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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

John Adamson JOHN ADAMSON

My name is John Adamson and I am Katie Adamson’s father. I was born and raised in the United Kingdom, and was an engineer officer in the British Merchant Navy for eighteen years. I sailed with the Royal Navy during the Falklands War in 1982. I have traveled all over the world and the circled the Earth six times. I married an American girl and moved to the United States where I have lived for the last thirty years.

Here in Colorado, I worked at the Denver Post and then for the last twenty-one years at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder before retiring at the end of 2017. I have volunteered my maintenance skills at the Westernaire's in Golden since 1999. This is horse riding and training organization of which Katie and her sister, Heather, were members.

I enjoy traveling, gardening, woodworking and anything mechanical. As a family we have 4 horses, 2 dogs, a cat, a pigeon in the living room, ten chickens and a pond full of koi. Katie would not have it any other way. To this fund I bring passion, commitment, a family connection and an unending desire to see my daughter's dreams of conservation, connection, and community forever fulfilled.

Scott Hardister SCOTT HARDISTER

Scott Hardister has been an educator and administrator in independent schools for twenty-three years.  He is currently the Assistant Head of School for Strategic Implementation at Marin Country Day School in California.  He has served on two different school boards, and was the Board President of BSC Portland Soccer Club in Portland, Oregon for three years.

Scott brings great experience in working with non-profit boards, and has an experienced understanding of governance and finance in regards to non-profit organizations.  He is passionate about our planet and the future and present impact of humans on the species that live with us.

Jim Michael JIM MICHAEL

Jim Michael has a long history of successful management for multi-million dollar companies and is a retired Army Warrant Officer (where he taught and trained hundreds of soldiers over the years). He is absolutely an entrepreneur who has changed the property inspection industry in the Denver metro area and has created a demand for his company’s services.

Steel Rhino Property Inspections is among the largest multi-inspector firms in Colorado and Jim has established five Steel Rhino Franchises outside of Colorado. Prior to operating Steel Rhino Property inspections, Jim was an in-demand manager for companies that needed to grow or become more efficient within their industries in order to  grow their market share.

Jim has traveled to Nepal and Africa where he helps support and influence wildlife conservation efforts in order to protect animals within their habitat.  Jim believes in supporting ecotourism efforts to ensure protection of animal species, the places where they live and the cultures that live amongst them. With Jim’s strong management background, leadership experience, and good natured determination, he is motivated to bring his love of animals and dedication to exploration to help grow the conservation efforts of the fund.

Laura Rihel LAURA RIHEL

I am a Commercial Title Officer at Stewart Title by day, but at night I turn into Wonder Woman, keeper of the faith, champion of truth and all around good gal.

Reality is I’m a Mom of a very dedicated animal-loving daughter, Tara. She has spent her life doing her very best for the animals she cares for. Whether she was working at a South Carolina zoo or Evergreen veterinary practice.

She introduced me to Dave Johnson eons ago – when Tara and Katie Adamson were Explorers together at the zoo in Denver. Through Dave and the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund, I’ve discovered the unquestionable importance of conservation and more importantly how the average person can help and be involved. I’ve experienced eco-tourism in Nepal, the thrill of riding elephants and joy in seeing a baby rhino, all vicariously through Tara. One day I hope to experience all of this first-hand.

I plan to use the best qualities I’ve acquired as a professional in the business community and commercial real estate world, including every Mom skill, to contribute to the protection of Earth’s endangered speicies.

Michelle Szydlowski MICHELLE SZYDLOWSKI

Michelle Szydlowski–M.A., B.A., A.A.S., C.V.T., teaches at a veterinary technology college in Denver. She graduated from UNC in 1990 with a BA in English and theater and a certification in Secondary Education. She has taught in the public school system as well as at the zoo in Denver, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the Colorado History Museum.

Active as a volunteer with animal service organizations for years, Michelle changed careers and went into small animal and exotic practice. She spent several years with wild bird rescue, rehab, and release. She celebrated her 23rd year of volunteering with the zoo in January 2018, where she works with Black Rhinoceros and River Hippos. She has traveled three times to Nepal to do conservation training and research on Greater One-Horned Rhinos and Asian Elephants. Michelle completed her MA in Anthrozoology (the study of human/non-human relationships) in 2017 after intensive fieldwork in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, and will begin her PhD program in the fall of 2018.

Michelle brings a love of education, conservation and animals to the KACF board. Her experience with wildlife and veterinary technology both in the US and abroad gives her a more balanced view of veterinary issues. Michelle’s experience working with elephant drivers, conservationists and communities in Nepal gives her unique insight into the issues surrounding international conservation projects.
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