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Cody Harris Cody Harris, Co-Founder/Lead Instructor-

Cody began his life on rivers kayaking in Durango, Colorado. For the past two decades, he has worked and played on as many different rivers as possible. He is a past member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Olympic Development Team, and has paddled and rowed on three continents. Cody currently serves on the board of the Higgins and Langley Memorial Award for Swiftwater Rescue. In the off season, Cody works as an EMT for the local ambulance, as a ski-patroler, and teaches wilderness first aid for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Cody is the director and a lead instructor for the Whitewater Rescue Institute. Contact cody at:

Mike Johnston Mike Johnston, Co-founder/Lead Instructor –

Mike Johnston got his start in Swiftwater Rescue back in 1986 when he was a patrol and backcountry ranger for the National Park Service in Yellowstone. Mike’s wide range of outdoor leadership and rescue experience is reflected in MRG’s development of a scenario-based approach to rescue training. Mike worked in Search and Rescue in Glacier, Acadia and Yellowstone National Parks, as a professional ski patroller and Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor for the National Ski Patrol, and as a wilderness guide. Mike founded Montana River Guides in 1994 . Contact Mike at:

Frank Preston, Lead Instructor/Curriculum Development Director –

Frank has been teaching and working in the outdoors for over a decade.  He has taught at summer camps, led wilderness trips, instructed for NOLS , and worked as the Assistant Director of the ski patrol for Montana Snowbowl.  He has a passion for teaching, and has always held risk management and sound decision making as the most important lessons he can teach.  Frank also volunteers for First Descents, a whitewater kayaking organization for young adult cancer survivors.  Frank is an accomplished boater, traveling the world in search of adventure.  Even with all his travels, from South and North America and Asia, he still says his favorite river is right here in Montana–the mighty Missouri.  He enjoys long river trips in any craft, from expedition canoeing, to raft trips and self support kayaking.  Frank loves jokes, and will stop everything in order to hear a new one.

Martin Belden, Lead Instructor/Operations Manager-

Martin started kayaking when he was sixteen. Since then, he has pushed himself to run steeper and harder rivers. This drive has lead him across North America, South America, and beyond. With over 10 years of guiding experience and EMT licensure, Martin is a well respected force on the water. He started assisting with river rescue classes in 2007, and is now a lead instructor. Martin recently graduated with a degree in Ecological Restoration with a minor in Biology from the University of Montana, which he is putting to use with WRI as an oil spill response consultant.

Alan Burgmuller, Lead Instructor-

Alan has been canoeing, guiding, and instructing for over 40 years across the United States. He is an expert canoeist with several national championship titles under his belt in canoe slalom. If you are ever paddling the Blackfoot, Clark Fork or Bitterroot Rivers and see a stoic canoeist calmly shredding the gnar, that would be Alan. Alan lives in Hamilton, and serves as an active member of the Ravalli County Search and Rescue.

  Paul “Little Spoon” Heffernan, Lead Instructor-

Paul grew up fishing and rafting the rivers of the Northwest since before he can even remember. In 2011 he began his professional river career at Montana River Guides, and earned his reputation as probably the best rookie guide ever. 6 years later, Paul has become an accomplished whitewater kayaker, as well as a knowledgable instructor and all around great river person. During the winter season, Paul is an EMT and professional ski patroller at Big Sky Resort.

 fb_img_1484164673580 Rosalynn Belden, Instructor/RN

Rosalynn began her whitewater career in 2006 as a raft guide on the Clark Fork River. Since then, she has kayaked and rafted across the rivers of the Northwest and Chile. As a registered nurse, Rosalynn now works full time at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula on the medical/surgical floor. When not saving lives in the hospital, she finds time to help save lives on the river as well.

John Amtmann John Amtmann, Lead Instructor/WRI Research Division Director-

Dr. Amtmann is a professor of Health and Human Performance at Montana Tech. As that doesn’t keep him busy enough (John is tireless), he also works as an EMT, ski patroller, and travels the Northwest boating with his family.  John is also a cage fighter with the nom de guerre, “the Chihuahua.” John has over two decades of whitewater kayaking and EMS experience. When not teaching river rescue, guiding whitewater trips for Montana River Guides, or sharing his everpresent riverside grill delicacies with friends, John is a professor for Montana Tech. His knowledge of the river and care for his students is matched only by his humility. And if you haven’t met his daughters yet, you will one day. They are already kayaking circles around Cody!!!
Brett Mollenhauer, Lead Instructor/Paramedic –

Brett, aka “Honeydew,” has worked for 3 years as a whitewater rafting guide around Montana, Idaho, and Colorado.  In recent years he has worked in emergency medicine in Philadelphia and Charleston.  Brett has also worked off and on for several years teaching swift-water rescue and wilderness medicine classes.  When he isn’t working Brett dedicates his free time to rivers and rock walls.

