Wilderness Leadership:
Not Just Leading a Sports Team Outdoors

Kevin Tatsugawa, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Wilderness Coordinator

Wilderness Leadership Program/ Westfield State University (MA)

Product Ambassador (Brooks-Range Mountaineering)


“This lecture left me thinking about the meaning of education, life, and time management.  I really like the way in which he lives his life; freely, moment by satisfying moment.”

Eli Michaels, Kinesiology

“This was my favorite presentation.  It opened my eyes and made me feel better about having a job that I love, even though I do not make much money at it.”

Alisa Moehrle-Druffel, Kinesiology

About Dr. Tatsugawa:

After over 30 years in the outdoor industry as an athlete, consumer, mountain guide, educator, ski instructor, rock guide, mountain bike racer, whitewater raft guide, salesperson, rock gym instructor, sea kayak guide, product tester, expedition leader, guide business owner, and professor, Kevin now finds himself in the very unique position of being a product ambassador for Brooks-Range Mountaineering.

Kevin’s career as a guide spans more than 20 years. Growing up in Northern Californian gave him plenty of time to explore, climb, and guide at outdoor meccas such as Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, the Wasatch, the Alaska Range, the Chugach Range, and the Rocky Mountains. In addition, he’s traveled to foreign, exotic locales such as Nepal to climb, guide, conduct research, and teach wilderness medicine. Kevin has also traveled to Russia to climb and guide Mt. Elbrus, and Pakistan to put up first ascents.

After fulfilling his dream of becoming an international mountain guide, Kevin realized that he wanted to help the guiding industry gain more recognition and respect, both domestically and abroad, by promoting formalized training and education for guides. This led him to pursue a PhD in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Utah. Nowadays, Kevin works as an assistant professor and is the program coordinator of the Wilderness Leadership program at Westfield State University. He often takes his students on expeditions to the mountains of Nepal, Wyoming, Colorado, California, and New England. He continues to work as a guide and conducts field research in mountainous environments. Kevin has been awarded numerous grants to support his research from organizations such as the American Alpine Club and has been involved with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) helping to rewrite an instruction manual and serving on committees.


-Bio and photo courtesy of Brooks-Range Mountaineering