Meet the 2019 Speakers


We've gathered glamping experts from around the world to share their experiences and knowledge on a wide variety of glamping topics to help you with your business.


Will Beilharz

Will Beilharz


Founder, Artistree

Will Beilharz is a serial entrepreneur, designer and hospitality developer with a mission to radically shift the way we travel, experience, and inhabit the world. His companies, Artistree Hospitality and Artistree Homes are redefining eco-luxury and experiential design from treehouses on the beach to tiny homes at the base of an active volcano. His work has been recognized by national and international media such as AIA, IIDA, NY Times, Lonely Planet, and Travel & Leisure. Pulling from his background in Eco-tourism and permaculture design, Will is creating transformative hospitality offerings that showcase regenerative solutions for people, planet, and profits.

Will's deep commitment to regenerative land stewardship, sustainable resource management, and nature-based experiential education guides his land development strategies at Artistree.

Will's journey as a builder and designer began when he was 9 years old as he and his father built from scratch their 4-story, 19-sided home based on a Buckminster Fuller book, Synergetics. Living completely off-grid for six years during construction taught Will how to design in rhythm with nature.


Sarah Dusek

Sarah Dusek


Co-Founder and CEO, Under Canvas

Sarah Dusek founded adventure hospitality company Under Canvas Inc. alongside husband Jacob Dusek in 2009.  As CEO, Sarah strategically guides the brand while overseeing the development of future camps at some of America's most beautiful destinations. In 2017, Under Canvas received a spot on the coveted Inc. 5000 list and Sarah was named to the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women list from Ernst & Young.  In 2018, Sarah co-founded the American Glamping Association with a goal of bringing consumer clarity to the fast-growing industry by providing accreditation to U.S. glamping properties that meet a baseline standard.

Sarah's love for nature inspired her to create a brand that would be a bridge to the outdoors while increasing environmental awareness and encouraging others to embrace intentional inconveniences for the betterment of the planet. Sarah received her Masters in Missiology from the University of Manchester. She lives in Bozeman, MT with her husband and two children.


Michael B. D'Agostino

Michael B. D'Agostino


Founder, Tentrr

Michael D'Agostino, founder of NYC-based Tentrr, Inc., is a life-long camper, adventurer and builder of forts in the woods. Before founding Tentrr, he spent a decade at global investment banks and co-founded a technology start-up called handwriting.io with his wife Eloise. He was also a Managing Director at the New York Stock Exchange, where he helped take technology companies public, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Shutterstock.

In April 2015, Michael left the NYSE to found Tentrr. Through his vision and leadership, Tentrr has reimagined "Camping 1.0" by providing a fully-equipped, private, comfortable and stylish camping experience for anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors. In doing so, he pioneered a new technology marketplace model for global, experiential tourism. Tentrr's footprint expanded to hundreds of campsites on beautiful privately-owned land throughout United States. To date, Tentrr has raised $17 million of venture capital from some of the top marketplace investors in the country. Michael earned a B.A. from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. He lives in New York City and Bovina, NY with his wife, twin daughters and an unusually small black Lab, Ruby.


Steph Curtis-Raleigh

Steph Curtis-Raleigh


Publisher, International Glamping Business

Steph is the editor and publisher of Glamping Business USA and a Director of Upgrade Publishing, whose other titles include; International Glamping Business, Holiday Parks Management, Alt.Accom and Free Range - a title for Farm Shops. She was invited to be a judge for the Rural Business Awards 2018 in the UK and is keen to promote alternative tourism as a way of boosting local economies and encouraging people to consider the environment in their travel and buying choices. She is a co-founder of GlampAid - a charity which helps glamping businesses to donate used equipment so that they can be used by the homeless. Steph has been a magazine editor for 20 years in the trade press and also runs a small PR and marketing agency.


