Meet the team

The America Outdoors staff is pleased to carry out the strategic plan of the association. These visionary professionals are committed to ensuring that America Outdoors is Where Outfitters Thrive. We do this by focusing on the four pillars of membership: to be where outfitters connect, grow, learn & belong. We work hard on behalf of the outdoor industry so your business can run smoothly. 

Scroll down to learn more about this small, but dedicated team. Get to know them by reading their bios, and don't forget to say "hello" when you see these faces at the Annual Conference! 


Headshot of Julie Kahlfeldt, Executive Director
Julie Kahlfeldt
Executive Director


Julie Kahlfeldt has over 20 years of association management experience, with many of those being in a leadership position for various trade and professional organizations. She has worked with member-driven associations to: re-brand, restructure the governance model, and organize Board and volunteers leaders to reach organizational goals. Originally from Chicago, by way of San Francisco, Julie currently resides in Gainesville, FL. She loves to cook for her family and friends; at times trying out new recipes on unsuspecting guests. Wanting to live like a “local”,  Julie loves to explore new areas, states, and towns.


Headshot of David Brown, Government Affairs
David Brown
Vice President of Government Affairs

David Brown served as Executive Director of America Outdoors Association since shortly after its formation until 2016. He now works for AO leading our policy and legislative efforts.  In addition to his time with AO, his involvement has included preservation of whitewater recreation on the Ocoee River and the Gauley River. David has served on the Board of Directors for the American Recreation Coalition, American Rivers, the North American Paddlesports Association, and the Governor's Task Force on Reform and Liability Insurance (TN) and was chairman of the Mayor's Waterfront Task Force in Knoxville, TN. 


Headshot of Hilary Wickes, Marketing & Communications
Hilary Wickes
Marketing & Communications Specialist

Hilary Wickes joined the America Outdoors team in February of 2018, bringing with her a creative spirit and a background in marketing, anthropology and, of course, outdoor recreation experience. Hilary is originally from Indiana, spent the previous 3 years in Colorado, and has now landed in Knoxville TN to call the Southeast home. She spends her free time traveling around the world and exploring trails with her husband, Justin, and their Border Collie, Annie.

Headshot of Nancy Lewelling, Technical Administrator
Nancy Lewelling
Technical Administrator 

Nancy graduated from Welch University in Nashville, TN, with a degree in Education. Nancy has years of experience in many areas such as directing camp, scout leader, teaching one-on one students in the local elementary school, church pianist, directing corporate training programs, teaching computers classes at the University of Tennessee, building Access databases for private and federal agencies and oh yes, she can drive a bus too. In her spare time, she is keeping up with two teenagers, Mark 16 and Morgan 19, and is married to the love of her life, John. 


Headshot of Sheryl Pless, Financial Administrator
Sheryl Pless
Financial Administrator 

Sheryl is a 1992 graduate of The University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Business Administration, Accounting major. She served as the financial manager for a small manufacturing company for 12 years and, most recently, worked remotely for a bookkeeping company as an outsourced bookkeeper for various small businesses.  In her spare time, Sheryl enjoys working with elementary age children as a reading tutor volunteer for a local public schools’ program.  She also enjoys working out, eating out, and hanging out with her husband, Jeff. 


Headshot of Jack Chiasson, Exhibits Specialist
Jack Chiasson
Exhibits & Conference Specialist

Jack has been managing conventions and trade shows for nearly 35 years. Having recently retired as an association CEO, he found that retirement didn't sit well, so he's back to doing what he knows and loves best. In his (severely limited) free time, Jack is passionate about animal rescue, and donates time and money to no-kill shelters, both in his old home in Virginia, and his new one in New Mexico.