Staff

CSF staff pride themselves on who they are and what they do. For them, coming to work every day isn't really work at all. It is about a passion they all share to protect and enhance hunting and fishing by serving as the sportsmen's voice in Washington, DC and in state capitals.

Jeff Crane

Jeff Crane

President

Jeff Crane joined CSF in 2002 and brings over 20 years of experience in on-the-ground natural resource management and policy expertise at the federal, state and international levels. A life-long outdoorsman, Jeff spent five years working in the US Congress and was instrumental in establishing the Maryland legislative sportsmen's caucus prior to joining CSF. In addition, he has experience developing wildlife habitat management plans in the United States and South Africa. During his eight years in Africa, Jeff obtained his professional hunter's license and guided hunts for big game animals. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Business Administration.

At CSF, Jeff is the primary liaison with the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC). In this role, he helps develop policy, facilitate meetings and coordinate legislative strategy with legislative staff, members of the CSC and the conservation community. Jeff also oversees CSF's National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses program.

Jeff Crane is the only person to sit both on the Sporting Conservation Council (as Vice-Chairman) and on the Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council. He is also a member of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC). In addition, Jeff is a member of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP), and served as its Chairman in 2005. He is a Boone and Crockett member, and is a member of the Government Affairs Committee for Safari Club International (SCI) and the Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee for the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Gary Kania

Gary Kania

Vice President

Gary Kania joined the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation in May 2006 as Vice-President of Policy and focuses on assisting in advancing pro-sportsmen's legislative and regulatory proposals. He is well-respected in the wildlife conservation community for his ability to wade through complex policy issues and advance sportsmen's issues by networking with federal agencies and conservation organizations.

Gary is appointed to the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Federal Advisory Committee and is an alternate member of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC) and Wildlife Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC).

Prior to joining CSF, he worked at The Nature Conservancy as a Senior Policy Advisor in Government Relations. From 1995 through 2002, Gary worked in a number of positions with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation where his final responsibilities included the oversight of national conservation programs and assisting with the coordination of the NFWF's regional offices. Beginning in 1991, he worked for four years at the National Rifle Association as Manager of the Wildlife Management Department. Gary also worked for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station from 1980 until 1991 where he assisted with wildlife damage and wildlife behavior research.

He received a B.S. from the University of Maine in wildlife management in 1979 and, while working at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station, earned two Master of Science degrees in biology and environmental education. Gary is recognized as a Certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society.

Alana Barricks

Alana Barricks

Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator (DE, MD, NJ, PA)

Alana Barricks joined CSF as its Mid-Atlantic States Coordinator in July 2015. In this role, Alana works with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus in the region, which includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Prior to joining CSF, Alana served in leadership positions in multiple state-wide and college-based political organizations, where she focused much of her energy towards Second Amendment campus activism and co-founded the Students Against the S.A.F.E. Act.  Alana coordinated gun range trips and firearms safety courses for campus organizations across the state of New York, and has been featured on the NRA News show Cam & Company multiple times for her tenacious defense of gun rights.

In addition to her work with Second Amendment activism, Alana worked on campaigns for local candidates and elected officials in Western New York while earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Katie Bowling

Katie Bowling

Office Coordinator

Katie joined CSF in April 2014 as the Office Coordinator. Prior to joining CSF, Katie worked in Chevy Chase, Maryland for WeddingWire, Inc. as the Account Manager of Business Development.

Before attending college in North Carolina at East Carolina University, where she majored in Hospitality Management and Business Administration, Katie grew up on a farm in Southern Maryland situated along the Wicomico River. Katie enjoys fishing, hiking, traveling and her dog, Tipper.

PJ Carleton

PJ Carleton

Senior Director of Events and Donor Relations

PJ Carleton joined the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation in 2008 and is now the Senior Director of Events and Donor Relations.

Prior to joining CSF, PJ was the Director of Political and Special Events at Epiphany Productions, Inc. During her 5 year tenure, she planned and executed large and small scale meetings and events for a diverse clientele throughout the United States and Europe. Before working for Epiphany, PJ spent two years in the office of U.S. Representative Billy Tauzin.

Growing up in "Sportsmen's Paradise", PJ has been around hunting and fishing her entire life. PJ holds a degree from Louisiana State University, and enjoys LSU football, NASCAR and spending time with her family, including her English Bulldog Wally.

