Lake Hovsgol National Park, Mongolia
Tom Medema, Co-Founder
Tom Medema developed a passion for national parks at a young age on family vacations throughout the American west. This passion turned into a career as a park ranger spanning over 25 years. He is equally passionate about national parks and public lands around the world and has worked with parks and monuments in South America and Europe as a subject matter expert in the field of interpretation and education. The opportunity to support the development of relatively new national parks in Mongolia is an opportunity he is excited and humbled to be a part of.
Tom is a sports and outdoor enthusiast, spending much of his free time at his teenage kids volleyball, soccer, and alpine skiing events. Tom also loves two wheeled travel by mountain bike, road bike, and motorbike. Over the past 20 years he has owned Harley-Davidson and BMW bikes and is currently riding a KLX 400 on the back roads of the Sierra Nevada foothills in preparation for this epic and compelling adventure.
Wesley Thornberry, Co-Founder
Wesley is a founding member of the Rally for Rangers Foundation. Since its inception, as an avid motorcyclist, Wesley spearheaded the Rally for Rangers (part of Blue Waves campaign by the Mongol Ecology Center), raised awareness internationally about the National Parks of Mongolia and rides in all rallies. Wesley works with Tom Medema in organizing the rallies.
Wesley is the founder of Trend Digital, www.trend-digital.com, that specializes in post-production imaging services for e-commerce clothing and fashion retailers. Wesley is also a photographer, adventurer and traveler and has documented the tribes of Omo Valley, Ethiopia to the nomadic shamans of Mongolia. His work can be seen at www.wesleythornberry.com. He currently lives in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Robert retired from the National Park Service as an Associate Regional Director, Northeast Region where he directed planning, natural resource, historic preservation, capital construction and community partnership programs for the region. He has served on international projects in China, India and Mongolia. Robert served as the General Superintendent, Gateway National Recreation Area in New York/New Jersey and held various planning, policy and senior management positions throughout the country in the Department of the Interior – Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and later as the northeast regional director for the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. Robert serves on the Boards of Lowell’s Boat Shop, the Mongol Ecology Center, the New Bedford Whaling History Alliance, and is a member of the Essex National Heritage Area Commission. Bob is a recipient of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Distinguished Service Award.
I started riding Motorcycles at the ripe old age of 17, which was as soon as I couldbuy one and use it without my parents knowing. I have since ridden around the westpart of the US, and started riding dirt a decade ago. I have ridden in Baja, the Sierras,and Nevada, because I admire open spaces, and beautiful desert, and am excited forthe opportunity to not only experience Mongolia, but hopefully leave it a better placethan I found it.
I have been a mechanic, welder, chicken farmer, and am currently in charge ofmaintenance on a horse-boarding ranch.
I am currently obsessed with sailing, and plans go camping at every available site inthe bay area where it is possible to beach a racing catamaran!
Doug Van Ommeran
Doug has lived in northern California for a couple of decades now, at first working at a university before landing various roles in the computer software industry. Northern California is the perfect playground for his other pursuits of scuba diving, having taught for a few years, rock climbing, and, of course, motorcycling. The importance of parks and natural preservation is not lost on Doug, who has also appreciated the national parks outdoors in his travels throughout South America and Indonesia. The chance to contribute to the preservation of the beauty of Mongolia, combined with the joy of motorcycling makes this an exciting opportunity.
Douglas is a Californian who has spent most of his time in San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Yosemite National Park as management in the hotel and restaurant industry.Eighteen years ago he bought a run down scouts camp near Yosemite National Park and built it into the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort with cabins in a variety of accommodations, a restaurant, a health spa and groups facilities. It has been successful in this region as an independent business. He also built & ran a tour business from San Francisco to Yosemite for many years.
Additionally he serves on the regional Visitors Bureau Board and is involved in many community activities including music, horticulture, theater and events. He has been an avid skier, backpacker, motorcyclist, bicyclist, diver and adventure traveller for most of his life. Asia, coincidentally, is his current continent to discover since he has travelled widely in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia/Oceania.
Hans Kwiotek is a German born photographer who has settled in San Francisco after having lived and worked in London, Berlin and Toronto.
In his commercial and personal work he is photographing fashion, beauty and people – having worked as a fashion photographer for the GAP for the last 5 years. Being engaged in many outdoor sports it is important to him to preserve nature in its pristine condition. This motorcycle rally is an important contribution to the preservation efforts which will ensure that untouched nature will be protected and available for future generations to enjoy.
I am riding in the Blue Waves Motorcycle Rally in Mongolia in memory of my dad,and for the future of my daughter.
My dad, who passed away in 2001, taught me many things. One was a love of motorcycles. I am forever grateful to him for having enough confidence in me at age14 to let me get my first bike, a Suzuki DS 80. He also taught me the essentials of basic maintenance, and since then I have always preferred buying used bikes and working on them. Even now I commute to work daily on a bike. I try to minimize my ecological footprint by reducing and reusing as much as possible.
My parents also grew vegetables in our suburban backyard. This was my first exposure to organic farming and composting. Our vacations were frequently camping trips and other low impact activities. They instilled in me the importance of protecting the environment, and in the past few decades I have realized that we are reaching a critical point in our planet’s history. As the world’s population continues to grow exponentially and non-renewable materials are depleted, fresh water and other life-sustaining resources must be carefully protected and maintained.
I hope that efforts such as these will help to keep my dad’s values alive for my daughter’s generation and beyond.
Munkh-Orgil was one of the Mongolian riders who joined our Rally for Rangers 2014. Before establishing his own businesses in 2011 in Mongolia, Munkh-Orgil was known as one of the famous Sumo wrestlers in Japan. He practiced sumo wrestling for 12 years reaching the maigashira top division. Munkh-Orgil has also been riding motorcycles since he was 8 years old with his father, who is a master athlete of motorsports. He competed in his first motorcycle race when he was 16 and is an experienced motorcycle rally organizer.
Munkh-Orgil is once again going to join the team of international riders for our Rally for Rangers 2015 to deliver motorcycles for the rangers of Ulaan Taiga State Specially Protected Areas.
Batsaikhan is a Board Member of Mongol Ecology Center and was one of the riders of Ride for Rangers 2014 Rally. He is a native of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. He is the founder and General Director of Platinum Gate Architecture and Interior Design Corporation. In partnership with the Mongol Ecology Center and experts from the US National Park Service, Batsaikhan is spearheading the signage system and architectural theme project of Lake Hovsgol National Park.
He has been an avid motorcycle rider for the last 17 years and is the Vice President of the Harley Davidson Owners Club in Mongolia. Batsaikhan is riding for Ride for Rangers 2015 Rally again.
Jake graduated from Bates College in 2013 with degrees in Cultural Anthropology and French. His academic focus concentrated on microfinance networks in Dakar, Senegal, analyzing power dynamics and relationships between communal women borrowers and institutions. He has worked as a community organizer in Boston, MA fighting for better wages and working conditions within Boston’s restaurant industry.
Jake lives in New York City working for a green roofing company transforming New York City’s industrial warehouses into living and breathing structures that support plants and wildlife. He looks forward to returning to Mongolia. Not enough meat or vodka here in the United States.