Sarah Riley

Sarah Riley


Founder, Inspired Camping & Inspired Courses

Sarah Riley is a professionally qualified business coach and visibility specialist who started her consultancy after jointly running a boutique hospitality business and being involved in the glamping industry for many years. She now shares techniques in her internationally acclaimed Glamping Business Start-Up Guide and Marketing Masterclass to help unique hospitality owners set up their business, attract more guests and increase their profits in this increasingly competitive industry. Sarah is also the Founder of Inspired Camping and Inspired Courses.


Ruben Martinez

Ruben Martinez


Co-Founder, Glamping Hub

Ruben is the Co-Founder of GlampingHub and the American Glamping Association. GlampingHub is the largest transactional glamping booking platform with properties listed worldwide. GlampingHub now offers over 35,000 listings with offices in Denver and Seville, Spain.

Ruben completed both his Undergraduate degree and his MBA with a focus in International Business at Regis University. He is an affiliate faculty member at Regis University teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the MBA program. Ruben resides in Colorado with his wife and two daughters


Jeff Sims

Jeff Sims


Senior Director of State Relations and Program Advocacy, ARVC

Jeff Sims is the Senior Director of State Relations & Program Advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC). Jeff's family started their first park in 1967 in Branson, MO, when he was 10 years old. After 40 years the family sold their 2 campgrounds, lodge and convention center where he served as President/CEO. Jeff graduated from Reeds Spring High School in 1974 and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from College of the Ozarks where he also earned his private pilot's license. He married his childhood sweetheart, Susie in 1977.

Jeff is a Past Chairman of ARVC and Past President of the following: Missouri Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, Missouri Travel Council, Table Rock Lake / Kimberling City Chamber of Commerce, Reeds Spring Board of Education, Stone County Water Supply District, Vice-President – Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Board Member ARVC National Education Foundation and Stone County Sewer District. He currently serves on the Stone County Planning & Zoning Board. Jeff received a Congressional appointment to the White House Conference on Travel & Tourism and early in the Clinton Administration was invited to the White House to speak on the impact of mandatory health care on small business.

While Jeff has received numerous awards and was honored by each one, the most humbling one was in 1998 as the recipient of the Stan Martin Memorial Award. This is the highest honor in ARVC and was awarded for his leadership on a local, state, national and international level which included working with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan & the Japanese Ministry of Construction on the classifications of Recreational Vehicles. Jeff also received RVIA's National Legislative Award in 2016 and was honored with Resolutions by the MO Senate & MO House of Representatives for his work in Washington, D.C.

Jeff's primary role is to be the eyes and ears of the membership and represent them at state meetings along with developing new state associations and new alliances with related industry partners. He also is responsible for monitoring the ARVC Public Affairs programs and state legislation and regulations. He is a strong advocate of the ARVC Educational Program and believes in "Outdoor Hospitality Excellence through Industry Unity." Jeff's favorite quote is from Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."


Toby O'Rourke

Toby O'Rourke


CEO, KOA

Toby O'Rourke is the President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc., the world's largest system of private campgrounds and leader in outdoor hospitality.   In this capacity she oversees the programs, services and marketing that supports the brand's 515+ franchised and company-owned locations across North America.

O'Rourke was promoted to the position of President in 2018, and was named President and CEO of KOA in March 2019.   She first joined KOA in 2011 as the company's digital marketing director where she was charged with progressing KOA's approach to online advertising, mobile delivery and social media. She advanced to Sr. Vice President of Marketing where she drove the launch of KOAs first integrated advertising and public relations campaign and was instrumental in the development of KOAs brand segmentation that has realigned their portfolio based on guest experience.   Prior to becoming President, she served in the role of Chief Franchise Operations Officer overseeing franchise operations and technology.

Toby's work at KOA is strengthened by a background in brand management, software development and consulting.   She began her career as a programmer and then worked in business and technology consulting in Chicago for Deloitte and STA Group. She transitioned to a marketing career following graduate school and served in brand and digital marketing roles for Sara Lee Corporation in Downers Grove, Illinois, and Whitewave Foods in Broomfield, Colorado.

Toby has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame.    In 2017 she was named to the Forty Under 40 marketer list by Advertising Age magazine.

