Module #1 – Guest Presenters & Facilitators

The inaugural Northern Forest Rural Tourism Academy Module #1 drew together a great team of facilitators and guest speakers.

Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir

Destination Development and Management Consultant
Founder/CEO Sóti Summits
Founder/Owner Summit Heliskiing

After heading the Icelandic Tourist Board from 2008-2017, during which tourism was transformed from a marginal industry to a main national economic pillar, Ólöf Ýrr Atladottir spent three years in Saudi Arabia working for the giga-projects for tourism development underway in the region. She has now moved back to Iceland, working as an international destination development and management consultant and leading her own Adventure and Experience Travel company, Sóti Summits / Summit Heliskiing.

Russell Walters

Regional Director, North America
Adventure Travel Trade Association

As Regional Director, North America for the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Russell’s work takes him the length and breadth of the U.S. and abroad, working with destinations, tour operators, agents and guides to promote the economic, social and conservation benefits of adventure-based travel through the ATTA’s network of trade events and educational programs. In addition to his role with the ATTA Russell is president of Northern Outdoors, a four-season Adventure Resort in Maine.

Emily Reed

Network Director
Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance

Emily Reed is the Network Director of the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance. She spent 20+ years as a Creative Brand Strategist in San Francisco, New York, and Sydney before returning to the Gorge to raise her family. There is a special place in her heart for NE cheese and ice cream. Based in the Northwest of United States, the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance is a bi-state network of agencies, land managers, cultural organizations, chambers and businesses who work collaboratively to optimize the visitor economy to enhance communities and protect the region.

Kieron Weidner Wilde

Experience Curator + Destination Specialist
First Nature Tours

Since he began working in tourism in 2007, Kieron has been helping visitors to Portland, Seattle, and Latin America fill their trips with memorable experiences and outright adventure. His tourism career includes work for top luxury travel companies such as Cruise West, Adventures by Disney and EverGreen Escapes. His years of leading groups through all corners of the Pacific Northwest have made him one of the most recognized guides in the region. Together with his team of Experience Curators and Professional Guides at First Nature, he aims to educate and immerse travelers in authentic experiences that help them rediscover the sense of wonder that many lose with the onset of adulthood.

Kristin Dahl

CEO, Crosscurrent Collective

Crosscurrent founder and CEO Kristin Dahl is a pioneer in the travel and tourism industry, creating a unique niche in the burgeoning field of “destination development.” During a long tenure at Travel Oregon, Kristin devised innovative new ways for communities to build and manage sustainable tourism – most notably, designing and producing the Oregon Tourism Studio and building outdoor recreation experiences. Building on 17 years developing rural destinations in the Pacific Northwest, now Kristin is building an experienced and inspired team of professionals in her Crosscurrent Collective who can support world-class destination development anywhere.

David Beurle

CEO, Future iQ

David Beurle is CEO and Founder of Future iQ, a global foresight research and consultancy company, that works in North America, Europe and Australia. His tourism work includes the foresight publication ‘Future of Tourism’ and working with the Northern Forest Center in the Community Destination Academies in Maine Woods region. He has also worked as a consultant with Travel Oregon for over ten years, on the destination management programs. He has over two decades of experience working in the U.S. on rural community economic development.


For more information about the Northern Forest Rural Tourism Academy, please contact:

Joe Short, Vice President
Northern Forest Center
phone: 603-229-0679 ext. 104
cell: 603-491-2651

Northern Forest Center,
18 N Main St., Ste. 204
Concord, NH 03301-4926