Here are our speakers for Glamping Show Americas 2023. Check back in May for the 2024 line-up.
Experts from every corner of the glamping industry will leverage their vast knowledge to help you take your new or existing glampsite to the next level. These are movers and shakers in the outdoor hospitality sector with decades of experience in finance, legal matters, insurance, marketing, consultancy and all things glamping.
President, Cairn Consulting Group
Scott Bahr has over 25 years of market research experience in the hospitality and outdoor sector which has included spearheading the research that is an integral part of the strategic planning efforts in both the outdoor products and hospitality sectors.
In particular, he has been the research partner with KOA (Kampgrounds of America, Inc.) for 20 years, including the North American Camping Report the past nine years. As president of Cairn Consulting Group, he has also worked with RV manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and associations, as well as outdoor products retailers in their marketing and branding efforts, strategic planning, customer experience, corporate social responsibility, services/amenities and employee development. His work has also included product development, public opinion polling, public health, healthcare, and hospitality (food, beverage, & lodging).
Founder, Business Finance Depot
Paul founded Business Finance Depot in 2006. They are an agent for 26 national SBA and USDA lenders and 23 equipment financing companies, many of which specialize in financing in the RV park and campground industry. They have provided financing for Camp Jellystone franchisees since 2016 and KOA franchisee resales since 2020. Paul has given financing seminars at the Association of Recreational Vehicles & Campgrounds (ARVC) Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (2019 – 2021) and he has been on the faculty as the finance instructor for ARVC's National School faculty (2019 – present). Paul is also the finance instructor at ARVC's Perspective Owners Workshop (POW).
Paul earned a BS in Recreation & Parks from the Brockport State with the goal of working at a state or national park. Many years later, Paul completed all accounting courses at the undergraduate level at Florida Atlantic University and entered a master's degree program with a concentration in Business Valuation. Paul has been a volunteer counselor for S.C.O.R.E., a division of the SBA, since 2011. Paul is an owner of an Airstream travel trailer and spends 3-4 months a year traveling to visit state and local parks.
Chief Development Officer, Outside Capital
JamieRose is a multi-disciplinary executive and an experienced development consultant focused on experiential hospitality destinations. As a specialist who is passionate about developing and enhancing outdoor hospitality offerings, she has previously advised companies like Four Seasons, Belmond, Marriott's Tribute Portfolio, Sagra, Vulcan Inc, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai. She currently leads all development efforts for Outside Capital, from pre-development to completion and handover to operations.
Prior to joining Outside Capital, JamieRose was a Principal and the Executive Director of Strategic Advisory at Luxury Frontiers, leading a team of adventure tourism experts who help clients navigate the development of new products in the outdoor sector and define distinguished hospitality experiences for their guests. JamieRose also served as General Manager of Abu Camp in Botswana's Okavango Delta to attain a comprehensive knowledge of low-volume, environmentally low-impact yet high-revenue adventure lodging operations. While in Africa, JamieRose served as a Service Coordinator for Wilderness Safaris—defining, auditing, and enforcing the standards for the service, branding, and training for various 3-, 4-, and 5-star camps throughout Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia.
Partner, Michael, Best and Friedrich, LLP
Dave DiGiacomo is a Colorado native, and a skilled entrepreneurial-minded attorney who assists start-up and early-stage companies with all of their business needs. He serves as a true partner to clients, helping them navigate entity formation, corporate finance, contract negotiations, compliance, investment and capital, mergers and acquisitions, strategic business decisions, and other issues facing emerging companies. Dave has experience working as both company and investor counsel, giving him insight and knowledge into negotiating deals on his clients' behalf. He also has two start-ups and an MBA under his belt and thrives on helping others overcome every challenge in the book. Previously, Dave helped launch the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network of Colorado to support Colorado's late-stage, high-growth companies.
Founding Partner, Open Sky
Bygnal Dutson is the Founder and Managing Partner of Open Sky Resort. Born and raised in southern Utah, Bygnal has a deep passion for nature, adventure, creation, and people. He began his journey with Open Sky at age 25 in 2017 with his three best friends, Nathan, Nolan, and Lorin. As his business partners, they embarked on an incredible "bootstrapping" journey creating a luxury camping experience that captures the hearts and minds of travelers seeking comfort, luxurious amenities, and immersion in the great outdoors.
