Our Staff & Board
Working to protect the Gallatin is a duty we don’t take lightly.
Learn more about our small, dedicated staff and board of directors.
Kristin Gardner, PhD
Chief Executive and Science Officer
Kristin has led the Gallatin River Task Force since 2007. Prior to that, she had been working on the Gallatin River for many years, conducting her doctoral research that examined land use impacts on water quality and serving as a Big Sky Institute fellow at Ophir School. Originally from Maine, she moved west with a background in Water Resource Engineering and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and experience working with the Nantucket Land Council and the Nantucket community on ground water quality issues. Kristin has published her work in several scientific journals, including Water Resources Research and Ground Water. Kristin and her husband, JJ, son, Elijah, and yellow lab, Althea, reside in Big Sky and spend as much time as possible exploring the outdoors in and beyond Montana.
Emily brings over a decade of experience in natural resource management and recreation planning and is thrilled to support the Task Force in achieving its water conservation and restoration goals. “A healthy Gallatin River watershed is fundamental to our livelihood. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Big Sky community to improve water conservation and efficiency for a sustainable future.”
Isabella is from Irvington, New York. She graduated from Colgate University in May where she majored in Environmental Science and minored in Anthropology. Isabella interned with the Task Force for the past two summers, assisting with water and algae sampling, educating the Big Sky community about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, canvassing for citizen and business endorsements of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and helping out with the summer’s major fundraising events. “I have noticed how important public involvement and support is to having a healthy relationship with a river, thus I wanted to get involved with an organization that is so devoted to their work to keep the river healthy while also ensuring access to plentiful, clean water for their community.”
Marne has developed her leadership skills in the non-profit, economic development and outdoor advocacy space collectively for nearly two decades, with a special focus on opportunities for small business, public lands & recreation access, and community growth. She has called Big Sky home since the early 90s, having been hooked by several summers as a seasonal employee in Yellowstone National Park while completing her degree at the University of Maryland. She currently also serves as Consulting Director for Business for Montana’s Outdoors, advocating on behalf of the economic values of Montana’s outdoor recreation economy. Her positions in the public non-profit space since the early 2000s has given her the experience and the background she brings to the table in using intentional communications, focused tactics and broad outreach to elevate messaging and effect real change for the places she loves. She and her husband and their two crazy vizslas enjoy as much adventure and time on the trails, in the forests, and on the rivers as possible.
Jessica grew up in central Massachusetts and got her B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of New Hampshire in 2018. After college, Jess went to work for North Carolina State Parks teaching environmental education to local elementary students, with a focus on wetland ecology and water quality. Jessica is thrilled to join the Gallatin River Task force to learn about watershed health and become a better environmental steward. Jess served as the Task Force’s Big Sky Watershed Corps member in 2021 and was promoted to a full-time position as Conservation Associate.
Emma grew up on the coast of New Jersey within a short distance of both the Atlantic Ocean and many local rivers. She attended University of Rochester and earned a B.S. in Environmental Science. Through seeing coral reefs overrun with disease and overfishing during her years scuba diving and the decreased resilience of the beach and rivers she grew up on, Emma developed a passion for helping improve water quality and protection of water-based ecosystems. Emma is excited to join the Task Force to gain more experience in the field and non-profit world, as well as work to preserve the Gallatin for everyone to enjoy.
Big Sky Watershed Corps Member
Big Sky Watershed Corps Member
Jack Buban recently moved to join the Task Force team from Greenville, South Carolina after bouncing around between Illinois, Ontario, Georgia and Alaska. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Jack studied Fisheries & Wildlife as well as public policy. What he is most excited about is “the opportunity to learn about the Gallatin River watershed and learn from the great community of conservationists and citizens in this area”. When not in streams or rivers you can typically find Jack out climbing, running, skiing, or doing just about anything outdoors.
The Gallatin River Task Force is led by a board of community members representing a wide variety of stakeholders, including environmental managers, water resource professionals, business owners, realtors, technical & media arts innovators, and homeowners.
Ennion Williams has lived in Big Sky for 28 years. Ennion spent many years working at Lone Mountain Ranch where he fulfilled several roles as a chef, fishing guide, manager, and ultimately, General Manager. From there, he went on to become General Manager for Big Sky Vacation Rentals and he now acts as V.P. of Events for The Outlaw Partners. He served on the Big Sky CVB and was a board member of Visit Big Sky for many years. He has a passion for the outdoors and floating down rivers around Southwest Montana. As a fly fishing guide for the past 25 years, clean mountain water is very important to his livelihood and is a driving force in his interest in joining the GRTF board. Ennion looks forward to promoting the Task Force’s mission and participating in projects that preserve the Gallatin River.
