Here are short bios of your Ozark Trail Association board members.
All directors are members of the Advisory Board, which meets quarterly to establish OTA goals and direction.
Many of the directors are also members of the Executive Board, which meets monthly to coordinate the day-to-day activities of the Ozark Trail Association.
When I retired from the National Guard in 2000, I decided to take up backpacking and hiking. I first learned about the Ozark Trail Association from a sermon delivered by Robert Smith during a backpacking seminar that he and Danny McMurphy put on in 2003. Since then I have been regularly volunteering in the construction and maintenance activities of the OTA. I am interested in seeing the organization continue fulfill all aspects of its mission statement.
When not on the trail, I work for the City of St. Louis as a civil engineer. For the past ten years I have been the City's project manager for the public works projects in Forest Park that have been publicly funded or jointly funded by the City and Forest Park Forever. I thus have a great deal of experience in public/private partnerships. I believe I can offer some valuable in sights as the OTA moves forward with its mission.
I've never been one to say "No" and along with a heart for volunteering for worthy causes... so when a chance conversation with a friend about the OT, I ended up at an OTA construction outing on the Middle Fork in 2005 and I became hooked. When my girls were younger, we were involved with Girl Scouts, family camping trips, floating the creeks and rivers to hiking the trails in the parks we camped in. Not a stranger to any work or task, I retired from Wal-Mart after 20 years and currently work as an Adm. Asst. for an Alternative school, do part time retail sales with Bath & Body Works and in the summer months I am a seasonal naturalist for Trail of Tears State Park. Becoming involved with the OTA/OT has provided me opportunities to not only meet a very diverse group of volunteers from all over the state, but also through training to become a USFS certified sawyer and crew leader while sharing my passion for the outdoors with kids of all ages at events big and small. I haven't hiked or been on all of the OT but manage to be out on the trail as much as I can through maintenance and construction events that give me the opportunity to savor the diversity of OT. Living in Cape Girardeau MO with my husband Calvin; our two daughters Casey and Emily are also volunteers as well as boy friend Marcus, and husband Derek and our 2 1/2 yr old grandson Stratton. As a family, we also have adopted a 3.1 mile section of the Middle Fork - John Roth Memorial section. The Ozark Trail is an on going project for future generations and I hope that the opportunities we give volunteers and their families will help us see the completion of the Ozark Trail as we all strive to carry out the mission of the OTA.
My first OTA outing was a New Years Day house/equipment cleanup. We rebuilt tool trailer, sharpened yools, cleaned up chainsaws. My adopt-a-trail is the last/eastern most section of the Taum Sauk Trail. I am the Sawyer coordinator, the equipment and fixit guy. Always entertaining to get new ideas, new help. I share Boy Scout, and Special Project Project responsibilities with Don Schutte.
Born and raised in Springfield, MO, I have enjoyed the great outdoors for many years now. Family camping and floating trips at a young age primed me to become an avid hiker while living out on the West Coast. My parents who have been members of the OTA for almost as long as it has been around and who have hiked the entire Ozark Trail, tried to get me out to work events for years. In September of 2015, I finally gave in and attended an OTA outing with my mom. While the sweltering heat and humidity didn't make for the best first experience, I came back the following weekend, already in love with the trail and the people in the organization.
In January of 2016 I joined the Board of Directors and have tried to use my accounting skills to help streamline accounting & bookkeeping processes. I continue to be an active member out on the trail as well, spending as many weekends out on the trail for maintenance events or occasionally for a hike for fun. Although I tend to prefer to have a set of loppers with me, just in case the trail needs a little TLC.
Beginning with my time as a Boy Scout, I have enjoyed camping and being outdoors. My wife and I started taking the kids tent camping when they were very young and they too have grown up enjoying the outdoors. My son and I started backpacking on the River to River trail a few years ago and soon learned of the Ozark Trail via an REI monthly calendar for a Mega Event. We attended and were immediately hooked. Then after a few more Megas and volunteering for the bike race I was convinced that this is where I wanted to be involved and help as much as possible. Now that I’m retired from AT&T I have even more time to contribute to the success of the OTA and its Mission.
