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

Martin Belden

Operations Manager/Lead Instructor

Martin Belden

Operations Manager/Lead Instructor

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. Contact Martin

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

Instructor/Lead Fabricator

Cory Davis

Instructor/Lead Fabricator

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

USCG Boat Captain

Genny Hoyle

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

Instructor

Jack Scott

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!

Tom Kochevar

Instructor

Tom Kochevar

Instructor

Tom came to WRI through Montana River Guides where he spent several years as a lead guide on the Alberton Gorge.  Originally from California, he has made a new home for himself here in Montana as an EMT and has worked hard to get himself up to speed as a qualified instructor.  Tom is tirelessly enthusiastic about rescue instruction and his diligence has helped to reinforce WRI's commitment to excellence.

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

Spill Response Technician

Maelan Arciello

Spill Response Technician

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 during Environmental Response.  Maelan cut his teeth as a technician during responses in Doon, Iowa and Guernsey, WY.

Wes Ewing

Boat Captain

Wes Ewing

Boat Captain

Wes has joined to the WRI team this year to help manage the Sandpoint branch of our operations.  He brings a load of experience from his work with Idaho Fish and Game and as a boat operator to help drive WRI toward the next level.

“When we work with the Whitewater Rescue Institute, we know that our students are receiving the most relevant skills and information, from the source. Their instructors are the recognized leaders in the field and, as importantly, incredible educators. They get our students out in the water, experiencing phenomenally realistic, challenging and yet manageable scenarios, and follow those up with concise and direct feedback. Nothing could be better.”

Dave McEvoy, Director, Aerie Backcountry Medicine
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