A TEAM OF PROFESSIONAL ADVENTURERS.

The Team at Pure Life Aspiro

At Pure Life Aspiro, we are lucky to have a talented and diverse team. Each member is passionate about the outdoors, and dedicated to facilitating quality therapeutic experiences for our students.

Andrew Taylor, MBA

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Andrew Taylor, MBA

Co-Founder & Executive Director

A native of Utah, Andrew grew up in the outdoors and spent his college summers as a river guide on the Upper Colorado River. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Organizational Communication, Andrew went to Costa Rica in search of whitewater. During his time in Costa Rica, he fell in love with the Costa Rican people and the wide range of adventure activities the country has to offer. Andrew has been running adventure trips in Costa Rica since 2004. He has rafted and kayaked rivers all over the world, including Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Venezuela. He is trained in Swiftwater Rescue and has also spent time as a White Water Rescue Technician Instructor.

In 2010 he received a Master of Business Administration from Westminster College in Salt Lake City and  pursued a Substance Use Disorder Counseling Certificate through the University of Utah in 2012. He has enjoyed and been inspired by his work with individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addictions at Cirque Lodge, which is one of the top substance abuse programs in the nation.

Andrew speaks fluent Spanish and is a certified Wilderness First Responder. He has a passion for adventure, the outdoors, and helping others experience the beauty that exists within nature around the world. He loves adventure travel and the many lessons it has taught him along the way.

Amee Hardy, LCPC

Clinical Director

Amee Hardy, LCPC

Clinical Director

Amee grew up exploring the mountains and rivers of Idaho where she developed a love of the outdoors.  She comes from a family of educators and it was natural for her to pursue her undergraduate degree in education and began her professional career as a teacher.  During the summer months she worked for the Casey Family Program backpacking with foster teens in remote wilderness settings.  It was on these trips that Amee saw the immense healing power that can occur when wilderness and therapy are combined.  With this in mind, Amee went on to pursue her advanced degree and received her Masters in Counseling from Boise State University.

She has received training in the Trauma Resiliency Model, Social Thinking model, the Arbinger Institute Leadership model and the Ruler Approach for emotional literacy, and Equine Therapy. Amee has since worked as a therapist in a wide variety of clinical settings including an inpatient psychiatric unit, community agency, and regional hospital.  She specialized in a wide-range of diagnoses and clinical modalities: autism spectrum, NLD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, acute mental illness, transition planning, parent coaching. She has spent the last 6 years working at a therapeutic boarding school (Cherry Gulch) first as a therapist and then as the Clinical Director.

When not working Amee spends her free time running, rafting and skiing through Idaho’s outdoors with her husband and two young sons.

Janna Dean, LCSW

Wilderness Therapist

Janna Dean, LCSW

Wilderness Therapist

Janna graduated with an MSW from the University of Utah in 2003 and earned her LCSW in 2006.  After graduating she began working at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute “Staying off Substances” IOP program. There she ran groups for clients and families while doing individual assessments and counseling.
After working at UNI, she worked at Center for Change (CFC) with adolescent and adult women with eating disorders.  Many of the clients had a dual diagnosis, generally including substance abuse or addiction. She was in charge of developing and running the chemical dependency groups.  She worked with clients in inpatient, residential, and outpatient programming.
For the past nine years, after leaving CFC, Janna has worked in an outpatient setting both in individual and group therapy.  She has been working with males and females with depression, anxiety, trauma issues, eating disorders, substance abuse and dependence, and self-harm.

Jeffrey Calderon

Wilderness Therapist

Jeffrey Calderon

Wilderness Therapist

Jeffrey is a passionate scholar-practitioner in the field of clinical psychology with experience in clinical practice, training and consulting. He specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based treatments with young adult clients struggling with emotional, behavioral, and adjustment issues. Jeffrey graduated as psychologist from Ludwig Maximilians Univerisity of Munich, Germany in 2006.  After graduating he worked as scientific researcher at the Universities of Ulm and Regensburg in Germany. There he developed research programs for gifted students and talent development plans for young adults. After working in Germany, he worked in Costa Rica at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung developing leadership programs for young adults in Costa Rica and Panama. He also worked the Universidad Latina in Costa Rica as academic coordinator of the Psychology department. For the past twenty years Jeffrey has worked in an outpatient setting both in individual and group therapy.

