Venture Up’s inspiring leaders are highly educated, well-traveled staff–successful risk takers at work and in life. Our activities are designed to be fun and entertaining, while internalizing clients’ objectives. When your team arrives on site, we create an immediate, fun, interactive atmosphere that includes everyone. Our events are fast paced and engaging. Our aim is to build lasting relationships among diverse groups, and history shows we can.


David Lengyel, BS, MS

University of Arizona

David Lengyel, co-founder of Venture Up, is a hands-on leader involved in creating and implementing motivational corporate training and team building events. Having traveled to more than 50 countries, David has led mountaineering expeditions on three continents. Trained as a plant biochemist and researcher, David’s diverse background is an asset to our clients in science and technology, as well as for multi-cultural and cross-functional teams.

His international experience led to extensive opportunities in global consulting. He has worked with government agencies in India, Romania, Argentina, Chile, Poland and Russia.

Working with Shell Oil in Siberia’s Sakhalin Island, David implemented a series of team building and training programs for hundreds of expat engineers. In Moscow, he consulted with the All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences regarding an international crop testing program, similar to one he helped run in Mexico. He was also part of the Prime Minister’s Innovation Council to discuss a leadership development site near the Altai Mountains. He has also consulted with commercial and film production companies, and TV shows, including Survivor and the Amazing Race.

In the early years of Venture Up, David became the first to descend Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak, on Telemark skis in winter. He later led a team through the Mexican jungle to “drop” Golindrinas, the deepest cave in the world — which also requires the world’s longest free rappel.

David also has many first winter mountaineering ascents in Canada and the Alps of Europe, including the Triolet and the 6,000 foot North face of Les Droites in Chamonix.

Venture Up’s involvement overseas inspired a series of professional development models in leadership, diversity training, conflict management, business etiquette, and intercultural communication.


Richard Gomez, BS, MS

Annapolis Naval Academy

Richard is a retired Naval Aviator, having served for 20 years in the Command and Control field. A 1986 Naval Academy graduate, Rich brings a unique perspective to experiential learning. His experience in the Navy included directing operations and maintenance of a squadron culminating in directing the Combat Direction Center on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. He served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff,

made five deployments overseas including operations in most major military actions from the early 1990 though 2005. Through his experiences as a Naval Officer and visiting countries throughout the Mediterranean, he brings an energetic, in-depth background that challenges teams to achieve higher goals, enhance individual knowledge of self and others, and build leadership and communication skills in a fun and safe environment. Rich has facilitated programs since 2007, working with the full range of ages from youth through corporate executives. He has worked with Venture Up since 2008. Rich holds a BS in Physical Sciences and a Masters in Strategic Studies & Operations from the U.S. Naval War College.


Michael Donnelly, BA, MEd

Arizona State University

Mike Donnelly has an extensive background in educational psychology and industrial safety for environmental remediation and general construction. He has worked with Venture Up since 1985 designing and delivering leadership and adventure programs, including those involving ropes courses, rock climbing, caving and mountaineering.

Mike has a long history of first rock climbing ascents in the Southwest and has represented Venture Up as the technical advisor in Walt Disney films. As a Safety Operations professional, his experience includes HASPs, implementing MSDS and PPE programs, asbestos and radiation certifications, overseeing DOT requirements and OSHA standards, investigating accident and safety violations, developing on site corrective action plans or client specific health and safety programs. Since industrial safety is ultimately tied to effective teamwork, open communications, defined processes and accountability, Mike brings “real work” experience to many Venture Up team building programs.


Teresa Shaw Lengyel, MA

University of Arizona

Co-founder of Venture Up, Teresa leads our Creative Social Responsibility efforts, assisting HR and CSR leaders in ways to improve employee engagement at all levels, up to the frontline. Having traveled to 50+ countries, mostly in developing nations, Teresa is a strong proponent of equality and diversity and inclusion, and also speaks French and Spanish.

She believes a firm’s greatest hidden asset lies in the backbone of the organization – employees of all levels who can be in-house brand ambassadors on social media. She promotes inclusive employee-driven CSR events as a means to build relationships within and outside an organization and to create a fun and fulfilling workplace. Teresa is involved with CSR team events, such as the Bionic Hands 3D-printed Hands project, allowing companies to assemble prosthetic hands for kids disabled by birth or violence.

As a travel writer and photographer in the early days, she was among a handful of American journalists invited on the first government-sponsored junket to China after the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989. Today she blogs on the internet and publishes our newsletter.


Anna Christopher

Virginia Tech

Anna is based in Raleigh-Durham, NC, and manages Venture Up’s social media and E.newsletter. She produced the current social media plan for Virginia Tech’s College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, and created promotional videos for VT Basketball Team. Her event experience includes work with CSI-Capitol Services, Inc., in Falls Church, VA. She also facilitates events for Venture Up in the Southeast. Anna has traveled extensively in Europe and speaks Spanish.


