Symposium Leadership

The Whitewater Symposium is a mix of dedicated industry folks representing our board and host organizing committee:

bob1-email[1]Bob Campbell was an US Slalom Team coach for both the Atlanta and Sydney Olympic Games and was named US Olympic Committee “2000 National Coach of the Year” for Canoe / Kayak. He has been involved with instructional paddling programs for over 25 years and is one of the co-founders of Gold Medal Connections – a traveling series of instructional clinics dedicated to broadening the base of paddling enthusiasts. Bob is also Managing Director of Whitewater Parks International – a whitewater venue development consulting firm whose design work includes the 2000 Olympic Canoe/Kayak facility in Penrith, Australia and the newly completed 2012 Olympic venue in London, UK. Bob is an American Canoe Association Instructor Trainer and a Whitewater Symposium Board Member . He lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

JCowie[1]Janet Burnett Cowie is the Director of Instruction Programs at Zoar Outdoor. Since 1996, Janet’s people skills and infectious enthusiasm have helped grow the instruction program to become one of the premier kayak schools in the country. Janet has been paddling and teaching since 1982. She is an ACA Swiftwater Rescue instructor, tandem/solo canoe instructor and ACA whitewater kayak instructor trainer educator. Janet helped to organize the first Whitewater Symposium at Zoar Outdoor in 2003 and is this year’s Symposium’s Director and Planning Coordinator. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts and currently she lives in Rowe, MA with her husband and son.

KFord20head20shot[1]Kent Ford’s unique background includes twenty-five years of teaching paddling, international whitewater racing, winning world titles, coaching for the US Kayak Team, and working as public address announcer at the last four Olympic Games. Now Kent focuses on teaching recreational boating to a worldwide audience. His twenty videos and books on paddlesports have influenced the education of half a million paddlers and his pro-bono video productions have helped promote river advocacy and protection. A veteran of over 330 rivers in 27 countries, Kent has been a member of expeditions to the Soviet Union, Costa Rica, Turkey, and Mexico. Kent has served as an ACA Instructor Trainer at most major US paddle schools, as well as in Switzerland, Canada, and Japan. Kent holds a BS. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and resides in Durango, Colorado, where he is a member of the city’s water commission. He is a co-founder and organizer of the Whitewater Symposium.

2012 Whitewater Symposium Coordinator, Heather Herbeck is also a guide and kayak instructor for Wet Planet Whitewater Center. Heather’s main focus is encouraging women and kids to get into the sport of kayaking, by organizing kids clinics and her “Paddle and Pamper” series, specifically for women. Through her own experiences, she has come to develop a way to emphasize not only physical kayaking skills, but also the whole mental side of the sport.

Bruce_Kayaking_Gap_resized_small[1]Bruce Lessels and his wife, Karen, founded Zoar Outdoor, an outdoor center on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts where the first Whitewater Symposium was held. He has written several articles and books on paddling including the Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide and Paddling with Kids. He is an ACA Instructor Trainer Educator in Whitewater Kayak and Canoe and a former member of the US Whitewater C-1 team. He placed 3rd in the 1987 Whitewater World Championships in Bourg St. Maurice, France

JMcBeath[1]James McBeath has been around the whitewater industry in a variety of capacities for going on 25 years as former owner of Liquid Skills Kayak School and founder of Kayak Futaleufu / Kayak International. In 2007/08 World Kayak was formed as an organization focused on industry growth initiatives and James took the reins brining in experience from both the web and whitewater and focusing solely on programs aimed at participation numbers.