Given the uniqueness of the project, location, budget, and timing, Bygnal and his team took on the project themselves, from the development and construction to daily operations.
Open Sky Zion is nestled within 80 acres of untouched wilderness on the cusp of Zion National Park. Because of its remoteness, Open Sky is a self-sustaining, off-grid resort. It features 13 luxurious accommodations as well as an onsite fine dining restaurant, Black Sage, which offers southwestern-style cuisine.
Today, Bygnal continues to lead Open Sky with an unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional luxury camping experiences. Bygnal inspires travelers from all walks of life to embark on transformative journeys, reconnecting with the natural world while indulging in the unmatched comforts and elegance of Open Sky's breathtaking accommodations.
Open Sky has been featured in Forbes, Conde Nest, Travel and Leisure, 5280, and recently won the Best of the Best Awards at the IIDA.
Program Manager, ARM, Marshall & Sterling
Irene Jones, Program Manager, AVP, is a 27-year veteran of the insurance industry and leads the Marshall & Sterling Specialty Campground and Outdoor Hospitality Insurance Program. She joined Marshall & Sterling in 2012 and co-founded of the practice with a resort owner on staff at the agency. Irene leads Program Risk Management, Business Development and Carrier relations and holds an ARM designation, Associate in Risk Management. A frequent presenter on ADA, Dogs, Safety and Insurance at conferences, Irene facilitates client education classes and has created the "press play" video series.
President and CEO, California Outdoor Hospitality Association
Dyana Kelley is the president and CEO of the California Outdoor Hospitality Association. Dyana holds a seat on the board of CalTravel and is a member of their Government Relations Committee.
An avid outdoor enthusiast literally from birth, Dyana grew up in the Eastern Sierra Nevada and spent many a summer in a hand-built cabin on Upsata Lake in Montana. This truly set the stage for a lifetime of passion in the outdoor recreation industry.
As leader of one of the nation's largest state RV associations, Dyana is focused on supporting and promoting CalOHA member parks while also creating unity within the outdoor hospitality sector. Dyana works tirelessly to ensure that outdoor hospitality is a valued and recognized segment of travel and tourism in California and across the nationwide.
CEO & Founder, Collective Retreats
Peter has had a passion for service to others since he was a teenager and first got his taste of hospitality working as a dishwasher at a hotel. He went on to graduate from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, then spent ten years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, cultivating brands like Westin, W Hotels and St. Regis, and guiding strategy across marketing, loyalty, and customer experience. After that, he joined Tough Mudder to oversee experience design and product, which meant he got to think about how to create new and innovative obstacles and courses, among other things. Through his hospitality and experiential event expertise, Peter realized that hotels should be places to connect and explore—rather than just sleep and shower. Collective Retreats was born out of that drive to create a better, and more inspiring travel experience. After scouring the country for the most stunning locations, he built retreats starting in Vail and Yellowstone, and has continued to expand to new markets from there.
Founder and President, American Glamping Association
Ruben is the founder and Executive Director of the American Glamping Association, the founder of GlampingHub, creator of The Glamping Podcast and an experienced glamping consultant with over 12 years experience in the industry. The American Glamping Association drives growth opportunities for new and existing glamping businesses by creating a strong community and network which provides education, tools and resources throughout the entire glamping industry.
Ruben completed both his Undergraduate degree and his MBA with a focus in International Business at Regis University in Denver. 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.
Vice President, ResNexus
ResNexus Vice President Nathan Mayfield has over 22 years of marketing experience spanning multiple industries. He has over 13 years of operational experience ranging from a large billion dollar company down to a small local business. Nathan has worked with ResNexus for more than 9 years and truly believes in their mission statement of "Elevating industries, one business at a time, through service, innovation, and education!" In addition, Nathan Mayfield is a member of Forbes Business Council and regularly contributes articles and other important information for the hospitality industry on that platform.
