Meet Our Instructors

SOLO instructors are active, professional healthcare providers who serve on mountain rescue squads, fire departments, ambulance squads, ski patrols and more. They are experienced, creative teachers who provide a relaxed, team-oriented and inspiring learning environment. With wide-ranging life experiences, many are outdoor experts in almost any wilderness setting. All instructors are trained by SOLO for the specific courses that they teach.

Allan Ange, WEMT-P

Allan has spent a lifetime playing and guiding in the Southeastern mountains. He has worked as a climbing instructor and counselor for at-risk youth, and has spent years teaching climbing, caving, and backpacking. He first stumbled through NOC while hiking on the Appalachian Trail through North Carolina and Georgia in 1994. Later that year, he attended SOLO’s WEMT at NOC. Allan earned a B.S. form Southern Illinois University with a concentration in Ecology, Environment, and Evolution. After college, he worked for the USFS and the National Park Service where he performed plant research and worked on fire crews in Oregon and South Dakota. Allan started working at NOC in 2010 in the Outfitter’s Store and Adventure Course. In his spare time, Allan enjoys his lifelong passion of rock climbing and his more recent hobby: wrangling a rambunctious five year old in the wild. Allan currently holds a North Carolina Paramedic certification as well as a WEMT certification.

Jonathon “Jono” Bryant, NREMT-P, WEMT

Jonathon (Jono) Bryant is a paramedic with 12 years of experience as an expedition leader and jungle specialist. Jono started his SOLO career as a Wilderness EMT student at the NH campus where he rapidly progressed to become a lead instructor. As well as teaching for SOLO Southeast he is also the director of a medical relief charity, teaching first aid and providing healthcare throughout the world. He has taken teams of SOLO alumni to the jungles of Borneo and remote villages in Central America. Jono is committed to providing exciting, entertaining and informative lessons that help students make a difference.

Anthony Geist, WEMT

Anthony is originally from Buffalo Valley, TN. He attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA, where he was employed by the Whitman College Outdoor Program to lead multi-day rafting trips, rock climbing excursions, and whitewater kayaking outings, as well as teach wilderness skills classes such as Intermediate Rock Climbing and Beginner Kayaking. Anthony began working for NOC in the summer of 2011 as a raft guide on the Pigeon River before expanding to all the Northern rivers. Anthony currently studies neuroscience at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He can usually be found climbing at the local crag, riding his road bike, or chasing rain in the Smokies with his kayak in whatever spare time he can carve from his schedule.

Jeffrey Gottlieb, MS

Jeffrey Gottlieb has been the manager of NOC’s Wilderness Survival School since October of 2012. He has a MS in Biology and has been a Naturalist, Outdoor Educator, and Primitive Skills Instructor for more than 30 years. Jeff has built over 50 full-sized wigwams and longhouses at museums, nature centers, and schools using wild-collected materials such as tree bark slabs, reeds, and saplings. His areas of special interest include fiber arts, flintknapping, basketry, edible and utilitarian plants, and nature awareness. Jeff has even written three books as a self-published author and travels the Eastern U.S. teaching at rendezvous, gatherings, and historic fairs.
Jeff says he goes to the woods not to “rough it” but to “smooth it,” believing that many of us have it rough enough in town at our jobs, etc. He seeks communion, education, enjoyment, creative outlet, and peace in nature.

Stephan Hart, WEMT

Stephan has worked and traveled throughout the world as a botanist. With a bachelor’s degree in botany he has an impressive background studying wild foods and medicinal plants. Stephan is an adjunct professor at Southwestern Community College and has been a senior raft guide and trainer at NOC for over 15 years. Stephan is a Wilderness EMT with a substantial amount of experience as an educator.

Shelby Lott, WEMT

Shelby has been a long time lover of the woods and anything wild. She grew up in Montana, moved to North Carolina, and found an outdoor program called TAASC that fostered her passion for adventure. She is an avid climber and trail runner, even running track and cross country for UNC Asheville. She received her WEMT through SOLO Southeast. After earning her national and state licensure she joined the national Ski Patrol in which she is still very active. She is a SAR tech II, MTR level II, and an OEC technician. She combines her passions for medicine and wilderness all year long.

