Our Staff & Board
Kristin Gardner, PhD
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.
Director of Development
Ryan joined the Task Force in November of 2018 as Director of Development after relocating to Montana from Washington, DC. For ten years in the Nation’s Capital, Ryan led an array of diverse efforts to raise funding, partnerships, and development for national nonprofit organizations and local grassroots efforts. As a native Texan and Eagle Scout, Ryan attended and graduated from the University of North Texas before working for the President of the United States as a White House Appointee. From there, he turned his passion for politics into raising funding and support for causes near and dear to his heart. It is Ryan’s goal at the Task Force to ensure that the Gallatin River and Watershed are around forever by increasing support from the Big Sky Community, the Greater Yellowstone area, and beyond. He is thrilled to be living in Montana with his two dogs, enjoying hiking, running, and the outdoors in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Finance and Operations Associate
Hailing from Bozeman, Stefanee is a valuable addition to the Task Force team as the Finance and Operations Associate. Raised in Bozeman on fresh mountain air, she opted for a change, graduating from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa with a degree in Geology. After college, she felt drawn back to the home she loved and spent several years as the operations coordinator and project manager for a small bank in Bozeman. Her love of service has led her to many volunteer roles, organizing internships, and now the board of Bozeman Rotaract. She is excited to turn her passions for service and science into her career here in Montana. She brings her love of water, camping, rocks, chacos, beer and project management to the Task Force.
Conservation Program Manager
The Gallatin River Task Force welcomes Emily O’Connor as Conservation Project Manager. Emily brings over 10 years 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.”
David Tucker joins the Gallatin River Task Force as communications manager, building on a decade of media experience. Originally from New York, David cut his teeth as a production associate on the Emmy award-winning documentary series American Masters, before trading the bright lights of the big city for Montana’s mountains and rivers. Since moving to Bozeman, he has worked in publishing, film production, nonprofit communications, and outdoor education. He is passionate about solving conservation challenges utilizing the power of media.
Big Sky Watershed Corps Member
Olivia hails from southeast Michigan and attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There, she completed a B.A. in Political Science; International Studies; Environment; and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Growing up in the Great Lakes State, bodies of water have always been a big part of Olivia’s life. She has spent time studying water conservation in New Zealand and conducting research on water and community building in Wisconsin. Olivia is overjoyed to join the 2020 Big Sky Watershed Corps and continue to advocate for something she holds so dearly.
The Gallatin River Task Force is governed by a board of community members representing a wide variety of stakeholders including: environmental managers, water resource professionals, business owners, realtors, and homeowners.
Rick and his wife Michelle have owned a home in Big Sky since 2004 and currently live year round on the Gallatin River in the canyon.
A native of Michigan, Rick’s passion for clean, cold, trout-filled waters began many years ago on the streams of Northern Michigan. He has a particular fondness for the Ausable River, where until moving to Montana he owned a cabin just around the bend from where Trout Unlimited was conceived and formed in 1959. Rick views the Gallatin River watershed as a valuable resource that needs our care and protection if we are to pass it down to our children and grandchildren. He feels that if the river could talk it would thank us for all we are doing to monitor its health, repair its banks, and plan for its future. As a board member, Rick is committed to helping the Task Force partner with the community to inspire stewardship of the Gallatin River Watershed. Rick is an active Elder and the Treasurer of the Big Sky Christian Fellowship. His other passions include stalking bonefish and permit on saltwater flats, skiing, scuba diving, hiking, golfing, and exploring the wonders and beauty of the West.
Rich was born outside of Seattle, WA and began skiing and fishing at a very young age. He moved to Big Sky in 1995 to better explore his love for the outdoors. Through this journey he has been a professional ski patroller for a total of 14 years. Since 2001 Rich has been employed by the Yellowstone Club where he currently manages the environmental performance of the company as well as managing the summer trails program. Rich brings knowledge and experience in the fields of land reclamation, recreational development, and environmental compliance to the Gallatin River Task Force. He currently lives outside of Belgrade with his wife and two children. Away from work, Rich enjoys spending time on skis, pedaling his bike, hiking a mountain with a bow in hand, or carefully waiting for a fish to take a fly.
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. Helping further the mission of the Task Force and making a lasting positive impact on protecting the Gallatin is her goal on the board, and she encourages all Big Sky residents to learn about the river and the surrounding integrated ecosystem so we can better understand and 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.
Mike caught a ride to Big Sky in 1991 and has been snowboarding in the area ever since. He has a bachelors degree in Environmental Geology from Ohio University and began working for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in 1995. Mike collects ground water data from participating landowners across Montana for the Ground Water Information Center (GWIC) database. He lives with his wife, Jodi, at Karst in the Gallatin Canyon and enjoys long pow runs, safe skin tracks, catching fish until his arm hurts, and friendly Big Sky, Montana.
Ennion Williams has lived in Big Sky for 25 years. Ennion spent many years working at Lone Mountain Ranch where he worked as a chef, fishing guide, manager and ultimately General Manager. Most recently, he was General Manager at Big Sky Vacation Rentals, a local vacation rental company in Big Sky, for the past 5 years. Ennion has a passion for the outdoors and floating rivers around Southwest Montana. As a fly fishing guide for the past 20 years, clean mountain water is very important to his livelihood and this 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.
Michael grew up in Jamestown, Rhode Island, a small island in Narragansett Bay. After attending Assumption College, he returned to Jamestown to become the Food and Beverage Director at the Bay Voyage Hotel in 2000. Michael was an active member of the community in Jamestown. He was a Chamber of Commerce board member and also sat on the Planning Commission for over 6 years. Looking for a lifestyle change, Michael moved to Big Sky in the fall of 2014 after accepting the General Manager position at the Lotus Pad Restaurant and now is the Food and Beverage Director at Lone Mountain Ranch. Michael loves to play in the mountains and in the water. He is an avid skier, hiker, golfer, and fisherman and is extremely grateful to call Big Sky home.
Ron has been the General Manager of the Big Sky County Water & Sewer District 363 for the past 20 years. Prior to this position, he served as the Manager for the Green Lake Sanitary District, a summer lake resort community located in Green Lake, Wisconsin, from 1988 to 1995. He has a Masters degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelors degree in Geology from the University of Montana. Prior to 1988 he worked as a petroleum geologist in the Williston Basin. Ron and his family have lived in the Four Corners area since 1997. He and his wife Karla have 3 children: a daughter, and 2 sons. Ron enjoys golf and hunting and serves as the President of the Bozeman American Legion baseball program.
JeNelle has been visiting Big Sky 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. She was hired as an auditor by Dayton Hudson Corp and eventually became a clothing buyer. JeNelle and her husband Fred moved to Singapore in 1996. That move was followed by 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.
Bill Collins has led the Sales and Marketing Team at Yellowstone Club since late 2009. During his tenure at Yellowstone Club, 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). During his 18 year career at JLL/S&S, he specialized in advising institutional owners and tenants in their real estate strategy, analysis, and execution. During his last five years at JLL, he was 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. He is a graduate of Gettysburg College, has sat on numerous boards, and currently resides in Big Sky, Montana with his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Elizabeth. He is an avid fly fisherman, skier, golfer, and reader.
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. 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. Rob received his LEED AP accreditation in May 2009.