that a daily operation of Agents was to locate physical evidence of the surreptitious entry of persons into the U.S. across the border and follow that evidence and take the person into custody.   He loved this work and excelled at it quickly becoming very knowledgeable and “tracking” skilled.  In 1968 he and others Agents began working with SAR volunteers to find missing children.  This activity began his forty-five year career training and assisting SAR volunteers to become the most highly trained professional trackers in the world.  Additionally he became involved by assistance with other law enforcement agencies in adapting “tracking” to criminal investigation and prosecutions.  Today, the Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services (JHPTS) training and expert consultation program trains and certifies SAR volunteers, law enforcement personnel and military Special Forces.

Donnie Hatch

Donnie Hatch is the Distribution Manager for the Western US at DeLorme.  Prior to DeLorme, Donnie worked for the satellite telephone company Globalstar/SPOT for over 15 years.  He was instrumental in building the company’s operations in Russia, where he served as the Director of Sales for the Former Soviet Union based in Moscow, and spent 10 years managing the dealer network in the Western US from Portland, Oregon.

Garth Hope-Melnick

Garth Hope-Melnick has 12 years of EMS experience.  He joined the AMR Reach and Treat Team in 2006.  Garth has over 15 years of experience in search and rescue with various Explorer groups.  Garth is also an acting PIO for the Reach and Treat Team and is vital in information management and protocol development.

Matt Jacobs

Matt Jacobs is a W-EMT with the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue.  He has developed a series of high resolution nationwide map that are used by several popular smartphone applications, as well as the recreational trip planning site caltopo and its SAR-specific variant

John Krummenacker

John Krummenacker is a Sergeant with the Clackamas County Sheriffs Office and has worked for the agency since 1999. He is currently assigned to the Civil Division in charge of the courts. His previous uniformed assignments include patrol deputy, dive rescue team, emergency operations center and uniformed patrol sergeant. From 2006-2012 he worked as a detective with assignments in both the Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit and also the Professional Standards Unit. During his time at the agency his has worked on all manner of cases from homicides and serious assaults, sex crimes, elder crimes, gang crimes and crimes against children and internal investigations. He is a Portland native and attended Oregon State University, and graduated from Portland State University. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children and also enjoys canoeing, snowshoeing and is an avid home brewer.

Becky Lerner

Becky Lerner is one of the best-known wild plant experts in North America. She is the author of “Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness,” the Pacific Northwest contributor to the Wild Edibles plant identification iPhone/Android app, and writes the plant blog She has appeared on the national TV shows “Brew Dogs” and “Dark Rye” and in many print, radio, and online media outlets sharing her knowledge of plants. She also works with plants for energy healing at

Jen Lois

Jen Lois is a Professor of Sociology at Western Washington University where she teaches courses in gender, deviance, and social psychology.  A native of the East Coast, she holds an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and a PhD from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Professor Lois is a “participant-observation” researcher, which means she finds an interesting activity, spends time around the people who do it, and interviews them in depth about their experiences.  From 1994-2000 she studied a volunteer, mountain-environment search and rescue group and became interested in gender, heroism, and the sociology of emotions.  The project produced several academic articles and a book, Heroic Efforts: The Emotional Culture of Search and Rescue Volunteers (2003, New York University Press), which was honored with the 2006 Outstanding Recent Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on the Sociology of Emotions.

Since concluding that project, Professor Lois has continued to examine gender and emotions, for ten years among mothers who homeschool their children (Home Is Where the School Is, NYU Press 2012) and for the last four years among romance novel writers (with Professor Joanna Gregson, Pacific Lutheran University).

Mathew Marino

Matthew Marino is a member of the Pacific NW Search and Rescue Team based in Clackamas County, OR. His experience as a Physical Therapist, Certified Professional Ergonomist, Certified Workers Compensation Healthcare Provider, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer have developed into a passion for working with tactical personnel, workers, and athletes who’s lives depend on high levels of physical and psychological performance.