Managing Director, Black Iron Advisors
Blake is one of the Co-Founders of Black Iron Advisers. Prior to BIA, Blake was a Senior Vice President at W.G. Nielsen & Co. where he spent 14 years assisting in all facets of mergers & acquisitions advisory. While at W.G. Nielsen, he led transactions with an aggregate transaction value exceeding $500 million. Blake was also one of the founders of Io Triumphe Capital, a firm founded to purchase and provide growth capital to small and mid-market companies. Blake was previously named one of Denver's Top "40 Under 40" business leaders by the Denver Business Journal. Blake holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from Occidental College and a masters in Finance from the University of Denver.
Steve is a Principal at Whitman Peterson and responsible for the oversight of the multifamily and lodging investment platforms. He led the underwriting and due diligence of the firm's investment in AutoCamp and oversees new acquisitions and developments, operations, and business plan execution of investments in that platform. While at Whitman Peterson, Steve has led the underwriting and closing of nearly $2.5 billion in new investments. Prior to Whitman Peterson, Steve spent five years at Barings Real Estate Advisers where he was responsible for the acquisition of new investments in the Western U.S. During his time at Barings, he was involved in the acquisition, underwriting, due diligence, and closing of over $2.0 billion in new investments. Prior to Barings, Steven was an analyst at Center Square Investment Management where he worked in acquisitions and was involved in the oversight of a $430 million portfolio. Steve is a licensed CA real estate broker and earned his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has a B.S. in Public Policy, Management, and Planning from the University of Southern California where he graduated magna cum laude. In his free time, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and daughter. He's an avid sports car enthusiast, tuna fisherman, and overnight backpacker.
President, The Glamping Academy
Sarah Riley has helped thousands of glamping owners design their dream businesses and the lifestyles they want throughout Europe, Canada and the Americas. Think treehouses, safari tents, domes, yurts, pods and tipis, and you'll get the idea.
As a consultant and CEO of The Glamping Academy, she uses her experience to help launch ideas quickly, start earning immediately and get ahead of the competition, without sacrificing life goals or the environment.
She is the host of "The Business of Glamping And Unique Holiday Rentals" Podcast, and the new "Glamping Show Americas" Podcast. She also leads one of the largest business support communities in the industry and is invited to travel the world to talk on these topics.
SVP of Strategy, KOA
Whitney oversees operations, business growth and development for Terramor Outdoor Resort, as well as all marketing efforts for Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Whitney manages a multi-million-dollar budget while directing brand architecture, strategy and partnerships, as well as marketing technology, digital media, loyalty programs and international marketing. She also oversees the marketing and brand development for the KOA's Owned and Operated Campgrounds.
A Montana native, Whitney received a degree in PR from Boston University while concurrently earning a gemology technical degree from the Gemological Institute of America. She went on to receive an MBA from the University of Montana.
Whitney honed her marketing skills working for a variety of diverse businesses including The International Diamond Exchange and TerraEchos, a government contractor that developed big data solutions for security applications. In 2013, she joined KOA, quickly rising through the ranks and was named CMO of Marketing in early 2021 and COO of Terramor Outdoor Resort later that summer. Whitney was instrumental in the concept and launch of Terramor Outdoor Resorts.
As interest in outdoor experiences continue to accelerate, Whitney is excited about the future. "We're focused on honoring the traditions of camping while also reinvigorating the business with new technology, innovative ways to make the outdoors accessible for everyone and new thinking. It is wonderful to be a part of an organization that promotes an appreciation for the outdoors in individuals; it's an exciting time."
Blake Smith is founder and CEO of Walden Retreats, a luxury camping experience located along the Pedernales river in the Texas Hill Country. A Dallas native, Smith earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the Acton School of Business in Austin, TX. He co-founded Akola Jewelry, a social enterprise providing education and income to women living in rural villages in eastern Uganda. There he met his wife, Sarah, and was inspired to create Walden Retreats in 2017. From design and construction to guest experiences and marketing, Smith aims to redefine the outdoor experience, and bring a unique, unforgettable getaway to Central Texas. Smith is a third generation Texan who resides in Austin with his wife Sarah and their two boys. He is an avid cyclist, skier, BBQ enthusiast and lover of the outdoors.
