We are dedicated to providing the highest quality technical rescue training for our students. We know that it takes years and years of experience to develop the skills necessary to teach realistic and practical technical rescue courses, that is why we require of our instructor staff more than a instructor course. Our staff are truly experts at what they do. As professional River Guides, US Coast Guard Licensed Boat Captains, U.S. Military Service Members, Search and Rescue Team Members, Professional Fire Fighters, Paramedics, former and current National Park Rangers, NOLS Instructors, Climbing Guides, Emergency Medical Responders, and Ski Patrollers.  We not only teach, we do.

Cody Harris

Director/Lead Instructor

Cody Harris

Director/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 has worked as an EMT, as a ski-patroler, and wilderness first aid for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Cody is currently busy getting his 3 kids on the river as much as possible.  Cody is the director and a lead instructor for the Whitewater Rescue Institute. Contact Cody

Mike Johnston

Co-founder/Lead Instructor

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

Alan Burgmuller

Lead Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

Alan Burgmuller

Lead Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

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.

Cory Davis

Lead Instructor/Equipment Supervisor

Cory Davis

Lead Instructor/Equipment Supervisor

Cory was raised on the the mighty Flathead River in Northwest Montana.  His years spent plying those challenging and turbulent waters, prepared him well for his many river trips on the mighty river of the West.  Cory is the operations manager at Montana River Guides and a lead instructor for the Whitewater Rescue Institute. Cory has spent time in Iowa and California leading spill response teams, as well as training crews across the United States. In the winter, Cory turns his attention to equipment maintenance and fabrication at the WRI shop.

Genny Hoyle

Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

Genny Hoyle

Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

Genny 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.

Laura Klein

FRP Coordinator / USCG Boat Captain

Laura Klein

FRP Coordinator / USCG Boat Captain

Laura is a U.S. Coast Guard Boat Captain with a 100 Ton License, and our expert on all matters pertaining to Geographic and Facilities Response Plans. With a biology degree from Western Washington University and numerous years of experience working in the environmental field, Laura is a valuable addition to our team.

Jack Scott

Lead Instructor

Jack Scott

Lead Instructor

Local boy, track legend, coach, teacher and mentor to everyone at WRI, Captain Jack runs a tight ship. If we don’t put the gear away right –all it takes is the Blue Steele Clint Eastwood stare from Jack and we start guessing what needs to be done better. Along with Drummond, he created some guiding principles for the core guides at WRI. Jack sets the tone for professionalism at our company and has high expectations that we strive to meet. He’ll work all day and go run the gorge after work. On a rare day off he’ll be paddling some other river. Now working as a science teacher in Idaho, Jack is coming back to keep guiding WRI in the right direction.

Matt O'Reilly

Lead Instructor

Matt O'Reilly

Lead Instructor

Matt O'Reilly hales from Durango, Colorado and spent his younger years racing kayaks and exploring the many drainages of the North and South America.  As a member of the U.S. Olympic Development Team Matt competed in the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials.  Since retiring from racing Matt has moved on to raising his three kids.  Matt is also a team leader on the Technical Rescue Team for Medicine Hat Fire Department where he is a full time Firefighter.

Becca Wallace

Instructor/Medical Supervisor

Becca Wallace

Instructor/Medical Supervisor

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!

Ben Schmidt

Instructor

Ben Schmidt

Instructor

Ben has been working and/or playing on the river since his youth.  Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Ben was classically trained in the art of solo canoeing and marathon canoeing.  He began kayaking in college at the University of Montana and went on to own Missoula's original canoe and kayak shop, The Canoe Rack.  After leaving the Canoe Rack, Ben became a Fish, Wildlife and Parks River Ranger, and spent his time protecting and preserving the mighty Blackfoot River.  We are lucky to have someone with the wealth of knowledge Ben has.  Look for him in your next Swiftwater course!

Josephine Ellsworth

Instructor/Operations and Administration

Josephine Ellsworth

Instructor/Operations and Administration

Josephine came to WRI through Montana River Guides where she grew up guiding riverboarding and raft trips on the Alberton Gorge.  Born and raised in Montana, Jo attended college at Willamette University and earned a degree in Environmental Science while guiding and helping teach swiftwater rescue classes in the summers. Jo was instrumental in developing the river boarding program for XSPORTS4Vets, a non-profit groups that provides extreme sports opportunities for local combat veterans.  Jo is the WRI Office Administrator and coordinates WRI's marketing snd social media.

Britt Thiessen

Instructor

Britt Thiessen

Instructor

Ever since watching sturgeon swim around at Clear Creek Hatchery with his grandpa as a child, Britt has been infatuated by rivers. Britt moved to Idaho when he was two years old and considers it his home. He began rafting almost by chance, when the carpentry crew he worked with would take breaks on hot days and weekends to raft the Murtaugh stretch of the Snake River. Britt was hooked from his first wave and now seeks out steep gradient, and big whitewater! With each Swiftwater Rescue course taken, Britt’s interest in the rescue profession grew.  A raft guide since 2010, Britt has now moved on to become a full time Rescue Instructor with WRI.

Maelan Arciello

Instructor

Maelan Arciello

Instructor

The Man, the guide, the legend. Maelan brings a lifetime of outdoor leadership, intellect and charm to work everyday at WRI. A graduate of Loyola Sacred Heart and the University of Montana, Maelan studied outdoor Recreation. He combines detailed outdoor knowledge, with pleasant intellectual charm and  savvy river skills to help WRI operate at a high level.

Wes Ewing

Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

Wes Ewing

Instructor/USCG Boat Captain

Wes grew up fishing and playing in the New River of West Virginia. He moved to North Idaho in 2002 to snowboard and pursue his career in the fisheries world. He found himself driving jet boats to conduct studies on bull trout in the Clearwater drainage for the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game. After moving full time to Sandpoint, Wes has currently researches white sturgeon and operates jet boats on the Kootenai River in Idaho, MT and British Columbia. He joined to the WRI team to help manage the Sandpoint area operations.  He brings 16 years as a boat operator to help drive WRI toward the next level.

“As professional kayakers and coaches this swiftwater course helped us to greatly expand our knowledge and awareness of river rescue. Cody’s safe, realistic scenarios give numerous opportunities to practice under pressure and analyze all safety possibilities. We highly recommend this excellent, hands on course!”

Orion Chapman and Kiley Eversole, Instructors, World Class Kayak Academy
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