Randy Manuel, WEMT

Randy Manuel is a North Carolina native.  He began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University and Winston Salem State University. His medical background includes Orthopedics, Orthotics and Prosthetics as well as EMS.  With ten years in the U.S. Army and three in Public Safety, his background has been varied and has taken him all over the world.  Randy is involved in both the Wilderness Medicine and the Wilderness Survival Schools of SOLO Southeast at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. After work he can often be found hiking, mountain biking and SUP boarding with his lovely fiancée Jae Jackson (who also works at the NOC) and their hyper-active Blue Heeler rescue, Jefe.

Luke McLaughlin

Luke McLaughlin is a teacher, mentor, rewilder, survivalist, naturalist, and founder of Holistic Survival School located outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has committed his life to mastering and teaching indigenous living skills in order to help people find their balance and connection to the Natural World. For the last three years, Luke has mentored hundreds of people in the wilderness and has witnessed firsthand how having a connection with nature can help individuals find growth, health, and vitality in life. Luke believes that it is the birthright of every human to have a deep physical, emotional, and spiritual connection to our Earth.

Luke has spent over 500 days living primitively in the wilderness across the world and was featured in the Discovery channel’s “Naked and Afraid”, where he survived in Africa for 21 consecutive days. Luke combines his non-judgmental approach with his sense of humor to create a place where everyone can learn regardless of their skill level.

Bailey O’Sullivan, WEMT

Bailey is a WEMT, works for SOLO as an instructor, and operates behind the scenes in the SOLO office as well. She has worked at NOC since 2011, spending her time both in the Outfitter’s Store (equipping paddlers and thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail) and as a whitewater kayak instructor in the NOC Paddling School. She started whitewater kayaking as a kid and soon started racing slalom and downriver kayaks; she even earned a spot on the US Junior Wildwater National Team and raced in Italy at the Wildwater Junior World Championships. While studying International Affairs and Spanish at Georgia Tech, she guided backpacking trips in Alaska and several multi-sport trips in the Southeast with ORGT, Georgia Tech’s awesome outdoor program. She loves traveling and has even worked in Patagonia, Chile, guiding at an eco-resort. Her certifications include ACA Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor and advanced Swiftwater Rescue. Teaching is her passion, whether in the classroom or on the river.

Ken Philbrick, WEMT

Ken served as a medic in the U.S. Army for five years and deployed twice to Iraq. After leaving the Army he attended Columbia University, and then became a Wilderness-EMT and a Wilderness Medicine Instructor at SOLO Southeast. As a teacher, Ken is building on his experience as an instructor for the Army’s Combat Lifesaver Course. An avid long-distance backpacker, Ken has hiked the Appalachian and Colorado Trails. He is currently a premedical student at Johns Hopkins University, and teaches courses at SOLO Southeast whenever he can get away from school.

Brandon Phillips, WEMT

Brandon is originally from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. He has spent the last 7 years teaching environmental education in the Southeastern states and guiding backcountry trips with young adults in Alaska. In addition to instructing for SOLO, Brandon also works as an EMT for a camp in North Alabama, and is an EMT/ Firefighter for the local Volunteer Fire Department. Brandon enjoys rock climbing, hanging out with his dogs, and growing vegetables in his garden. He has BFA in Oil Painting from the University of South Alabama.text.

Brooks Wolfe, AEMT, WEMT

Brooks Wolfe has over 10 years of experience as an outdoor educator and guide (whitewater kayak instructor, ultralight backpacking leader, head river guide, and wilderness survival instructor). Brooks started his path as an outdoor educator by teaching and leading whitewater kayaking trips for the University of Tennessee Medical School outdoor recreation department and for several local kayaking clubs. He found his passion and quickly worked to become an ACA Level 4 Kayak Instructor. He moved out West and, while continuing to teach kayaking, also became a head river guide leading multi-day river trips on the Colorado, Gunnison, Green, White, Deloris, and many other rivers throughout the West. He has a passion for primitive skills/wilderness survival and has spent time learning and instructing from the Western deserts of Southern Utah to the Appalachian mountains of the Southeast. Brooks is a lead instructor at SOLO and currently holds a North Carolina Advanced EMT certification as well as Wilderness EMT.


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