A native of Missouri, I grew up backpacking in the western Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas. A love of the outdoors and conservation led me through school. I have a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management (University of Missouri) and a Masters of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (Columbia University, NY). I spent four years as the Missouri Water Quality Standards Coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Kansas City before exploring the field of forestry. As an independent contractor, I collected field data in Missouri, New Mexico, and Minnesota. In 2013, I was hired by The Nature Conservancy in Missouri as the Current River Project Manager, which enabled me to return to my home state and work on conserving one of my favorite rivers. A friend introduced me to the Ozark Trail Association several years ago and I was happy to find a family of people that enjoy digging in the dirt as much as I do!
Hello! I am the Director of Bands and Gifted Education Coordinator at Kingston K-14 in Cadet, in Washington County. I live in DeSoto with my wife, Caroline, my dog, Stormy, and my cat, Kripky. I grew up in Festus and hold a Master’s in Music Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. My love for the outdoors began when I was younger and I would go camping with friends. I enjoy hiking, spending time in the woods, and I’ve gone to several Ozark Trail events with my friend April Scott. I have always enjoyed helping people, and I feel like the Ozark Trail is an immense resource for recreation, which we are very fortunate to have here in Missouri. I always enjoy meeting the enthusiastic people who work on the trail. Everyone is so nice! I also love reading and playing music. I have been in several bands around the St. Louis area that have played on, and been the featured artist on KDHX. I also enjoy being the announcer at the Ozark Trail Association Trivia Night each year!
Through his membership in Boy Scouting, Steve developed a healthy respect for the environment at a very young age as well as an appreciation for the many benefits outdoor recreational programs can bring to a community. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1981 and hiked more than 300 miles of trail in the St. Louis region both as a scout and an adult leader. This year marks the 6th consecutive year Steve has served as a volunteer Trip Leader for the Open Space Council’s Operation Clean Stream program removing trash and debris from the Meramec River tributary. Steve also serves as the director of the River Walk Trail Project Committee that has been building momentum in an effort to facilitate the connection of the Ozark Trail to the Great Rivers Greenway Trail system at the St. Louis/ Franklin County line at Pacific. This trailhead near the Meramec River would serve as the eastern gateway to the OT and offers a unique experience for trail users given its close proximity to historical landmarks as well as services to trail users.
Steve received an A.A. degree in Business Management from East Central College and a B.S. in Business Administration / Marketing from Webster University.
A self-employed businessman, Steve works in the outdoor advertising business, was appointed as an alderman for the city of Pacific in 2013 and was elected in April of 2014 to a two-year term. He resides in Pacific with his wife of 22 years, two teenage children, a golden retriever and two cats.
I first was introduced to the OTA through a friend’s family, who picks up teenagers like a pack of wolves might pick up orphans. They took me to my first OTA Mega and it was an experience I’ll never forget. From a young age, I’ve felt this need to speak up for Mother Nature and all the great animals and beauty that come with her. After the experience of that first mega, I’ve accomplished getting my degree in Wildlife Conservation from Southeast Missouri State University. Not knowing exactly where to go from there, I went and completed a Farm and Garden Apprenticeship Program through a wonderful, non-profit organic farm called EarthDance, located in Ferguson, Missouri. I have taken many opportunities to explore that small glimpse of freedom between the college years and the real world years to volunteer with various folks who are doing amazing things. I volunteer at Shaw Nature Reserve helping different staff members, one of whom is working on a fantastic undertaking of seed conservation in a seed bank that the Missouri Botanical Gardens has started. I also had the pleasure of volunteering with some of the most hardworking ladies of the OTA doing maintenance on the Appalachian Trail. I believe in what the OTA stands for and I feel that in helping to preserve this trail that runs through the very heart of America, we are all helping do our part to protect the intrinsic value of nature and bringing together people who feel the same way.
Description coming soon.
