Gail Loveland

Executive Director

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Home State: Pennsylvania

Gail has more than 19 years of experience in non-profit program development, administration and recreation. She joined the National Ability Center in June 2010 as Executive Director following five years as the Associate Executive Director and Program Director for the Outdoors for All Foundation in Seattle, WA. She has always been drawn to health and recreation and her career has followed that path including work with Starlight Children's Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, U.S. Lacrosse and Vail Resorts as well as experience working as a ski and snowboard instructor.  Gail holds a BA from the University of Vermont, School of Business and an Executive Certification in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University.

Gail credits her ability to lead such an innovative and dynamic organization such as the National Ability Center to the many mentors, volunteers, board members, staff, friends and supporters she has the privilege to work with and learn from and to her personal passion for sport and recreation as an avid cyclist, skier, snowboarder, sailor, hiker, camper, football fan and ‘retired’ lacrosse and field hockey athlete and coach.  Gail currently serves as a board member for Disabled Sports USA and as a member of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee for the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation and Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

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Ellen Adams

Program Director

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Home State: Vermont

Originally from Vermont, Ellen grew up with horses and skiing in her backyard. She received a BA from Middlebury College, where she led the Alpine Ski Team to two National Championship titles. Following a successful career in management in the winter sports industry, she turned her sights to non-profit work, and now heads up our Program Department, ensuring her team gives every athlete, participant, family member and guest the best experience possible.

She feels extremely fortunate to be part of an organization that makes such a difference in the lives of so many. All she has to do is look around her to see the joy that comes with the ability to play and recreate without barriers.

And, during her free time you may find her sharing her life-long love of horseback riding and skiing with anyone who is game.

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Jean Slusher

Finance & Business Operations Manager

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Jean is the glue that keeps everything together at the National Ability Center office. From her accounting skills to her Human Resources acumen, Jean is an integral part of our day-to-day operations.

She is proud to be part of an organization that is such a positive influence on its members and enjoys seeing all the incredible accomplishments that happen daily on our campus.

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Janet Fine

Grants Administrator

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Home State: New Jersey

Janet's writing talents are invaluable to the pursuits of this organization. She is also a master at listening and problem solving. Her cheerful attitude is contagious and her laughter resounds throughout the building.

Janet advocates for accessibility, because to her it means being free from barriers - both mental and physical. She greatly values being part of a larger mission that strives to make recreation a part of everyone's life.

Janet also loves horses and participates in the Equestrian Program at the National Ability Center with her daughter.

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Steve Robinson

Sports and Recreation Program Manager

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Home State: Florida

Steve Robinson graduated from Florida State University with a master’s degree in recreation management, and has more than nine years of experience as an outdoor recreation professional.

Steve began his career as the assistant director of outdoor adventure at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he coordinated outdoor excursions such as backpacking, rock climbing and kayaking, as well as educational programs. He also worked as the assistant director of outdoor adventure at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia; and as a backcountry guide in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an adaptive ski instructor and a camp administrator.

Steve first came to the National Ability Center as a sports and recreation intern in the winter of 2006 and then as a full-time ski/snowboard instructor in 2008. He returned in 2014 as the sports and recreation program manager because he believes strongly in the organization’s mission, and wanted to be a part of the continued development of innovative new programs, such as spearheading a progressive rock climbing series and adaptive mountain biking programs

In his free time, you’ll find Steve playing outside on a trail, rock or slope. Or you might find him cheering as the Seminoles make another National Championship run. Go Noles!

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Marci Bender

Equestrian Programs Manager

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Home State: Pennsylvania

Marci has taken the lead for our Equestrian Programs. She has a Degree in Recreation and Parks Management with a focus in Therapeutic Recreation. She is also a Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, Intl.) Advanced Certified Instructor.

Marci's job entails horse training, problem solving, staff mentoring and of course working with our participants. She loves that her job brings something different every day.

When she's not at the National Ability Center you can find her fueling up with a good cup of coffee, skiing or hiking and perhaps even whipping up a batch of her famous cookies.

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Jan Drake

Equestrian Resource Manager

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Home State: Missouri

Jan has been involved with the National Ability Center since 2001. She has become not only a familiar face to many at the ranch, but a beloved member of the National Ability Center's Equestrian Programs. Her passion to provide opportunities for individuals of all abilities through equine assisted activities and therapies is evident.

Jan has a special place in her heart for horses and her perfect day, outside of caring for them at the National Ability Center ranch, is photographing wild horses in the desert.

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Denise Begue

Director of Development

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Home State: Georgia

Denise Begue joined the National Ability Center in February 2014, bringing with her more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit industry. She holds undergraduate degrees from University of Georgia and University of Utah and an M.B.A. from Westminster College. Previous non-profit management roles include senior development officer at the Utah Opera Company, director of Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts and 10 years as development director of Ballet West in Salt Lake City.