Craig McClure

Craig McClure has been active in Search and Rescue in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years as a searcher, manager, and instructor.  He worked certified K9s in two disciplines and was a founding member of NORSAR, is an MRA member, and a practicing EMT.  Residing in Central Oregon he is Reserve Deputy working seasonally for Deschutes County Sheriff, the Team Leader of the DCSSAR Incident Management Team, and a SAR Manager.  He remains active as a responder specializing in medical callouts and winter response as a skilled backcountry skier and snowmobiler.  He is the principle partner in Crackerjack Response Specialists LLC.  CFRS LLC is training and service team providing contract event and remote medical services as well as training for first responders working in the wilderness environment.  CFRS LLC is a licensed EMS agency and contracts nationally for both medical and training services.

Craig is a member of the OSSA SARAC Curriculum and Standards Committee and co-author and instructor for the Oregon Ground Search Management class.  He is also a certified instructor for Lost Person Behavior and Managing Land Search Operations.  He has instructed for SARCON, WASAR, OSSA, NPS, USFS, NC Emergency Management, and other agencies throughout the US.  He has proudly attended or instructed at every NW SARCON.

Brian McCormick

Brian McCormick is a training coordinator with Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue, and the Mazamas Mountaineering Club in Portland, OR. He has spent much of his lifetime traveling and recreating among some of the snowiest and coldest forests and mountains in the US. In lecture, discussion, and field practice format, Brian will present “Snow related injuries: prevention, identification, and mitigation.” He will demonstrate that traveling through snow presents unique hazards, including; avalanches, snow bridges, tree wells, and cold weather.  McCormick will help searchers in the field identify these hazards, and take actions to prevent and mitigate effects that they may have.

Blake Miller

Blake Miller received significant hands-on navigational training during his 20 years of service in the US Navy.  He has taught map and compass, GPS and wilderness survival classes in Central Oregon since 1998.  As a part-time faculty member at Central Oregon Community College, he currently teaches land navigation classes to Natural Resource students.  He has been an active member of the Deschutes County’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team since 2009.  He also teaches map and compass, GPS, and wilderness survival classes in several different cities throughout Oregon through the Community Colleges’ Community Education program. A navigation instructor at the Deschutes SAR Academy, Blake is also a featured speaker at the Washington SAR conference, Central Oregon Sportsman Show, various community groups, and most recently, Cabelas. His articles have been published in several national magazines and he writes a monthly navigation column for

Kerry Noland

Kerry Noland is a Lead Paramedic and currently works for American Medical Response NW in Clackamas County Oregon.  Noland has18 years of EMS experience and joined the AMR Reach and Treat Team in 2001.  Kerry is a Team Administrator and Training Academy Coordinator for both new recruits and current members of the Reach and Treat Team.  Kerry also has extensive SAR experience with the National Park Service and brings that experience to the Reach and Treat Team to increase the overall safety and success of the team.

Mark Phillips

Mark Phillips is a 34 year retired career professional firefighter. He has been involved with water rescue and recovery even longer. Currently he is a Master Scuba Instructor, a Public Safety Dive Instructor and Trainer and the Editor and Publisher of the free Internet magazine, PSDiver Monthly.

Joe Rabinowitz

Joe Rabinowitz is a Lead Paramedic and currently works for American Medical Response NW in Clackamas County Oregon on the Reach and Treat Team.  He has 14 years EMS experience and joined the Reach and Treat Team in 2009.  Joe has quickly been gaining the necessary skills and experience to be one of the most reliable members and leaders of the team.  Joe has been extensively involved in outdoor recreation for many years and considers himself an amateur botanist.  He is quickly able to answer most botanical questions as they arise during trainings or missions.

