While the spotlight often shines on the visible aspects of a project, it is a result of the collective effort of all involved. Observer Ranch would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of every individual who contributes tirelessly in roles that may not always be in the forefront but are equally critical. 

From water dowsers and surveyors, planners, engineers, architects, building department employees, local county/state employees, safety inspectors, administrative staff, procurement specialists, electricians, plumbers, general laborers, and so many more- they play an indispensable role, and are the architects, enablers of the vision.

Each contribution, no matter how seemingly small or hidden is a vital thread in the tapestry of our project’s success. Their commitment and expertise are the cornerstones of our achievements. Together, we are building more than just a structure; we are creating opportunities, enhancing communities, and leaving a lasting impact.

With deep gratitude and respect,

The Team at Observer Ranch

These will be the friendly faces you will see during your visit- they are also instructors for our Core Classes! please do not to reach out for assistance. Our goal is to share, inspire and cultivate ideas, be a place to ask questions, and simply be inspired! We are so excited to welcome you to Observer Ranch – Meet the Team:

Mike - Operations Manager

Mike brings a wealth of knowledge, humor, and insight to his role at Observer Ranch! With over 15 years of experience as a Maintenance Specialist, Mike is known for his strong attention to detail and proactive problem-solving skills. 

Rational and fact-based, yet witty and humorous, Mike combines common sense with empathy and fairness in everything he does. His class style is interactive and tailored to his audience, blending hands-on experience with theoretical knowledge.

Passionate about animal husbandry and food production with an emphasis on high-quality meat protein, Mike excels in developing both hard and soft skills in his students. He holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoff Lawton in Australia and has studied Holistic Management with the Savory Institute. Mike’s love for woodworking and bonsai growing is evident, and he proudly served as the president of the Maryland WoodWorkers Guild for six years before moving to Observer Ranch.

Mike’s experience includes owning and operating a landscape and lawn care company alongside a 4-acre veggie farm with his wife, Barb. He has designed and implemented several large grass-fed farms, showcasing his admiration for the cow’s role in natural systems. 

Known for his uncanny ability to fix mechanical things and find the underlying cause of systems and situations, Mike is a self-motivated leader who builds rapport with everyone he meet – join Mike in one of his many classes to experience his practical, pragmatic, and spontaneous teaching style, filled with humor and passion!

Barb - Guest Services & Reservations

With a lifetime of experience and a passion for sharing skills, Barb is a dedicated and friendly teacher who loves to help others learn. Barb thinks outside the box and manages everything within her control with meticulous attention to detail- she strives for excellence in everything she does and enjoys hands-on teaching methods that empower others to gain knowledge and develop their own skills and confidence.

Barb’s diverse background includes co-owning a lawn care and landscape company, running a successful organic farm, and consulting for newly established farms. She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate and has extensive experience in dairy processing, gardening, crafting, and more. Her classes cover a wide range of topics, from Zendoodle cards and growing various plants to kitchen skills, homesteading, animal husbandry, animal processing, and basic permaculture. Barb’s favorite subjects involve farm animals, where her enthusiasm truly shines. As a floral manager, Barb exceeded expectations by increasing sales and managing associates with kindness and fairness. 

Barb is happily married to Mike, and together they have two children whom they homeschooled and unschooled. They are also proud grandparents to two granddaughters. Barb loves teaching her granddaughters crafts and skills of all kinds, especially baking and sewing. Barb looks forward to welcoming you to the ranch and making your stay fun and enjoyable!

Bailey - Communications

Bailey has been part of the Observer family for over a decade! She has a degree in Science Journalism from UW Eau Claire and her Master’s degree in Professional Communications with an emphasis in Digital Marketing from UW Stout, and supports her clients through her digital marketing agency, Elara Creatives. 

She manages all the monthly Observer Review newsletters, as well as The Observer Review, sharing complicated topics in short, easy to digest ways for readers. She is a bright and cheerful at our events, running registration, sales, and connecting with guests!

When she isn’t supporting her clients, you’ll find Bailey outside, in the mountains, skiing, hiking, camping and seeking new adventures! She is a valuable contributor in all our initiatives and we are lucky to have her!

