Biographies of keynote speakers
Robert M. Searns
Bob is Chair of the American Trails Board of Directors.
Bob is a greenways and trails development consultant and plans open space, outdoor resource and urban design projects. He is Founding Associate of The Greenway Team, Inc., a company that assists communities and organizations across North America. He has a 30-year record in creating award-winning projects. He has worked hands-on in planning, design, fundraising, right-of-way acquisition, community and agency participation and construction coordination. He has been a speaker and instructor for American Trails, the National Park Service, the American Planning Association Mayors Workshop and the Urban Land Institute.
Bob's more recent planning and design projects include a newly adopted open space master plan for Las Vegas and Southern Nevada, assisting the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan in creating a metro wide greenway system serving greater Detroit, helping to plan a national award-winning concept for a non-motorized access system for the enjoyment of Grand Canyon National Park and creating a concept for a digital statewide trail mapping system for Colorado.
He has advised the Imagineering and Environmental executives of the Disney Corporation in a concept for a trail and greenway system in and around Walt Disney World and has been assisting the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails in planning a system serving Orlando and Central Florida. His projects, including the Mary Carter Greenway in Colorado, have won national recognition and awards from the American Planning Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects.
He co-authored, with Chuck Flink, Greenways: A Guide to Planning Design and Development and Trails for the 21st Century. He has also contributed articles and editorials for Planning Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine, American Trails Magazine, The Kansas City Star and other publications.
Ernest "Ernie" Quintana was appointed National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Regional Director effective July 13, 2003. He is the Service's first Hispanic Regional Director, and is an experienced Park Manager with more than 36 years with the NPS, including work in Resource and Visitor Protection, Interpretation and Education, Facilities Maintenance, and Park Management.
For the previous nine years, Quintana was Superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park, California, where he began his NPS career in 1971 as a Park Laborer. In late 2002, Quintana served for a time as Acting Associate Director, Resource and Visitor Protection, in Washington, D.C. He provided oversight for Servicewide initiatives involving Wildland and Structural Fire, Law Enforcement and Emergency Services, Wilderness Management, Aviation Management, Wireless Telecommunications, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Public Health Service, and Risk Management.
Quintana was born in Miami (Gila County), Arizona, and raised in the California desert community of Twentynine Palms. He is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam Conflict, having served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1971. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action and the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor. Following his military service, he wed Myra Lynn Carter of Twentynine Palms. The Quintana's have raised three boys, Daniel, Andrew, and Benjamin, and now delight in spoiling their two grandchildren.
In 1990, Liz began to work for the East Central Iowa Council of Governments in Cedar Rapids as a Solid Waste Planner. She helped cities and counties plan for and implement recycling, composting and environmental education activities.
In the mid 1990's, Liz became the Recycling/Education Coordinator for the Bluestem Solid Waste Agency and also served as spokesperson during the agency's landfill siting process. She went on to work for Linn County in the Finance and Budget Department.
Governor Tom Vilsack appointed Liz to the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission in March, 1999. In April, 2000, she became the Administrator of the Land Quality and Waste Management Assistance Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
In 2002, Director Jeff Vonk appointed Liz as Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As such, she is the Chief of Operations, serving roughly one thousand employees, in over one hundred field offices across the state and with an annual operations budget of around $100 million.
Joe is the Co-Chair of the 18th National Trails Symposium.
Joe Taylor has been employed by the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau for 15 years, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer since 1998. Joe is a native of Mercer County and received his Bachelor's degree in History from Illinois State University.
He worked as a Newspaper Reporter and Editor for ten years before accepting his first tourism position at the Galesburg CVB. He later worked at the Clinton CVB in Iowa before joining the Quad Cities CVB staff in 1989.
He enjoys books, reading, travel, the quiet and slow pace of hiking, and the noise and frenzy of NASCAR racing.
Rory is the Program Co-Chair for the 18th National Trails Symposium.
During his twenty-seven year career with the National Park Service, Rory Robinson has worked in five different NPS units primarily in the fields of interpretation and cultural resources management. Development of the Canal Visitor Center and a program focused on the historic preservation at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park led to Rory receiving the 1989 NPS Appleman/Judd award for excellence in cultural resources management.
For the past 13 years, Rory has worked in the National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program serving as the Indiana Projects Manager at the Ohio Field Office. His work has included assistance to the Ohio and Erie Canal, Maumee Valley, and Wabash River Heritage Corridors. He has been involved in trails planning efforts throughout Indiana and worked on river and watershed projects along the Wabash and Blue Rivers. Rory's work in Indiana was recognized when awarded the 2006 Mike Carroll Award for Distinguished Leadership by a Professional Planner by the Indiana Planning Association. Rory is a member of the NPS National Trails Advisory Team and provided leadership in the nationwide Towpaths-to-Trails Initiative in cooperation with the Rails-to-Trail Conservancy, and the revitalization of the National Recreation Trails program.
A native of Northeast Ohio, Rory holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management and Environmental Interpretation from Ohio State University.
Pam has been the Executive Director of American Trails for nine years. She has over twenty years of trails experience that includes owning her own hiking/cross-country ski guide service; serving as the Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, for six years; and serving as the Arizona State Trails Coordinator for five years.
Pam has the overall responsibility of managing an organization that envisions quality trails and greenways within 15 minutes of every American home or workplace. Her duties include coordinating the National Trails Symposium on a biennial basis; managing the National Trails Training Partnership; implementing the Universal Trail Assessment Process nationally; promoting the National Recreation Trails program and managing its website and database; coordinating workshops; producing the American Trails Magazine; providing technical assistance; overseeing the American Trails website which serves over 100,000 visitors per month; managing the American Trails office; and working with a 14 member Board.
Pam has developed ongoing and productive relationships with federal trail-related agencies, with State Trail Administrators and with national, state, and local trail advocacy organizations. Pam's strengths lie in her partnership building abilities.
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Updated November 21, 2006
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