The Cool Works Team
The Cool Works® home office is located on the Yellowstone River just outside the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. We are a team of seven - Bill is in the Yellowstone office, Eric and Patty are in Helena, Montana, Kathi is in Arizona, Kari is in Everett, Washington, Ker'en is in Pennsylvania, and Kelcy is in Colorado.
Founder / President
Bill grew up in rural Minnesota and made his break for the Rockies when a friend with a family connection led him to a summer job pumping gas in Yellowstone Park in 1972. That led to 14 spectacular years of seasonal work that included managing gas stations in Yellowstone, nine winters snowed-in in the interior of Yellowstone as a Winterkeeper (pushing, pulling and cutting snow off of the Old Faithful Inn, the Lake Lodge and other Yellowstone structures), teaching mountaineering in the Rockies, Cascades and Alaska for the National Outdoor Leadership School and sneaking in a Denali climb in 1978, and working as a Backcountry Ranger for the National Park Service in Alaska and Yellowstone.
Bill took his first "real job" in January of 1986 as Director of Business Operations for Yellowstone Park Service Stations. That lasted 9 years, from 1986 to 1994, and gave Bill a strong dose of, among other things, the HR joys and challenges of assembling and disassembling a seasonal staff every year for 13 operations scattered around the park. Offering those jobs in Yellowstone, training those folks, watching how the experience changed their lives and then sending them off at the end of the summer – and now seeing how that experience has shaped their lives and his own decades later – it's beyond priceless.
Bill had his mid-life crises in his early 40's and gave up that Real Job in Yellowstone to enter the Environmental Management MBA program at the University of Washington in the fall of '94. He got the notion for Cool Works in an Information Systems class in January of '95 and made Cool Works his 1995 summer job, never returning for that MBA degree. Cool Works continues to give Bill that satisfaction of offering life-changing jobs in great places. That's what we shoot for.
Bill lives near the north entrance of Yellowstone with his wife, Colette, and retired search dog Sula and search dog in-training Chapter. Colette is retired from a 30-plus year career as a National Park Service Ranger and is indulging her passion for search dog work. She also started her Yellowstone odyssey at the gas pumps. Bill fills in his spare time as a volunteer for the Greater Gardiner Community Council, Park County Planning and Development Board, the Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District and the National Parks Conservation Association.
Check out Bill's Blog Post reflecting on Cool Works' 20th Anniversary!
Director of Employer Happiness
Kathi started 'Cool Working' when she was 21 at the Bill Cody Ranch just east of Yellowstone Park. She worked seasonally for the next 15 years for various private concessions and the Park Service in and around Yellowstone.
Housekeeper, line cook, server and bartender; she's worked a front desk, racked up sales in a gift shop, managed a gas station, a bar, and developed and directed a cross-country ski program. She worked for the National Park Service in Yellowstone as a gate ranger, a campground attendant, for park maintenance, (That's right, she's served her time on the back of a garbage truck!) and in the Visitor Services and Backcountry offices. But some of her most memorable seasonal experiences were as a volunteer in the Yellowstone wilderness.
During the winters she completed her degree in Health & Human Development and Spanish and spent an inordinate amount of time riding on Mexican buses. In January of 1997, Kathi joined Bill, Cool Works founder, to help grow Cool Works into what it is today.
Kathi wears many Cool Works hats, but her expertise is in helping you market your jobs. With 15 years in the field and 17 years of experience at Cool Works helping employers with their seasonal recruiting, she'll work with you to craft your recruiting message to attract the kind of quality employees that will be the right fit for your organization. She's passionate about what she does because working seasonally opened up a whole new world for her, and she wants to share that with as many people as possible. She believes in the perfect fit, has seen it happen over and over again, and will work hard to make that happen for you!
After calling Bozeman, MT home for many years, Kathi and her husband Michael moved south, WAY south, to a little mountain town in Arizona, where all that time studying Spanish has finally paid off!
If you're new to Cool Works and want to know all the options for advertising your jobs, Kathi is your go-to gal.
Web Recruiting & Seasonal HR Specialist / Director of Operations
Patty spent over half her life in the Greater Yellowstone area. That almost makes her a native. Born in Ohio, schooled in Michigan - she naively thought a college summer job as a Maid in Yellowstone would be "her one chance to see the West". Uh, yeah. Patty currently resides in Helena, MT, where the Big Sky keeps the Great Outdoors close at hand.
The Game of Life offered up a BFA degree. Seasonal jobs included housekeeping, personnel, hostess, cook, barista and retail. When year-round sounded better than seasonal. Human Resources provided a lively career that spanned national park concessioners and non-profits, with major focus on recruiting, retention, and communication/engagement.
Daughters Sarah and Emily were raised in Yellowstone – a truly unique and amazing foundation for them. Where else do you have to wait out a herd of bison before you can step off the school bus? Sarah and Emily have worked seasonally, with Emily experiencing her own "go, see, do" as a camp counselor in upstate New York.
