At each program (Southwest and Rocky Mountain), our field staff and daily operations are guided by a leadership team. Associate Program Directors oversee logistics, staffing, safety and course quality: all the components and resources needed to run courses. Each program has a Program Director who steers the ship, making sure everything comes together and planning for the future. Program Managers work directly with Supervisors, Course Directors and Instructors to handle the day to day coordination of courses in the field.
Southwest Program Director - Moab
Southwest Program Director
Lance Plank has worked for the school since 2011. Starting by spending time as an instructor, he grew to love the outdoors of southeastern Utah. Over the years, he continued developing his instructional experience, and eventually transitioned into program management. Lance has held several instructional and administrative roles for the school and is currently the Southwest Program Director. This time has only increased his passion for the COBS mission and how important it is for our students to have Outward Bound experiences.
Lance completed a Masters of Science in Sport and Recreation Administration in 2013 at Eastern Washington University. He has been working in outdoor education for over a decade and in his personal time continues to seek out opportunities to play outside. Some of these activities include rafting, paddle boarding, rock climbing, and canyoneering.
Rocky Mountain Program Director - Leadville
Rocky Mountain Program Director
Brandon began his journey with COBS as an intern and has worked his way through the ranks as an Instructor, Course Director, part of the Program Leadership Team as the Staffing Manager and now as the Rocky Mountain Program Director. Brandon has an educational background with a Bachelors of Arts in Outdoor Education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Brandon is a Wilderness First Responder and CPR certified. Brandon has also been to the summit of all the Colorado's 14ers and absolutely loves romping around in the high country.
Brandon has a huge passion for what we do at Outward Bound and truly lives by its values and mission. He takes pride in setting people up for success and providing valuable mentorship to his staff and students. Creating safe and impactful learning environments for all our students along with promoting transference are just a couple of things that drive Brandon to a life dedicated to serve, to strive, and not to yield.
Associate Program Director of Training & Development - Leadville
Associate Program Director of Training & Development
Nick Rushford started working for the Rocky Mountain Program in 2015 as an Assistant Instructor. Since then, he has served as a Lead Instructor, Course Director, Program Manager, and Associate Program Director and has worked with students and staff in many amazing course areas including Colorado, Utah, Alaska, California, Oregon, and Ecuador. Nick holds a Masters of Science degree from the University of Utah in Experiential Education and loves working at the intersection of research and practice. He teaches avalanche education courses in the winter for AIARE and is an avid backcountry skier. He is passionate about coffee, pizza, and good cheese from his homeland of Vermont.
Associate Program Director - Moab
Associate Program Director
I’m Megan (rhymes with vegan). Here I am exploring a side canyon off the river in my typical canyoneering fashion dress. Since 2004 I have had the privilege of working with Outward Bound, a passion that was ignited by my own experience as an 81-day semester student in 2003. Outward Bound has entrusted me with the roles of logistics coordinator, instructor, course director, program manager, and now as an associate program director.
My personal experience as a student was so powerful that I was driven to pass it on to others. Students and their influence on the world are the reason Outward Bound exists. I truly believe in the power of Outward Bound to change lives, and through those lives, to influence others and create positive change in the world. One of the other aspects that draws me to Outward Bound is our ability to build supportive community with students and staff and instill in them a thirst for personal growth. I am continually grateful for that community and for it’s ability to help me become my best self. I hope you will come discover what you didn’t even realize was possible about yourself.
Gabriel Schafer Suárez
Associate Program Director of Safety & Course Quality - Leadville
Gabriel Schafer Suárez
Associate Program Director of Safety & Course Quality
Gabriel Schafer Suárez is excited to be joining the Colorado Outward Bound team this year! Gabriel’s responsibilities include coordinating program curriculum and safety, and ensuring high-quality course delivery and operations for family, students, and staff.
Previous to his work at COBS, Gabriel was a public educator in Texas and he has his BA in Education from the University of Oklahoma. The Outward Bound educational framework resonated with Gabriel and he is stoked to continue to foster meaningful relationships with his team and their students. Gabriel strives to create a space where everyone is comfortable being vulnerable and can challenge themselves safely.
Gabriel grew up backpacking and later fell in love with climbing in the Wichita Mountains during college. He is stoked to be in a place where his love of the outdoors meets his passion for education.
Gabriel invites ALL to come learn and grow with him and looks forward to the adventure ahead!
Associate Program Director of Logistics - Moab
Associate Program Director of Logistics
Ashton Danker started working for the Southwest Program in 2018 as a Logistics Coordinator. She has since served as an instructor and Logistics Manager, before her current position as Associate Program Director – Logistics. Ashton loves to explore the majestic desert surrounding the Southwest Program base in Moab, UT. Supporting staff and students alike in their exploration of self and nature along the way. Ashton holds a Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation Management from Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Ashton is from the rolling plains of Oklahoma. At the age of 13, Ashton was able to attend her first Outward Bound course in North Carolina. Her passion for the outdoors, challenge, and adventure began there. Upon moving to Denver for college, her passion continued to flourish. Leading to her return to the Outward Bound community 9 years after her course. Ashton is passionate about canyoneering, boating, climbing, and hiking. On her days off you can find her exploring the desert landscape with her dog Chloe!
