Bob Brown, Secretary
Born and raised in Ohio, Bob Brown is a graduate of The University of Vermont where he studied geography, and Michigan State University from which he received a degree in college and university administration. A veteran cyclist with more than 40 years of touring and racing experience, Bob operated Adventure Bound Bicycle Tours, conducting summer bike trips for teenagers in the northeastern USA, France, and Canada. Bob’s experience operating Adventure Bound during his college years inspired his 30-year career in college admissions and secondary school guidance. Between jobs and during vacations, Bob hit the road, completing solo cross-country bike tours in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A lifelong cycling enthusiast, Bob has joined or established cycling clubs wherever he has resided and he is the founder of a community bicycle program in central Ohio. Since moving to Maine, he has been a volunteer mechanic and instructor at the Portland Gear Hub. In addition to cycling, Bob and his partner enjoy hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing from their base in Freeport.
Peter Cain, Vice-President
Peter grew up in western Massachusetts and spent his summers at his family’s cottage on Higgins Beach. Over the years most of Peter’s six siblings and their families have settled in or near Scarborough, and he and his wife Donna followed suit and bought their home here in 2017. Peter had a 30-year career in finance, based in New York and London. A big focus was on financing not-for-profits. He has volunteered and worked for Acumen, a global impact investing pioneer, for the past 20 years. He currently serves as an advisor and on investment committees. Peter has also served on the boards of several social enterprises as well as local not-for-profits. Peter and Donna love spending time with their daughter Sophia, and their large extended family (and their two dogs and two bunnies). They are avid hikers and love the outdoors.
Abbie has worked in the education field for most of her life. Abbie is The Statewide Higher Education Coordinator for Maine Roads to Quality PDN. Prior to her current role, Abbie was a staff advisor for the Free College Programs at SMCC and a workforce development adjunct faculty member. Additionally, Abbie was a Preschool Director at Spring Point Children’s Center and at Breakwater for 7 years and is excited to share her experience as an educator with Ketcha Outdoors staff to support the growth and enhancement of our current programming. She served on the Board of Catherine Morrill Day Nursery and the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children and has a level 7 Maine Roads to Quality rating. Abbie has a strong interest and knowledge in early childhood education as well as nature-based programming and a general love for the Maine outdoors. Abbie lives in Portland and is the mother of 2 grown children, Annabelle and Bobby.
Jay Evans, President
Educated in Vermont and California, Jay worked in college administration in Massachusetts following two years of active duty as an Army tank platoon leader. He moved to Maine in 1980 and married his wife Martha the next year after meeting her when buying her house in Portland. A 34-year career in personal finance helped support their two daughters. Choosing self-unemployment in 2012, Jay was an early and avid volunteer with the Portland Gear Hub which, along with formative years as a summer camp counselor, led to his affiliation with Ketcha Outdoors and its terrific mission and staff. Post-career, he’s led hiking and cycling trips and still finds the natural world the place where he most likes to be.
Jeffery Hicklin, Treasurer
Born in North Carolina and raised in Delaware, Jeff’s first introduction to Maine was a two-week canoe trip with his local Boy Scout Troop. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Wilmington University, 20 years later Jeff returned to Maine with his wife Ginger in early 2012.
Jeff is currently the Director of Finance with Atlantic National Trust in Portland, ME. His professional background includes 10 years of public accounting experience with tax planning, compliance, and small business consulting. He lives in Falmouth with his wife Ginger and two boys, Oscar and Teddy.
Jeff is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys mountain biking, camping, and hiking in the spring/summer/fall and skiing or snowshoeing throughout the winter. He joined the board of Ketcha Outdoors in March 2021.
Born in the mountains of western North Carolina, Simon spent his childhood hiking, camping, canoeing, and swimming in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Simon later attended the University of the South where he studied biology. Since college Simon has worked as a carpenter and cabinet builder. Simon moved to Maine in 2017 with his wife Amy and three kids, twin boys Charlie and Raylan, and daughter Ellis. The family spends its free time exploring the coast and mountains of Maine – camping, hiking, boating, and skiing.
Dave is a Senior Manager at BerryDunn, a Portland, ME based business advisory firm. After being born in Massachusetts, Dave moved to Vermont as a child and grew up in the town of Brattleboro. Swimming, biking, fishing, skiing and generally enjoying the great outdoors. After a stint in Florida, Dave completed his undergraduate studies at George Mason University and also earned a Master’s Degree at the University of Virginia. He lived in Northern Virginia for about 12 years before moving to South Portland in 2005 with his wife Kathy, a teacher by training who currently works as a literacy EdTech in the Portland school system.