Shawn Robertson, Instructor –

As an instructor and guide for Tarkio Kayak Adventures for the last decade, Shawn has helped lead river trips all over the world. In the last five years Shawn has expanded his medical training to provide rescue and medical response for the Moonlight Basin Ski Patrol as well as teach wilderness medicine courses for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. This summer Shawn added professional safety jet boat driving to his list of passions and looks forward to new opportunities where he can apply his extensive whitewater experience to the field of developing new industrial river safety techniques and standards.

Yael, Rescue Technician

“Ya Ya” grew up exploring the woods and rivers of the East coast. She has been guiding commercial rafting trips since 2003. She has lead expeditions on rivers in Georgia, California and Montana. In January 2011, she did her first Grand Canyon trip and thought it was just about the best thing ever. She first worked with WRI on their Boom Deployment Team in 2010. When not on the clock, Yael enjoys hiking, painting and baking.

Alex Kosseff, WRI Risk Management Partner, Director of Outdoor Safety Institute-

Alex Kosseff is the founder of the Outdoor Safety Institute and author of both editions of the AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership. The former Leadership and Volunteer Relations Director for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Alex developed risk management systems for that organization’s 9,000 annual professionally and volunteer led outdoor programs. He has consulted with dozens of outdoor and conservation organizations on risk management and related issues as the Program Director for the consulting firm Adventure Safety International.

Ryan Van Luit, WRI Risk Management Partner, Consultant at Outdoor Safety Institute-

Ryan works directly with clients during OSI’s review process in addition to assisting with the development of OSI’s online safety assessment.   Since 1998 he’s accrued well over 1000 field days with Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School among other organizations. Ryan has directed courses, trained staff, led teams and managed groups of all ages and backgrounds.  Additionally, Ryan has worked as a ski patrol avalanche technician and EMT.  His professional and personal pursuits have taken him on mountain, desert, river, and ocean adventures throughout the U.S. and abroad.  Ryan holds Avalanche 2, LNT trainer, and WEMT certifications.

Dave McEvoy, WRI Wilderness Medicine Partner, Director Aerie Backcountry Medicine-

David is a co-founder of Aerie, working professionally as an EMT/ paramedic since 1990.  He has lead backcountry crews and outdoor trips around the United States for the last twenty years, primarily with the Student Conservation Association. David is a frequent presenter at the Wilderness Risk Management Conference, the US Forest Service Incident Medical Specialist program, and numerous other risk management and wilderness medicine conferences. David is a former member of Missoula County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, a fisheries biologist and the former training officer and paramedic education director for Missoula Emergency Services. David has lived in Tibet, Israel and Central America and taught anatomy and physiology at the University of Montana cadaver lab.  He is a Faculty Adjunct for UM’s department of Health and Human Performance

JDPH RAFT Justin Harris, Director of Time Management and Priorities-

Justin joined the WRI team in 2010.  His eagerness to learn and rapid development have truly made him an asset to the company.  When not on the river, Justin is either exploring new terrain, eating or sleeping.  Although he currently lacks the ability to swim or talk, he is well on his way.  Justin keeps all of us at WRI rooted and identifies our priorities.

Steve Shepro, Boat Operator –

Steve’s background includes serving as the President and Training coordinator of the Western Montana Mountain Rescue Team, and volunteering with Missoula County Search and Rescue.  He worked as an EMT for Missoula Emergency Services, high ropes facilitator for Missoula Parks, and Ski Patrol at Marshall Mountain.  He has also worked for Mt. Rainier Alpine Guides, International Mountain Guides and worked as a Ship’s Medic in Alaska. Steve is also an Eagle Scout.  When not working, Steve and his wife Kathleen enjoy mountain biking, trail running, boating, backpacking, mountaineering, snowboarding, and tele-skiing in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Austin, Rescue Technician

Austin moved from North Carolina to Montana to be in the mountains he loves.  When not working for WRI Austin can be found playing outdoors or enjoying a cup of coffee indoors.  He is a W-EMT, fixed-wing pilot, occasional ice climber, and full time geek that likes to smile.  His primary experience lies in mountain search and rescue and he currently volunteers for Gallatin County Alpine-Helicopter SAR

Becca, Rescue Technician

Becca was born and raised in rural Montana and has worked as a medical professional for the last 15 years.  She is an avid member of Missoula County SAR.  She is a lead instructor for Aerie Backcountry medicine specializing in teaching the Wilderness EMT.  Becca grew up on the banks of the Blackfoot River and has spent many years enjoying all that rivers have to offer.  She enjoys fishing, rafting, canoeing and riverboarding. When she is not in the water Becca can be found hiking the magnificent peaks around Montana, and enjoying water in it’s frozen form on skis.  She is happiest when she can combine her rescue skills with her love for the outdoors!

