Friday, September 16, 2011

The New Faces of the American Alpine Institute

It is with sad hearts that we say goodbye to AAI Program Coordinators Dana Hickenbottom and Dyan Padagas, as well as Equipment Shop Assistant Manager, Graham Hamby.

Graham was the first to go, a few weeks ago.  Graham left at the end of July to pursue his professional photography career in Los Angeles.  Graham has been working on his urban photography portfolio for several years now and has really built up his portfolio.  To see Graham's work on his website, click here.

Dyan Padagas and Dana Hickenbottom

Dyan was recently recruited by the University of Washington Graduate School and has just begun her studies of geography/GIS.

Dyan began working at the Institute in 2009 and had the opportunity to participate in a number of our courses.  She completed an Alpinism 1 course, a Glacier Skills course, an Avalanche course and an SPI Course.  Additionally, she had the opportunity to climb numerous northwest routes with our guides, including one-day ascents of Mount Baker (Coleman-Deming and Coleman Headwall), an ascent of Dreamer (5.9, III+), multiple trips to Squamish, Red Rocks and Joshua Tree, and best of all, she and I had the opportunity to complete a first ascent in Las Vegas...

Dana is preparing to move to Portland in order to continue working on his degree in Renewable Energy Engineering.

Dana began working for the Institute in 2008.  And since then he has held more positions than perhaps anyone in the company's history.  Dana has been an office administrative assistant, a handyman, the program coordinator for the Cascades, Sierra, Alaska, and Ouray.  Additionally, Dana has worked as a guide in both the Cascades, and in Red Rock Canyon.

Graham, Dyan and Dana -- We are going to miss all three of you.  But don't worry, once in the AAI family, always in the AAI family.

Over the last month we have welcomed three new employees to the AAI Administration and the Equipment Shop.

Jeremy Wilson, James Pierson, and Tim Page

Jeremy Wilson is our new retail manager.  He came to us from Seattle via Borneo.  He has spent the last handful of years teaching abroad. Jeremy previously worked for both REI and The North Face. Jeremy oversees retail and rental operations, and advises clients on appropriate gear selection, route and travel information. His journeys have led him to climbs in the Alaska Range, Europe, Borneo, Canadian Rockies, Cascades, Sierras, Thailand and Malaysia. He lived in Poland and Indonesia for several years as a teacher and introduced children to the sport of rock climbing. He is a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker. Jeremy enjoys every facet of climbing, and other outdoor activities, including: cycling, mountain biking, skiing, sea kayaking, running and photography. He is an AMGA certified Single Pitch Instructor. He speaks some Polish and Bahasa Indonesia and studied urban planning.

James has taken over Northwest Program Coordination and works with climbers on trip selection and preparation for trips in the Cascades and Canada.  Although he was born in Kansas, he was bit by the Mountain Bug when he went to high school just south of Jackson Hole, WY.  After college and working in Colorado as a snowboarding instructor, he moved to the Olympia area, joined the Mountaineers and started climbing.  Since then he has climbed throughout Washington and Oregon, as well as ice climbing trips to Colorado, Montana and British Colombia.  James also enjoys telemark skiing in the winter, stand-up paddling and fishing in the summer and speaks a little German on the side.

Tim has taken over for Dyan, coordinating the Southwest and International Programs.  Additionally, he is part of the website, marketing and program operations team. Tim has been working in the outdoor industry for over 18 years as an instructor and a guide.  He has worked both as a rock climbing instructor, as well as a mountain biking guide and worked at a mountain bike and climbing guide service in Guatamala.

So we are all happy about the new faces around here, but sad about losing the old ones.  But that's life...

--Jason D. Martin

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