Gene Ruckman was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is a graduate of the University of Wyoming. Gene began his career working ten years as a consultant in policy development, opinion research, public relations management and coordinating various campaigns of candidates for public office on the federal and state level as well as many issue referendums in Wyoming, Colorado and the Mountain West. He has more than 20 years in digital media and newspaper marketing management.
Loring Woodman escaped his native New Jersey two weeks after graduating from college in 1964 and moved to northwest Wyoming. Even now he can’t quite figure out how he managed to talk his East Coast family into backing his harebrained scheme to turn an abandoned log homestead in the Gros Ventre Range into a viable wilderness guest ranch, but that became his life (listen to “Beloved ranch for sale” for a good story about the Darwin Ranch). Long winters made it possible for Woodman to investigate a variety of out-of-state, part-time work projects, including a short stint as a programming consultant in Silicon Valley in the early 1980s while still operating his Wyoming business from a distance. His 50 year ownership of the ranch inholding has provided a rich education in the workings of the Forest Service. Woodman was deeply involved with Wyoming’s congressional delegation leading up to the passage of the Wyoming Wilderness Act of 1984.
Karen Hertel grew up in Star Valley, Wyoming, where her great-great grandparents settled in the late 1800s. Childhood and college summers were spent exploring the Bridger-Teton National Forest while working on a covered-wagon train and wilderness packtrips in the Frome family outfitting business. She earned an undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Utah and later a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington. Karen started teaching in an elementary school on the Washington coast, switched to high school in Idaho, and then went on to a position as an assistant professor at the University of Idaho. After 20 years in education, she and her husband wanted to work full-time on the land. Karen left academia, her husband sold his commercial fishing business in Alaska, and the family moved to the Flathead Valley in Montana to manage a ranch. In 2010, her dream of getting back to Wyoming came true when she and her husband moved to Ishawooa Mesa Ranch on the Southfork of the Shoshone River, near Cody. For the past seven years, they have worked with the ranch owners to build a sustainable ranching operation — raising and selling grass-finished beef, pastured pork, chickens, turkeys and a large market garden. Greg and Karen have four children and she enjoys reading, hiking, hunting and cooking in her spare time.
Charlotte Belton was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has lived in the state most of her life. She works with her husband, Tim Belton, in his architectural firm in Sheridan, doing graphic design, photography and writing proposals for the firm’s prospective work. They have three adult children, all involved in varying degrees with non-profits, design and/or university work, and all with a strong attachment to the Mountain West. Her Wyoming roots are deep, the generations stretching back into Wyoming’s history. Her maternal grandfather came to Wyoming, worked for the Swan Land & Cattle Company in the late 1800s and started a ranch — still in the family — on the Sybille. In Cheyenne, her other grandfather was deputy county attorney during the Tom Horn appeal trial. After high school in Cheyenne, Charlotte went to Colorado College, and then Stanford University, graduating with a degree in art history. She and Tim travel widely and often, but are always happy to come home to the mountains, the sky and the sun-patterned landscape of Wyoming.
Geoffrey O’Gara is a writer, documentary producer and the principal of Caldera Productions, based in Lander, Wyoming. His journalism career, spanning four decades, has included stints as a Washington, D.C. correspondent, a public television news producer, a John S. Knight Foundation Fellow, a newspaper publisher and the editor of High Country News. He is the author of “What You See in Clear Water: Indians, Whites, and a Battle Over Water in the American West” (2002), and “A Long Road Home, Journeys Through America’s Present in Search of America’s Past” (1989), and several other books. Contact Geoff at [email protected].
David Evans is an attorney who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife, Becky. They have two grown children. David is a Wyoming native and graduate of both the University of Wyoming and UW Law School. He practices law with the firm Hickey & Evans in Cheyenne. His areas of practice have included, among others, education law and labor law. During his career David has advised many boards on matters of governance. He has also served as a member of many boards, including the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council and the Wyoming Water Development Commission. He and his wife enjoy outdoor pursuits, including fishing and hiking throughout Wyoming.