2020 Staffing Changes

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting financial impacts, The Mountaineers has made the decision to eliminate six full-time staff positions this spring and summer. We're grateful for each of these individual's contributions to the club and are sad to see them go.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 26, 2020

With sadness and gratitude, we’re celebrating the staff who have left or will be leaving The Mountaineers this spring and summer. We will bid farewell to our Associate Program Manager of Camps, Katie Love, as she moves on to pursue a graduate degree in Geography. This season, we’re also saying good-bye to five other staff, whose positions were eliminated as a result of the financial impacts of COVID-19. 

As we worked through plans to navigate the crisis and ensure our financial viability, we made the agonizing decision to eliminate five full time staff positions and not fill a sixth open position, which we had originally budgeted to hire. We’re grateful to the impacted staff members for their long-term contributions to The Mountaineers and their outstanding support during this difficult transition. Please join us in recognizing and thanking these individuals: 

Chad Arveson

Chad joined our staff team as the Education Administrative Assistant in 2016. In his four years here, Chad supported the Seattle Climbing Committee in their meetings and events, restructured the administration of our Peak Pins, created an intricate system for tracking, receiving, and distributing volunteer gifts, and answered hundreds of volunteer support needs. Chad brought care and compassion to everything he did, including the thoughtful administration of our financial assistance. During his last few months on staff, Chad stepped up as Interim Conservation and Advocacy Manager as we said goodbye to our Conservation and Advocacy Director Katherine Hollis. Chad briefly took the reins with our Conservation Currents communications, and supported our partnership with Outdoor Alliance. His last day was April 2. Chad was a rock on our staff team, and we are grateful for all he brought to this organization.

Tim Bugler

Since 2015, Tim has been supporting The Mountaineers Seattle Program Center as the Facilities Manager. In addition to providing regular care, cleaning, and maintenance of our building and its grounds, Tim has been a continuous figure in supporting large events ranging from BeWild to MountainFilm Festival to Bar Mitzvahs. His sense of humor and fantastic taste in music brought energy, laughter, and passion to the role. Although not every visitor to the Program Center may have gotten the opportunity to meet Tim, there’s no doubt that everyone who walked through our doors benefitted from his work and care. Tim’s last day will be July 2. We have no doubt he’ll have a big impact in his next role. 

Dilek Bulut

Dilek joined The Mountaineers in 2017 as eLearning Developer, a brand new position to help us create innovative ways to engage in learning. She came to The Mountaineers with expertise that no one else in our organization had and worked tirelessly with staff and volunteers to create high quality eLearning content. Dilek created several very large courses, including Becoming a Mountaineers Leader and Mountaineers Branch and Committee Chair Training, both critical courses that filled a long-time gap for onboarding our volunteers into key positions. She also developed Public Lands 101, as well as several other courses that reached a wide audience. Perhaps most importantly, Dilek showed us the value of online learning and highlighted the flexibility and accessibility to help us improve our organization and expand our mission. Her last day was April 2. Dilek had an incredible attitude and was always willing to lend a hand, and we’re grateful for her contributions.  

Danielle Leitao

Danielle began work with us in 2016 serving as the Director of Summer Camp before it became a full time position. In her time with us, she expanded camps programs by offering camps during school breaks, overnight adventures at Mount Rainier and Baker Lodge, oversaw the opening of our Gear Library, and ensured the delivery of high quality educational experience for literally hundreds of youth through our Mountain Workshops program. She set summer camps up for future success, and has created systems that will ensure the future of outreach programs when they’re safe to resume. Danielle’s last day in the office will be June 26. We wish her the best of luck in her return to school to study Special Education.

Katie Love

Katie Love, our Associate Youth Programs Manager, has been running camps and family programs for the past two years. In her time with us, Katie oversaw a record number of day campers, began a Meany overnight camp in the winter, started Mini Mountaineers, and is probably the original creator of the Question of the Day, a favorite activity among our staff. It goes without saying that we will miss Katie, it is also safe to say she is leaving a lot for us to remember her by. Katie’s last day in the office will be July 8. Katie’s next steps have her traveling to British Columbia to pursue a Master’s in Geography.

Amanda Virbitsky

Amanda joined The Mountaineers in 2017 as a part of our Member Services team. During that time, and especially over the past two years in her role as Volunteer Support & Permitting Coordinator, she has provided steadfast support to both staff and volunteers across many aspects of the organization, including centralizing and streamlining the entire organization’s permitting processes, pulling countless reports from our database to help committees and courses track their operations, and providing invaluable support for both staff and volunteers navigating the many intricacies of our website. In addition, Amanda has played an integral role in our Carbon Footprint Reduction work, providing guidance on strategic projects and helping the organization calculate a baseline of our carbon use. We’re grateful for her thoughtful, detailed approach to projects and for her commitment to improving access and equity at all levels of the organization. Amanda’s last day will be July 2. We wish her all the best.

More info

As we shared in our CEO update in April, the crisis caused significant challenges for The Mountaineers, and we responded by focusing on the most critical activities to preserve operating cash while doing everything we possible to protect jobs and ensure our ability to quickly restart operations when it is safe to do so. Practically, this meant some staff went on immediate “standby” – a special designation through Washington Employment Security Division that assures staff can still receive their Mountaineers benefits while earning unemployment benefits without having to look for another job. This allowed us to preserve cash and to allow staff to access new emergency funding through the state and authorized by the federal CARES act. 

As we built our plans to ensure the future financial sustainability of The Mountaineers, we concluded that reductions to staff payroll would be necessary. This led us to eliminate six full time staff positions. When determining which positions to eliminate, we assessed each staff member’s role individually based on a 2-year conservative forecast for revenue. This forecast assumes that our operations will continue to be impacted by the coronavirus through the next fiscal year (which ends September 2021.) Our financial planning then assumes a gradual return to normal operations in the fiscal year that begins October 2021. 

In modeling these assumptions we sought to balance the most critical needs of our organization, and ultimately had to eliminate additional services that we love to provide but fall into the “nice to have” category. Specifically, positions tied to programs that will be shut down or significantly reduced for the foreseeable future were eliminated. Those individuals who were permanently laid off received a severance package as well as benefits through the end of July, and will be eligible for full unemployment benefits.

Help us say farewell

Given that we're unable to gather in-person to say goodbye to our team members, we invite our Mountaineers community to leave a favorite memory or note in the comments that individuals can revisit in the coming weeks. 


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Patricia McDonald
Patricia McDonald says:
Jun 29, 2020 10:46 AM

Thank you all, individually and collectively, for your good work. I wish you all the very best. I would especially like to thank Tim for helping me navigate as I stumbled through my first time closing up the Program Center, and Amanda, who has been helpful to me in my work as a committe co-chair in innumerable ways.

Bri Vanderlinden
Bri Vanderlinden says:
Jun 29, 2020 12:54 PM

I already miss you!! You all have so many gifts and I hope you keep sharing them with the communities you support. Thank you for the many ways you have shown up for The Mountaineers and beyond! This is not goodbye, just another chance to say hello again!! Please let me know how I can support you! Love to you Tim, Danielle, Chad, Dilek, Amanda, Katie! <3 Bri