Rob grew up at the base of Mt. Mansfield in Underhill, VT in a farmhouse full of engineers. In 1998, he graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in History and Economics. His studies brought him to South Africa in 1996 and inspired a diverse wave of experiences, including a year-long trip around the world in 2001, after moving out west to Colorado in 1998. While in Colorado, Rob was a competitive mountain bike and ski racer and started to focus on a career in building. Rob moved to Montana in 2002 and expanding on his previous building experience, started working for CK Design & Construction as a site supervisor. In 2007, Rob and Todd Thesing started Highline Partners Ltd. and received LEED AP accreditation in May 2009. Rob’s pursuit of constant improvement and new technologies are evident in his own personal projects as well as at Highline Partners. His passion for adventure is highlighted by raising his family in Montana with his wife and rediscovering a love for the mountains through this experience.
Heather Budd has lived and worked full time in Big Sky since 1997. Having witnessed the huge growth in Big Sky and the Greater Gallatin Valley, she believes the health of the Gallatin and our water supply need protection and monitoring to ensure viability and accessibility for future generations. The Gallatin is very grounding and calming for her, and she could never imagine a Big Sky without its fresh water and beauty threading along the canyon. Her goal as a board member is to further the mission of the Task Force and make a lasting positive impact on protecting the Gallatin River. She encourages all Big Sky residents to learn about the river and the surrounding integrated ecosystem to gain a better understanding of how to protect it. When she isn’t working as the CFO of Highline Partners, you can find her fly fishing, floating, and relaxing on the river’s edge.
JeNelle has long history in Big Sky, starting as a visitor since the early 90s and has been a full-time resident since 2014. She was a scholarship athlete at the University of Minnesota and graduated with an accounting degree, to be later hired as an auditor by Dayton Hudson Corp, and eventually becaming a clothing buyer. JeNelle and her husband Fred moved to Singapore in 1996, and followed that move with four additional overseas adventures. She and Fred live in Grey Drake with their cats, Lenin and Marx. JeNelle enjoys skiing, hiking, visiting art galleries, and traveling. She serves on the Grey Drake HOA Board, volunteers for BSCO and the Arts Council, and has been an active Task Force volunteer since 2015.
Ryan Kunz grew up in West Babylon, New York where his passion for the outdoors, nature and water began. Ryan grew up as a true watermen; fishing, surfing, crabbing and boating. He took this passion to the University of North Florida where he became the Vice President of the UNF Surf Club, organizing beach clean ups, and overall ocean cleanliness awareness within the Jacksonville, Florida community. After traveling and living in places such as Hawaii and Alaska, following his same passions, he found himself in Big Sky, Montana in 2012. While also raising his two children in Big Sky, Ryan was the General Manager of The Rainbow Ranch Lodge, later becoming the General Manager of Lone Mountain Ranch in 2017. LMR has been a steward of its environment for over 100 years providing a synergic place for Ryan to continue both his conservation efforts, and outdoor recreation passions. Ryan is an avid horseback rider, hiker and snowboarder, and grateful to live in Southwest Montana.
Bill Collins has extensive experience in the real estate sales and services industry, having led the Sales and Marketing team at Yellowstone Club since late 2009. During his tenure, he led the sales efforts resulting in over $3.4 billion in transaction volume. Prior to joining Yellowstone Club, Bill was a Managing Director with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and its predecessor Spaulding & Slye (S&S), where during his 18-year tenure, he specialized in advising owners and tenants in their real estate strategy, analysis, and execution. While at JLL, Bill served as the Managing Director of the Downtown Boston Leasing Team and was a member of the Executive Committee. He has been a frequent speaker and expert panelist for many commercial and resort real estate organizations and is a graduate of Gettysburg College. Bill’s talent and passions has given him the opportunity to sit on numerous boards. He currently resides in Big Sky with his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Elizabeth, where he keeps up his avid participation as a fly fisherman, skier, golfer, and reader.
