Meet the Board of Directors



Ryan Carlson

After earning his B.S in Outdoor Education, Ryan served seven years as the Director of Wilderness Ministry for Ohio Wesleyan University and the Coalition for Christian Outreach. In addition to steep mountain adventures all over the world, Ryan has led expeditions in the Wind River Range, Joshua Tree National Park, the White Mountains, Florida Everglades and Wyoming’s Absorka Range. He is a Certifying Instructor for the Wilderness Education Association and Master Educator with Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

Ryan also holds certifications as a Wilderness First Responder, PCIA Single Pitch Climbing Instructor and ACA Canoe Instructor.


Jen Hopper

Jen has been the Manager of UC Riverside’s Outdoor Excursions program since 2000. She spends her time in many areas of the program: obtaining permits and reservations, planning and teaching the curriculum of the Leader Development Program, working with departments and individuals on specialized trips, and researching new and exciting locations for pre-scheduled outdoor adventures.

Jen was a soil scientist in her previous career, and brings her interest in the environment and her questioning mind to her programming. In her free time, Jen enjoys climbing, skiing, and canyoneering, but loves just about any outdoor activity.


Josh Norris

Josh Norris is the Director for the Adventure Leadership Institute at Oregon State University. He has worked for four universities and seven commercial outfitters, and founded his own commercial guide service with operations throughout the United States and Mexico. He was instrumental in the creation and establishment of a multifaceted university outdoor education and recreation program at the University of Mississippi, which included the inception of an academic minor and extensive course offerings.

Norris has served as an instructor/guide trainer for: wilderness medicine, alpine mountaineering, white-water kayaking, rafting, climbing, challenge course and more. As a part of his work in outdoor education, Norris was also a script writer and technical adviser for a series of instructional climbing videos.


Will Friday

Will Friday is the Associate Director of Outdoor Link and the Program Director for On Belay / LET’s (Let’s Erase the Stigma, and non profit education foundation dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues with teens). He is a Lead Course Provider for PCIA’s Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) program and a Course Provider for the Single Pitch Climbing Instructor program, too. Will is an avid climber, surfer, kayaker and telemark skier. The Sierra Nevada, Joshua Tree and the Santa Monica mountains are favorite climbing areas. Will also participates in risk management, accreditation and program reviews for outdoor education programs in southern California.  Will lives in Topanga with his daughter. Other interests include natural horsemanship and competing in ranch sorting, team penning events, native plant preservation, gardening, living sustainably and viticulture.


Todd Vogel

Todd Vogel is a mountain guide and outdoor instructor from California’s Eastern Sierra. He owns Outdoor Link, llc, a respected outdoor education firm, Sierra Mountain Center, and is co-owner of Wilson’s Eastside Sports, a mountain sports retailer, in Bishop, CA. He is an AMGA certified rock and alpine guide and has been a ski guide for over twenty five years. He was one of the developers of the AMGA’s Top Rope Site Manager program – a predecessor to the PCIA outdoor program –  and works extensively in the institutional climbing field. Lately, he has discovered a love of ultra distance running.

Todd was a key member of the AMGA’s accreditation committee from the late 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, helping align that program with modern field and administrative practices. His work for the last ten years has been primarily in outdoor education, focusing on the PCIA Top Rope Climbing Instructor program, outdoor programs for schools, technical trainings for outdoor leaders, and outdoor/wilderness-based organizational development programs for community and business leaders. He is also involved in public land education and stewardship, leading many volunteer groups on trail work and other service projects.


Dr. Andy Fields

Dr. Andy Fields joined the Board of Directors in September 2010 and currently serves as the Vice President of the PCIA and Indoor Course Provider Liaison. He is a provider for both the indoor and outdoor certifications. Dr. Fields has been teaching climbing courses since 1998 and has supported the PCIA since inception.

Dr. Fields is currently the Director of University Recreation at Central Washington University in the eastern Cascades. He is also the founding Dean of Health and Human Kinetics for McCall College in Idaho and was the founding Director of Outdoor Education and the Stanford Leadership Institute at Stanford University. His scholarly research involves leadership development among adult learners, primarily in a wilderness context.

Dr. Fields holds a doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership, an M.S. in Adventure-Based Management and Outdoor Leadership, a B.S. in Environmental Recreation, and an A.A. in Liberal Studies. In addition, Dr. Fields holds numerous professional certifications that encompass a wide variety of disciplines. Although he engages and instructs in many outdoor pursuits, he has a special passion and vigor for the climbing profession.


Jon Tierney

Jon Tierney is an internationally certified IFMGA mountain guide and serves as the Educational Director of the PCIA. Jon began climbing in the mid 70’s in central NH. With a passion for rock, ice and mountaineering his accomplishments as a climber and guide include multiple high altitude peaks, first ascents on rock and ice, and hundreds of multi-pitch rock and alpine routes worldwide. Jon started his outdoor career as a naturalist and interpreter for the National Park Service and then became involved in outdoor education working with universities, youth-at-risk programs, and Outward Bound. In 1984 he co-founded the University of Maine outdoor program which he directed until 2001.

UMaine was home to one of the first relatively large climbing gyms in the northeast and became the firsrt university program to undergo accreditation of its climbing program. In the late eighties Jon worked as a backcountry climbing ranger for the park service during the summer and in 1994 he established Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School. Jon has maintained a second career in emergency medicine and has been a practicing paramedic and wilderness medicine instructor since the mid 80’s as well. Jon believes strongly in the value of education and that the client be able to have confidence in their instructor’s skills through some form of credentialing. He has been involved in the initiation and development of several educational programs. He continues to synthesize good concepts, challenge usual paradigms, and develop new ideas to raise outdoor leadership and guiding standards. His involvement in the PCIA is the next step in that evolution.

  • IFMGA International Mountain Guide AMGA certified Rock Guide(’92) and Alpine Guide(’97), and Ski Mountaineering Guide(’06)
  • Primary developer and promoter of AMGA Top Rope Site Manager Course, AMGA Discipline Coordinator (’98-04)
  • Served two terms on the AMGA Board of Directors
  • AMGA Technical Commitee (99-08), Top Rope Site Manager Advisory Committee (’04 – ’07) and Accreditation Committee (’97 – present)
  • Wilderness medicine instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates(’86)
  • Paramedic (’88) with additional training and experience in critical care and flight medicine
  • B.S. Parks and Forest Recreation with additional studies in education and emergency medicine
  • Founding Director Emeritus of Maine Bound, the University of Maine outdoor education program
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level 2 Instructor
  • Accreditation reviewer for AMGA (’94-08) and member of original Climbing Wall Association accreditation review team (’95)
  • Guided over 60 successful high altitude (over 18,000′) mountaineering ascents
  • Guidebook and technical author of several publications
  • State:  ME
  • Website: