Board of Directors

Dale Shewalter

Honorary Chairman of the Board

Dale is affectionately known as the “Father of the Arizona Trail” and although he passed away in 2010, will always be the Honorary Chairman of the ATA Board. Learn more about Dale and how we are keeping his dream of a cross-state trail alive through his In Memoriam page.


Contact the Board of Directors


2023 Board Meeting Schedule

  • March 5 – Annual Meeting – Desert Botanical Garden ~ Phoenix
  • Spring Board Meeting – central AZ
  • Summer Board Meeting – northern AZ
  • Autumn Board Meeting – southern AZ

Additional Board Documents are only available to ATA members in their Members-Only Resources upon login. Not a member? Join or renew today.


Susan Lagerman

President

Phoenix

Susan is retired from her service as Assistant Arizona Attorney General, Consumer Protection Section, Real Estate and Insurance. Susan has served as a leader in numerous community organizations, including the National Charity League, Girl Scouts, Swedish Women’s Education Association and Phoenix Women’s Commission. She is married to Lars Lagerman, a partner at Snell & Wilmer, and Honorary Consul for Sweden in Arizona. Susan is the mother of two daughters; Ellen, a recent graduate of Arizona State University, and Sarah, a graduate of the University of Arizona. She is fluent in Spanish and Swedish. Her special interests include the deaf community, Swedish-American organizations, Spanish speaking community, international issues, investments, birds, hiking and golf.


Lisa Schnebly Heidinger

Secretary

Phoenix

Lisa is an Arizona native. Perhaps finding out early that her dad’s grandma was Sedona Schnebly, and that his grandpa named a small town for her, fired her love of the state and its history. She began her journalism career with four years at the Green Valley News, then later moved to television production. In 1989, Lisa won an Associated Press award for a half-hour special on the Arizona Trail, walking ten sections of it still under construction with Dale Shewalter. She went on to write Arizona Correspondent columns for the Sunday Arizona Republic, and added ten books to her Arizona Highways articles. She now speaks around the state as an Arizona Humanities Road Scholar, and has served on various boards and commissions, including Arizona Historical League, First Families of Arizona, Arizona Historical Advisory Commission, and an Independent Voting Advocacy network.


Ambika Balasubramaniyan

Ambika Balasubramaniyan

Treasurer

Chandler

Ambika has been an active member of the ATA since 2009 and is the Chair of the Advisory Council. She has been hiking the AZT trail with Trail Director Shawn Redfield and helps out with surveying activities to identify trail improvements and maintenance work. Ambika holds a double Masters degree in Industrial Engineering and Business Administration (Management Information Systems) from Arizona State University. She has over 22 years of corporate business experience with Intel Corporation in a variety of management roles. She has volunteered as a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops and served on the board from 2008-2014; community outreach with Feed My Starving Children and Arizona Burn Foundation; and has supported STEM projects within Intel. Ambika is an avid hiker and world traveler, having hiked and photographed diverse locations from unique perspectives, including the Everest region, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Patagonia, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Glacier National Park. Her current endeavor is section hiking the Arizona Trail to intimately experience the natural beauty and diversity of Arizona – the state she calls home.


James Arndt

Board Member

Phoenix

James was born and raised in Arizona and has been connected to the trail (without knowing it) since he was a kid riding in his Dad’s backpack on trails around the state. From these early years outdoors to countless hours on the trail as a Boy Scout, to more recently sharing the Arizona outdoors with his young family, James has developed a great love and pride for all that the diverse ecosystems of Arizona have to offer. Although he is the newest addition to the ATA Board, James has felt a passion and connection to the trail for years. When he’s not spending time outside with his family, James serves as a Principal of Camelback High School and also volunteers on a variety of causes related to education in Arizona. His goal is to eventually thru-hike the entire AZT, but until then he will continue enjoy the trail on weekend trips. As a board member, it is James’s goal to raise awareness about the incredible asset that is the Arizona Trail, while also promoting a message of conservation and stewarding the trail for the next generation.


Kait Boyle

Vice President of Policy & Advocacy

Victor, Idaho

Kait Boyle loves moving through landscapes. She is a professional ultra-endurance mountain biker and is the current women’s record holder on the Arizona Trail 300 route from Parker Canyon Lake to Picketpost Trailhead. She co-founded Bikepacking Roots, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for bikepacking and the landscapes through which we ride. She has a B.A. in Wilderness Leadership and Environmental Education and an M.A. in Place-based Environmental Education, both from Prescott College. She dedicated a decade to teaching for Prescott College in the Adventure Education and Environmental Studies programs and has instructed for the National Outdoor Leadership School extensively. She now lives in Victor, Idaho and serves as a Board Member for Mountain Bike the Tetons. As a professional athlete, Kait’s passion and drive is to connect people to protecting the environment through inspired human powered experiences in wild places.


Dana Ernst

Vice President of Trail Operations

Flagstaff

Dana moved to Flagstaff in the fall of 1997 to attend graduate school in mathematics at Northern Arizona University, where he is now a professor. While rock climbing is the first outdoor activity that got him into the wilds of Arizona, he has enjoyed many immersive experiences while mountain biking, trail running, and backpacking. Dana and his wife have two energetic sons and a dog, and as a family they hike, bike, and run the trails throughout Arizona. He believes that respect for sensitive habitats and places of cultural significance are what make trails truly sustainable, and the Arizona Trail is the crown jewel of our vast networks of trails. Dana is honored to play a role in preserving the AZT, as well as enhancing it for his children and future generations. He has served as a Bikepacking Roots Regional Advisor and is active within the NAU Cycling Club.


