The Outside Hilton Head Team is made up of Captains, Guides, Educators and Visionaries all of whom share our core values of Safety, Passion, Excellence, Teamwork and Sustainability
Mike is the founder, owner and CEO of Outside Brands. Originally from Washington, DC, Mike moved to Hilton Head is 1979 to start a windsurfing school. That company grew exponentially over the following forty years and is now a multi faceted organization with divisions in retail, team and leadership development, leisure recreation, outdoor education and destination management. Mike has served locally on the boards of the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce, The Island Recreation Association, The Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head, The Lowcountry Recycling Association, the South Island Public Service District and as a founding member of The Outside Foundation. He is a graduate of the Leadership Hilton Head class of 1992. Mike is an accomplished outdoor athlete with achievements including a former top 5 international ranking as a windsurfer, numerous Open Ocean and trans-Atlantic sailing races, and a course Captain on the 1996 Olympic yachting venue.
Born and raised in the Lowcountry, Jordan is Outside’s Chief Operating Officer, collaborating with team members to help them grow in their careers and ensure the company’s operating goals are met. She began her career at Outside in 2005 as a retail associate and reservationist, growing quickly from there. In her current role, she oversees quality, communication, and consistency among and throughout all departments, as well as managing all human resources functions. Her favorite part of working for Outside is working with team members to create meaningful progress in their lives and careers. She is a graduate of the Leadership Hilton Head class of 2017. When not working, she’s typically finding new things to eat, walking the streets of Savannah with her dog, Violet, or learning about cultures different from her own.
Karen brings to our team a high level of organization and focus on delivering exceptional service. Not only with the clients we serve, but also with the way we function internally as a team. Working side by side with the CEO, she is involved in every facet of the organization and is constantly seeking and evaluating way to improve the experience we deliver. Karen moved to Hilton Head from Michigan in 2016 so she could get outside and experience the beauty of the Lowcountry every day. As an early riser, her favorite part of the day is sunrise with the anticipation of the adventure the day will generously provide – whether hiking, biking, boating, stand up paddle boarding or simply taking in the peacefulness of the outdoors.
Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, the outdoors and the arts have been the cornerstones of Jessie’s life since forever. After obtaining Bachelors degrees in Studio Art and Art History, she began working as a kayak guide on Hilton Head. She became certified as an ACA Coastal Kayak Instructor in 2010 and has guided and instructed for over 12 years. Jessie began her career at Outside in 2011, and found a niche to combine her talents by developing the marketing department. She enjoys manifesting the creative juices that make Outside the dynamic and unique business that it is. An avid outdoorswoman and thrill seeker, Jessie has enjoyed many backcountry experiences including kayaking the Everglades and rafting the Grand Canyon. Jessie works closely with The Outside Foundation to advocate for sustainability and outdoor education.
Abby is a long time local, having moved to the island in 1990. She grew up exploring the island waterways and living the beach bum life. Her move from the Lowcountry to the High Country for college at Appalachian State University resulted in a renewed love of the water, lots of international travel and a degree in Spanish and Sustainable Development. After teaching English in Mexico, studying art and culture in Spain and working on an organic coffee farm in Hawaii, she returned to her island roots and started a local dog bakery. This random list of adventure has led to her newest role as Public Relations Manager at Outside Hilton Head. Abby spends her day sharing the awesome Outside story with our community and beyond.
Michael does a lot of “fun stuff” for Outside. He loves his job “because I have the best office in the world, and I get to share my passion for the area with people that genuinely enjoy being on the water.” Since 2009, Michael has worked in every aspect of Outside and is currently the Director of Program Operations. Michael and his wife Page stay busy chasing around their two daughters, Harper and Fraser.
Lette has been an Island Girl for more than 40 years. She brings with her 2 decades of experience as a Gold Key concierge and more than 30 years total in the hospitality industry. Lette has been committed to assisting visitors to Hilton Head in experiencing all that Hilton Head has to offer. In her free time Lette can be found playing golf, traveling, performing weddings or reminiscing with fellow race car drivers about their glory days at the track.
Originally from a small town in southwest Georgia, Meghan moved to the island in the summer of 2012. She began her career with Outside as a kayak guide but found her true passion when she started working in the retail store. “I love being able to incorporate my love for ethically & sustainable sourced}fashion and the outdoors, but my favorite part about being on Team Outside is the amazing group of people I spend my days with.” When not a work, Meghan can be found living the Island dream with her husband, daughter, and two Boykin Spaniels.
Originally from Rock River, OH, Patte has lived on Hilton Head for forty years. Patte is a USCG Liscenced Captain, NAI certified Interpretive Guide, and certified Master Naturalist. Patte leads kayaking and boat trips, and facilitates team and leadership development programs. In addition, Patte leads guide training, oversees in-house continuing education and contributes to program development. In her free time, Patte is a devotee of meditation and yoga. Her and her husband Steve have 5 grown children and half a dozen grands.