Gene Ralston

Gene Ralston and his wife Sandy are semi-retired environmental scientists and consultants specializing in water related environmental issues.  Gene and Sandy’s professional consulting focuses on water quality and sediment sampling, hydrographic surveys, and fish and aquatic organism investigations.  Since late 2000, he and Sandy have volunteered the use of their boats, side scan sonar, and an ROV to search for and recover drowning victims and other objects underwater. Together they have conducted searches all over the United States and Canada and have found the remains of 94 people in the last fourteen years. Gene and Sandy also provide training and consultation in the use of side scan sonar and ROV's. The Ralston's primarily use their 23 foot boat equipped with a variable speed remote controlled hoist to deploy their side scan and ROV. They have conducted searches as deep as 850 feet. They travel extensively, towing their boat with their motor home in which they prefer to stay on location while conducting a search.  Their website, including pictures of their rig, is located at:

Michelle Renault

Michelle Renault is a 911 dispatcher for Hood River County. She has been employed at the agency for 16 years. Michelle is a Certified 911 telecommunicator, EMD telecommunicator and FTEP instructor through DPSST. She is also an EMT-B and BLS Evaluator through the State of Washington, an American Heart BLS Instructor and has her Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.  Michelle lives in the Columbia River Gorge with her husband Mike.  In their spare time they volunteer for Klickitat County Fire District #3.  Michelle enjoys teaching the communication classes and CPR/First Aid with the local fire departments, law enforcement and the 911 center.

Kevin Ritz

Kevin Ritz is a 15 year veteran of marine electrical systems design and implementation. He is an ABYC Certified Master Marine Technician. Kevin currently holds six ABYC certifications, and has been an ABYC Certification Instructor of marine electrical and corrosion systems for the last four years, as well as the ABYC Pacific Regional Representative for the last seven years. In 2005, after gaining his ABYC Corrosion Certification, Kevin started working with Electro-Guard Inc., a top-rated marine corrosion control company. In 2010 he became a member of the Board of Electro-Guard and Vice-President, in 2011.

Besides his work and family, Kevin’s passion is boating and marine safety. Corrosion consulting and technical support involve him nationally and are part of his daily routine. To that end he makes technical and educational presentations across the country for the US Coast Guard, law enforcement agencies, first responder groups, marine surveyor organizations, as well as recreational boat enthusiasts. Due to personal circumstances, Kevin is also President of the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association started in 2011.

Marcel Rodriguez

Marcel Rodriguez is a volunteer Search & Rescue Team Member with Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue in Portland, Oregon.  Marcel currently holds qualifications as an EMT-B, WFR, Rope Rescue Technician, and Swiftwater Rescue Technician.  Marcel is also a trainer for Skedco, Inc., makers of the Sked rescue stretcher.  When not engaged in teaching and SAR activities, Marcel works in Mergers & Acquisitions for an international software company.

Mike Russell

Mike Russell has been a member of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Public Information Unit since 2006. He is tasked with running CCSO's web and social-media presence -- which played a key public-information role in such recent cases as the 2012 active-shooter incident at Clackamas Town Center, the 2012 manhunt for accused murderer Erik John Meiser, the 2013 search for missing teen Samantha Dodson, the 2014 manhunts for alleged violent kidnapper Kelly Vern Swoboda and murder suspect Dirck White, and numerous search-and-rescue missions. He has also joined the Sheriff's Office in offering behind-the-scenes public-information and social-media backup to other agencies during crisis events.

Curtis St. Denis

Curtis St. Denis has a Master’s Degree in Psychology Counseling.  He has worked in forensic psychology for 30 years including work in 3 prisons and community corrections.  He has specialized in work with mentally ill, violent and psychopathic offenders.  He is currently in private practice and does contract work with Allies in Change Counseling Center, Cedar Counseling Center and Innovative Counseling Enterprises.  He also provides training to law enforcement on topics ranging from personality disorders, coexisting conditions and autism spectrum disorders.  He has colleagues, clients, friends, and a son on the Autistic Spectrum.

Jeffrey Salzer

Jeffrey Salzer became involved with ATVs in 1997 while living in Alaska, his activities included many trips into the back county with river crossings, glaciers riding various beaches, mud flats and plowing snow. In 2005 Jeff moved to Washington State and joined an ATV/Snow machine SAR unit located in Pierce County Washington called RRAMSAR while with this unit he received extensive training and experience that was ongoing from the unit and working with the Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies. Jeff eventually became a unit trainer and the ATV training coordinator for the unit. In February of 2012 the RRAMSAR unit disbanded, at which time he joined the Pierce County SAR 4x4 Unit with the intention of re-activating the ATVs in Pierce County. After working with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department they were able to have 9 members certified field ready and able to respond to missions in June of 2012. Jeff is currently the ATV trainer for this Pierce County SAR 4x4 unit, and assists with the other unit trainings as they occur. 