Jeffrey’s areas of clinical focus include anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, relationship problems and depression.

Jessica Petrone, MSCMHC, RP

Wilderness Therapist

Jessica Petrone, MSCMHC, RP

Wilderness Therapist

Jessica has a passion for the natural world and a deep calling to work with people in need of support. She received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Catawba College in North Carolina. After spending time working with youth experiencing homelessness, serving two years in the Peace Corps in Zambia, and teaching at an outdoor school, she decided to continue her education to further develop her capacity to serve others in a clinical capacity. Building on these experiences, she went on to earn her Master's of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Concentration in Ecopsychology through Prescott College.

Jessica has broad interest and experience in working with youth and young adults, specifically individuals struggling with substance use and other addictions. Jessica relies on a strengths-based, solution-focused approach, integrating DBT skills, motivational interviewing, mindfulness and Ecotherapeutic techniques and concepts to foster holistic wellness. She has a strong foundational belief in the wilderness therapy model and in the transformation that can occur when individuals challenge themselves in a natural setting with adequate support.

Carrie Weatherhead, LCSW

Director of Marketing and Admissions

Carrie Weatherhead, LCSW

Director of Marketing and Admissions

Carrie has dedicated her entire professional career to providing opportunities for at-risk adolescents and young adults. She received her BA in Sociology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and went on to complete a Master’s in Social Work from Boston University. Carrie has more than 20 years experience working with young people and their families in public schools and in community settings. Her work focuses on youth empowerment theory, self-efficacy training, and project-based learning. She also has extensive experience in community organizing, nonprofit management, and program development and implementation.

A devoted Bostonian, Carrie enjoys spending her time outside hiking and biking throughout New England with her husband and two sons. She has learned first hand about the transformative nature of an active lifestyle. Carrie fervently believes that young people learn best when they are challenged and stretched outside their comfort zone.

Helen McGuire, LCSW

Wilderness Therapist

Helen McGuire, LCSW

Wilderness Therapist

A native of Ireland, Helen received her bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of Limerick. She later went on to pursue a Masters degree in Social work from National University of Ireland, Galway. Helen is a clinical social worker. She has experience in therapeutic settings in Ireland, India, France and Utah, working with adolescents and young adults through individual and group interventions. Helen’s areas of clinical focus include anxiety, depression, identity, executive functioning deficits, and autism spectrum disorders. Her clinical approach includes cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, skill building, and collaborative problem solving. Helen’s love for the outdoors first attracted her to working with Aspiro Adventure in Utah. Through this work, she can appreciate the depth of personal growth that young people gain from adventure therapy and their time in a novel environment.

Enrique Parrales

Program Director

Enrique Parrales

Program Director

Enrique is well known in the Pure Life family as ‘Quique’. He is a proud Costa Rican with a true passion for his country. He is a lover of nature with an enthusiasm for the outdoors. Quique loves to share his knowledge of his country, the simplicity of the Tico’s (the people of Costa Rica) lifestyle and culture and all its diverse nature and wildlife.

He has been working in the adventure industry for over 10 years. After 5 years as logistics manager in Outward Bound, he began working for Introspections where he served as Head Mentor and Adventure Director helping young people from overseas rehabilitate in Costa Rica. Quique then adventured himself to a more recreative industry, working as a guide across all of Central America for various companies. He continued to expand his knowledge and passion for travel and appreciate on a bigger scale how positive experiences can contribute to changing people’s lives. After years in the industry he joined Pure Life when we opened and shares his experience and passion with all our students and staff.

Quique is certified as a Costa Rica Naturalist Guide, Wilderness First Responder, CPR & First Aid Rescuer, and Open Water Scuba Diver.

Zach Mumford

Field Director

Zach Mumford

Field Director

Zach began his career in the outdoor adventure industry at Outward Bound in 2012, where he directed the leadership training program and trained new guides. In total, Zach has logged 800 days guiding ‘in the field’. He came to Pure Life in 2015 where, as the Field Director, his focus is on risk management and guide development.