Originally from Troy, MI, Tracie has lived in the area since 1993. She joined the Outside team in 2005. She has been active board member since 2011, for the NMD (No More Diabetes) Foundation. This foundation is very near and dear to her heart since it was founded in 2009, when one of her co-workers was diagnosed with type one diabetes. In her free time, she can be found on a baseball field cheering on her son, Nico who plays competitive travel baseball. When they aren’t on the ball field, her husband and son enjoying traveling, and fishing as a family. She is also a huge Detroit sports fan.
Boo has spent most of his life in and around Bluffton. He joined the Outside Team over 25 years ago as a windsurfing instructor. Boo has served in absolutely every capacity—from kayak guide to engine repairman, to dock builder to USCG licensed Master Captain, to team and leadership facilitator (and more).
A USCG Captain for over 20 years, Mickey is passionate about helping guests learn about the marine environment and history of the area. A local resident for about 25 years, Mickey currently lives on the Island with his wife Stacey, daughter Ella, and son Finn. In his free time, Mickey can be found out on the water with his family, hunting or playing golf.
Carol Kavanaugh moved to Hilton Head Island in 1986 from Buffalo, NY. As owner of Click Event Production, her company has raised more than $1M for local charities. She has recently become part of the destinations by Outside Team and is excited to grow with the company.
Carol feels much more at home on the water than on a golf course or in the kitchen – but mostly as a passenger on other’s boats.
Jean is beginning her 14th year at Outside and serves as an interpretive naturalist/kayak guide, standup paddle board instructor, and internship program coordinator. Jean is a certified Low Country Master Naturalist and ACA L-2 Paddle Boarding Instructor. As of 2014 she has served as Executive Director of The Outside Foundation, a 501c-3 non-profit with a mission to get kids outside and to protect and preserve our local environment. Originally from upstate New York, Jean relocated to Hilton Head Island in 2004 following a 20 year teaching career at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Jean and her husband Frank have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. She currently serves on the “Keep Beaufort County Beautiful” Board and is a volunteer for Volunteers in Medicine.
Britney was born in Western North Carolina. She has worked at Outside since April of 2018. She has a passion for the outdoors and loves be able to work for a company that is more like a family than a job. When Britney is not in the retail store managing the products that come through the doors, you can find her exploring the Low Country with her 4 year old daughter, or out on the tennis court.
Originally from McHenry, IL, Mark has been on the Outside team longer than just about anyone. He says that the best part of his job is “undoubtedly, the incredible staff that I work with, they’re family.” In his free time, Mark loves spending time with his two girls and teaching them how to surf.
Kelley was born in Newport Beach California. She moved to South Carolina in my early 20’s and raised her children on Hilton Head . She has worked for Outside Hilton Head for 10 years, When not working , Kelley enjoys biking, paddle boarding, and spending time at the beach with her dogs.
Leisa was born in New Jersey but her heart has been in the Low country since she started vacationing on Hilton Head in 1969. She moved to Hilton Head in 1977, married a low country boy and has 3 children who love the water and the marsh as much as she does. Leisa has had the privilege to be the women’s buyer for Outside for the last 11 years. Leisa has enjoyed the excitement of helping Outside grow and working with a team that is passionate about what they do everyday!
JC moved to Hilton Head as a teenager and quickly got a job in a local marina. He fell in love with the water and worked there throughout high school and college. While at the College of Charleston he obtained his captain’s license, boated, sailed, kayaked, and surfed daily. After graduating CofC he moved to Florida but always returned to Hilton Head for the summer. He and his wife Beth moved back here permanently when their daughters were born, knowing it would be a great place to raise a family. All four of them love the Outside lifestyle Hilton Head provides and enjoy boating, kayaking, and going to the beach as much as possible.
A USCG Captain since 2006, J.O. is also is a marine technician. He grew up on Daufuskie Island SC, so naturally he likes to be outdoors, especially out on the water. Prior to working for Outside, he served 6 years in the Navy. After that, he quickly discovered working a 9-5 job was not for him. J.O. has found that joining the Outside team was an awesome fit, and a lot of fun.
As a stereotypical Ohioan, C.J. had vacationed to Hilton Head Island every year his entire life. In 2016, after graduating from Ohio University and a brief spell living in Atlanta, he decided to follow a different path and headed to the island. As a musician and live performer since the age of 5, as well as a lifelong nature enthusiast, C.J. found a unique platform with Outside that allows him to combine these two passions – to entertain and educate as a tour guide and boat captain. While always excited where life may lead him next, he is happy to call Hilton Head home and to be a part of the Outside family.