“Big Dan,” Boat Operator

Although by far the biggest member of the WRI staff, Dan has a heart of gold. He is always cracking jokes and making the people around him smile. Dan lives in Miles City with his wife, Windy, and daughter, Shelby. If you want to get on Dan’s good side, just ask him about fishing; just stay away from his secret fishing holes.

“Blue Jeans” John, Boat Operator

John is a Montana native thoroughly enjoys the outdoors. He usually runs the river 8 to 10 months out of the year in search for monster fish.  He acquired the nickname “Blue Jeans” by fearlessly wearing stonewashed Levis every day on the job, despite the weather

Bradley, Boat Operator

Brad is an international Fly fishing guide/instructor for a Montana based Travel Company.  For nearly a decade Brad has been chasing fish, via jet boat all over the planet. His personal life motto is “I’m not independently wealthy… just independent”. This saying seems to allow him to enjoy and appreciate life, one experience at a time. Brad’s new “safety geek” status, “robot like” work ethic and his US coastguard certifications make him an asset to the WRI team. When he’s not laughing or …TRYING to tell a good joke, you’ll probably find him on his computer,shamelessly trying to make a better living as a passionate fly fisherman!

Caleb, Rescue Technician

Known as the “Iron-Tech,” Caleb was forged by the waters of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers near Missoula, MT.  He began kayaking and rafting at the age of 15. He turned that passion for water into a career while working as a commercial guide and kayak instructor for the University of Montana.

Cam, Rescue Technician

Cam is from Kalispell, MT. He loves to spend his time duck hunting on Smith Lake or kayaking the Middle Fork of the Flathead. He has works as a firefighter and paramedic for the last three years. Cam thinks that the best part of his job is all the wonderful relationships he has developed with his co-workers.

Charles, Boat Operator

Charles grew up on the west coast where he learned the basics of outdoorsmanship from his family and friends.  His father and uncles taught him to fish, and ever since he’s been on the water. At 19, he moved to Montana. Charles graduated from the University of Montana with an Aquatic Wildlife Biology degree.  During that time he spent summers in Alaska where he learned how to read water and drive jet boats.  He now spends most of his time enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two young boys.  They are often seen running their jet boat on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers fishing and hunting.

Charlie, Boat Operator

With his dry humor and big smile, you might think Charlie is nothing but a jokester. However, he continuously puts safety as his number one priority. He is up early to scrape ice off his boat and check (and double-check) all his hoses, pumps and plugs. He looks at routes on the river not as to which would be the fastest, but which are least likely to be dangerous. And Charlie knows his rivers. He has been the owner of the Sweetwater Fly shop and has lead trips throughout the lower 48 states, Alaska and Mongolia.

Eric, USCG Boat Operator

Eric is from Asotin, WA, the gateway to Hells Canyon.  He began power boating, water skiing, fishing, and camping as a young boy. He started working for Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tour Companies in 1997.  Became a full-time, USCG Licensed Jet Boat Captain in 2000 at the age of 19.  He now has over 25,000 hours operating jet boats ranging from 20 to 44 feet through class 3 and 4 rapids. He has operated jet boat barges and has salvaged many boats.  He has a strong background in welding fabrication and mechanic work. Currently 30 years old, he works as a Captain and guide for Snake River Adventures running the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater Rivers.

“Gator,” Rescue Technician

Since starting in the field of EMS and SAR, Gator has dedicated the majority of his time working to hone his skills to help those in need. He is a Ropes Rescue technician, a Medical Dive specialist, and Ice Rescue Instructor. As an EMT instructor he enjoys passing his experiences on to his students.  He spends much of his time in the woods enjoying the surroundings. Gator  loves living in Montana and being able to explore all the cool recreational activities this state has to offer.

