Who We Are

 Scott Dimetrosky, Founder

Mr. Scott Dimetrosky founded the International Mountain Explorers Connection (originally called the Himalayan Explorers Club) in 1996 after completing a six-month traverse of the entire Himalayan range, through Pakistan, India, and Nepal. Disturbed by the negative environmental and cultural impacts of tourism that he witnessed on this trip, Scott created IMEC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to minimize the deleterious effects of tourism on the fragile mountain environments and cultures. IMEC established a number of initiatives, including a homestay program, volunteer handbook, teacher placement program, and the porter clothing bank, as ways to connect tourists more closely with the region and give back to the mountain cultures that provide so much to the tourists that visit. Currently, Mr. Dimetrosky designs and evaluates energy efficiency programs in the U.S. and stays connected to Nepal and Tanzania through his work on the IMEC Board of Directors.

Nathan Partain, Board Chairman

Nathan Partain has been actively involved in non-profits in Tanzania for over a decade.  He is one of the founding Board members of The Mailisita Foundation which created the financially self-sustaining Stella Maris Education Center to serve the needs of a growing orphan and vulnerable population in rural Tanzania. In the USA, Mr. Partain has served as President and Chief Investment Officer of Duff & Phelps Investment Management Co. since 2005 as well as President and Chief Executive Officer of all Duff & Phelps Closed End Funds (NYSE Listed) and Director on all funds. He is also a director (since 1993) and Chairman of the Board of Directors (2011) of Otter Tail Corporation, a diversified electrical utility company located in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.  Mr. Partain is a National Association of Corporate Directors Board Leadership Fellow, having completed NACD’s comprehensive program of study for corporate Directors and ongoing engagement in the Director community.  He holds BS and MBA degrees from Sam Houston State University.

Jack Zuzack, IMEC Volunteer

Jack lives in Boulder, Colorado and has a love for adventure travel and mountaineering.  After several climbing trips to Nepal and South America, he saw first-hand the needs of the people living and working in these remote mountainous regions of the world. He noticed, in particular, how warm and generous these people are despite their difficult lives.  These travel experiences lead to Jack’s desire to make a difference in the lives of people living and working in the world’s mountain zones.  After joining IMEC’s volunteer staff in 2005 he served as clothing transport coordinator, office manager, and board member.  Jack continues to be inspired by the impact a small organization like IMEC can make.

Anna Oursler, Volunteer

Anna has over ten years of experience working in the development sector in East Africa. She currently serves as the East Africa Project Manager at Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, in New York City and Kampala, Uganda. Prior to BBB, Anna worked designing and installing renewable energy technologies in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Anna believes strongly in fair, ethical treatment of staff, and volunteered with KPAP through Visions in Action from 2005-2008.  She joined IMEC’s Board in 2009. In her spare time, Anna enjoys outdoor activities – including mountain climbing and camping.

Adam M. Roberts, Board Member

Adam M. Roberts is the executive director of Bethesda Green, a DC-area nonprofit working to create a sustainable urban ecosystem through promotion of green living and green business development. He previously spent more than two decades working on international wildlife trade and field conservation and animal rescue projects across the globe. He serves on a number of nonprofit boards including the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and the Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary and is the founder of a microphilanthropic nonprofit, The $10 Club, undertaking poverty alleviation projects in developing countries. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Stephanie, daughter Mia, one dog and four cats.

Christine Minja-Trupin, Board Member

Christine Minja-Trupin is a Tanzanian citizen and a resident in USA. Christine’s interest in community development began very early on in her career as a clinical technologist at Machame Lutheran Hospital. She was successful in organizing a women’s forum which became the first women’s group in Machame to receive funding from UNICEF to combat malnutrition. Before and after her education in the US, Christine worked with government, local and international NGOs in Tanzania, and as a consultant for USAID development programs in Xu Saharan African countries. Her most recent employment with Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee included evaluation of federally funded projects, grant writing, supporting public health-related research and teaching program planning and evaluation. Christine’s early retirement gives her the opportunity to provide needed care for her aging parents as well as improve quality of lives particularly among the subsistence farmers and porters in her home region of Kilimanjaro.

Karen Capaldi, Board Member

Karen has been a Ski Instructor, US Forest Service employee, Professional Singer/Songwriter, Recruiter and Digital Production Artist. For the last 17 years she has exceeded all metrics in her role as Starbucks Store Manager through meaningful connections with her employees, peers and Senior Leadership. She created TheDreamMakerProject to inspire and connect Starbucks employees to lead a more meaningful life, using their job to get them closer to their goals and dreams. Using her own story as the pilot, she traveled the world, did volunteer work in Rwanda with Bridges to Prosperity, successfully summited Kilimanjaro, and interviewed Starbucks employees on their dreams. The result was a program that uses Digital Storytelling to start the conversation of “why are you here?” This technique galvanized a business/management tool to elevate the value of everyone it touches by showing relatedness and inspiration to empower engagement and a deliberate life. Karen makes her home in Colorado with her partner in crime Chuy (a boxer/bulldog mix).

Melissa Foley, Board Member

Melissa has lived abroad for several years consulting for various NGO’s in Greece, India, Cambodia, Thailand and Tanzania. Primarily focused on women’s health, education, advocacy and wildlife conservation she has developed and implemented sustainable outreach programs integrating responsible tourism and voluntourism with local community development. Most recently as founding Director of All About Africa a boutique marketing consulting firm to Africa tour operators, lodges and the largest safari vehicle manufacturing company in Africa, she has established international networks and is actively promoting the development of corporate social responsibility policies into the tourism industry. Utilizing over two decades of executive marketing and business development expertise in corporate America, combined with extensive global travel experience; she provides a unique perspective on tourism development.

Harry McLaren, IT/Website Support

Having become acquainted with KPAP when he was just 16 years old and living in Moshi Tanzania, Harry later offered his emerging website development skills and has been supporting KPAP over the last 15 years. As a Cybersecurity Consultant, Harry works alongside some of the largest companies in the UK and, in his personal time, a number of charities and NGOs across Scotland. Harry volunteers his services as IT/Website Support, develops and hosts the IMEC and KPAP websites, and provides any additional ad-hoc advice required.

Karen Valenti, Program Coordinator Kilimanjaro

Since her teen years Karen has always wanted to live in Africa. Her desire persisted after serving with the Peace Corps in 1992-1994 as a physical therapist on the island of Antigua. Karen’s dream finally came true after she received her Masters degree in Nonprofit Management and volunteered in Moshi, Tanzania with Visions in Action in 2002-2003. Karen has been with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project since 2004. She acts as Kilimanjaro Program Coordinator helping to guide and facilitate the development of the nonprofit organization and its Tanzanian porter staff.