Denise also served four years as program director for Chrysalis Enterprises, managing a staff of 14 who provided employment and supported-living services to adults with developmental and physical disabilities.

When not in the office, Denise loves to spend time with her family and friends, play excessive amounts of tennis and take in cultural experiences whenever possible.

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Jeremy Houskeeper

Groups & Military Programs Manager

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Home State: Utah

Jeremy comes to the National Ability Center with a Therapeutic Recreation degree and Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation from the College of Health at the University of Utah.

Jeremy is the mastermind behind planning, coordinating and facilitating adaptive and community experience for groups of all abilities, ages and demographics.

He loves working with families and seeing the expressions of love and joy between them as they support each other to break barriers and overcome adversity.

Jeremy says the determination and patience shown by many of the participants drives him to challenge himself.

A little known fact about Jeremy is his incredible tree climbing skills. He is especially stealth when a cat or child finds themself in a tree-climbing predicament.

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Kassandra Lemons

Registration Coordinator

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Home State: Maryland

Kassandra Lemons fell in love with the National Ability Center as a volunteer in 2014, and now works full-time as registration coordinator. Kass enjoys getting to know the participants and their families, hearing incredible stories about their experience at the National Ability Center.

Kass graduated with a B.A. in studio art with a minor in German studies from Saint Mary’s College of California. She furthered her education by spending time in the graduate program focusing on kinesiology and sports management.

After moving to Utah in 2013, Kass spent the winter as the activities supervisor at the St. Regis, Deer Valley. She piloted their Family Traditions program, coordinated events and activities, as well as fostered strong customer and partner relationships. Building on her experience as a collegiate lacrosse player and coach for the U25 USA Starz International travel team, she also spearheaded the Nike Lacrosse Camps in Utah, facilitating enrollment, as well as directing staff for a successful and educationally-sound camp

While her love of skiing drew her to Park City, Kass soon found she enjoyed all recreational activities Park City offers, from biking, fishing and wakeboarding, to the free concerts the city offers in the summer

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Katie Killebrew

Camps & Development Associate

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Home State: California

Katie came to the National Ability Center in spring 2014 by way of New York, where she spent six years as a managing editor, first at Simon & Schuster, then at Penguin Random House.

After six years in Manhattan, Katie moved to Salt Lake City to work as the seasonal publications manager for Sundance Film Festival. Delighted by Utah’s mountains, small crowds, and independent bookstores, she decided to stay and remain in the nonprofit sector. From the fast-paced publishing industry, she brings to the National Ability Center an indefatigable work ethic and a passion for telling others’ stories. Responsible for managing outreach, the speakers bureau, donor data and social media, Katie’s attention to detail, writing skills and project management experience make her the perfect addition to the advancement department at the National Ability Center.

Originally from Los Angeles, Katie received her B.A. in English from Northwestern College in Iowa where she served as an editor on the school newspaper and pursued her passion for language and literature, by studying off-campus in Chicago and Munich. New to Utah, Katie is enjoying learning to hike and camp with her husband and their two dogs.

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Jess Roising

Competition Program Manager

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Home State: New York

Jess loves athletics and competition, so it was only natural for this Equestrian Programs staff member to transition into the role of Competition Program Manager.

Each day, Jess is excited for the opportunity to foster joy and personal achievement. She works closely with our athletes and coaches to be sure each one receives the training they need and develops skills that not only apply in the midst of competition, but transfer to every day life as well.

Jess says her best moments on the job are when she sees a participant have that 'eureka moment', when everything comes together and that individual gets closer to realizing his or her goal.

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Jon Serio

Facilities & Capital Manager

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Home State: Rhode Island

We think we have found the source for the term 'Johnny on the Spot'. Jon is the man who keeps everything up and running at the National Ability Center.

As the Facilities & Capital Manager, Jon wears a lot of hats. His desire to make sure we provide the best amenities to our participants is apparent. His day-to-day achievements can be everything from spearheading the construction of a new accessible ramp at the Mountain Center to overseeing the installation of granted solar panels on our administration building.

When off campus, Jon likes to enjoy the amenities Park City provides, including cycling and skiing.

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Kristi Brangle

Customer Relations Manager

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Home State: California

Kristi Brangle has become an integral part of the National Ability Center. She serves as our Customer Relations Manager. With a number of degrees in Communications, Kristi is well equipped to make sure all our participants, staff, donors and volunteers are well taken care of.

Kristi enjoys the opportunity to meet participants and their families. She loves listening to their stories and feels happy to be part of a team that creates even more wonderful memories for them.

An avid equestrian herself, Kristi especially likes spending time at the Equestrian Center with the horses. She says that horses just have a way of making everything better.