Associate Program Director of Safety & Course Delivery - Moab
Associate Program Director of Safety & Course Delivery
Timb Mannuzza started with COBS and the Southwest Program in 2023 as the Associate Program Director of Safety and Course Delivery. He got his start with Outward Bound at Voyageur Outward Bound School in Minnesota in 2014 as an intern before progressing to an instructor and trainer. He received a Masters of Experiential Education from Minnesota State University of Mankato which grew his love for philosophy of education. Growing up in Minnesota Timb has always had an affinity for exploration and has spent the previous decade living in Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Poland, Iceland and Central Asia. Along with two friends he walked from China to western Kazakhstan over a year and 7 months. He still needs to walk daily and will regularly wander off for 6-8 hours in the desert if able. He also loves to learn the basics of languages and now is attempting to improve his Polish.
Associate Program Director of Groups Programming - Leadville
Associate Program Director of Groups Programming
Olivia is thrilled to join the Program Leadership Team in this new role. Olivia began her journey with COBS as an intern in 2018. She found deep joy in facilitating Outward Bound's mission and watching students discover their greatest potential and continued to return to Outward Bound as an instructor and a staff trainer. Olivia has also pursued her passion for rock climbing as a rock instructor, guide, and climbing coach outside of COBS. She is so excited to make amazing things happen with COBS in this new position! Olivia also loves to read, cuddle her cat, and nurture her sweet little sourdough baby. Ask her about it next time you see her - she might even have a fresh slice of bread for you!
Associate Program Director of Logistics - Leadville
Associate Program Director of Logistics
Andrew Scott started working for the Rocky Mountain Program in 2018 as an intern. Since then, they have served as a Logistics Coordinator and Warehouse Manager and a Logistics Coordinator. Currently they are the Associate Program Director of Logistics. During their time at COBS they have worked in Colorado, Moab, and Joshua Tree. Andrew loves to educate the students and clients of COBS about the wonders of nature and the outdoors! Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Northern Colorado.
Andrew is from the Colorado Front Range and grew up playing in the Rocky Mountains. Growing up their family often went hiking, camping and skiing which they still continue to love to do. Andrew is a passionate climber, boater, fly fisherman and photographer as well. Often on his days off you can find them doing any one of these great outdoor activities!
Program Manager - Leadville
Liv is excited to join the COBS team as a Program Manager. Liv grew up in sunny San Diego and went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for her Environmental Management and Protection bachelor’s degree. Liv has been involved in outdoor education since her first summer working with Avid 4 Adventure in 2018. Since then, she has worked with various outdoor education and environmental education-based non-profits in California and Colorado. Liv’s love for our natural world and introducing people to the world of outdoor pursuits has powered her through this work. In Liv’s free time, you can find her exploring outside, rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, or relaxing with a good book or arts craft.
Program Manager - Leadville
Ellie Swanson started working for the Colorado Outward Bound School in 2023 as a Program Manager. Somewhat new to the world of experiential education, she is inspired to join and learn from a team committed to creating impactful courses for students set amidst a stunning backdrop of redrock, deep canyon rivers and snowcapped peaks. A native Utahn, she feels privileged to have grown up backpacking and kayaking with her parents across the Colorado Plateau and is enthusiastic to share her appreciation of its lands and rivers (and the reasons they matter in today’s world) with program staff and students. Her love for nature led her to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in Organismal Biology and Geography from the University of Utah in 2016. Since then, she has worked as a river guide and trip leader at Holiday River Expeditions and as a seasonal biologist focusing on native fisheries and ecological restoration. When not rowing boats, she spends her time wandering in the desert, gravel biking, making cider, birding and baking sweets.
Program Manager - Leadville
Conor (he/him) began working for the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS) as an assistant instructor in 2016 with the Southwest Program in Moab. Since then he has worked as a Lead Instructor, Course Director, and now as a Program Manager. Conor works at COBS because he enjoys working with students and pushing them to reach their full potential. Conor took a break from COBS for a few years to pursue a career in Social Work and go back to school. He has now returned to COBS to work for the Rocky Mountain Program (RMP) as a Program Manager.
Logistics Manager - Leadville
Tara was born and raised in Colorado. She had endless opportunities to develop a love for the outdoors. Her passions pushed her to pursue a degree in Outdoor Recreation at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. She is a Wilderness First responder and was EMT certified. While getting her degree she was also very involved with Lake County Search and Rescue. Tara spent 15 years as a backpacking and climbing instructor. She worked with a small non-profit in Boulder, CO that focused on getting young women in the wilderness to build confidence and survival skills.
Tara has many experiences with a wide range of outdoor activities, but her true love is rafting. She takes every chance to continue running rivers with her extended family. When she moved to Leadville, she realized it was her forever home. She loves the small-town life and endless mountain views, as well as the cold winters. On her time off she is often out exploring the trails, lakes, and rivers with her dog, Mylo. Tara is excited to be a part of the Rocky Mountain Outward Bound family and continue working with young adults.
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