Kathy and Dave are very proud of their two sons: Dylan and Jack. Both kids attended programs at Ketcha while growing up. Dave has been the Chair of Ketcha’s annual golf tournament fundraiser and enjoys working with the great crew at Prouts Neck every year. Dave enjoys the four seasons that Maine has to offer, and in the past few years has taken up Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). He can be seen enjoying the wonderful open land at Ketcha with his trusty companion Beau, a rescue mutt from Tennessee!
Dave Johnson is a native of Scarborough and attended Ketcha summer programs as a child. After graduating from Scarborough High School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and continues to serve to this day as a part-time Judge Advocate with the Maine Air National Guard. Following separation from active duty, he attended law school at Suffolk University in Boston. He is now a shareholder of the law firm of Perkins Thompson in Portland specializing in Commercial Finance, Real Estate, and Business Transactions.
When Dave isn’t in the office you will most likely find him outdoors hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, or skiing. Dave is the father of two girls who are also part of the Camp Ketcha family.
Erika Nelson, Member at Large
Erika is a CPA and a Manager in the Finance Transformation practice at Grant Thornton. She lives in Scarborough with her two children and husband. She served on one other board for an art gallery in Kansas from 2017 – 2020. Erika’s 6-year-old daughter attends our summer camp, aftercare, and vacation camp programs. Erika is interested in volunteering her time and professional experience to help Ketcha Outdoors and has specific expertise in finance and governance. Erika is interested in arts, education, and outdoor activities and wants to become more involved with the local community and build a deeper network in Maine. She is currently on the finance committee.
Jennifer Ogden works as the Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development for Evernorth; a regional organization representing affordable housing projects across Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Jenn has over 15 years of experience in the Human Resources industry in both public and private entities and industries such as manufacturing, affordable housing, transportation, government, education, and more. She is a member of SHRM and is a certified SPHR. Jenn has a bachelor’s in professional writing from NYIT – Master’s in Human Resources Management and Labor Relations from Ellis University.
Jenn is a mother of three children, 2 of which attended Ketcha Outdoors in their younger years and one who attends Ketcha’s Preschool currently. Jenn joined the Board during the summer of 2022.
Karen began the role of Executive Director for CARITAS in 2000 and took the organization from a 22-week winter-only emergency shelter to one of Richmond’s largest and most effective human services organizations. CARITAS provides a continuum of services which include a year-round, housing-focused emergency shelter, Virginia’s only furniture bank, a 300+ bed residential recovery program called The Healing Place, a workforce development and life skills program for men and women with significant barriers to employment, and 47 sober-living apartments. In 2007, Karen took on the dual role of Executive Director for The Healing Place and guided the efforts to combine the organization with CARITAS in 2012. As President and CEO, Karen lead the successful $15.5M capital campaign and the development of a complex tax credit model including historic and New Market tax credits, CARITAS moved into the new $28M CARITAS Center in December 2020, which consolidated three locations and added a 140-bed recovery program for women and the 47 sober-living apartments. Under her leadership, CARITAS has grown to have more than 100 employees and a $7.5M budget. She is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond, a recipient of the Stettinius Award for Non-Profit Leadership, a YWCA Outstanding Woman Award winner, the 2010 Better Housing Coalition’s “Creative Collaborator,” and was inducted into the Virginia First Lady’s FLITE Hall of Fame for Women in Business in 2012. In 2020, Karen was a Richmond Times Dispatch “Person of the Year” honoree and in 2022, she was the Ukrop Community Vision Award winner.
She has served on the boards of Homeward, Leadership Metro Richmond, the Governor’s Advisory Board for Volunteerism and National Service, and the Vestry of St. James’s Episcopal Church. Karen and her partner moved to Biddeford, Maine in 2023 and she is stepping into the role of ED for United Recovery Fund that support MaineWorks part time this summer. Additionally, Karen is a Portland Gear Hub 2023 Bike Mechanics class alum!
Laragh Kavanaugh, Executive Director
Laragh brings over 20 years of leadership experience, both as an outdoor educator and director at an international non-profit to the role of Executive Director. From guiding youth wilderness expeditions for Outward Bound to leading international programs in India and Ghana to directing operations for CIEE, the leading international education non-profit, Laragh brings a diverse but focused perspective to the Ketcha team. Laragh passionately works to cultivate an atmosphere of integrity and understanding and is committed to building a positive work culture to empower and elevate those around her. After growing up in Maine and becoming a parent herself, Laragh understands the impact that the natural world has on youth and how important access to quality outdoor programs is to Maine families and communities.
Laragh holds a B.A. in Human Development and Outdoor Leadership from Prescott College in Arizona and is a Maine Master Gardener. She lives in South Portland with her husband Joel, and two children, Clare and Wesley. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening, yoga, and exploring beaches in the summer with her family.