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Keynote Speakers 2015





Keynote Speakers Matt Erpelding & Melissa Wintrow

Mat Erpelding is a climbing guide, an educator, a business owner, and an elected member of the Idaho House of Representatives. In 2004, he founded Experiential Adventures specializing in outdoor education and leadership development. Over the years, it became clear that two companies were needed to continue to grow. He co-founded SAGA Strategic Consulting to serve a host of different clients including the military, higher education institutions, and corporations who want to improve their organizational culture. And, he co-owns Idaho Mountain Guides which offers rock climbing instruction and guiding at the City of Rocks and Boise’s Black Cliffs.

Mat is an adjunct faculty member in the Leadership Studies Minor at Boise State University. Mat has consulted at a variety of univeristies including Ithaca College, Adams State Univerisity, the Evergreen State College, and Texas Tech University. Most recently, Mat co-edited a textbook called Outdoor Program Administration; Principles and Practices.

An accomplished high-altitude mountain guide, he has reached the 20,320 ft summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley) four times. He is a past president of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and in 2006 was awarded the Jim Rennie Leadership Award for outstanding service. In 2010, Mat was awarded the Wilderness Education Association’s Instructor of the year for bringing innovative and substantial curriculum improvements to the organization. He is also a recipient of the Idaho Business Reviews 40 Most Accomplished Under 40.


Melissa Wintrow is a triathlete, accomplished educator, human rights advocate, small business owner, and elected member of the Idaho House of Representatives. Melissa co-founded SAGA Strategic Consulting after a successful career in higher education, applying her skills in program management, human resource development, curriculum design, and facilitation. After 27 years working in higher education, she has expanded into corporate, government , and non-profit organizations.

Until December of last year, Melissa served as director of the nationally recognized Residential College Program at Boise State University. In this role, she built an innovative and highly effective faculty-in-residence program resulting in some of the highest retention, GPA and graduation rates at Boise State.

Melissa is currently serving as Program Manager for NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership Idaho, a six-day residential conference founded by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. The conference introduces college women to public policy and politics in hopes they will run for public office.

Melissa is past president of the Professional Staff Senate at Boise State and has been recognized with the Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 Award, the Larry Selland Humanitarian Award, Outstanding Faculty Award, and Women Making History. Melissa also blends her passion for education with outdoor recreation. She is an Ironman Finisher (Ironman Arizona), avid backpacker, and completed a self-supported bicycle trip 4,200 miles across the U.S. 1616 N

Page Updated 08.11.2015