The Sweetwater TeamAll in we have over fifty guides and close to forty staff that work within the Sweetwater destination portfolio. Almost all of them continue to work with us throughout their careers in the fishing business right to the finish. Our view, and that of our partners, is that people who work with us are truly what makes our destinations the best around and taking care of them is one of our top priorities. Not only do they make they business tick, but they are the guys we spend time around the campfire with--our closest friends. In addition to the STC lodge teams, there are four individuals of particular importance to the company.
Ron Meek retired from Sweetwater in 2020 after 25 years. Ron started working at Sweetwater Travel Company in 1995 after guiding with Dan, Jeff and Pat on the Ponoi River in Russia. Ron's talent and kindness was quickly apparent and it's fair to say that there is no one in the business who we have learned more from . Ron grew up on a crab boat, in a lumber store, in Chile and South Bend, Washington. Ron has a remarkable ability to entertain Mongolians, pack containers, fix anything, run guide schools, tie great flies and keep the Vermillion brother's from fighting. Ron’s claim to fame, aside from his wife Vicky and his two daughters, is that he once guided over 10 months straight in destinations from Tierra del Fuego to the Ponoi River in Russia--albeit with serious impacts to his short term sanity.
Scott Schumacher joined Sweetwater Travel in 2002. Scott met Dan and Jeff in Alaska guiding in the late '80s. Scott is originally from Minnesota and has a passion for hunting, fishing, flying, football, his wife Alison, son Oliver and labrador Teddy. Scott has worked in the industry for over 20 years and has guided and/or managed camps in Montana, Wisconsin, Alaska, Russia, Brazil and Mongolia. Scott spends his summers between the Copper River Lodge and Royal Coachman Lodge in Alaska. Without Scott our Alaska programs wouldn't exist.
Christina Grabowski joined Sweetwater Travel in 2003. Christi is, more than anyone else, the talent behind our operational systems at Sweetwater. That includes everything from Christmas cards, to Quickbooks, to invoicing, mediating between brother disputes, answering phones, client correspondence and about everything else that makes our business tick. Christi and her husband Dan have two kids, Betsy and Louis, who are frequently seen running around the office with giant ear to ear smiles...so present in their well humored parents. Without Christi, the company would have fallen apart years ago.
Alison Smith joined Sweetwater Travel via our operations in British Columbia. Ali worked at our lodges on the Sustut as a chef, kitchen helper, guide, office manager and finally as our consolidator. In 2012, she married Scott Schumacher at the Vermillion Ranch. Ali helps run Alaska and keep Pat's business world in order. She has been invaluable to our operations and is always willing to take on a task and excel at it. Her attitude and bright smile are well known throughout our operations. In 2016 Scott and Ali, celebrated the birth of a healthy boy, Oliver Schumacher. He's already guiding and playing odds on the final four.
Belinda Miller is our latest addition to the extended Sweetwater Team. B, as she is better known in the industry is the brains of our British Columbia operations. In addition to being our chef at Steelhead Valhalla Lodge, B handles invoicing, pre-trip, guest correspondence and licensing. B and her husband Chris live in Nanaimo, British Columbia. B excels in meeting and exceeding client expectations at our Northern steelhead operations with an ever present smile on her face. B and Chris have worked all around the world. We couldn't be more pleased they settled in with us.
Corey Koff is the Guide School director at Sweetwater Travel Company. Before becoming the Guide School director Corey guided at the Royal Coachman Lodge in Alaska for over a decade. We couldn't be more excited to have Corey directing the Guide School. Corey's attention to detail, passion for guiding and instructing make him a true asset to our organization. We are thankful to have him on our team.