Larry retired in 2005 after working 34 years for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Thirty of those years were spent managing the world-famous McNeil River State Game Sanctuary for viewing brown bears. In 2009, Larry received an honorary doctorate degree from University of Alaska-Fairbanks for his contribution to knowledge of brown bear behavior. He currently resides in Missoula, Mont.
Thomas H. Fey
Tom spent 35 years managing businesses in the public sector. He founded and managed A&W Beverages, the canned and bottled A&W Root Beer Company, and was an executive of several companies, including Pepperidge Farm, Godiva Chocolatier, Prince Gardner, and Mrs. Fields Cookies. Today he is active in the not-for-profit sector. He is the past Chair of the Egyptian Theater Co. and past Treasurer of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy USA. Today he is Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Finance Committee of Westminster College and is Chair of the Summit County RAP Tax Committee. Tom received his BA from The Pennsylvania State University and his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He resides in Park City, UT with his wife, Lynn.
Lyle has spent 25 years working in the contract manufacturing field. With a degree in physics, Lyle spent half his career in engineering and the latter half in management and executive leadership. He lived and worked in Austria for three years before moving back to the United States to expand their business into the Madison, Wis., area. Today Lyle lives and works in Northern Idaho just outside of Sandpoint. He spends as much time in the outdoors as he can, enjoying the wilderness in Northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. Lyle first joined Vital Ground over 20 years ago while living in Los Angeles.
Keith graduated from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering, followed by service in the U.S. Navy, then received his MBA from Stanford University. During his career he co-founded Fieldstone Communities, a home-building organization that began in Southern California and now concentrates in Utah. He is retired as an executive and currently serves as vice chairman of Fieldstone’s board. In addition he is a board member and former Chairman of The Teller, a Corvallis, Mont.-based wildlife preserve. He was a California trustee for the Nature Conservancy for 20 years. Keith is an avid outdoorsman and has been a long-time supporter of many conservation organizations including Ducks Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, Quail Unlimited and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Keith’s home base is San Diego, but he also enjoys spending time at his homes in Darby, Mont., and Park City, Utah.
Colleen has spent hundreds of hours watching and walking among bears at Katmai National Park and at McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. She worked for both the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Park Service as a biologist, educator, and land manager before moving to Missoula in 2006. Colleen now works as a consulting writer and public process facilitator. Currently, she is working on several projects including developing the U.S. Polar Bear Conservation/Recovery Plan, forecasting impacts to brown bears by the proposed Pebble Mine development in Alaska, and organized the 4th International Human-Bear Conflict Workshop held in Missoula, Mont., March 2012.
Nancy A. McLaughlin, J.D.
Nancy A. McLaughlin is the Robert W. Swenson Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Development at the University of Utah SJ. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City. Professor McLaughlin received her doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1990 and a bachelor’s honors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1987, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her scholarship focuses on conservation easements and nonprofit governance issues, and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. Professor McLaughlin is a member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She also served as a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Easement Amendment Policy Group, which assisted the Alliance in drafting its report on amending conservation easements; she serves on the Alliance’s Conservation Defense Advisory Council, the advisory board of Utah Open Lands and Vital Ground, and she is a member of the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Wildlife Land Trust.
Over the last 20 years Chris Morgan has worked as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide, and environmental educator on every continent where bears exist. From icy polar bear country at 81° North to tropical Andean bear forests sitting on the equator, Chris has sought adventure among the focus animals of his life – the bears of the world. Chris is the featured character, host and narrator in the PBS NATURE special that he helped to create, “Bears of the Last Frontier.” He owns an ecology and environmental education organization in Bellingham, Wash., and is the co-founder of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project (GBOP). Chris has also been a frequent lecturer at Western Washington University’s Huxley College of Environmental Science in Bellingham. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in Applied Ecology (East London, UK) and a master’s in Advanced Ecology (Durham, UK). In 2003, the Environmental Education Association of Washington honored Chris as Outstanding Environmental Educator of the year. Despite his varied activities within the realm of wildlife conservation, Chris says that he is never happier than when immersed in bear country – “the real world” as he calls it.