John Culclasure

John Culclasure

Central Appalachian States Coordinator (KY, NC, OH, VA, WV)

John Culclasure joined CSF in February 2016 as the Central Appalachian States Coordinator. John works with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses under the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Prior to joining CSF, John managed the land protection program at a land trust in his home state of North Carolina where he helped landowners conserve private working forests and partnered with state and federal agencies to improve access to public lands. As a volunteer sportsman, he worked with other hunters to improve wildlife habitat on National Forests by supporting active forest management projects and engaging in forest planning collaborative efforts.

John has been hunting and fishing since he was young and particularly enjoys grouse hunting with his bird dog, Susie.

John has a Bachelor of Science in forestry from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee and a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.

Bee Frederick

Bee Frederick

Southeastern States Director (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, OH, SC, TN, VA, WV)

Bee Frederick joined CSF in March of 2013 as the Southeastern States Manager and was later promoted to Southeastern States Director in early 2016.  In this role, Bee oversees and interacts with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governor’s Sportsmen’s Caucus in the region. 

Prior to joining CSF, Bee was the campaign manager for a statewide constitutional amendment in Alabama to extend “Forever Wild” -- Alabama’s public land program.  The campaign received broad range support from a diverse coalition of over 200 conservation organizations, business entities, outdoor recreation groups, and many others and passed with 75% approval. Additionally, Bee previously worked for U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus (AL) in Washington, DC, Peritus Public Relations, and as a Field Director for the Alabama Republican Party.

Bee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Samford University where he served as Student Government Association President.  Additionally, he sits on the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Advisory Council which works to promote the Black Belt region of Alabama through hunting, angling, and outdoor recreation.  A native Alabamian, Bee has a strong passion for the outdoors, and particularly enjoys turkey hunting, wingshooting, and managing family land in south Alabama. 

Leslie Garrett

Leslie Garrett

Marketing Director

Leslie Garrett joined CSF as Marketing Director in July 2015. Leslie brings more than 15 years of combined marketing, communications and public relations experience. In this role, her primary area of focus is to establish and implement CSF’s marketing strategies to increase brand awareness.    

Prior to joining CSF, Leslie was Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at Intersections Inc.  During her five year tenure, Leslie played a pivotal role serving as the primary in-house media relations and corporate communications liaison where her efforts helped to secure media interviews with top-tier news outlets such as CNN and NBC. She also served as co-chair for the Intersections Corporate Charity Committee which helped to raise funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals nationwide through small and large events such as their annual golf tournament.

Before working for Intersections, Leslie spent 10 years at AOL where she successfully led multiple offline and online acquisition marketing campaigns and was awarded the Excellence in Action Award and earned a spot on the Designated Top Talent list two years in a row.

Leslie’s passion for the outdoors comes from her father who taught her the traditions of hunting and fishing and the importance of conservation. Leslie holds a degree from Saint Leo University and enjoys SEC football (Go DAWGS!), NASCAR, horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and three children in their hometown of Lovettsville, VA.

Joel Hodgdon

Joel Hodgdon

Great Lakes States Coordinator (IL, IN, MI, MO, WI)

Joel Hodgdon joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) as the Great Lakes States Coordinator in June of 2016. As a member of CSF’s States Program Team, Joel works closely with state legislators within the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and governors within the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Prior to joining CSF, Joel worked in the Washington, DC office of Congressman Kevin Yoder (KS) as well as for a national financial management non-profit. He studied Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship at the University of Kansas and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver.

Joel grew up in Kansas with a family business within the shooting sports industry, giving him insight into the issues facing America's sportsmen and women. He enjoys hunting upland birds and white-tailed deer in his home state and across the Midwest.

Phil Hoon

Phil Hoon

Corporate Relations Director

Phil joined CSF in 2011 to work on development and donor relations. Prior to his start with CSF, Phil worked on the re-election campaign of Senator Harry Reid. He was based in Washington, DC, but spent regular time in Nevada. After working on the campaign for nearly two years, he combined his love of politics and the outdoors, and joined the CSF team. He works closely with corporations, foundations and like-minded sportsmen and women to support the organization.

Phil was born and raised in Chestertown, MD. Having grown up on the water and around the family farm, Phil started hunting and fishing at a young age. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Communications Studies from Lynchburg College. Phil currently lives with his wife Mallory in DC.