Creating Pottery, renovating an 1882 three-story Victorian house, and building a timber frame cabin in the mountains push more creativity buttons. Helping to build a CSA from the "ground up" has been a unique and fulfilling (and delicious!) opportunity. Patty's travel has chalked up 48 states, 28 national parks and 14 foreign countries. Most recent big travel adventure? Sitka, Alaska.
Check out a quick video about Patty's journey!
As the Ambassador of Creative Thinking, Logistics and Marketing at Cool Works, Patty may have just the right answer or will point you in the right direction. Call for help if you're stuck with a job posting; if you're at a loss for wording - she'll whip up a miracle on the spot. In addition, Patty is the Conference Coordinator for the Seasonal Human Resource Association. Check out seasonalHR.org for details on the annual Fall Conference.
Tech Dude/Web Wizard
Eric helped give birth to Cool Works back in 1995 when he was a partner in the ISP that originally hosted CoolWorks.com. Since then he married Robyn, brought two boys, Jaydon and Braxton, into the world, worked for the State of Montana and now is working full time at Cool Works to keep us on the cutting edge.
You KNOW he loves this gig by the way he'll look at a map, or cruise by a client in an awesome location and smile and say "We work there!". You HAVE to see this shot he took of the Moose's Tooth on a Denali Overflight. We work there...
Staffing Center Specialist and Cool Works Pied Piper'ess
(aka "The West Coast Branch")
Life comes full circle. Kari (sounds like Atari or Ferrari) had her first seasonal job as a day camp counselor at the YMCA in her hometown, where she lives again after 23 years away for schooling, adventures, and jobs. She left Everett to get her bachelor's degree in sociology on the east side of the state in Pullman, Washington - Go Cougs! - and then spent several months abroad in Europe and Australia / New Zealand in 1994 and 1995, coincidentally when Cool Works was born. After she returned to the U.S. in January 1996, she was hired to drive tour buses in Seattle, which was supposed to be "just for the summer," but it turned into an 11-year career with Holland America Line and Princess Cruises spent mostly in recruiting, safety, training, and human resources. And, you guessed it, she worked with the Cool Works crew to fill her seasonal jobs in Washington and Alaska.
Today, Kari helps employers with their recruiting needs, administers our applicant tracking system called Staffing Center, and often is the face of Cool Works at industry conferences and driving around town in her Mini. As Pied Piper'ess, she also moderates our social network called My CoolWorks. So, if you want to know what the job seekers are thinking, get in touch with Kari. As much as possible, she tries to vacation where Cool Works works so she can meet our employers and job seekers.
Besides helping adventure seekers find seasonal jobs, Kari tinkers with her photography habit and she shares a daily sunset shot from Everett, WA. She also serves on the board of directors for Washington Business Week and is a co-op member / artist at Nomad Northwest. She shares her life with her husband, Oliver, and their three cats, "Hibiscus," Johan, and Gatita. =^.^=
Accounting Manager - The Queen "Bean"/Payroll Administrator
Ker'en headed west in 1998 with one goal in mind, to summit Electric Peak in honor of a fallen friend. Her visit turned into a summer gig with the Yellowstone River Motel, in Gardiner, MT, and life was never the same. She returned the following summer and decided to make Gardiner "home" for the next several years.
After spending a four year hiatus, in Denver and Philadelphia, she decided to return to Montana in 2007. She took the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce by storm that fall and gave them five solid years of her passion and creativity, all the while earning her Associate's in Business and starting a family. She and Bill (along with the help of a few other folks) also collaborated on a few projects together during that time; Bear Awareness Gardiner and the Greater Gardiner Community Council. Her spark, inspiration and tenacity are also the foundation for much of what is known today as the Gardiner Gateway Project.
Ker'en is currently raising her family in Pennsylvania but plans to return to Montana in the not-so-distant future. She is a wiz when it comes to numbers and presently runs our Accounting Department. If you have a question about a payment, invoice or anything else along those lines - she is the one you'll want to get in touch with.
Oh yeah, and that "summer gig" she found back in 1998 that started it all - she still helps them out... every summer.
Kelcy was born and raised in the greater Denver area, and after a stint in the world of higher education in Durango, this Colorado kid uncovered the exciting potential of jobs in great places after discovering CoolWorks! She found her perfect match in the Tetons, where one summer gig at the front desk grew into a six year career as a Human Resources and Recruiting Manager, where she reveled in her role to help many others pursue their own "grand" adventure.
After leaving the Tetons, she clicked her seasonal ruby slippers together once again and went on to live in Iceland and New Zealand. Since returning to the Colorado Rockies, Kelcy is over the moon about becoming a part of the spark that helped launch her own magical odyssey. Aside from her passion for helping enthusiastic explorers find exciting employment in their dream locales, she enjoys backpacking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, quilting and crafting and creating in any and all mediums.
Cool Works Crew at Asilomar Retreat and Conference Center, Monterey, CA
Kelcy, Ker'en, Kari, Patty, Bill, Eric & Kathi
Cool Works Crew in Zion National Park, UT
Kathi, Patty, Kari, Bill & Eric