Leslie was born and raised in California and attended Stanford University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Earth Sciences and her masters and PhD in Hydrogeology. She has worked in the environmental sector with the US Geological Survey and in the energy industry with Marathon Oil Company and as a consultant. Leslie, her husband Christophe, and their 2 children, Téo and Chloë, have relocated several times, both within the US and overseas. While overseas Leslie discovered a passion for sustainability in education, and she has worked as sustainability coordinator at schools in Copenhagen, Denmark and Houston, TX. Leslie and her family have been coming to Big Sky since 2013, and they moved here full-time in 2021. Leslie is deeply committed to preserving the water resources of the greater Big Sky area in the face of inevitable growth. In fact, this commitment is a family affair, as Téo and Chloë also volunteer for the Gallatin River Task Force. Leslie enjoys skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and cooking, and is grateful to call Big Sky home and to have the privilege to help protect the Gallatin River watershed.
Eric Ladd is the founder and Chairman of Outlaw Partners, L&K Real Estate, Outlaw Real Estate Partners and Boundary Expeditions. Eric has a strong entrepreneurial passion supporting organizations that focus on preservation of land, rivers and wildlife, and is also involved with international charitable groups. His passion for wilderness, rivers and guiding has never subsided after learning to guide at the age of 15 and later completing expeditions and first river descents around the world. He carries that same passion to his work for the Task Force, with a vision for using his talents, his community connections, and his business acumen to help find appropriate, sustainable solutions for the Gallatin River watershed. Knowing that a community can be one of the strongest foundations of stewardship, Eric raises awareness and uses the platform of his media business, Outlaw Partners, to help elevate the message about the value of the Gallatin River even higher. Eric holds Bachelor Degrees in Real Estate and Marketing from the University of Colorado Boulder.
Rod Ray’s impressive background makes him a great fit to the Gallatin River Task Force Board of Directors. The former CEO of a technology development company providing innovations for the agricultural, electronics, energy and space industries, Rod’s love of the scientific nature of things – and the solutions provided by science-backed information – is what drew him to want to be involved with the Task Force’s holistic approach to finding answers for the health of the Gallatin. Over the past 25 years, Rod’s career has given him insight into leadership, research, and the progression from learning to teaching, applying practical applications to long term solutions. Spending time between his home in the mountains of Oregon and his family’s home in Big Sky, Rod still operates his consulting company, Canyon Mountain Consulting, while doing good work helping build stewardship and solutions for the Gallatin.
Todd Shaw grew up in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. He witnessed the drastic decline of the Salmon and Steelhead runs on the local rivers over a 30-year time span. Todd believes that there is a way to have sustainable growth in the Big Sky community and the surrounding area, but unrestricted growth without regard for an intact Gallatin River ecosystem could yield a significant decline in water quality and fish resources. He has a degree in Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington and has worked in the seafood industry for 40 years with travels throughout commercial fishing areas in Alaska, Canada and Russia. Todd first traveled to the Yellowstone region in 1979, canoeing across Yellowstone Lake and hiked a 60 miles loop in the Upper Thorofare Junction region in Yellowstone National Park. He and his family have been coming back to the area on vacations ever since. He and his wife moved permanently to Big Sky in 2016 and it has been home ever since. Todd is an avid fly-fishing angler, skier and outdoor enthusiast. He has been involved with numerous conservation groups over the years advocating for sustainable resource management.
Ashley grew up in Michigan and it’s there that she obtained her degree in business. She made the move to Montana after making several trips to Big Sky and discovering the beautiful mountains and endless recreational opportunities surrounding us. She works as the Controller for the Big Sky Community Organization and serves as the President for the Big Sky Chapter of the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association. Ashley is excited to serve as a board member for the Task Force and help educate the community on the important role the Gallatin plays in the Big Sky community as a resource, and a natural asset. In her free time, Ashley enjoys spending time with her husband, Drew and their husky, Juneau, whether it be mountain biking, skiing, rafting, or learning how to fly fish.
Rich has had a lifelong love for the Rocky Mountains, and especially for the wetlands and streams that flow through them. He did his first ‘habitat restoration’ project as a 9-year old kid in Evergreen, Colorado and hasn’t been able to get away from the intoxicating smell of mud, or the sting of mosquitoes since. Rich is a professional wetland scientist with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, and a M.S. in Rangeland Ecosystem Science from Colorado State University. He’s been working in Big Sky since 2002, and moved to Bozeman in 2004. He is a part owner of Confluence Consulting Inc., based in Bozeman. Rich enjoys all seasons on the Gallatin River and the nuances or moods of the river that happen from day to day or week to week. He is excited to serve on the Task Force’s Board to help further its goals for the wise, informed stewardship of Gallatin and other streams and wetlands in the Big Sky area.