April first set boots on the OT in the spring of 2005, when she tackled an overnight from Taum Sauk to Johnson's Shut-Ins. After several more hikes on the OT, she thought, "If I use it, I should help take care of it, too!" Since her first volunteer outing in the fall of 2008, she has been actively involved as a crew leader, trail adopter, sawyer, and general grunt. She is the founder of the OTA Trivia Night and organizer from 2010 to 2013. She has also been involved with maintenance of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, New Hampshire, and West Virginia. Her off-trail hobbies include attempting to make beer and play guitar.
Description coming soon.
As a life long resident of Southeast Missouri I have had the luxury of enjoying the Ozarks on many occasions and from many different vistas. As far back as the 70's and 80's I flew fire patrol for the USFS over the entire region and marveled at the beauty the Ozarks had to offer. After hiking many of the trails I became aware of the OTA through a contact I had with DNR. I looked into it and became a member in September of 2004. I went on several trail builds with John and Steve, Jeff, Roger, Bruce, Robert, Matt and scores of other dedicated OTA members. I brought my family along as well as Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops I even invited my good friend Kathie to come along and she has stepped up and filled some pretty big boots. We always welcomed kids, dogs whatever and it was always a fun and inviting time.
This is an exciting time to be in the OTA. As we grow and become partners with land managers and stewards we increase our awareness and develop our contributions to the overall trail system. With that growth we have the opportunity to continue the Mission Statement of the OTA; to Develop, Maintain, Preserve, Promote and Protect the rugged beauty of the Ozark Trail. We now find ourselves involved with one of the finest organizations (OTA) building and maintaining what will one day be one of Americas finest thru-trail system.
On July 3, 1981 Dave hiked the Current River section of the Ozark Trail. The next day he ran the Firecracker 5 Mile Road Race in West Plains, Missouri. The race was a disaster but he enjoyed his first experience on the Ozark Trail. After many twists and turns down the trail Dave’s has always encouraged people to get outside and stay active. From 1982 through 2012 Dave was a cross country coach at several Missouri high schools and colleges. In December, 2012 he retired from Westminster College where he also served as an outdoor education instructor. Dave worked as a seasonal park ranger for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways in 1982, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. In 2013 he joined the staff at Current River State Park as a seasonal naturalist before moving to Big Cypress National Preserve to spend the winter as a ranger in the outreach and education division of the National Park Service. Dave spends his spare time documenting trails in the Current River area in an effort to share information and encourage people to hike the Ozark Trail.
Growing up in the Northeast, I was raised hiking the White Mountains and the presidential range. After moving to Florida, I missed that experience and was able to splurge on one mountaineering course, spending 23 days on the Gore Range in Colorado. Now that I find myself in mid-MO, the Ozarks are my home and I will do everything I can to make them accessible to the widest range of people possible.
My times in the woods have taught me the value of self-reliance, and that there are times when giving up isn't an option. My goal is to grow the trail, and help to make it a nationally recognized destination so that more people can understand the natural rugged beauty of the Ozarks, and the need for accessible outdoor spaces.
As manager of The Public House Brewing Company, I'm lucky enough to meet many travelers on their way to or from the trail and introduce them to trail building over a frosty adult beverage.
Edward is a former avid outdoor enthusiast who put many of his hobbies on hold when he started a family. In recent years, as his children have become older, he has been rediscovering the joys of backpacking along the Ozark Trail with them. He attended his first OTA staff meeting, and then his first Mega event, just two years ago.
Edward is a small business owner from a long line of entrepreneurs. He began doing books for his parents’ car dealership at the age of 12 using long, green fold-out ledgers and a pencil. His background includes owning a construction company and a real estate investment firm, as well as performing real estate appraisals as a State-Certified Appraiser. Edward is currently the Business Analyst for a partnership that provides IT and consulting services for St Louis area small businesses. His formal and informal education in Accounting and Small Business Finance and Operations makes him an ideal fit for the Treasurer’s position, serving the OTA Board, Staff and Membership as they seek to improve financial transparency and implement best practices for the organization.