Formally organized in 2016, a group of outdoor industry leaders dedicated to enhancing the focus on tree stand safety worked collaboratively to form the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation (TSSA), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Hunting from a manufactured tree stand is a safe way to hunt provided the hunter follows the tree stand manufacturer’s guidelines. However, tree stand related falls continue to be one of the top causes of injury and deaths to our deer hunters. Our focus is to ensure that every hunter that uses a tree stand does so in a safe manner so that he or she comes home safe to their family and friends.
The mission of the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation is to significantly reduce tree stand incidents through promotion, education, and best practices.
Reduce the estimated number of tree stand falls resulting in an emergency department visit 50% by 2023.
Serve as a national resource on tree stand safety awareness.
Promote research surrounding tree stand safety.
Facilitate dialog among tree stand industry leaders, governmental officials, hunter education instructors, public, and other stake holders.
Act as a resource in the development of marketing and educational strategies for safe tree stand use.
Glen is Dean of Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Virginia. His nearly 30 years in higher education and experience as a firefighter/paramedic has created a unique mix of backgrounds that fuels Glen’s passion for educating people on the safe practices of tree stand use. Glen is an active Hunter Education Instructor in Virginia and a member of the Virginia Tree Stand Safety Team. Glen’s education includes an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Administration, a Master’s degree in Education and a Doctorate in Health Sciences. Glen has published articles and presented at the local, state, national and international levels on various topics, including research conducted on tree stand safety and hunter’s attitudes and behaviors toward tree stand safety. In his leisure time, Glen enjoys music with his wife, Karen, and listening to their son, Hunter perform. Glen also spends time coaching baseball, and hunting and fishing with his son.
Mitch Strobl serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Kalkomey Enterprises. Mitch and the rest of the Kalkomey team are dedicated to providing hunter education courses to students across the world, educating hunters across the United States, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and beyond. “Our work saves lives” is the motivating factor for the Kalkomey team to continue advancing the hunter education experience for hunters. Mitch lives with his wife in Dallas, Texas. Family and work are Mitch’s passions. His hobbies include fly-fishing, baseball, photography and woodworking.
After serving as a member of the Indianapolis Fire Department for 26 years, Sean retired to pursue a career in the business world. As the Chief Operating Officer for the American Hunting Lease Association, Sean is responsible for educating landowners and hunters about the benefits hunting leases. Sean’s work allows him to speak with hunters from all over the United States. Since hunting, fishing and the outdoors have always been Sean’s passions, he feels spending time with like-minded individuals is a true blessing. Sean lives in Indianapolis with his wife of 25 years and his two daughters. In addition to hunting, Sean enjoys tennis, reading and the roar of Indy cars.
Jay Everett is the Marketing Manager for Hunter Safety System. Prior to joining Hunter Safety System in 2013, Jay was an owner and co-founder of the consumer hunting expo, Big Buck Expo, in Lakeland, FL. One of Jay’s first initiatives at Hunter Safety System was to enlist greater involvement of hunting industry leaders in the cause of tree stand safety. That initiative became the seed for the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation. Jay is married with four children. His interests include time with family, hunting and fishing. Jay is a graduate of Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.
I had over 20 years of experience at Summit Treestands. I joined the company at a young age of 19 and never looked back. My passion is making sure that hunters are safe and secure to insure that they enjoy each and every hunt, and then return to their friend and family to share the great outdoor stories and experiences. I am currently serving in the role of Brand Manager, responsible for the overall direction of the Summit Brand. I live in Huntsville, AL with my wife, Phoebe, and my daughters, Morgan and Emma. Like me, my family shares a passion for the outdoors- from hunting, fishing, and camping to college football and outdoor sports- we love it all!
Laden Force is a young career man of the outdoor industry, now working as the Publisher of North American Whitetail, Gun Dog and Wildfowl Magazines, as well as the Producer/Cohost of North American Whitetail TV. Raised on his family farm in northern Missouri, he cut his teeth on hunting white-tailed deer, eastern turkeys, waterfowl and quail. Laden is now an avid outdoorsman that thrives on pursuing game with a bow and sharing his passion with his three sons. He has been lucky enough to move back to small-town Northeast Missouri, where he and his wife, Jordan, are raising Stone, Wilder and Zee.
Tom Gallagher has been actively involved in the outdoors industry for over four decades and has played an instrumental role in the evolution of tree stands and related hunting products. Tom is Cabela’s Vice President of Merchandizing in Hunting. Tom also serves on the Board of Directors of Hunter Specialties and previously served on the Boards of the Archery Trade Association (ATA) and the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association (TMA).
Melissa Neely is a Wildlife Biologist with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. She oversees Region 5 Sportsman Education Program, Upland Gamebird Program, and manages several Wildlife Management Areas. In addition, Melissa works locally with nuisance and conservation projects concerning bear, moose and deer. Previously, Melissa worked on projects across the country including marine biology in the Bahamas island of Eleuthera and raptor ecology in New Mexico. Melissa received the International Hunter Education Association’s Edward Kozicky Award in 2012 and 2013. Her hobbies include hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and camping. She currently serves on the International Hunter Education Association Board as Vice-President. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Jerry spent his early years in the airline and insurance industries before starting Hunter Safety System with his brother, John Wydner and best friend, Jim Barta in 2001. “Another life saved” is the reason why Jerry and the Hunter Safety System team creates innovative hunting safety products for their fellow hunters. Married for 40 years to his high school sweetheart Mary, Jerry and his wife have two children and four grandchildren. Family and work are Jerry’s passions and his hobbies include hunting, fishing and grandchildren.
With over 25 years with Realtree, David is a familiar face in the outdoor world. David is VP of Television and Video Production - that means he wears a lot of hats at Realtree. He serves as co-host, along with Bill and Tyler Jordan on Realtree Outdoors on Outdoor Channel and Monster Bucks TV on Sportsman Channel. David’s main responsibility at Realtree is to "fly the flag" at various industry and consumer events around the country and to represent Jordan Outdoor Enterprises in a positive and ethical manner. David lives in LaGrange, GA and plays golf with his three sons as much as possible. David says it’s the ultimate foursome. A University of Georgia alum with a degree in Ag Economics, David is quick to tell you he considers himself "blessed beyond measure" and strive to glorify God in everything he does.