Chris Horton

Chris Horton

Midwestern States Director/Fisheries Program Director

(AR, IA, IN, IL, KS, LA, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OK, SD, TX, WI)

As a familiar face of the American fishing community and Conservation Director for the Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society (BASS), Chris Horton joined CSF in 2010 as Midwestern States Director for the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses.

In his most recent role at BASS, Chris' primary responsibility was to work with and represent the BASS Federation Nation and BASS members on local, state and national conservation issues that impact sport fishing.

He is a strong, nationally recognized voice on natural resource policy decisions, and has represented BASS and its members on various scientific and government affairs committees throughout his career.

Chris received a master's degree in fisheries from the University of Arizona. Prior to working with BASS, Chris served as the reservoir research biologist, as well as the black bass biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Sara Leonard

Sara Leonard

Policy and Communications Manager

Sara joined CSF in September 2013, and is now the Policy and Communications Manager. She works with the CSF team to help communicate policies consistent with sportsmen’s and women’s values.

Previously, she worked as the Communications Assistant at the Alliance to Save Energy, a non-profit promoting energy efficiency policy. She has also worked on media communications and the Anglersurvey and Huntersurvey at Southwick Associates.

She moved out to DC after graduating from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she studied Environmental Studies with a policy specialization and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science.

Sara taught at CU Science Discovery, a summer program in Boulder teaching K-12 students about environmental sciences, while engaging them in outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, and rock-climbing.

Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Sara enjoys skiing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping. She is passionate about the conservation of the outdoors and knowledgeable about the use of public lands by sportsmen and women.

Jennifer Mecchella

Jennifer Mecchella

Director of State and Regional Events

Jennifer joined CSF in October 2008 as a Manager of the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, she majored in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in psychology.

Prior to joining CSF, she worked for the North Carolina Senate, FLW Outdoors as a Tournament Administrator for Kingfish and Redfish tournaments, and as a Communications Specialist for the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

Brent Miller

Brent Miller

Northeastern States Director (CT, DE, DC, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT)

Brent Miller joined the CSF team as the Northeastern States Manager in June of 2011, and was later promoted to the Northeastern States Director. Prior to accepting a full time position, he served as a policy fellow at CSF in the fall of 2010. In his current role with the organization, Brent oversees and interacts with the state legislative sportsmen's caucuses who are members of the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses, and supports the members of the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus in the northeast region. As a New York native and avid sportsman, Brent has a vested interest in protecting and strengthening sportsmen’s traditions in the northeast.

Brent graduated with honors from Bard College in upstate New York with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Policy, where he focused his graduate studies on sportsmen's issues in the northeast. His thesis examined the potential for changes in Sunday hunting policy to provide increased funding for state wildlife management agencies throughout the region. Further research included an evaluation of management techniques for localized white-tailed deer overpopulation concerns. Additionally, Brent has received his Professional Development Certificate from The Wildlife Society, and currectly serves as a Committee Member on both the National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee, and the Maryland Sportsmen's Marketing Initiative. 

Heather Neilson

Heather Neilson

Marketing and Communications Assistant

Heather joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation in May of 2016 as the Marketing and Communications Assistant. 

Heather is from Oxford, Mississippi and a graduate of the University of Mississippi. During her time at Ole Miss, she earned a degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, and volunteered for numerous citywide and statewide elections. During the summer of 2015, Heather worked in Washington, D.C. for the Senate and a lobbying firm, Crossroads Strategies, LLC. She was eager to return and make Washington her permanent home. 

Heather has enjoyed hunting and fishing with her Dad and brother since she was young. A few of her favorite pastimes include Ole Miss Football, traveling with friends, and spending time with her family.

Soren Nelson

Soren Nelson

Pacific Southwest States Coordinator (AZ, CA, HI, NV)

Soren Nelson joined CSF in January of 2016 as a Pacific Southwest States Coordinator. As part of CSF’s States Program Team, Soren works closely with state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada.

Prior to joining CSF, Soren worked as a Meeting Facilitator in Northern California, where he worked with groups from state and federal agencies to solve complex conservation issues. Most recently, he served as a Political Advertising Coordinator on numerous national campaigns in Washington, DC. Soren holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of California, San Diego.

A native of Redding, California, Soren is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys hunting, skiing, and camping with his family.

Taylor Schmitz

Taylor Schmitz

Event and Development Coordinator

Taylor joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) in July of 2016 as the Event and Development Coordinator. Before his start as a full-time employee, Taylor served as CSF’s Event and Development Intern after graduating from Frostburg State University in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. 

