Our Team 2013

We are committed to providing our members with the best possible experience in the Alaskan wilderness, offering introductions to a variety of outdoor activities, while maintaining maximum safety.

Robert M. Shurmer, owner and senior guide

Outdoor enthusiast since childhood, Shurmer grew up roaming the woods, hunting, canoeing and x-country skiing in rural Ohio. A Boy Scout and US Army ROTC Scholar at the University of Notre Dame,  Rob has degrees in both history and theology; he received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and currently teaches at St. Albans School in Washington, DC, where he also serves as chair of the history department, academic adviser, and an athletics coach. Rob has also lived and trekked in Austria, Canada, and Scotland. He has been leading backpacking and dog-sledding trips for teens in Virginia, West Virginia, Alaska, and Canada since 2000 and in Alaska since 2009. He is wilderness first aid trained, CPR certified, and NRA weapons certified.


Tyler Casertano, guide

Tyler grew up in rural upstate New York where he developed a love for the outdoors. He spent his childhood summers hiking, biking, rock climbing, and canoeing in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York, and his winters skiing the mountains of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. Since graduating from college, Tyler has lived in Jackson, WY where he did a great deal of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, and Washington, DC, where he currently teaches history and coaches at St. Albans School. He has visited Alaska twice – most recently in July of 2012 to spend three weeks climbing Denali – and he could not be more excited to trade the summer swelter of DC for the Alaskan wilderness. Tyler also played professional lacrosse with the Denver Outlaws.

Tyler in AK

James Cunningham, guide (emeritus)

James joins us this summer directly from his Princeton graduation ceremonies, where he received his B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. While at university, James not only spent time with the Outdoor Action Program, a campus group dedicated to adventure-based experiential education, but chaired his college’s student council. James spent seven weeks last summer on a solo trek across the Scottish Highlands and Islands. More importantly for us, though, he also has experience trekking in both Denali and the Wrangell-St. Elias; he successfully traversed the Goat Trail and climbed over the Chitistone Pass with the 2009 AWOC Expedition.


Matthew Asbill, back country guide (emeritus)

Since childhood, Matt has been trekking into the woods and to the tops of mountains. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont, where he, along with completing a B.A. in philosophy, spent four years working with the UVM Outing Club. He is responsible for rewriting the club’s trekking manual. Through his work at UVM and with NOLS, Matt has amassed a significant background with outdoor leadership training programs. Along with his knowledge of back country living and ethics,  Matt brings with him special skills in situational leadership development and wilderness medical instruction. He is an avid backpacker, skier and climber, – and hip to the Colorado bluegrass scene – and now lives in Jackson, WY. Matt is First Aid, and CPR certified and is a trained Wilderness First Responder.

AWOC Alaska-765

John Velosky, senior guide

We are pleased to welcome Mr. John Velosky to our team. John currently directs the Voyageur Outdoor Education Program at ST. Albans School in Washington , DC, a position he has held for four years. John was also the Teen Center Program Coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club of Concord , NH. John is an alumnus of the GCC Outdoor Leadership Program and graduated from Datmouth College with a B.A. in psychology (where he also played baseball for the Green). John brings a wealth of experience and technical ability to the team; he is a certified instructor in canoe, kayak, sea kayak, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, and back-country expeditions. John is also first aid and CPR certified. Unfortunately, John will not be able to accompany us on the 2013 Alaska trek.

Jamie Gerber, photographer

Jamie grew up in Frankfort, IL, where he lived for eleven years. He has been a student at St. Albans in Washington, DC since 2007 and will graduate in the class of 2012. His interest in photography has grown since purchasing his first Nikon D5000 two years ago. Since then he has not only developed quite a reputation with both the athletic and performing arts programs, but also begun to sell and publish his work beyond the school community. We are fortunate to have Jamie with us this summer to help record the expedition and provide participants with quality prints upon their return. You may access and purchase his photos here.

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