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Sebastian Byler

Facilities Technician

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Home State: Ohio

Sebastian Byler has been working in the non-profit sector for a decade now. It is his passion to create an environment conducive to bettering participants’ experience by maintaining a fun and safe environment for them.

Sebastian relocated to Park City to fill the role of facilities technician at the National Ability Center in spring of 2014. Prior, he worked at Grand Valley Christian Camp in Rock Creek, Ohio, in many capacities such as lodge server, program director, and grounds and facilities maintenance. He is accustomed to managing group sizes from 50 to 150, kids and adults of all ages, and programs as diverse as river trips, team building, nature hikes and conferences (and more).

Sebastian is grateful to have had wonderful mentors and experiences at Grand Valley, as well as from Lincoln Electric Welding School and Lakeland Community College. He utilizes this breadth of experience to help further the mission of the National Ability Center.

Sebastian enjoys spending time on the hiking trails and outdoors with his wife and two girls. His hobbies include skiing, swimming and hunting.

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Shalese Larsen

Front Desk & Registration Manager

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Home State: California

Shalese Larsen is our Front Desk and Registration Manager and comes to the National Ability Center with a degree in business, fluency in Spanish and a great attitude.

Shalese makes sure program registration goes smoothly and everyone who enters our doors is greeted with a smile. She is a fantastic new addition to the National Ability Center and has already made a tremendous impact with her hard work and great ideas.

Shalese loves to be outdoors and through the National Ability Center has discovered the incredible benefits of Nordic skiing. You'll be sure to see her enjoying the trails around Park City.

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Tracy Meier

Training & Education Director | Therapeutic Recreation Internship Supervisor

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Home State: Virginia

Tracy Meier refuses to be limited. She believes every challenging situation provides a way to learn, grow and find success through adaptation.

Tracy’s laugh and positive energy have become mainstays at the National Ability Center. She became part of the team in 2002 as a Therapeutic Recreation intern. Now, as the Training and Education Director, as well as the Therapeutic Recreation Internship Supervisor, Tracy is sharing her skills and insights with a new generation.

Tracy loves the benefits found in the multitude of activities available at the National Ability Center and enjoys working with individuals to find their greatest potential.

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Justina Smith

Executive Assistant

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Home State: Pennsylvania

Justina Smith came to the National Ability Center in 2014 with 19 years of experience providing executive support in consulting and sales. She was drawn to the organization by the appeal of working in an environment that empowers both its staff and its participants.

Justina received her B.S. in secondary education from Shippensburg University. She began her career at Sweet Street Desserts in Pennsylvania, honing her ability to be highly communicative and diplomatic as executive assistant to the vice president of technology and vice president of international sales. Now, as the executive assistant to Gail Loveland, Justina is responsible for providing administrative support to Gail and the executive staff, as well as interacting with board members and donors. Justina’s attention to detail, thoughtfulness and top-notch organization make her the ideal complement to the organization.

In her spare time, Justina enjoys hiking, golf and downhill and cross country skiing. She also serves as the taxi service and cheer section to her four beautiful children in their many athletic pursuits: tennis, baseball, soccer and golf.

Jim Murphy

Director of Advancement

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Home State: Delaware

Jim has spent the majority of his professional career in education and with nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Career highlights include heading up statewide Special Olympics programs in both Utah and Vermont and serving as Assistant Dean in the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University. He directed the 1985 International Special Olympics Winter Games held in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jim has also worked with the Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and Education, Intermountain Health Care, the 2002 Paralympic Games, University of Utah, ScenicView Academy, Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Moran Eye Center.

Jim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from Brigham Young University. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, performing in live productions at local and regional theaters, tennis, water sports, riding his vintage Harley-Davidson, playing tuba, advocating for human rights, and cruising around in his 76’ Volkswagen Camper listening to his favorite tunes.

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Heidi MacNaughton

Volunteer Coordinator

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Home State: Oregon

Heidi’s enthusiasm for our mission, the great outdoors and propensity to wear a smile make her the perfect person to greet visitors and participants.

Heidi truly enjoys interacting with guests, participants, their families and our staff.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Master of Arts degree in School Counseling, both from the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA. An avid outdoors woman, Heidi spends her summers mountain biking and winters splitting her time between skiing and snowboarding. She is a great person to have on hand out there, too, because she is a certified Wilderness Responder.

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Julia Rametta

Events Manager

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Home State: Utah

Raised in Salt Lake City, Julia Rametta has long known about the National Ability Center, and admired its mission and reputation in the community. She was drawn to the role of special events manager by the diversity of fundraising events hosted by the National Ability Center, and the opportunity to increase community and national support for the organization.

