Mike Meintzschel has been one of our kayak instructors since 2006. He holds an Open Water Instructor certification though the American Canoe Association and has been a whitewater, sea and recreational kayak instructor for over 25 years. Mike has also worked as a designer and buyer for outdoor products for companies like Blue Ridge Mountain Sports and several Italian companies. Mike holds a class 1 rating in paragliding and is a certified diver. He has coached local soccer teams for the last 6 years. His other interests are mountain biking, camping, back country Telemark skiing and is currently learning to kite board.
Laurie Pallini has been one of our rock climbing instructors since 2002. She received her BS in Health and Physical Education from Radford University in 1986. She received her MS in Physical Therapy from the Medical College of Virginia in 1994. She presently works as a Home Health Physical Therapist for UVA in Charlottesville. She began climbing in 1980s when she took her first climbing course with the UVA Outdoor Recreation program. Her accomplishments include summiting the Grand Tetons and climbing in the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range in 2005. She is a NOLS graduate and is certified in CPR. She also enjoys mountain biking and hiking. Now she spends most of her time with her twin babies, Vittorio and Matteo. She plans to teach them to belay as soon as they can walk
Susan Reed is a climbing instructor and has worked for the UVA Outdoor Recreation program for 12 years. She is also a graduate of UVA and has been working with us since her 2nd year in school. She has enjoyed climbing trips in Chile, the Tetons, the Wind River Range, Seneca Rocks, Rocky Mountain National Park, New River Gorge, and various other spots. She also enjoys adventure racing, mountain biking, paddling, running, and hiking. She is an educator in the schools and is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School.
Dave Kessmann has been one of our kayak instructors since 2007 but has been teaching Whitewater Kayaking and Swift Water Rescue since the spring of 2006. He is certified by the American Canoe Association in both disciplines and carries an Adaptive Endorsement in both from the ACA. He also holds current certifications in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. In 1995, he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia which he uses to support his boating. Although kayaking is his true passion, he also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, cycling, and ice climbing. Dave teaches for a variety of organizations including an adaptive sports program, which helps people with disabilities get in to whitewater boating. Also, through his local paddling club, Dave regularly coordinates trips to Class IV / V rivers throughout the southeast. Dave started kayaking in 1998 and hopes it proves to be a lifelong sport for him. It has allowed him to spend time in parts of the world that few people ever see and has taken him as far as Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Canada. All of this is to say nothing of the fantastic friendships he has been blessed with along the way. He looks forward to continuing to introduce others to the sport that has brought so much in to his life.
Jason Reed works as one of our climbing instructors and has been with the program for nine years. Jason attended the University of Maryland where he completed a BS degree in Environmental Policy and Politics. Jason has completed the AMGA Top Rope Site Manager course and has instructed both indoor and outdoor climbing lessons for Sport Rock climbing gyms in the DC area. He also holds a Wilderness First Aid certification. Besides the local climbing spots like Seneca Rocks and the New River gorge, Jason has traveled to places such as the Wind River Range, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Adirondacks, and the White Mountains developing his climbing skills. In addition to rock climbing, he is an avid adventure racer and loves winter activities such as Telemark skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing. When he's not enjoying the outdoors, Jason works as a Network Administrator for Madison County Public Schools.
John McCall is the Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation at UVA and manages their challenge course, Poplar Ridge. He holds a MS degree in Sport and Exercise Science and has worked in the field of Outdoor Education for nine years, of which the last three have been with UVA. John has a passion for helping others develop the skills they need to safely enjoy their desired outdoor pursuits. On a personal note, he enjoys trail running, rock/mountain climbing, skiing, and has a passion for endurance events. Some of his favorite outdoor experiences have been climbing peaks in the Northern and Southern Cascades, Colorado, and Mexico. John holds certifications as an AMGA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor, Wilderness First Responder and CPR, Leave No Trace trainer, Expedition Kayak Trip Leader, ACA Essentials of River Kayaking, and Swift Water Rescue.
Zander has been leading trips for the UVA Outdoor Recreation program since 2001 when he moved to Charlottesville. He is an avid kayaker, hiker, and skier/snowboarder. In college at Radford University he led rock climbing, caving, and backpacking trips. In the past few years Zander returned to school to become a registered nurse. His most recent outdoor pursuits are focused on exploring the greater Charlottesville area with his 10month old daughter. He enjoys working with UVA OR because it gives him the opportunity to show the outdoors to the diverse university community.
Mark Voorhees has worked as the Director for Outdoor Recreation since January of 1996 and has worked in the field of Outdoor Education for over 30 years. Mark holds a Masters Degree in Parks and Recreation Administration and is an alumni of Outward Bound and NOLS. Some of Marks work experiences prior to coming to UVA include serving as a NOLS instructor in Wyoming, directing the Outdoor Wisconsin Leadership School (O.W.L.S.), and as a Senior Facilitator for the P.0.W.E.R. program which was part the Advocate Health care system which provided programs to people in addiction treatment and the general public. Mark is certified as a WFR and Leave no Trace trainer, and formerly as an ARC Wilderness First Aid instructor and Certified Athletic Trainer. On a personal note, Mark has been blessed to do a number of 10th Mtn. Division backcountry ski traverses in CO, mountaineering trips to the Northern Cascades, dog sledding in Minnesota, traveling to the Bernier Oberland in Switzerland to trek and climb peaks, and doing many of the classic multi-pitch rock climbs in North Carolina. Currently, Mark enjoys going to West Virginia to backcountry and Telemark ski each winter as well as working around his property and home enjoying the outdoors. While he enjoys many forms of outdoor recreation, the winter/ alpine experiences are his favorite.