Genny, USCG Boat OperatorGenny is an aquatic biologist for the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho’s Fish and Wildlife program, and has been running the Kootenai River in Idaho, Montana, and BC for over 15 years. She also volunteers for the Boundary Volunteer Ambulance as an Advanced EMT and Wilderness EMT, and has her Swiftwater Rescue Tech and USCG OUPV-6 Pack certification. She is also involved with the local Boundary County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team as a boat operator. In whatever spare time she has left, likes to run, hike, bike, and do the occasional triathlon.
Holt, Rescue Technician

Holt hails from Livingston, Montana where he grew up on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Holt recently graduated from Montana State University with degrees in Snow Science and Spanish. Holt has led multi-day canoe trips and guided whitewater rafting on several of Montana’s rivers and tries to spend as much time as possible on the water in canoes, kayaks, and rafts.  During the winters, Holt works as a volunteer ski patroller and tries not to miss a powder day.  Smile and wave if you see him on the river, he’s friendlier than he looks.

Jackie “Jax,” Rescue Technician

Jax grew up paddling Maine streams but mind you she is anything but mainstream.  Her spirit of adventure has brought her to Montana after many years of discovering, traveling and kayaking. You may have run into Jax building trails at the foot of one of Alaskas largest icefields, video kayaking West Virginia’s mighty Gauley River,  Ski Patrolling throughout the Rocky Mountains, fighting wildland fires in Montana or rowing down Idaho’s network of Salmon Rivers.   She became an EMT in 2005; and has been working as a Swiftwater Rescue Technician and Guide since 2002.  Jax loves water in all forms, in other words when the rivers are not running, the snow is flying.

Jenna “JW,” Rescue Technician

Originally from Ohio, Jenna now calls Missoula home. She has worked for Montana River Guides for the last 3 years. In that same amount of time, she has also become quite an accomplished kayaker. Off the river, JW is a running, hiking, and climbing machine. You might say she is one tough cookie, but don’t forget her softer side. Jenna also works at a daycare and at Missoula Youth Homes.

Jesse, Rescue Technician

Jesse is a soft spoken local boy from Stevensville. For the last three years, he has been an integral part of the Montana River Guides team. Last year he started leading river board trips and has shown his skill and composure in stressful situations. Jesse is an avid kayaker and mountain biker who can show you all the best rivers and trails in the Bitterroot area.

Johnny O, Boat Operator

Johnnny O has spent most of the last 30 years in a boat on Montana’s rivers and streams as a fishing outfitter. Based out of Livingston and Billings, MT, John is either rowing a drift boat or raft, or is behind the wheel of his jet boat. As an avid fisherman himself, the Yellowstone River and its tributaries, from Gardiner and downstream 250 miles to Miles City, are where he feels most at home. When not chasing trout, he is in pursuit of walleye, sauger, bass, catfish and pike. His favorite jet boat rivers include the Yellowstone, Bighorn and Missouri Rivers in Montana, and the Churchill River in Saskatchewan, Canada. Right?

Julie, Rescue Technician

Raised in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, Julie has spent most of her life playing on or near rivers, but she discovered her true love of whitewater guiding raft trips on the Pacuare River in Costa Rica. She has spent the past decade guiding multi-sport adventures for groups of all ages in Central and South America and works closer to home as a raft guide and ski patroller.  She has worked with medical teams to provide free clinics in Mexico and trained international guides on how to respond to emergency situations in underdeveloped countries. When she isn’t working, Julie is usually found playing outside or helping organize service projects to aid indigenous tribes in the jungles of Central America.

Kyle “Jamoke,” Rescue Technician

While living in Durango, CO, Kyle was able to grow up exploring the rivers and mountains of the southwest. After graduating from Fort Lewis College, he decided to pursue work in the outdoors. He’s been working in the summers as a raft guide out of Moab, UT on the Colorado, Green, and Yampa rivers since 2008 and works as a ski patroller in the winters. When not practicing with his ninja throwing stars, he enjoys playing Angry Birds, soccer, skiing, boating, canyoneering, and backpacking.

Matt, Boat Operator

With a natural resource and conservation background, Matt has operated both jet and prop boats in Minnesota and Montana for the past 20 years.  When not working for WRI, Matt works full time as a Montana Game Warden.  Much of Matt’s time is spent involved in water safety and patrol work on the Yellowstone River, Big Horn River, Yellowtail Reservoir and Cooney Reservoir.  Matt lives in Billings Montana with his wife and three sons.