A mother of two young children and native Montanan, Toby is passionate about engaging families in the outdoors.   She and her family enjoy hiking, fishing, visiting national parks — and of course camping.


Kathleen Walsh Bio Photo

Robert Frisch


Co-Founder, CEO, Firelight Camps

Bobby is the co-founder and CEO of Firelight Camps, an experiential hospitality company that develops and manages luxury camping resorts. Prior to Firelight Camps, Bobby and his wife Emma opened, managed, and sold a boutique hostel and restaurant in Nicaragua called "La Buena Onda." He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA '13 from the Johnson School at Cornell University, where he was a Roy Park Leadership Fellow and ran Cornell's startup incubator as an ELAB fellow. Robert was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, and has provided hospitality consulting services for the National Parks Service, Itza Lodge in Belize, and the luxury tent rental company, Contentment Camping. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his wife Emma and daughters Ayla and Cora.


Kathleen Walsh Bio Photo

Kathleen Walsh


CEO, Advanced Outdoor Solutions

Kathleen Walsh, CEO and Founder of Advanced Outdoor Solutions, has been at the forefront of outdoor hospitality since 2003 when she developed her first multi-million dollar beachfront property. She has since developed and managed over $180 million in RV Park and Campground investments across the country. Kathleen served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer for a large RV development company before branching out on her own. Advanced Outdoor Solutions is a full service management company specifically focused on the outdoor hospitality industry. She is a highly sought-after speaker and thought leader in the industry.


Robin Staten Bio Photo

Robin Staten


Founder and CEO, Tiny Urban Escapes

Robin D. Staten, is head of the innovative new genre in alternative hospitality, Tiny Urban Escapes. As founder and CEO, she is very focused on the vision and trajectory of the brand, its environmental impact, social accountability practices and benefits to local communities. Tiny Urban Escapes is forging a new path in hospitality and sustainability through experiential designs that are environmentally conscious by repurposing shipping containers into luxury semi-glass private suites. The brand focuses on creating experiences that are transformative, immersive and authentic. The builds are designed to immerse guest into lush green spaces underutilized in urban settings with emphasis on nature and its vital contributions to people.    

Before becoming an hotelier, Robin spent all of her professional career "growing up" in higher education administration before leaping into the hotel industry. Robin is fortunate to couple her love for travel and new experiences with the field of hospitality. She also notes she made the change from higher education administration to hospitality because she believes in the transformative power of travel and its ability to connect individuals and communities.

Ms. Staten has experienced much pre-launch success with features in global media outlets including the New York Times, Architectural Digest, The Travel Channel and many other notable outlets. Robin is a fervent supporter of her childhood community in her home state of Indiana. Her advocacies around issues that disproportionately affect the African American community such as Sickle Cell Anemia are dear to her heart. Robin is also excited to extend the opportunity of hotel ownership to more future female hoteliers through her forthcoming non-profit, (LACE) Leverage Acquired through Collaborative Energy.

She is the proud mother of twin boys and a daughter who are all currently pursuing post-secondary academic careers at universities in Indiana.


Todd Wynne-Parry Bio Photo

Todd Wynne-Parry


Chief Growth Officer, AutoCamp

Todd is a seasoned growth leader in the hotel industry, who recently joined AutoCamp as Chief Growth Officer to lead business development of new joint venture and development partnerships. He brings more than 30 years of hotel development experience, having held senior leadership positions at several major hotel brands and most recently Commune Hotels & Resorts which became Two Roads Hospitality. There, he was instrumental in the company's international development efforts. He has also led successful efforts for InterContinental Hotel Group, Starwood, and Marriott in the Asia Pacific region.

Todd earned an MBA from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management and sits on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Development Trust for Scotland's University of Aberdeen, where he studied briefly as an undergraduate. In his spare time, Todd enjoys biking, fly-fishing, wood working and boondocking in his 1953 Airstream Flying Cloud. He is a proud father to his three children, Tara, Conor, and Ethan.


