Elk NetworkMeet RMEF’s Newest Regional Directors

Volunteer News | March 19, 2020

As volunteers, you are the most important part of this organization. In the last year, the RMEF hired eight new regional directors to support you as you keep the mission moving forward.

“We are very excited about the newly hired Regional Directors across the country, says RMEF Vice President of Field Operations, Chad Franklin. “This group brings years of professional experience in sales and leadership positions. They hit the ground running, and they’re already delivering in many different areas. Their energy and passion, along with the leadership of many veteran Regional Directors, will help take RMEF to the next level.”

Here are three of the new faces:

From the Northwest—Kris Lofstrom, ND—Hired February 2019

Kris Lofstrom grew up whitetail hunting in Minnesota with his dad and brothers. He now lives across the border in Fargo, North Dakota, where he’s been ever since 2001. When we caught up with Kris, he was working from home with his trusty “office dog” at his side, a Boston terrier-pug cross named Finnegan.

What makes you a good fit for RMEF?

I’d been a RMEF volunteer almost 15 years. I was a committee member with the Fargo Chapter, then took over as the chapter chair for three years, then I became a state co-chair with Deb Jenner until I got hired as the new RD. I can understand where volunteers are coming from, and now I can help even more.”

What do you love about your job?

I love working with like-minded individuals and having a job that I do—not necessarily for a paycheck—but for the love of what our mission is. I love working with my volunteers. It’s nice to know what I’m doing is going to make a difference in something that I care about.

Do you have a family?

I have a wife, Tara, and two kids. My son Trystan is 11. When he’s not playing baseball, he’s hunting or coming to banquets. My daughter Ashlyn just turned 20, and she lives in Los Angeles. She works as a Disney princess—princess Tiana from the Princess and the Frog.

What drew you to RMEF?

I fell in love with it, because we can see the way the dollars get spent by the foundation. It speaks to me because it helps other critters, not just elk. I see how other organizations operate, and how RMEF operates was something I gravitated toward and could get behind.

What would you say to your volunteers?

I would say I appreciate them more than they’ll ever know. Without them we’re not possible. The foundation wouldn’t be where it’s at today without the volunteers. That should always be known to everybody. It’s just a huge thank you.

From the Southwest—Whitney Huddleston, TX—Hired January 2020

At age 30, Whitney Huddleston already has three college degrees. She’s a former TV meteorologist, with seven years of fundraising experience in her background. She lives in Sarado, Texas, where she grew up hunting whitetails and wild hogs. She loves fly fishing and running marathons.

What drew you to becoming an RD for RMEF?

I had worked in fundraising for several years before this. I was at Texas Tech University working in fundraising for six years. I also spent a year at a nonprofit in human services in Austin, Texas. I also have a personal interest in conservation. It’s that combination that made me interested.

Do you have a family? Any kids?

I have 1-year-old twin boys, and I’ve been married five years. We moved back home when the boys were born right next to my parents—which is awesome—they’re ten minutes away. It’s a lot of help since I’m working full time and traveling.

What do you like about your job so far?

A lot of it is the people I meet. Our volunteers are amazing! The amount of time they spend planning and implementing these events is just crazy to see, so it really makes it worth it.

What do you bring to RMEF?

I’m one of two girls who are RDs. It’s good to shake it up and get a little bit of new perspective. I think there’s only one RD that’s younger than me too, so I think it’s good to get that new generation in there. I’m hoping to bring in a new generation and a new way to approach things.

What would you like to say to your volunteers?

I think the most important thing to let them know, is that the hours they’re putting in are making a very real and very measurable impact. Without them we probably wouldn’t be in existence right now, and if we were, we’d be tiny.

From the East—Brian Robinson—FL, GA, AL, MS—Hired November 2019

Brian Robinson grew up working a small farm in Tennessee. He hunted doves and rabbits with his dad growing up. Now he lives in Loganville, Georgia, where he works a small farm in addition to working as an RD. He calls his John Deere Tractor his “sanctuary.” When he needs a break, he fires it up.

What drew you to RMEF?

I always wanted to do something outdoors. I did a lot of research and study on the RMEF. I saw more of the conservation side of it, and how it went beyond just the elk. We support conservation and environmental research. That goes beyond what a lot of organizations do. I thought this would be a good fit for me.

What do you love about your job so far?

The people. The one thing I’ve learned is that the people can make the job. I really like the upper management from the RMEF. I think they are very transparent and down to earth. The committees that I’m getting to work with—I’ve met some outstanding people along the way.

Do you have a family?

I’ve been married for 25 years to my wife Cindy, and I’ve got three kids. My oldest daughter Hannah, is 21 and fixing to graduate from the University of Georgia. I’ve got an 18-year-old, Callaway, who’s fixing to graduate from high school, and then I’ve got a 16-year-old, Emma, who will be an upcoming junior. Then we have a black lab named Sadie, who the kids tell me is my favorite child out of all of them.

What did you do before RMEF?

I was in the health care industry for 25 years, first as a pharmacist and then in upper management. I started looking for something different to go along with my passions of hunting and fishing. RMEF paralleled that.

What would you like to tell your volunteers?

I’d just have to say thank you. I know it goes above and beyond their normal jobs. It takes time and commitment and dedication to do what they do. They are definitely the lifeblood of the foundation. I’m there to support them, not the other way around.

By Heather Fraley