Jeff firmly believes ATVs have a place in the SAR environment, and can be used in a safe and professional manner in a variety of ways to support many different types of SAR Missions.

Corey Stone

Corey Stone has been a SAR field team member for twenty two years and a SAR Coordinator for eighteen years for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.  He has been instructing various SAR related skills for two decades with a specialization in land navigation; high and low angle rope access and rope rescue, and managing land search operations.   Corey has taught land navigation classed to SAR organizations, narcotics enforcement, SWAT teams, fire command, wild land fire personnel and the public.  He has been an instructor at several MLSO courses in Oregon and presented at NW SARCon since 2010.

Colin Thielen

Colin Thielen has been a K9 Handler since 2005 with the HEMSI (Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc.) Search Dog Unit, a volunteer Search and Rescue Special Team of Huntsville's primary EMS Corporation. HEMSI is the most successful Search and Rescue team in Alabama. Colin has served as Deputy Chief for 4 of those years and Chief of the unit as of January 2012. As the unit Chief, she oversees the training of 15 dog teams. She is also the lead trainer for the unit where she mentors and develops the trainers under her. She sets the training standards as well as the goals for every single team member.

Colin has attended numerous schools and seminars focusing on dog training, behavior and drive. She has trained dozens of dogs for both herself and others. Her black lab, Jackson, is her current airscent dog. Colin has successfully certified Jackson in airscent, urban search and rescue and human remains detection. Colin and Jackson are also accomplished members of Alabama Heavy Rescue-1, a State USAR team. They successfully brought closure to multiple cases during the April 27, 2011 tornadoes that devastated Alabama. Colin and Jackson have had numerous successful finds in using both airscent and HRD. Colin has multiple dogs certified in airscent, HRD and trailing. Her HRD dogs, black labs Izzy and Jackson, have numerous finds on both land and water.

Colin has also trained multiple trailing dogs including her redboned coonhound, Liza Jane, and bloodhound, Chief. Her experience in trailing has led to her becoming an Instructor for the International Bloodhound Training Institute (INBTI), which is one of the most in demand dog training organizations in the United States. INBTI utilizes the Kocher method of training in Trailing as well as Airscent. This method is taught not just in the United States, but also in Europe and South America. In her capacity as an INBTI Instructor, she travels the country providing quality dog training in multiple disciplines.

Marshall Thielen

Marshall Thielen is a partner in Sleuth Hounds, LLC. He is a Master Police Officer with a major Police Department in the Washington, D.C. region. He has been a Police Officer since 1993, and has handled both Patrol Dogs and Mantrailing Bloodhounds since 1999. Marshall has lead over 1,700 hours of formal training of canines across the United States and Europe. He is a certified law enforcement instructor for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has also been certified as an expert witness in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Virginia numerous times on sexual assault and homicide cases. He has been featured in numerous news reports across the United States for his work with canines and training canine teams.

Nate Thompson

Nate Thompson works for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as a Sergeant and previously as a Marine Patrol Deputy for over six years and a Search and Rescue Coordinator for seven years.  He is an instructor in jet boat operations, white water drift boat operations, and kayaking.  He has certifications as a Swift Water Rescue Technician and an Emergency Medical First Responder.  He is currently a member of a type 1 FEMA swiftwater flood rescue team.

Tygh Thompson

Tygh Thompson has been involved with SAR in Oregon for more than 40 years and has participated in hundreds of SAR missions.  He spent 33 years with the Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office, where he was the SAR program manager for 23 years. He retired as a Sergeant in 2010.  He has experience as a searcher as well as a mission coordinator and SAR program manager. He is a past president of the OSSA SAR council and has contributed to several revisions of the Oregon SAR standards. He has assisted in the development of the "Ground Search Operations Course" and has been a lead instructor in “Managing Search Operations” course for more than 20 years. Tygh has developed a number of SAR training programs for Oregon and has been a presenter at each NW SARCon training.  Since 2010 he has been a volunteer with Mt. Wave SAR.

