Gene Jones retired from Chevron in 2016 after serving 42 years in the oil industry. Today he volunteers his time for several McKenzie River organizations. He is a board member of the McKenzie Masters and an associate Member of the McKenzie River Guides Association where he commits his time to maintaining excellence in Oregon’s fishing, white water guides, and protection of the McKenzie River Watershed.
Steve Mealey is a past president of the McKenzie River Guides Association, an avid angler, and an advocate for the health of the McKenzie River Watershed. As a life-long forest service employee he was a wildlife biologist and then Forest Supervisor where he focused on management of large-scale federal government operations, and has been recognized as a thought leader in forest and grassland management.
Kristen Henry is a nature enthusiast born in Oregon. With a deep love for the outdoors, she can often be found paddle boarding, exploring new trails, or camping with her two daughters. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Oregon State University. With over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Kristen is an experienced professional in the field. Her expertise has equipped her with the skills to make a meaningful impact through philanthropic work and strong partnerships.
Shirley Braunstein is a native Oregonian with a love for our special environment. She is an experienced Chief Financial Officer that has recently retired from Bigfoot Beverage in Eugene, Oregon and has also been the CFO for Columbia Distributing and Endeavor Capital in Portland, Oregon. Her decades of senior experience in finance brings a detail oriented focus on the financial performance and cost projections of the McKenzie River Discovery Center.
Amy Pendell has a strong history with the McKenzie River. Her family has had a cabin on the McKenzie for four generations where she grew up fly fishing from a McKenzie River Drift Boat. She has a keen interest in education and has most recently put her project management experience to use leading the restoration of the historic facilities at the Old McKenzie Fish Hatchery.
Tom Hoyt is a leading attorney in Eugene, Oregon focusing on business, real estate, and estate planning. Tom is also a dedicated community member who believes in giving back. He is currently a director of the Bohemia Foundation, a member of the McKenzie River Guides Association, and a member of the McKenzie Masters who raise funds to impact the McKenzie River Watershed.
Ken Engelman is the owner and publisher of McKenzie River Reflections, a weekly newspaper serving Oregon’s McKenzie River Valley since 1978. As a resident and professional, he has participated in and collected over forty years of history within the McKenzie River Valley. His dedication to the historic Old McKenzie River Fish Hatchery was rewarded with the placement of the OMRFH onto the National Registry of Historic Places in 1996.
Roger Fletcher is a historian, author, and a professor emeritus at Oregon State University where he was a Oregon State University Extension educator and administrator with special emphasis on information and technology transfer to Families and Youth, Agriculture, and Forestry. More recently he has researched the origins of the McKenzie River Drift Boat at its spawning grounds here on the McKenzie River and has published those findings in his book Drift Boats and River Dories: Their History, Design, Construction and Use, 2007.
Jeff Helfrich is a third generation river outfitter who represents his family legacy of guiding whitewater rafting and drift boat fishing on the McKenzie River and throughout the Northwest. His grandfather, Prince Helfrich, was one of the first to navigate white water in a drift boat in many of Oregon’s rivers which had a significant impact on the development of what the McKenzie River Drift Boat is today.
“I am privileged to have been immersed in a wealth of experience from my father and grandfather, and it gives me a great deal of pride to pass this knowledge on to MRDC visitors.”
Mandy Jones is a retired banking executive and former CEO of Oregon Community Credit Union where OCCU doubled in size under her leadership. She is experienced at building memberships, managing assets, and investing in the community where she also has volunteered time with Children’s Miracle Network, United Way of Lane County and is a past board chairperson of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.
Andy McWilliams is an experienced financial advisor with years of knowledge in the investing and money management industry. He also has an extensive history of service and support of local nonprofits such as the McKenzie Watershed Council, Eugene Rotary, and the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Maressa Surrett is the Director of Technology and Digital Solutions for the International Society for Technology in Education. She has lived, worked and played in Oregon since moving there in 1984. Maressa has years of experience in technology, digital marketing, and volunteerism. She believes deeply in supporting a solid mission, which is why her past education and medical relief work has taken her halfway across the world. Maressa has an AAS in Computer Network Operations, and then pursued a BS in Information Systems Management from the University of Maryland.