Ben

Ben is the Founder of Space Weather News, sharing his analysis of solar-terrestrial events since 2011. He has published books on the workings of the sun, including Weatherman’s Guide to the Sun and Earth Catastrophe Cycle. His background is in meteorology/economics and law. 

He was part of The Mobile Observatory Project, a core speaker at the Observing the Frontier conference series, and participates on interviews/podcasts if available. He hopes you’ll open your mind/perspective and consider new ideas. He loves spending time with his 3 kids, and enjoys coaching soccer for their team!

Bob - Ranger

Bob has been part of the Observer community for over a decade- if you’ve been to Observer events in the past, you’ve probably met Bob! He has over 50 years of experience in as  Superintendent. He has worked on various projects including waterpark hotels, athletic facilities, university medical research labs, retail stores, restaurants and more, and we are lucky to have him as part of the team!

Bob loves being outdoors, climbing, hiking, skiing, you’ll find him with his dog, Rocko patrolling the ranch. He hopes you’ll catch a class from him while you’re here – he has so much knowledge to share!

Eddie - Campground Host

Edward has spent his life camping- his family bought and operated a KOA when he was teenager, and he acquired many skills through his time there. He truly loves helping and supporting others, and will be there to support our campers and their families.

Edward has his OSHA 30 Certification and his Log Builders Certificate. He believes if you have a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!

Eric - Technician/Maintenance

Eric is a National Honor Society graduate at the NASCAR Technical Institute, Eric has worked as a Technician at SpaceX, Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando, and has over 12 years of experience in automotive and heavy equipment. Eric also has extensive experience in commercial and residential landscaping installation and design, in which he proudly won an award for one such design.

As a former volunteer firefighter, Eric is always ready to bring his skills and expertise to the rescue. Having been a 5 time recipient of the Crew Chief Award for Leadership at the NASCAR Institute
and top regional sales for Spectrum, Eric’s charisma and leadership will ensure that Observer Ranch and its guests, are in very capable hands.

With his 30 year long distance cycling career, and training for the Race Across America, Eric loves being active. Eric is a Certified Personal Trainer with a certificate in Nutrition. Eric enjoys the great outdoors in his free time. His favorite activities are hiking, camping, archery, and mineral panning. Join Eric’s classes to let him guide you in some outdoor adventures!

Lizzie - Library Caretaker

Lizzie is all about customer service! She worked at a campground in the past, was a volunteer firefighter and school bus driver. A local resident of Penrose, you may run into her as you are out and about exploring all the cool places the area has to offer!

She is excited to make connections with campers, and is responsible for the Little Spark Library- organizing, cataloging and labeling over 350+ books. She is a fast learner, able to adapt and here to make campers feel welcomed!


Kat

Kat is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she studied at The Fisher College of Business. She has helped individuals, families and businesses simplify and manage their finances over the last decade, working in consumer lending, credit management and private banking. She supports others at her work at an accounting firm, serving through strategic development and consulting to help them achieve long term success. She always seeks ways to weave joy in all processes, and looks forward to bringing people together at Observer Ranch.

She wrote the Kira and Lulu children’s book series: Kira and Lulu Visit the Sun, Kira and Lulu Visit the Planets, Kira and Lulu Visit the Milky Way, and loves participating in reading/literacy/local author events, bringing the fun of space into the classroom for students. These books were inspired by her three children, who she loves spending time with and will talk your ear off about if you let her! She is the Founder of Little Spark, a non-profit that aims to empower through Education, and is excited to share the Little Spark Library with campers!

Rocky

Rocky is a family man, he is the proud dad of three remarkable young boys, a wonderful wife and two dogs. They love to explore the outdoors and take out their travel trailer, whether it is across states or to the local KOA/Jellystone Park. One of his side projects is the Big Burb; the disaster vehicle- find it on YouTube, where he shares the 1979 Chevy K20 Suburban and the process of making it EMP/CME proof.

In his professional life, his experience is in commercial project management, specializing in energy services. He has experience with graphic design as well – he helped create our map! He’s participated in many of our past events, usually manning the grill- he is a mean cook!