Julia received her B.A. in sociology, a B.A. in international studies, and a minor in Spanish—all from University of Utah in 2008. Upon graduation, Julia spent two years as an educational director for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salt Lake (Lied Club); and four years as local service director at Youthlinc. While at Youthlinc, Julia grew their pilot teen refugee mentoring program, Real Life Salt Lake City, from one location to five, as well planned many successful galas and fundraisers for the organization.

When Julia isn’t putting on spectacular fundraising events for the National Ability Center, she can be found running with her black lab, Jax, training as a beginner triathlete, and spending time at Lake Powell.

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Chris Bova

Military and Group Program Coordinator

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Home State: Utah

Chris holds the post of Military and Groups Program Coordinator at the National Ability Center. He comes to us with an extensive military background, having served in the United States Marine Corps.

Chris believes strongly in the impact our military programs can have on veterans and active-duty soldiers. He works hard to ensure our mission reaches as many servicemen and women as possible.

His favorite activity at the National Ability Center is the Challenge Course. He loves to see the confidence people gain when they take on the High Ropes.

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Ben Beaudreau

Equipment & Rental Coordinator

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Home State:Virginia

Winter sports have always been a passion for Ben, so it was only natural that he would take his Therapeutic Recreation degree from Longwood University and begin a career as a ski and snowboard instructor.

Ben first came to the National Ability Center in 2009 and spent a couple seasons with us as an AASI Level II snowboard instructor and clinician. Prior to that, Ben managed the Wintergreen Adaptive Sports winter program in Virginia.

In 2013, Ben came back to the National Ability Center and took on the role of Equipment and Rental Coordinator. Ben makes sure our adaptive equipment is accessible to everyone. From mono and bi skis to hand cycles, he customizes each piece of equipment for the participant.

Ben’s perfect day consists of inhaling a monster breakfast and then hitting the backcountry on a powder day.

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Amanda Smith

Equestrian Instructor and Equestrian Program Volunteer Instructor

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Home State: Tennessee

Amanda began her career with the National Ability Center in 2008 and has been involved in just about every program we offer, including spending time as a water skiing assistant and an alpine ski instructor. Now, we are glad to have her serving full time as an instructor in our Equestrian Program.

Amanda loves sharing her knowledge and skills with participants, staff and volunteers. She feels grateful that every day she has the opportunity to teach something new as well as learn something new from the participants.

When she’s not hanging out with our horses, Amanda can be found either water or snow skiing, depending on the season.

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Whitney Thompson

Marketing Manager

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Home State: Utah

Having called Park City her home since childhood, Whitney is excited to help grow the mission of the National Ability Center as our Marketing Manager.

Whitney draws from her experiences as an Art Director, Graphic Designer, Account Manager and Copywriter in both Non-profit and For-profit sectors. She also holds a B.A. with Honors in Studio Art from Williams College in Williamstown, MA.

In her spare time, Whitney can be found enjoying the snow and dirt. She is an avid telemark skier and competes around the west in slopestyle mountain biking.

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Andrea Thompson

Camps & Custom Groups Supervisor

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Home State: Michigan

Andrea has been working with our camps and ski and snowboard programs since 2008. After 5 years working as a universal staff member, Andrea took on the full-time role as our Camps and Custom Groups Supervisor.

Andrea is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and holds a Level 1 instructor certification through Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).

It is clear Andrea is fully invested in our programs and works tirelessly to create the best experience for every camper that comes to the National Ability Center. She loves helping facilitate the process of discovery and feels the greatest reward when she sees a camper’s confidence grow with each accomplishment.

As a result of her camp experience, Andrea has become very skilled in the art of tie-dying and enjoys a good round of hula hooping.

When not on the main campus, you can find Andrea working with our ski and snowboard program at the Mountain Center in the winter, and in the summer you will find her at Jordanelle State Park tubing, canoeing and kayaking with the campers.

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Joelle Kanshepolsky

Senior Strategist

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Home State: Wisconsin

Joelle Kanshepolsky splits her time running her own consulting business for nonprofits, teaching as an adjunct professor at Westminster College in the Gore School of Business and serving as the part-time senior strategist at the National Ability Center.

Before joining the National Ability Center, Joelle served as the executive director at Local First Utah, and prior to that was vice president of development and communications at Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts/Metrowest. Joelle received her master’s in management and social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and her Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University.

Joelle was attracted to the National Ability Center because of its emphasis on seeing the possibilities, not the limitations, in life. Managing several chronic illnesses herself, this has been one of Joelle’s personal philosophies, and she loves aligning herself with a mission that resonates so personally.

Joelle moved to Salt Lake City from Boston in 2008, and in her spare time enjoys playing sports, hiking and traveling both with (and without) her young children. She is active in several community organizations including serving as the vice president of the board of Jewish Family Service and chair of the development committee.

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