Adam Tingey

Adam Tingey works for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as a Marine Patrol Deputy.  He previously worked as a US Air Force Pararescueman for over 9 years.  He is certified as a Swift Water Rescue Technician, Dive Rescue Technician and an EMT- Paramedic.  He is also a member of a type 1 FEMA swiftwater flood rescue team.

Veronica 'Nici' Vance

Dr. Nici Vance is the state Forensic Anthropologist for the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office in Clackamas, Oregon.  She is also a Forensic Scientist, Crime Scene Analyst and Advanced Bloodstain Pattern analyst for the Oregon State Police Forensic Lab, where she has worked for 18 years.  Dr. Vance provides assistance and training for all Oregon law enforcement agencies in the successful recovery of scattered and buried human skeletal remains, in addition to offering a hands-on approach to determining human vs. non-human skeletal anatomy.

Nici has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Montana, a master’s degree in Anthropology from Portland State University and a Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) School of Medicine.

Andrew Volokitin

Andrew Volokitin is a member of Mountain Wave Search & Rescue, Inc. Active in SAR for over 5 years he is formerly a member of San Mateo County SAR in California. While working in the public sector, Andy studied GIS at a local community college. He saw a great need for GIS in the SAR community. He has co-founded Geo-CEG, Inc., an Oregon non-profit dedicated to assisting small communities & non-profits develop GIS infrastructure. Member of ORURISA, and PDX-OSGEO.

Jeff Walton

Introduced into SAR in 1983 with the Washington County Sheriff’s department as an explorer scout, Jeff Walton has held various roles in SAR, LE and industrial Emergency Management ever since.  In 2007 Jeff developed the Mountain bike team for Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue.  An avid cyclist, Jeff volunteers as a mountain bike guide and holds multiple certifications in Emergency Management and SAR.

Sharon Ward

Sharon Ward is a Sign Cutter (Master Tracker) and a Senior Tracking Instructor with Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services (JHPTS).  In addition, Sharon is a senior coordinator for Cowlitz County Search & Rescue and is the Training Officer for Pacific Crest Search Dogs, both of which are Washington State based search and rescue teams.

Sharon is a founder and director of the Washington State Trackers Association, an association of certified trackers who respond to missing person searches and crime scene investigations, upon request by state or federal agencies.  Additionally, she has traveled internationally as an operational member of JHPTS International, which responds internationally to official SAR and tracking investigation requests.

Sharon is a tracker and a canine handler.  She uses both resources, as appropriate, simultaneously in the field to find missing persons and to assist law enforcement with crime scene evidence.  In her position as an instructor for JHPTS, Sharon teaches SAR and LE tracking, and has trained US Special Forces units tracking techniques, especially with regard to using canines and trackers together in the field for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Gabe Wesson

Before working for American Medical Response, Gabe Wesson was a Member of the Mary's Peak SAR team in Corvallis.  He has extensive hiking experience in Colorado and the Northwest and maintains his wilderness first responder credentials.  A paramedic preceptor with seven years’ experience, Gabe has been a contributing member of the Reach and Treat Team since 2009.

Robert Wurpes

Robert Wurpes currently serves as a Lieutenant at the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He has been the Public Information Officer using social media to interface with the public and media during major search and rescue operations. Robert has been part of water rescue teams since 2003 and hold certifications as a master SCUBA diver, EMT-B, rescue boat operator and swift water rescue technician. Also a member of a FEMA type 1 flood rescue team. He has been nationally recognized for his work in team development.

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Northwest SARCon

Sheriff Craig Roberts

Sheriff Craig Roberts

2014 Northwest SARCon
Sept. 26-28, 2014

Camp Kuratli at Trestle Glen
24751 SE Hwy 224
Boring, OR 97009

Julie Collinson, Conference Coordinator
Phone: 503-557-5827
Fax: 503-794-8068

Register online