Abby Rowe, President
Abby is the President of Wilderness Medical Associates. As a lifelong educator, she has over twenty years of experience leading domestic and international expeditions and teaching outdoor leadership and technical skills. Her affiliation with Wilderness Medical Associates (“WMA”) began in 1996 when Abby took her first WMA course. That connection was strengthened in 2006 when, as director of Colgate University’s Outdoor Education Program, she sponsored WMA courses on campus as part of her training and mentoring of student instructors in leadership, teaching, and outdoor skills. Since 2017, she has been a WMA instructor, and in November 2020, she purchased the company from David “D.J.” Johnson, M.D.
As WMA’s president, Abby is committed to continuing the company’s mission of serving students, sponsors, and instructors and providing high-quality curriculum and programming. She is passionate about program and curriculum design, place-based education, the transformational power of wilderness experiences, and the power of offering peer leadership experiences.
In addition to Abby’s 10-year term of service at Colgate University, she has taught for Cornell University Outdoor Education and the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. She also has worked as a rock climbing guide for Acadia Mountain Guides. Abby currently works as an EMT on Mount Desert Island, Maine.
Abby has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, as well as the Board of Directors of the Carpenter’s Boat Shop in Pemaquid, Maine. She also volunteers as a trainer and participant for Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue.
Abby lives on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine. An avid sailor, sea kayaker, rock climber, hiker, whitewater boater, and Nordic skier, she spends as much time as possible in Acadia National Park and its surrounding waters with her partner and local friends.
Abby holds a BS from Cornell University and an MA in Higher Education from Boston College.
Luke O’Neill, Chief Operating Officer
Luke’s work in leadership-focused education began when he joined Outward Bound in 1990 and earned his WFR certification with WMA. Over the course of his 31 years with Outward Bound, Luke has led sea kayaking, sailing, backpacking, mountaineering, and scuba diving courses for several different Outward Bound schools. He has also served as a program manager and facilitator for both Outward Bound Professional and Outward Bound Peacebuilding.
His career has also involved launching and leading educational ventures including American Explorers, a program of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Shackleton School, an independent high school in the Boston area, The Henderson International School, a member of the Meritas family of independent schools, and The Cape May Fund.
Luke holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University.
David Johnson, Medical Director
David Johnson (“DJ”), our current medical director has been with WMA since 1984. He has participated in a variety of outdoor pursuits over a lifetime. His background includes over 40 years of medical practice, consulting, curriculum development, and teaching focused on remote and low-resource environments around the world.
Amy Bushell, Purchasing & Logistics Coordinator
Amy grew up in the lakes region of western Maine, where she enjoyed all outdoor pursuits. Her early jobs included working for Maine Department of Conservation, Pleasant Mt. Ski resort & Saco River Recreational Council.
Amy has travelled extensively, including visits to Europe, North Africa, New Zealand, and a few road trips across the US. She lived in California, the Berkshires of Massachusetts & Stratton Mt., VT before returning to her home state. Amy has worked with WMA since 2014 in the capacity of purchasing & logistics coordinator, where her dog, Frida works part time.
Laura grew up in Midcoast Maine where she began her 15-year relationship with KieveWavus; first as a camper, off-season envelope stuffer, camp store helper and eventually a counselor and for a short time an Infirmary AD. Growing up spending her summers hiking, canoeing, and kayaking around Maine drew her to Gettysburg College’s GRAB program where she ran challenge courses and led outdoor hiking, kayaking, and climbing programs. During this time, she received a WMA WFR. Post-graduation, Laura received her Wilderness EMT license from NOLS before returning to Maine. Over the last few years, she experimented with various jobs before landing her dream job working behind the scenes at WMA. When not working, Laura enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time outdoors with her partner Chad and two mini Australian shepherds, Cabot and Croix.
Eric grew up in the Great Lakes region of the Midwest, spending as much time as he could in the forests and other wild spaces in Michigan and Wisconsin. His earlier jobs have included working as a cobbler for Birkenstock, managing a dining room for a small brewpub, a variety of leadership positions within Whole Foods Market, and most recently coordinating the tutoring program at Bates College.
Eric finds his wild spaces most regularly by hiking, kayaking and camping in Maine. He also periodically visits less-travelled places in the Himalayan region of northern India, exploring remote communities while his partner researches monasteries in the area and occasionally keeping students also along for the ride from finding too much trouble! When he isn’t working or exploring, Eric tends to his backyard bees, brews his own beer, and generally dabbles in whatever grabs his attention for a season.
He is thrilled to be a part of the WMA team, and apply his passions for problem solving and human empowerment through education to all the challenges that come his way.