Karen Gresham

Prospective Board Member

Phoenix

Karen is a third generation Phoenician and has spent most of her life living near and hiking in the Phoenix Preserves (Piestewa Peak). She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University, earning a BS in Accountancy and minors in Spanish and Communication. After working as a CPA auditing all types of companies from large corporations to nonprofits to utilities, she “retired” from accounting to raise her three sons. Ever since then Karen has volunteered her time in the classroom, helping public education candidates, and for many charitable organizations. She has raised over $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is now on the leadership team. She currently serves as an elected governing board member for the Madison Elementary School District, and coaches cross country for one of the middle schools. Karen loves everything trail related; she has completed several trail and ultra-marathons in Arizona and beyond, and is a trail steward/hike patrol for the City of Phoenix Parks Department. She has been on many parts of the AZT and will complete a thru-hike eventually!


Victoria Levin

Board Member

Chandler

Victoria Levin was a transplant to Arizona in 1995 from New York and Boston. She works as a trial attorney for the federal government. While attending law school in Tucson, she became an avid hiker, fell in love with Arizona’s breathtaking landscape and biology, and is particularly enamored by the beauty and serenity offered by the Arizona Scenic Trail. She is honored and humbled to be part of this wilderness preservation organization.


David Rabb

Prospective Board Member

Tucson

David first visited Arizona in 1978 and immediately fell in love with the wide-open spaces, beauty, and diversity of the desert. In 2004, he moved to Tucson which has truly been home ever since. His involvement with the ATA started later that year; volunteering in the construction of the Cienega Corridor near Vail. He has continued building and maintaining the trail ever since, participating with the Crazies, Usual Suspects, and Tom’s Sawyers. In 2010 David began segment hiking the trail, completing it in 2012. More recently, he has also had the privilege of participating in the Trail Angel program. David loves to meet trail users from across the world and learn their stories. He believes the trail itself is a wonderful place, but the most important things are the benefits it brings to the people who experience it.


Phyllis Ralley

Board Member

Phoenix

Phyllis became involved with the Arizona Trail Association in 1994 but in 1990, after completing several annual all-women long distance trail rides and finding it increasingly difficult to plan with no corridor, she read the first article about the Trail in Arizona Highways and immediately called Dale Shewalter. Dale told her then that he did not yet have an association to deal with volunteers. A few years later in 1994, Jan Hancock called her to help produce the program for the first Annual Meeting. The rest is history. Phyllis has been a Board member, graphic artist, membership coordinator and event planner ever since. Now, as she approaches retirement from the Bureau of Land Management, Ralley hopes to bring her newly acquired skills of Oral Storytelling and Grant Writing into service for the ATA. Phyllis loves the long ears and hopes one day to ride a mule the length of the Arizona Trail.


Shawn Redfield

Prospective Board Member

Pine

Shawn’s volunteer involvement with the ATA began in 2005 with remote trail construction along Passage 15. After 30+ years of bureaucracy working for the Department of the Interior, Shawn retired from public service in 2010 and decided to unwind by hiking the AZT. Since then he has continued to work on many areas of the trail including the layout and design, construction, maintenance, and infrastructure development. In 2011, he formally took on the role of Director of Trail Operations where you can witness his unwavering commitment to the continuation of developing and maintaining the trail. Whether he’s installing a sign, replacing a gate, or conducting trail work, Shawn is always busy supporting staff and volunteers to see that they have the tools, supplies and the where-with-all to do their part. He received the 2015 Trail Volunteer of the Year Award from American Trails, and in 2016 was named the Cox Conserves Hero for Arizona – an award that honors volunteers who create, preserve or enhance the outdoor places in our communities.


Bianca Salazar

Board Member

nomadic

Bianca was born and raised in Arizona with a love for the outdoors and travel. She attended NAU and lived in Flagstaff for nearly 20 years.With a Bachelors of Science degree in Strategic Communications with an emphasis in Advertising she excelled in a career in Property Management. She enjoys running, hiking and mountain biking the Arizona Trail. She started her involvement with the Arizona Trail in 2015 assisting in various volunteer aspects and providing trail support to hikers via water drops, rides, and trail information. In 2017 she completed a thru hike of the AZT and in 2018 she completed the majority of the trail solo. She has hiked throughout the western United States including 350 miles of the Hayduke Trail, 50 miles of the California Coastal Trail, and many miles throughout Arizona. She has also hiked in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and the Bahamas.


Clark Tenakhongva

Prospective Board Member

Polacca

Clark Tenakhongva is a respected Hopi leader and traditional cultural practitioner. He served in the United States Army for 10 years, and continued to support veterans as the Director of the Hopi Office of Veterans Affairs for 15 years. He has volunteered on Hopi school boards for decades, and is committed to youth education and empowerment on and off the reservation. Clark was elected as Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe in 2017 and served for four years, and one of his proudest accomplishments was the designation of Bears Ears National Monument. Clark is a proud farmer, rancher, grandfather, singer and artist who has won numerous awards for both his music and kachina carvings. Clark is honored to bring a perspective to the ATA from a group of indigenous people who have inhabited Arizona longer than any other, and whose core value is stewardship of the land.