Originally from Ohio, Ross’ family would visit Hilton Head yearly. On these annual trips is where his love and appreciation for this area and ecosystem germinated. He studied Biology at several schools with a focus on marine life. Traveling & studying culture along with building & nurturing relationships are joys of Ross’ in addition to playing percussion with local bands. He has been blessed to have experienced 40 of 50 states and around 15 countries. Whether on a mission trip, expedition or leisure trip, Ross enjoys including everyone in the experience of the present.
Andy is from Due West, SC and has lived in the Lowcountry since 1985. He received his undergraduate degree from Erskine College and graduate degree from The University of South Carolina. Andy is a licensed USCG Master boat Captain, certified ACA Stand Up Paddleboard Instructor, certified Paddlefit instructor, certified World Paddle Association instructor, a National Strength & Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Running & Endurance coach. Andy is the Accessories retail buyer for Outside and can also be found guiding trips and working with the DMC and Teambuilding teams. When not working, Andy enjoys participating in endurance events, being out on the water, reading and writing. He lives with his wife Bree and four kids on Hilton Head.
Michael Smith is a native of the Bluffton area, raised along the pristine banks of the May River. He has worked on the water for fifteen years, the last six with Outside Hilton Head as an expert kayak guide. Specializing in the history and nature of the area, he communicates a unique perspective on the relationship between the two.
Michael’s found most days at our Outside Palmetto Bluff location introducing others to the beautiful marshes he calls home. Michael and his wife Christine were joined by a son, Samuel, in December 2012.
Pete Barbano is from Middletown NY. He’s been working on the water for almost 30yrs, mostly as a charter or commercial fisherman. He says that even after all that time he’s still in awe of every sunrise and sunset and the wonders of Gods creations. He’s true passion is ministering to orphans in Malawi Africa in the spring and fall.
Kathleen’s love for the outdoors stemmed from growing up on Hilton Head. She has traveled throughout the world, but her passion lies in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She spent her childhood exploring the outdoors, surfing the beaches and paddling the creeks. She has been a guide in the area for over 12 years. Kathleen joined the Outside team in 2014, she is a certified Master Naturalist, 50Ton Master Boat Captain, ACA Certified Stand Up Paddle Board Instructor and US Waterski Certified Ski Instructor. When not at work she can be found spending time with family and friends.
Captain Grant Salzer hails from sunny South Florida, growing up in the Miami Lakes area. He joined the Outside Hilton Head team in the summer of 2011. He has a passion for the outdoors and loves being on the water as a USCG Master Captain teaching and instructing kids and families about the Lowcountry environment.
When not working, he spends time with his wife Elizabeth and his two sons Ethan and Eli.
Captain Jimmy Reese has explored the waters around Hilton Head Island beginning in the mid 70’s. After graduation from the University of Georgia, Captain Jimmy built his professional career around the Lowcountry and its unique fishery and seafood. Captain Jimmy has become one of the area’s best known and respected Guides in the estuaries.
Today, Captain Jimmy is a United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain and the owner of Cleopatra Charters. Captain Jimmy specializes in fly and light tackle opportunities around Hilton Head.
Kent grew up in Ephrata, PA. He began vacationing on Hilton Head Island in 1974 and has lived on HHI since 2008. He received degree in engineering and MBA in finance many years ago. Kent retired from the IT industry after 30 year. He has been sea kayaking since 2006 and joined Outside in the spring of 2010 as a kayak guide. Kent was certified by the ACA as a kayak instructor and graduated from the Lowcountry Institute/Clemson Univ master naturalist program in 2013.
Nicklas moved to HHI from Grand Valley, Colorado in the Spring of 2015. He is an Alabama native who grew up immersed in the backwoods and graduated with a BS in History and Political Science and Education from Shorter University in 2009.
He is a former high school and middle school History teacher and multi-sport coach. While in Colorado, Nick was an Outdoor Educator, Certified Adventure / Team Building and Leadership Development Facilitator and was also the In-Door Supervisor of Ski-School Operations for Winter Park Resorts in Winter Park, Colorado. He became Manager of Educational and Athletic Youth Programs for Outside Brands in 2017….and his favorite thing about what he does for Outside Brands is to: help kids learn important team and leadership skills OUTSIDE!
Alexa was born and raised on a horse farm outside of Asheville, NC to two animal-loving veterinarians. She visited Hilton Head Island every year with her family to enjoy the beaches and tourism attractions and became fascinated with the local environment. She pursued a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Roanoke College, during which time she studied abroad in Australia and learn about marine science from James Cook University adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. Following her undergraduate studies, she interned with two great white shark research institutions in South Africa, where she discovered her affinity for informal environmental education. She was then employed in the Florida Keys at a camp as a marine science instructor, after which she traveled globally to countries like Costa Rica, the Galapagos, and the Azores facilitating environmental engagement projects. In 2016, Alexa became a Miami University graduate student, pursuing a MA in Biology. This virtual program encouraged her to develop civic projects which focused on engaging the public with nature; she used this as an opportunity to move to Hilton Head Island and apply these concepts to her job with Outside Brands. Moreover, through this global Master’s program, she traveled to Belize, Borneo, and Namibia, respectively, to learn about community-based conservation methods and local sustainability projects. In December of 2018, she graduated from Miami and continues to work for Outside as a nature guide, facilitating immersive salt marsh experiences via kayak and stand-up paddle boarding excursions through the multiple program locations that Outside offers. In her free time, Alexa enjoys a highly active lifestyle, including biking to the beach, hiking, camping, yoga, and swimming. She frequently returns to her family’s farm in North Carolina and is always planning for new adventures.