Mike “Smitty,” Boat Operator

Saying that Smitty has the cleanest boat in the fleet would be an understatement. With his meticulous attention to detail and vast knowledge of boat maintenance and mechanics, Mike is an invaluable asset to the WRI team. A Billings local, he knows all the best fishing spots on the Yellowstone river and can be seen any time of the year out on the water.

Mike “Muggy,” Rescue Technician

You might never know it, since Muggy is so sweet, but he is a hardcore outdoor enthusiast with an emphasis on helping others. During his younger years, he worked as a smokejumper and special forces weapons specialist. He was a NCAA wrestling official and strength and training instructor. Muggy currently volunteers as the assistant chief of Missoula County Search and Rescue.

Nate, Boat Operator

Nate grew up driving jetboats for the family business on the Snake River in Hells Canyon.  At the age of 18 he was the youngest licensed captain in the northwest.  He has been a jetboat captain and fishing guide for 14 years.  During the summer he navigates 24-42 ft. tour boats through 3 and 4 class rapids in the wild section of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.  When he’s not driving a tour boat, he’s guiding for steelhead and sturgeon on the Snake River as the owner and operator of his own guide service.

Paul, Rescue Technician

Living in Fremont County Idaho, Paul works on the Search and Rescue Unit. He has been a Licensed Chiropractic Physician for 11 years, is also a licensed RN-BSN, and is finishing his Masters in Nursing as an FNP. He received his PADI open water diver certification at the age of 10. He is also an experienced wake boat operator and an avid wakeboarder. Whatever the season, Paul enjoys many outdoor activities with his four children and his wife.

Raul, Rescue Technician

Raul is a paramedic and firefighter from Northwestern Montana. As a kid, he explored many little-known creeks and rivers. As an adult, he uses those same areas for hunting, fishing and playing with his three children. When not on the river, Raul can be found cutting a rug in his cowboy boots. Raul and his family live in the Kalispell area.

Sam “Dougie,” Rescue Technician

Sam grew up in the woods and rivers of Vermont. He moved out to Montana as soon as possible; where “the real mountains are.” Sam is currently pursuing a Land Rehabilitation degree at Montana State University. During his summers he works in Yosemite N.P. building trails (and climbing). Having grown up whitewater canoeing and sailing in Vermont, he was surrounded with water from a young age.

Sarah, Boat Operator

Sarah is from Bonners Ferry, Idaho.  She has a BS in Fishery Resources and has 5 years of professional power boating experience. Sarah also has her Swiftwater Rescue Technician and EMT-B certifications. She has operated various types of jet boats on the Kootenai River in Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia and on the Yellowstone River in Montana.

“Tiller Dan,” Boat Operator

Dan loves several things in this world: Steelheading, elk hunting, and tiller boats. In that order. With a contagious laugh and booming voice, he is a pleasure to have on the job site. When on the water, Dan is so comfortable with his boat that he is usually found with one hand on the tiller and one in his pocket or in a bag of sunflower seeds.

Tressa, Rescue Technician

Tressa comes from Billings but, now calls Missoula home. She currently attends the University of Montana and is working towards a pre-nursing degree. She has also recently joined the Missoula County Search and Rescue team. In her somewhat limited free time, she enjoys hiking, climbing, and falling off her bike.

Taylor “Tex,” Rescue Technician

Taylor has been involved in the outdoors since he was very young. He started canoeing at age 10 and has paddled all over Texas, as far south as the Rio Grand in Big Bend National Park. He has also participated in expeditions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.He has worked for the Outdoor Pursuits Center at Texas Tech University assisting with trip leadership, logistics, and gear rental.

Tim, Rescue Technician

Tim started his days on the water in the coastal waves of San Diego bodysurfing and boogie boarding. After graduating from Occidental College in 2006, he became a firefighter and EMT. He moved to Portland in 2009 with his wife, Amy. In January 2011, he completed paramedic school and received his Swiftwater Rescue Technician-1. He became involved with the great people of WRI after a friendly conversation with his brother-in-law, Steve Shepro. Tim is an avid football fan, enjoys hiking, and recently re-sparked his interest in fishing after a long hiatus.

Wes, Boat Operator

Growing up in the mountains of Appalachia, Wes acquired his love of rivers and streams by fishing, rafting, paddling, and climbing the New and Gauley river areas. Currently, he calls Sandpoint Idaho home with his loving girlfriend and 15 chickens. Wes has gained over 9 years of jetboating experience while working for Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game conducting bull trout and white sturgeon research on the North Fork of the Clearwater and the Kootenai rivers.

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