David Van Sickle, MS, PhD

UC Santa Barbara, University of Arizona

David is a research scientist who has studied asthma in native populations of India, a 3-year project funded by the World Health Organization and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has also done field studies in remote jungles of Mexico, Costa Rica and was involved with the Glacier/Bob Marshall research project. David worked at the Center for Disease Control for several years. David is also the founder of Propeller Health. He works as a consultant for Venture Up clients who are in health-related industries.


Robert Gooch, BS Chemistry

Northern Arizona University

Robert Gooch began his career in private industry as a materials development chemist with Raychem in Menlo Park, California, and then moved into the public health services field, specializing in Food Safety. Robert has been certified for 25+ years as a Registered Sanitarian and Environmental Health Specialist, and was certified over 18+ years as a Standardized Food Safety Inspections Officer with the Food and Drug Administration.

Robert speaks Spanish, and spent his childhood summers in Baja Mexico’s Conception Bay, south of Mulege, staying with a local family in a thatched-roof hut, home of an American expat, his Yaqui wife and children. Much of his childhood involved cruising the Baja waters with his parents on their WWII Navy PT Boat, rebuilt by his father. As a teen, Robert moved to Guadalajara and attended the local boarding school for a year, and also studied classical guitar. Robert’s field training and management experience, brings insight to Venture Up programs, especially those involving State and Federal agencies. Robert was an avid rock climber for 22 years, enjoys fly fishing, is also a champion mountain biker and hockey dad.


Bryan Davis

Universtiy of Houston

Born in Montreal, Bryan has lived in Houston since the 1980s and has been involved in numerous restaurants across the metro area including; Pappas Bros, Haven, Capitol Grill and Eddie V’s. Bryan currently oversees a new restaurant launch in Galveston. As a political science major, Bryan was chosen for the US State Department Scholarship for National Security Studies at David Ben-Gurion University in Israel, with a focus in Middle Eastern Foreign Policy. Then 911 occurred and the offices administrating the scholarship were destroyed in the Twin Towers.

A few days later, the State Department deemed any country on its “watch list” (including Israel), was no longer eligible for a scholarship. At that point Bryan decided to travel the world on his own. He passed time in Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, the Galapagos, Ireland, Spain, Morocco, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and French Polynesia. As an outlet for exercise and philanthropy, Bryan is a competitive mountain biker for Team Peace, Love & Happiness, a charitable organization raising money and awareness for the 100 Club of Texas.


Danny Charlton, BA

Arizona State University

Dive Master Danny Charlton started with Venture Up in the 1990s working in the U.S. and Mexico. Today Danny manages the family-owned Murex Dive Resort with wife Angelique, whose parents pioneered scuba diving in North Sulawesi. Murex was the first to offer Nitrox and open a dive center on Bangka Island, famed for the remote undersea walls of Sangihe.

They operate scuba trips from the Murex Diver Resort and Lembeh Resort, and provide world class night diving for Venture Up Extreme Team events. Certification is also provided on site. Danny is also our program contact for programs in Siingapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Terrell Daugherty, BS

University of Nevada Las Vegas

Terrell has worked with Venture Up since 2002 as a team building facilitator in Las Vegas and the Southwest. For the past 10 years, Terrell has also been active in the UNLV Upward Bound math and science departments, where he is finishing a masters degree in counseling.

Working at UNLV, which ranks fifth in the nation for student diversity, Terrell brings the right energy and empathy to corporate programs, and a youthful mindset through his on going work with students needing support to succeed.


Mason Lengyel, EMT

University Of Alaska, Anchorage

Mason Lengyel is an EMT and the creative force behind the Escape-the-Case game series. He works with ongoing clients, using employee feedback to customize each successive game. “When employees are part of the creation, it drives employee engagement and builds relationships unlike traditional training session,” he says.

Mason has a rich history in global culture and has traveled to 30 nations, mostly in developing nations. Mason played high level hockey in Europe and the U.S, is a surfer and scuba diver and has mountaineering experience in Mexico and Europe. He has spent summers in Peru and Indonesia, and attended middle school in Chamonix, France where his family renovated a log chalet that was dismantled and reassembled at the foot of a waterfall by its previous owner, an Italian mountain guide.


David Anderson

Mechanical & Structural Systems

Navy veteran David Anderson served aboard many carriers, including the USS Nimitz, Ranger and Constellation, responsible for overseeing the structural issues on the EA-6B Prowler. Until 2014, this was the primary war aircraft used to jam enemy radar systems, and gather intelligence for the Navy air defense for more than 40 years. David has sailed the world’s oceans,

with extensive stays in Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. After the Navy, David spent 12 years with a small team which specializes in the engineering and fabrication of implantable medical devices. Today he splits his time among his native Pittsburgh, Nashville, and St Louis working with a wide range of Venture Up clients.