Doug was born in 1979 and raised in Beaufort SC. He is the main captain on our 24ft Cape horn charter fishing boat – the Outside Angler. He has been fishing these water my his entire life and has been with Outside as a professional fishing guide for 4 years. Doug is passionate about teaching his guests about the wonderful place he calls home, the local ecosystem and about the fish he catches.
Flood (no that is not a nickname!) is a lover of all things water and adventure, and he is able to satisfy his aquatic cravings and much more at Outside. He hails from Southern California originally where he spent much of his time engaged in board-sports and on the beach in board shorts but, coming to Hilton Head since he can remember, the Lowcountry lifestyle has been in his blood his whole life. You can catch Flood stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, jamming on guitar, or exploring Hilton Head, Savannah, and Palmetto bluff.
Geoff is originally from the upper east side of Cleveland, and is now a three-year resident of Hilton Head Island. He graduated from West Virginia University in 2017 with a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources and a minor in Conservation Ecology. He played goaltender with WVU’s hockey program during time in Morgantown. Geoffs hobbies include biking, hiking, paddling, and playing drums for local band La Goons. His favorite musical group is Phish.
Joe is a retired high school Principal. He and his wife live on their classic Hinckley sailboat. He enjoys sharing his love of sailing and the low country with visitors of all ages. Join him on his dolphin eco tours, beach combing excursions, full tide trips and sailing charters to learn more about our beautiful area. His main goal is for you and your family to have a wonderful experience on our waterways and to return for future visits to Hilton Head.
Kurt is a Kayak Guide with Outside. This is his 4th season providing eco and fishing trips to our guests This is his 10th year as a resident of Hilton Head Island. Kurts hometown is Elgin, Illinois which is 40 miles NW of Chicago. There the summers were warm and short, winters were cold and seemed to last forever, but outside was where he preferred to spend his time. Here on Hilton Head the seasons have less of an impact on his ability to enjoy the amazing environment. Kurt finds the opportunity to share it with people very rewarding.
Nicole was born and raised in North East Ohio. She graduated from Marietta College in Southern Ohio in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She holds the current female Javelin record holder at Marietta College at 40.99 meters. Nicole is passionate about nature, science and the human body. She extensively studied entomology, aquatic biology, chemistry and anatomy. Nicole worked as an Analytical Chemist for Pharmaceuticals before relocating to Hilton Head Island. She grew up playing volleyball, basketball, and softball. She played two years of collegiate softball and two years of collegiate track. Nicole currently volunteers as a coach for youth baseball and adult kickball for military spouses. She is also ACA certified SUP instructor and enjoys paddleboarding during any free time.
Sean was born and raised on Hilton Head. His hobbies include skateboarding, attending concerts, networking and spending time with his family. He is an ACA Certified Stand Up Paddleboard instructor.
Wesley is originally from Piedmont, South Carolina. He graduated from Clemson in May 2018 with a degree in Parks and Conservation Management. He moved to Bluffton that May and got married to wife Krystal that October. Wesley started his time with Outside as an intern in 2017 and came back after graduation. His love of the coast and saltwater fishing is what brought him to the area and fishing is his outdoor passion. When Wesley is not working, he is either spending time with Krystal and thier two pups or chasing redfish.
Michael, or Dirty Mike as he is referred to in the company, is originally from Bel Air, Maryland but chose to move down to the low country for its beautiful waterways and lifestyle! He came here as an intern in the summer of 2017 and decided to come back and work full time in the beginning of 2018. He has achieved getting his Captains license and is looking forward to what that has in store for him! When he is not running trips or painting the bottom of a boat you can usually catch him fishing, hunting, or boating and chilling on the sand bar (hopefully on purpose)!
Pippi Itkor was lucky to be born into a family that had a passion for the outdoors and a thirst for adventure. Taught by her parents to fear little but respect all, becoming a guide for Outside Brands was a match made in, well, Hilton Head. Pippi has had the privilege of exploring some of the most exotic places on the planet, but in her opinion, few hold a candle to the unique beauty of the lowcountry. A resident on the island for 17 years, she has enjoyed honing her role as a guide by becoming a SC Master Naturalist and an ACA certified Kayak and SUP guide and instructor.