Michael is an independent Canadian bear research ecologist. He received a doctorate in grizzly bear ecology in 2003 from the University of Calgary and has researched grizzly bears in southern Canada since 1995. Before becoming an ecologist, he built wooden boats and canoes, rebuilt pianos, taught piano, built musical instruments, and spent a lot of time exploring the mountains of British Columbia. Michael publishes his work regularly in scientific journals, does his own field work, and lives to explore the many wild rivers and ecosystems of the Canadian north. He currently researches and implements conservation solutions for the small threatened grizzly bear populations in the trans-border region spanning the Canada and the U.S border. He is a co-founder of the Trans-border Grizzly Bear Project (in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and works out of Kaslo, B.C. Beyond Canada, he has worked on international bear projects in Ecuador, Italy, and Mongolia.
Banu served as a member Vital Ground’s Board of Trustees from 1996-2011.
Banu Qureshi first learned about Vital Ground in 1996, a time when the organization experienced growing pains. At the time a New York investment banker, Banu was contacted by Vital Ground Executive Director Dan Walker. Over the next 15 years Banu’s interest in endangered species and business savvy helped shape Vital Ground into the successful nonprofit it is today. She served as a board member from 1996 through October 2011 and as chair from 2000 to 2006. During her years of service, Banu was instrumental in turning Vital Ground from a bear hobbyist group to a viable land trust. “I feel my biggest accomplishment is that I helped to turn Vital Ground into the professional, financially sustainable nonprofit it is today, “she says. Banu lives in Maryland, with her husband, Mike, and her two children, and she has turned her love of dogs into a dog training business, which keeps her busy.
Derek Reich has been a freelance photographer for close to 30 years, working for every major news network as well as National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery and many others. Still photography is his passion and hobby, specializing in nature and landscape. In the late 90s he met Doug and Lynne Seus who sparked his interest in grizzly bears and his desire to help with conservation efforts. Derek has been an advisory member to Vital Ground for over a decade and has contributed many images to a variety of Vital Ground’s projects. Derek was the director of photography for the Animal Planet series “Growing Up Grizzly,” featuring the Sues’ with Honey Bump and Bart. His involvement with grizzly bears led him to meet and eventually marry wildlife biologist Heather Reich, and work by her side in the field of grizzly bear conservation and management for five years with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Derek still contributes his time and footage to Vital Ground and consults with media to ensure responsible messages in shows about bears.
With a bachelor’s in arts from Montana State University’s School of Film and Photography and a master of business administration from the University of Mary, Penny Ronning has orchestrated the successful creation, operation, publicity, A-list celebrity involvement, media coverage and sponsorship acquisition for nine major festival events, numerous fundraiser galas, art openings, 200-plus film screenings, world motion picture premieres, photography exhibits and live theatre performances along with securing more than $2 million dollars in combined monetary, pledged, and other sponsorship accusations for multiple nonprofit organizations. Having lived and traveled throughout the world, Penny’s commitment to the arts, human and animal rights, economic development, and protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat is reflected in her more than 30 years of volunteer and professional service. She has and continues to serve on various nonprofit boards. Penny owns a film production company and currently divides her time between Montana and California as she works and attends law school. She enjoys public speaking, writing, is an avid reader, and cherishes every moment with her English shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.
John C. Rudolf
John C. Rudolf is president of Glacier Peak Capital. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and attended the Columbia University graduate school under the Herbert Lehman Doctoral Fellowship. In 1974, John began his investment career in New York City and joined Oppenheimer & Co. in 1975. He founded Summit Capital Partners, a value-oriented private investment fund, in 1984 and in 1988 moved to Seattle as partner in charge of Oppenheimer’s Pacific Northwest operations. In 1996 John founded Summit Capital, an independent investment advisory firm managing individual accounts and the Summit Capital Partners Fund. In 2012 he sold his interest in Summit Capital and founded Glacier Peak Capital to focus on managing Glacier Peak U.S. Value Fund and Glacier Peak Global Value Fund (originally called Summit Capital Partners).