Zach has a passion for travel, especially through Latin America, as he speaks fluent Spanish. He also enjoys SCUBA diving and rappelling. He is certified in CPR/AED, and is a IRF Whitewater Rafting Instructor, Waterfront Lifeguard, Wilderness First Responder, Technical Rope Rescuer: Operations Level, Whitewater Rescue Technician, NAUI Advanced SCUBA Diver.

Cristian Lopez

Operations Director

Cristian Lopez

Operations Director

Cristian has over eight years of experience as a Field and Program Director. He has worked with the Peace Corp in Costa Rica in a variety of projects including health, education, environment, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. Cristian continued working with different programs to evolve youth skills development as well as local environmental and ecotourism projects (including National Parks trail building and construction projects) to help meet basic community needs.
He grew up in the farms of the southern part of the country with his grandparents and studied Systems Engineering. He is passionate about adventure sports and will not hesitate to share his cooking skills. What he loves about the Pure Life family is the opportunity to help others. He believes in the work we do and loves his job. His life motto is “I can fall down 100 times…but I will get up 100 times as well”. Cristian has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, is a certified Wilderness First Responder, has certifications in Swiftwater Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue and NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba.

Rachel Albright

Chirripó Coordinator

Rachel Albright

Chirripó Coordinator

Rachel came to Costa Rica for the first time nearly a decade ago as a student of Outward Bound Costa Rica, and quickly fell in love with the Costa Rican people, rain forest, and way of life. She later completed her instructor training with Outward Bound and worked as a Backpacking Instructor before joining Pure Life as a Field Guide in 2015. Rachel enjoys working in small groups and creating custom itineraries, personalized to student's individual needs. Rachel is the Coordinator of the Chirripó Extension Program and believes in the power of nature, and Costa Rica, for growth and transformation.

Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Affairs and Spanish, and has studied and lived throughout Central and South America, and Europe.  She is a certified Wilderness First Responder, Technical Ropes Rescuer, White Water Rescue Technician, Open Water Lifeguard, NAUI SCUBA diver, and CPR and First Aid for the Professional Rescuer.

Liz Venegas

Special Programs Coordinator

Liz Venegas

Special Programs Coordinator

Liz has almost two decades of experience in the adventure industry. Since she was 9 years-old, she led tours including backpacking, horseback riding, canoeing, bicycling and canyoning. Liz, like most Ticos, is innately a hard worker, a trait she learned at a young age. Her family and experiences taught her how to succeed no matter the circumstances. Liz started as a Field Guide at Pure Life when it first opened. Now, she is our Custom Programs Coordinator.  That means that she is in charge of anything that happens outside of our normal programming. Beyond work, Liz has a close relationship with nature and adventure, which is why she loves working for Pure Life.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing how much you can positively influence a student when you just offer to chat when they need it,” Liz explained. In her time off, Liz enjoys scuba diving, canoeing, horseback riding and swimming in the river. She is certified in Wilderness First Aid, White Water Rescue, Technical Rope Rescue, First Aid and CPR, Tourism and Environmental Legislation and is a Professional Tourism Guide.

Meagan McKean, RN, BSN

Nurse / Admissions Coordinator

Meagan McKean, RN, BSN

Nurse / Admissions Coordinator

Meagan is a native of Utah, who attended the University of Arizona and earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She started her nursing career on a step-down telemetry floor at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. After two years, Meagan, transferred to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit where she was responsible for caring for liver and kidney transplant recipients. She found that the demanding environment of the ICU allowed her to push herself to new limits and treat people at their most vulnerable stages of life. She found great joy in seeing patients receive new transplants and go on to accomplish incredible things.

Meagan is excited to be part of the Pure Life Aspiro team and work with a younger population that has endless opportunities ahead of them. Not only does she love the medical aspect of Pure Life, she also enjoys being able to teach the students about the power of fitness and healthy eating habits in their daily lives. Meagan is BLS & ACLS certified. In her free time, Meagan volunteers in El Salvador with Operation Walk; a non-profit who performs hip and knee replacements to the underprivileged population of San Salvador. She also enjoys traveling, snow skiing, hiking, reading and spending time with family!

