VTC Board

The Vertical Training Commission (VTC) board manages the overall affairs of the organization. The board, which consists of three officers and eight regional coordinators, also develops master-trainer and trainer qualification and evaluation criteria, facilitates training opportunities, and reviews and approves course curricula.

Please refer to the VTC Documents Page to see the most recent VTC board minutes.

Officers

Ron Miller - VTC

Ron Miller

National Coordinator

Charged with overseeing VTC, coordinating its activities, and liaising with the National Speleological Society (NSS). Ron has been a vertical caver for 38 years with 13 years of professional experience as an instructor and consultant in vertical rope techniques, technical rope rescue, and industrial rope access (currently certified as a Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) Level III Rope Access Technician). He has served as an active member of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County cave/cliff rescue team since 2007 (and as a director since 2020), and is a former director, chair, and secretary of the Southeastern Cave Conservancy.
Jenny Tison

Jenny Tison

Secretary-Treasurer

Charged with building the VTC budget in accordance with NSS policy, and maintaining all organizational records, including meeting minutes. In light of her skills and interests, Jenny will also be assisting VTC with risk management and planning. Jenny began caving in 2011 and has served as a Course Leader for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Caving program, the Safety Chair for the Nashville Grotto, and an Expedition Leader for the Cave Research Foundation. She is a former Boston Consulting Group project leader and has a (Master of Business Administration) MBA from Harvard Business School.

Hazel Barton

Hazel Barton

Education Coordinator

Charged with overseeing the curriculum committee and coordinating with the VTC board. Hazel has over 30 years of caving experience, including many international expeditions, and more than 20 years in education, including several courses in teaching techniques. Hazel is currently the Education Coordinator for the NSS Vertical Section and past Chair of the NSS Safety and Techniques Committee.

Regional Coordinators

Jessica Van Ord Profile Photo

Jessica Van Ord

North Eastern (CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, RI, VT)

Jessica began caving in 2014 and has taken part in numerous trainings and expeditions. These include the National Cave Rescue Commission's Level 1, Level 2, and Small Party Assisted Rescue (SPAR), as well as the Technical 2 Hungarian caving course and the first international Croatian Cave Rescue course. Jessica currently teaches regional NCRC SPAR, Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR) and Level 1 courses. She has participated in at least one caving expedition each year, including the Hungarian Expedition in Montenegro, Mt. St. Helen's Glacier Caves, and Cheve, Mexico.

Kyle Mills Profile Pic

Kyle Mills

Eastern (VA, WV, PA, NJ, MD, DE, DC, OH)

Kyle started caving in 2007 in his home state of West Virginia. Major projects he has been involved in have been the Great Savannah, Hellhole, and Friars Hole systems. When not ridge-walking or caving, he works as a climbing instructor for Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides and teaches canoeing and kayaking courses through the American Canoe Association.
Phillip Rykwalder

Philip Rykwalder

South Eastern (FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, AL, MS, PR, VI)

Philip started caving in 1993 and went on his first international expedition in 2000. Since then he has been a participant on over 60 expeditions in 12 countries. Philip is an active caver in the Southeast and is a member of the Chattanooga Hamilton County Cave Cliff Team.
Anmar Mirza - VTC

Anmar Mirza

Central (IL, IN, IA, KY, MI, MN, MO, WI)

Anmar Mirza has been an active caver since 1983. On average he’s caved twice a week since he started and has caved all over the word. He is a project caver, principally with the James Cave Project, but helps with other projects as well. He lives in Southern Indiana on a large piece of land with several caves. In addition, he owns property in Kentucky, including a piece with a 145’ in-cave pit. He’s the former Central Region NCRC Coordinator and former National Coordinator for NCRC. He’s been teaching cave rescue both with NCRC and with his own consulting company for many years. In addition, he’s taught hundreds of new vertical cavers. He is the Property Manager for the Richard Blenz Nature Preserve which contains Buckner Cave.
Geary Schindel

Geary Schindel

South Central (AR, LA, NM, KS, OK, TX)

Gary has been caving for almost 50 years and is an active vertical caver and vertical skills instructor. Geary has written papers on vertical caving, co-edited the Nylon Highway, co authored a chapter for the NCRC training manual, and has completed Levels I, II, III of NCRC and SPAR. He previously served as the NSS President.
vtc-georgia-schneider

Georgia Schneider

Rocky Mountain (CO, WY, MT, SD, NE, ND)

Georgia started caving in Indiana in 2016. She quickly became a vertical enthusiast and visited deep pits throughout Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (TAG). She has contributed to caving expeditions in the United States, Mexico, Kazakhstan, and New Zealand. Currently living in Denver, she is the secretary of the Front Range Grotto and participates in as many local projects as possible. Georgia has completed an NCRC Small Party Assisted Rescue (SPAR) training and is a graduate student studying Geographic Information Systems at the University of Denver.
EC Moe

Annelisa (EC) Moe

Western (NV, UT, AZ, CA)

EC started caving in 2015, and quickly began to mentor new cavers in knots and single rope technique (SRT) through the Southern California Grotto in 2016. With a master's degree in geological sciences, project caving (mainly inventory and mapping) have been a big part of her caving career. She has contributed to expedition caving in Sequoia National Park and Klamath National Forest in California, as well as in Belize. She currently lives in Los Angeles County, and many of her trips have been for recreational caving in the Western Region, with return trips to help guide new cavers. EC took NCRC Level 1 during the 2017 weeklong national seminar.
Eddy Cartaya - VTC

Eddy Cartaya

Pacific Northwest (AK, ID, OR, WA, HI, GU, AS, MP)

Eddy has been caving internationally since 1987. He has been teaching cave rescue since 1994 and developed the NCRC certification program launched in 2018. Eddy is a national coordinator for the National Parks Service (NPS) technical rescue academy, the NCRC delegate for international programs, a board member & Rope level 3 certified tech for the International Technical Rescue Association.