Prior to joining CSF, Taylor interned in the U.S. House of Representatives during the summer of 2015. During his tenure at Frostburg State University, Taylor was very active on campus where he served as President of the College Republicans, served on the Student-Athlete-Advisory Committee, and was a member of the Men’s Lacrosse Team. 

A native of Carroll County, Maryland, Taylor enjoys recreational shooting and is an avid bow hunter. Taylor particularly enjoys hunting for turkey and white-tailed deer in his home state.  

Zachary Sheldon

Zachary Sheldon

Plains States Coordinator (IA, KS, MN, NE, ND, SD)

Zachary Sheldon joined the CSF team as the Plains States Coordinator in March 2016. Before joining the State Program Team, he worked as a Brad Rowse Policy Fellow with CSF in early 2016. As a coordinator, Zachary works with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses under the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Prior to starting with CSF, Zachary worked as a policy intern at The Wildlife Society where he advocated for the integration of sound science into wildlife policy and management decisions. Zachary graduated from Virginia Tech in 2015 with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and minors in Biological Sciences and Economics.

Growing up in a military family, Zachary developed a passion for the outdoors across the world as he fished for piranhas in the Amazon, caught salmon barehanded in Japan, skied the Rockies, and hunted and fished with his grandfather in Virginia.

Dante Swallow

Dante Swallow

Event and Development Coordinator

Dante Swallow joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) in April 2015 and currently serves as CSF’s Event and Development Coordinator.  

Prior to joining CSF, Dante worked for Strategies 360, a government relations and communications firm in Washington, D.C. Dante has also served as a fellow at Western Skies Strategies, where he focused on issues affecting farmers, ranchers and rural America. During his time as a fellow, he worked on building coalitions, devising business development strategies, and assisting in the management of several associations. Before his time at Western Skies Strategies, Dante worked as a grassroots field organizer on the successful re-election campaign of former Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair and current CSC Member, Senator Jon Tester (MT).

Having grown up in western Montana in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Dante is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting, fishing, rafting, and camping.

A native of Missoula, Montana, Dante earned his B.A. in Political Science from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Andy Treharne

Andy Treharne

Western States Director/Federal Land Policy Director

(AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY) 

Andy Treharne joined the CSF team as a State Program Manager for the Western United States in October of 2011. In this role, Andy oversees and interacts with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus throughout the region; he is also an appointed member of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Sportsmen's Roundtable. As a native Coloradan, hunter and fly fisherman, Andy has a vested interest in advancing, protecting and promoting sportsmen’s issues in the west.

With past experience working with western legislators, government officials, stakeholders and local communities, Andy brings a unique and valuable perspective to his position with CSF. Prior to joining CSF, he served as the Policy Director for the House Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly where he supported a 33 member caucus through agenda development, policy and budget analysis, and regulatory monitoring. Additionally, he has worked as a Legislative Aide in the Colorado House of Representatives and as a professional staff member for U.S. Senator Wayne Allard in both Grand Junction, Colorado and Washington, DC.

Andy has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in environmental policy, management and law from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Kelli Wagner

Kelli Wagner

Senior Finance Director

Kelli joined CSF in 2006 with over 9 years of professional experience in the government and corporate sectors. Kelli works directly with the President and is responsible for the financial operations of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

She oversees all aspects of financial operations including maintaining the organizational budget, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, financial reporting/analysis, state filings, annual audit and 990 filing.

She supervises the Office Coordinator and oversees all aspects of office operations including human resources, employee benefits, 401(k), insurance policies, board meetings and all aspects of building ownership. 

She received her B.A. degree with a minor in Math from Salisbury State University.  

Zach Widner

Zach Widner

Northwest States Manager (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA)

Zach Widner joined CSF as its Western States Coordinator in July 2014, before being promoted to Northwest States Manager in 2016. In this role, Zach works with the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and members of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus in the region, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Widner previously served as a CSF Brad Rowse Policy Fellow from June 2012 to February 2013. Most recently, he worked as an Assistant Account Manager with Pac/West Communications, a government affairs and public relations firm in Wilsonville, Oregon, where he worked on issues and campaigns related to hunting, trapping, firearms and natural resources. He graduated from Boise State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and an emphasis in American National Government.

A native of Weiser, Idaho, Zach is a lifelong hunter and angler. He spends most of his free time pursuing mule deer, upland game, trout, salmon and steelhead all across western Idaho and Oregon.

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