Roy Carranza

Transportation Manager

Roy Carranza

Transportation Manager

Roy has over seven years of experience on the road driving with distribution companies, heavy machinery and ecotourism. He had a rough time while growing up which gives him a unique insight to relate with the students in so many areas. Roy is an example of hard work and effort. His greatest satisfaction is the opportunity to help others and knowing that a few of his words or simply a smile might change a person’s life or make their day better. His energy is contagious and it makes him a terrific person to be around. In his free time he loves to spend time with his family and on maintaining his farm of fruit trees that he grows all natural without fertilizers or herbicides. Roy is very generous to share offerings from his farm with the Pure Life family and the students.

Alan Torres

Driver

Alan Torres

Driver

Alan is one of our youngest staff at Pure Life and has been working on the road as long as he can remember, from hardware stores to green groceries. You will always see Alan doing something, he never stops, and he cares about everyone and everything so when he is done with his duties he will not hesitate to help you with yours. Most of our students will agree that their best Spanish lessons have been with Alan, who is constantly trying to learn English from them. Off work, Alan is a proud soccer player and loves to ride his motorcycle.

Stephen Douglas Taylor, MD

Medical Director

Stephen Douglas Taylor, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Stephen Douglas Taylor attended graduate school at the University of Utah in 1969.  His post graduate internship was at UCLA Hospital .  In 1970, Dr. Taylor joined the U.S. Army and held the rank of Major in the Medical Corps.  His affiliations consist of the following: National Board of Medical Examiners, American Board of Emergency Medicine, American College of Emergency Physicians, Utah Medical Association, Salt Lake County Medical Society, Wasatch Emergency Physicians, Alumni Board – University of Utah School of Medicine, Alumni Board – University of Utah School of Medicine, Hope Charity Clinic.  With over 40 years of experience as an emergency room physician, Dr. Taylor is a valuable addition to the Pure Life Team as Medical Director.

Josh Watson, LCSW

CMO

Josh Watson, LCSW

CMO

  • Masters in Social Work from the University of Georgia
  • Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Business Administration from Gardner-Webb University
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Utah
  • Trained/experienced in CBT, Family Systems therapy, Adlerian therapy, Strengths-based therapy, Crisis and Risk Assessment
  • Also specializes in: crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships

Josh has over 12 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults, and their families. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has performed many duties including a Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, and is currently Aspiro’s Chief Marketing Officer.

Antonio Lopez

Base Management Team

Antonio Lopez

Base Management Team

Antonio is a hardcore kayaker who enjoys adventure and loves the outdoors. He began raft captaining in 2002 and became a certified kayak instructor shortly thereafter. Antonio moves fast both by land and by sea; rumor has it that he can complete the trek between Domer’s Hill and Piedras Blancas (usually two days of hiking) in eight hours flat – carrying both of his kids and his kayak. His ability in the water has earned him the nickname Cherepo (Jesus Christ Lizard) which is famous for being able to run on top of the water. Antonio holds the following certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Instructor, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Whitewater Kayak Training.

Andrea Padilla

Base Maintenance

Andrea Padilla

Base Maintenance

Andrea grew up on a farm learning hard work since she was very little; collecting coffee beans and working with cattle. Andrea oversees student chores and teaches them how to properly clean the student space. She is an example to our students of perseverance and dedication. The construction of her own house was one of Pure Life’s service projects in 2015. Our students helped her to materialize her dream of having a proper house for her and her daughter, Nicole. Having accomplished that dream; her next goal is to improve her English. However, the language barrier has never been an obstacle to create bonds with the students. Andrea’s life motto is, “life has ups and downs but we should continue and not let anything or anyone break our dreams.”

Brigitte Romero

Office Manager

Brigitte Romero

Office Manager

Brigitte was raised by a single mother, who has helped her become the independent, hard worker that she is today. At the age of 15 she started working in everything she could; craft stores, decorations stores, video stores and others. She lived in Miami at 17 years old for six months and worked as a waitress learning as much of the language as she could. She fell in love with the culture and knew that she wanted to work in a multi-cultural environment. Becoming proficient in English as a second language introduced her to the administrative industry. She joined the Pure Life family in early 2015 to run the office and all things accounting and human resources. Brigitte loves movies, music, and reading. Her therapy is spending time with her dogs and relaxing.

Pure Life Aspiro