Peter MackBio Photo

Peter Mack


Founder and CEO, Collective Retreats

Peter Mack is the Founder and CEO of Collective Retreats, the experiential luxury hotel brand that connects guests with places, communities, and themselves through its unique, asset-light business model. Mack started Collective Retreats following his role as Vice President of Product Innovation at Tough Mudder, where he oversaw experience design and product. Prior to Tough Mudder, Mack spent over 10 years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts where he correctly identified that the majority of hotel revenue was spent on property expenses and upkeep, not toward furthering the guest experience. Mack, a graduate of the hospitality school at Cornell University, decided to turn the hotel model upside down and create a new type of retreat that creates as little barrier as possible between each location's breathtaking landscape and guest accommodations. Collective Retreats is currently operating in Hudson, New York; Hill Country, Texas; Vail, Colorado; and Governors Island, New York.


Gary Flaks


Bushtec Safari

Gary grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CPA equivalent) he founded and built the 500+ store Rage retail chain. Gary sold his share in the company and moved to the USA in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he was a divisional vice president at The Children's Place Retail Stores in New Jersey before deciding once again to do something on his own. After moving to Atlanta, Gary founded the VitaFilta water filter and cooler brand. In 2016, he then launched the Bushtec Adventure and Bushtec Safari brands in the USA, in partnership with the South African factory, Canvas and Tent. The company's incredible success around the world and phenomenal product drove Gary to develop a passion for the unique and exciting luxury tent business. Gary lives in Alpharetta, GA with his wife and three kids, is a sports enthusiast and loves the outdoors.


Steve Hurst Bio Photo

Steve Hurst


Managing Director, The Resort at Paws Up

A seasoned hospitality professional with 25 years of experience in all aspects of luxury hotel and resort management, Steve Hurst leads a dedicated staff of team members to deliver genuine, thoughtful service across The Resort at Paws Up. He joined Paws Up as managing director in 2017. Under his direction, The Resort was awarded a prestigious Forbes Four-Star rating in 2018 and 2019, as well as a multitude of other honors from Travel + Leisure, USA Today and Condé Nast Traveler.

But the recognition most important to Hurst are the numerous glowing reviews posted on social media—and expressed to him in person—by guests of The Resort. "After engaging with many guests and hearing their uplifting stories of incredible experiences and tremendous service, I feel very excited for what the future holds at Paws Up," Hurst says.

Prior to taking his position at Paws Up, Hurst was in management roles at several award-winning properties across the country, including Pebble Beach Resort's Casa Palmero, the Heathman Hotel in Portland and the Allison Inn & Spa. Hurst studied at New York University and currently resides in Montana with his wife Christy and children Amelia and Parker.


Kelda Bassett Bio Photo

Kelda Bassett


Co-founder, TruDomes

Kelda is the co-founder and sales director of TruDomes a UK-based design and manufacturing company that produce geodesic glamping domes around the world. Just three years after their official launch, TruDomes were named as 'Outdoor Accommodation of the Year' winners by prestigious Luxury Travel Guide (LTG) Lifestyle Awards Guide for 2018/2019 and are already a trusted and respected brand within the glamping and events industry.

She has a breadth of commercial knowledge from across the travel and leisure hospitality sector from working within the airline and rail industries. Previously responsible for revenue management, ancillary revenue streams, 'magic-moments' (an internal program to surprise and delight passengers and create a social media storm) and then an award-winning first-class menu and service proposition; Kelda knows a thing or two about growing businesses by ensuring customer expectations are met and exceeded by offering products and services that they love. 

As an advocate personality type, "Nothing lights up Advocates like creating a solution that changes people's lives" – 16Personalities.com. Kelda loves to help others see and reach their dreams by enabling would-be glampsite owners to build and / or expand their own fulfilling and profitable businesses. She loves the outdoors and lives in rural Leicestershire with her husband, two daughters and dog named Poppy



“This is our first time exhibiting and we have met some interesting people and we have got some good leads. I have enjoyed talking to the participants but also to the other vendors too – we have learned from each other” – Ivy Fife, Colorado Yurt Company

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