March 20, 2023

RMEF Welcomes Six to its Board of Directors

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*Editor’s Note* Some members of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association are threatening to withdraw support for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s decision to have Randy Newberg elected as a member of RMEF’s board. Evidently some believe that Newberg “is affiliated with, and often represents one or more organizations that some perceive to be anti-outfitting/landowner often presenting the western Outfitting Industry in a negative light.”<<<Read More from Spokesman-Review>>>

MISSOULA, Mont. – Two are well-known faces to television viewers. Two others are successful business executives. One is used to taking a “hands-on” approach to wildlife research while another stands tall in the classroom and business community. They all share an appreciation for elk, conservation and hunting. Together, they are the six newest members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation board of directors.

“This is as impressive and a rounded group of professionals and conservationists as you’ll find,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They each bring unique talents and abilities to RMEF from across the country yet they all share a passion for elk and elk country.”

New director bios:

Russ Bumgardner of Baton Rouge, La., has more than 39 years of experience as a project manager at Jacobs Engineering. He is an avid outdoorsman and spent more than a decade as an RMEF volunteer, state chair, regional chair and chair of the Habitat Council.

“Joining the RMEF board of directors is exciting and an opportunity to serve the foundation at a higher level,” said Bumgardner. “RMEF exemplifies this stewardship in its efforts to protect and enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife, provide restoration of elk in what once was their natural habitat, and our hunting heritage preserves the skill set for the whole family with sound management practices to be conservationists.”

Larry Irwin of Stevensville, Mont., earned degrees in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management and Wildlife Science. He worked at the university level as a researcher and professor for more than 15 years before transitioning to duties as wildlife program manager and principal scientist for the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement. Over his career, he published more than 120 different scientific articles.

“I am ecstatic about serving on the RMEF board of directors,” said Irwin. “I believe the RMEF is well-positioned to be among the top tier of leading conservation organizations, because of great foresight by its founders, development of a successful business model, and to a tremendously energetic and dedicated staff and outstanding leadership.”

Randy Newberg of Bozeman, Mont., is host and producer of the popular TV series On Your Own Adventures. He is an avid self-guided public lands hunter who is also an accountant and an advisor to the chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen?s Caucus in Washington D.C.

“I am excited for the opportunity to be of service to a group I have been a part of for more than 20 years, yet balanced by my realization that great responsibility comes with the position,” said Newberg. I have great enthusiasm to make a difference on behalf of the many hunters, much like me, who if not for public lands and conservation work on those lands, probably would have never had the chance to become an elk hunter.”

Vicki Peltonen of Weyauwega, Wis., was born and raised in a hunting-and-fishing family. Her interest in the outdoors spurred an enthusiasm for science, which translated into a 20-plus year teaching career including recognition as the 1993 Wisconsin Science Teacher of the Year Award. She is also a business owner and avid bowhunter.

“I would like to see more women and young adults involved in all aspects of the RMEF,” said Peltonen. “I believe we should promote new ways to make our proud hunting and conservation heritage a family treasure to enjoy together now, as well as ensure these wonderful resources will be available to future generations.”

Mike Steuert of Roanoke, Texas, recently retired as senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Fluor Corporation, a Fortune 500 company based in Texas. Prior to that, he served as an executive for two other companies and worked for a third in two different states and abroad. He is an avid outdoorsman and gun collector. Steuert resides part-time near Gardiner, Mont.

“Development is the key to success. I’d like to help wherever I am able to do so. It’s important to get RMEF’s mission widely known,” added Steuert. “My vision is to greatly enhance RMEF’s mission of habitat conservation, given the great successes of 2012, along with furthering our hunting heritage, with a focus on our youth.”

Jim Zumbo of Wapiti, Wyo., is known to many as the country’s most prominent big-game hunter. He has degrees in Forestry and Wildlife Management. He worked 15 years alongside state and federal agencies and later launched an almost 30-year career with Outdoor Life magazine. Zumbo also hosted Jim Zumbo Outdoors. He is set to begin his third term on the RMEF board.

“My reaction to being on the board again is one of pure joy. I’ve watched RMEF grow since its inception, and always have felt like I was a part of the RMEF family,” said Zumbo. “I look forward to being in a position to help make decisions about the direction we go and the everyday issues we must deal with.”

The new board members begin their terms on March 4, 2013.