Rooted in a deep love for the great outdoors and providing environments for people to create memorable experiences in, Smith has created something that combines the two. Named after Henry David Thoreau's classic novel Walden, the property showcases Smith's love for the countryside and how he hopes Walden Retreats can be a place of solitude, relaxation, and comfort for guests. This is the first of Blake's anticipated portfolio of luxury camping properties, which will all have the common goal of providing a welcomed escape from the city.
Founder & Managing Principal, Outside Capital
David Smith is an experienced hospitality industry investment professional and investment banker, and a recognized support of the growing outdoor accommodation industry. As an advisor and principal, he has structured over $1.5 billion of hospitality real estate transactions, including several of the largest equity and debt financings in the outdoor sector.
Prior to establishing Outside Capital, David was a Senior Director at Whitman Peterson, a Los Angeles-based real estate private equity firm and a leading investor in traditional and alternative hospitality strategies. David was previously a Senior Director at RobertDouglas North America, Europe, Asia and Australia in the structuring of hotel real estate and M&A transactions. Prior to joining RobertDouglas, he worked as a credit analyst at Macquarie Group in New York City.
David is a graduate of the Master of Management in Hospitality (Real Estate) degree at Cornell University and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. He has also studied at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is a member of the Cornell Hotel Society, the Urban Land Institute. And serves as an advisory board member of the American Glamping Association and Saira Hospitality.
Design Leader, Clockwork Architecture and Branding
Zach's greatest strength as a Design Architect is revealed in his relationship with clients. With Clockwork Architecture and Branding since 2020, Zach leads our Outdoor Hospitality studio and works with dozens of clients across the country in the Camping, Glamping, Resort, and RV markets. Zach helps translate a client's vision into reality. He guides them through the design process with an equal emphasis on the overall sense of space, the customer experience, and on the smaller details, making the end solution personalized specifically and perfectly for the client's needs. Clients enjoy Zach's patience and openness, his knowledge base, and his never-ending commitment to the success of their project. Zach's experience with sustainable design solutions enable our clients to enjoy a finished building that is not only beautiful and functional, but affordable to maintain and operate as well. Zach influences the larger conceptual processes of many projects within the studio and is also deeply involved in our professional development program.
An alumnus of the University of Kansas, Zach has honed his career in many areas: big box retail, mixed-use, multi-family high-rise, educational facilities, high-end custom residential, historic and adaptive re-use, and traditional hospitality prototype development work. Since establishing the Outdoor Hospitality studio in 2020, Zach and his team have completed design work on over 30 different resort, glamping, and RV projects across the country. Zach's creative design approach and deep understanding of project conception make him a valuable asset to our design team. Within the boundaries of extremely tight budgets and stringent program requirements, he remains committed to excellence in design.
Outside of the office, Zach enjoys spending time with his wife and 4 kids, cheering on the Jayhawks, playing board games, traveling, and working in their vineyard outside of Tonganoxie, Kansas.
Partner, The Towne Law Firm
Christine Taylor is a Partner at The Towne Law Firm, P.C. (headquartered in Albany, NY) who focuses her practice in the areas of Hospitality, Business, Labor and Employment, Real Estate Law, Estate Planning, and Litigation. Ms. Taylor grew up within the outdoor hospitality industry as her parents have owned three campgrounds, her experience within the industry gives her insight from both the legal and camping perspectives. Ms. Taylor has spoken at various outdoor hospitality conferences including the Glamping Show USA, KOA, CONY, NCA, ARVC, PCOA, as well as the Mid-Atlantic conference. She additionally authors a column that appears in Woodall's Campground Management.
President, Advanced Outdoor Solutions
Kathleen Walsh has been a leader in the Glamping space for 20 years. Way before the term, "Glamping," was coined, Kathleen was creating elevated outdoor experiences for guests in her outdoor resorts. Kathleen and her team design, consult, and 3rd party manage resorts in the US, and around the world.
Founder, The Fields
Irene Wood is the founder of The Fields, a luxury glamping resort located in her hometown of South Haven, Michigan. The Fields, recognized in Conde Nast, Travel and Leisure, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic has quickly become one of glamping's premier locations and its effect, or Field Magic as guests affectionately refer to it as, has helped to identify Irene as one of the industry's leading hospitality experts. On a mission for life's simple pleasures, Irene believes that to care, elevate and curate moments of simplistic delight are the formula to an exceptional guest experience.