Dave Cummings, IFMGA, UIAGM

Chamonix, France

Based in Chamonix, France, Dave Cumming is an IFGA UIAGM High Mountain Guide, with climbing and skiing experience worldwide. A native of Scotland, he has been living and guiding in the Alps for 20 years. He leads the Haute Route, a ski traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt Switzerland, and has lead training expeditions to the Himalayas. Dave is Venture Up’s choice guide in Team Extreme in Europe, including the Haute Route, the Mont Blanc ascent, and Via Ferrata traverses in Italy.

Private Guiding can also be arranged to suit all levels of experience, though all clients should be fit and in good physical health. You may contact Dave directly from the States at 011-33-450-53-60-64, or call Venture Up at 888-305-1065.


Joel Malcuit, David Comich, Diane Miller, Terrell Williams, Steve Ruff, Mark Gilmone, Emma Leigh Brown, Sandy Ethersal


Venture Up facilitators are based in key cities across the US. With a wide range of backgrounds including; law enforcement, human resources, agronomy, labor relations, IT, journalism, engineering, sales and marketing. Everyone travels extensively, facilitating programs as needed, where ever needed. Diversity is a key for success in all businesses, and Venture Up offers this diversity and experience while planning and executing your next team building program.


Jayne Palmer, BA

University of Nebraska

Jayne Palmer began as a ski instructor in Vail and studied at Denver University. A gourmet cook, Jayne received a degree in hotel and restaurant management from the University of Nebraska. As a corporate partner for Chili’s Restaurants, she spent 18 years traveling the U.S. overseeing restaurant openings and staff training. She also worked in event services at Wayzata Country Club in Minnesota. Jayne is a program manager for Venture Up in covering the Midwest and is involved in both leadership development programs and training new staff assistants.


Michael Boone, MS, PhD

Universtiy of Minnesotta

Mike Boone has an extensive engineering background in both industry and education. For 13 years he worked in the mechanical design and manufacturing sector developing; biomedical machines, test equipment for the space shuttle, nuclear waste handling equipment, and theme park rides for Universal Studios.

He currently teaches Manufacturing Technology at the University of Minnesota, and designed and coordinates the Center Of Excellence Engineering program for Shattuck St Mary’s Preparatory school which combines college level course work and real industry based engineering projects. Mike designs and creates the 3D printed prosthetic hands for Venture Up’s “Creative Hands” team building program.

In his spare time Mike enjoys sports, working on cars, trying new things in his engineering lab, and spending time with his wife and two young children.


Natalie Shaver

BA, University of Michigan

Natalie’s background is in sports management, communications and retail marketing. She spent 6 years in sales and marketing with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Coordinating corporate sponsors, fundraising, game operations and the NHL Entry Draft for the Plymouth Whalers and Carolina Hurricanes. She managed the web site and media streams for Compuware Arena and was the social marketing manager for the NHL Columbus Blue Jacket’s / Team USA defenseman Jack Johnson.

Natalie is the Business Development Director for B&R Sporting Goods, overseeing the 12 store locations in Michigan and Illinois. Her extensive business experience in the world of professional hockey and sports equipment offer an insight to many Venture Up clients. Natalie works with Venture Up programs in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.


Kristian Sandoval, BS

University ITESA Guadalajara, Mexico / Universidad Pontificia Co

Kristian is an industrial engineer and former financial analyst for Hewlett Packard. Fluent in English and Spanish, he worked for five years in cost analysis for HP’s corporate, education, government and non-consumer notebooks and mobile devices. His international business experience is extensive, from Gaudalajara to Mexico City, Bogata, Medellin, Buenos Aires and Houston Texas. Now based in his native San Jose del Cabo, Kristian works as Venture Up’s program director for our clients in Mexico and Latin America.

Kris is also seasoned in water sports. He competes annually for the BCS State Surfing Team, enjoys kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding, and is one of the few certified instructors in Hydro Flyboarding, via Aquatic Aviation in California.


Megan Mancini, BA

Holy Cross College

Megan is based in Northern Indiana and facilitates events for Venture Up in the Midwest. With a background in sales and marketing she coordinates events at the University of Notre Dame DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Megan’s passions for travel and adventure have taken her throughout the country, Ghana, Africa and Ireland.


Cameron Tummel, BA, MFA

University of California / California Institute Fine Arts

As a professional percussionist, Cameron has helped develop and facilitate Venture Up’s JamFest & Rhythmic programs since 1995. He has a BA in History & World Religions from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a MFA in World Percussion from the highly acclaimed California Institute of the Arts,

He is a Village Music Circles certified facilitator, and has twenty-plus years of global experience as a clinician, facilitator and performer. Among the masterful drummers Cameron has performed with are Abdoulaye Diakite, Babatunde Olatunji, Randy Gloss, Jose “Pepe” Danza, Malik Sow, Mickey Hart, and Arthur Hull. In addition to facilitating events, Cameron produces instructional recordings and videos about djembe drumming, and is currently publishing testimonials of drum sabbaticals in Senegal, surviving the Tea Fire, and other transformative experiences.