Austin and Active Adventures
Hear From Wendy van Lieshout, CEO of the New Merger
Wendy van Lieshout
Chief Executive Officer
Originally from the Netherlands, Wendy immigrated to New Zealand with her family as a child and is now very much a ‘kiwi’. With more than twenty years’ experience in senior management roles in leisure and corporate travel, Wendy is particularly passionate about inspiring positive culture in the workplace. She’s a graduate of the University of Canterbury, a previous board member of the Travel Agents Association of New Zealand, and a current board member of the Tourism Export Council NZ.
Founder & Head of Special Projects
Born and bred in California, Dan ignited his passion for adventure travel in 1976 as partner of a rafting company in the Pacific Northwest. His travels soon took him to Alaska, where he owned and operated a construction company. Looking for a new challenge and having experienced small group adventure travel as a guest, Dan and a partnership group bought Backcountry Tours of Bozeman, Montana in 1994. Later, he created Adventures Plus, which in 2000 officially became Austin Adventures.
Head of International Sales & Distribution
Sam hails the small town of Feilding on the north island of New Zealand. After five years working as a reporter, Sam set sail for Europe where he began his foray into the travel industry as a Tour Guide. Upon returning to New Zealand, he returned to the sales side of travel progressing from Sales Manager to General Management roles with international travel companies throughout New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia before joining Active Adventures.
Head of Commercial
Curtis brings more than 10 years of professional travel experience to Austin Adventures. During this time he has explored some of the world’s most distinctive and culturally rich destinations. Curtis’s professional resume includes years on the ground in Southeast Asia supervising a destination management company as well as roles in product development with several of North America’s largest young adult and adventure travel companies.
Head of Information & Communications Technology
With a scientific background in Antarctic Geophysics and experience in tech research and development in the UK, Adrian first toured around in New Zealand in 1991, stayed for good in 2002 and has been working for Active ever since. After starting out as a New Zealand tour guide, he inevitably ended up being sucked into the office where his technical and analytical skills could be put to work in various roles over the years.
Head of Global Marketing
Courtney grew up in Massachusetts, USA. Upon receiving her undergrad, she focused her skills on marketing for travel brands. There she also went back to school and received her MBA. At her previous role to joining Active, she was lucky enough to ski in the Swiss Alps, hike up Machu Picchu and kayak around in the Fiji islands (just to name a few!). Being able to explore, meet different people and find the uniqueness that each part of the world has to offer is a dream!
Chief Financial Officer
Originally from Wellington, Mark’s accounting studies at Victoria University took him from Wellington to New York City, to Queenstown (where he joined the Active Adventures team), and eventually to Toronto, Canada, where he is now based. As a chartered accountant and Active Adventures Chief Financial Officer, Mark’s background combines a mixture of technical accounting, deal advisory, and commercial experience.
Head of New Zealand & Global Operations
Jon grew up in Mount Maunganui, a beach paradise in the south Pacific ocean. He got into driving Trans Africa expeditions at an early age, progressing into management roles in adventure tourism based in Australia and New Zealand. Tourism has taken him to the best parts of our world- from Kisangani to El Chaltén and Oodnadatta to Vestmannaejar and a few more places in between.
Head of USA Operations & President USA
Kasey was born in Alaska and raised in Billings, Montana. She graduated in 2011 as a Presidential Leadership Scholar at the University of Montana in Missoula with a degree in Education. Growing up in the world of adventure travel, it was only natural for Kasey to jump into the family business. Kasey works full time at Austin Adventures as the President. This allows her to work closely with AA’s U.S. and European guides as well as tour operators worldwide.