Prior to entering the field of tourism & hotels, I worked for nearly 10 years in small-scale sustainable agriculture, specializing in solutions for humid, sub-tropical climates like that of Louisiana. In 1998, my partners and I started a tourism project in Nova Scotia by building a lodge from massive spruce logs and local granite (Geotourism Challenge 2009 finalist). Here, we carry out initiatives that develop and promote best practices in eco-tourism combined with community-oriented initiatives and guest-centred educational projects such as the Nova Scotia Seafood Cooking School.
I grew up in Oregon, California, and Colorado and subsequently received my undergraduate education at Kenyon College of Ohio. I also studied at Indiana University as well Nanjing University, Beijing University, and the Harbin Institute of Technology in China between 1986 and 1988. I then attended graduate school at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, where I received an M.A. and Ph.D. in modern Chinese history.
During most of the 1990s I was a farmer and cheesemaker at Chicory Farm in Mt. Hermon, Louisiana and co-owner of the Chicory Farm Cafe in New Orleans. During this period, Chicory Farm received 2 competitive national Small Business Innovative Research grants from the federal government, as well as the 1st annual Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In 1998, I moved to Nova Scotia, Canada to help establish a cheese dairy and tourism enterprise. Trout Point Lodge is a small eco-friendly wilderness resort within the Southern Nova Scotia Biosphere Reserve. It has won a 5 Green Key rating from the Hotel Association of Canada ECOmmodation program and the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award. In 2004, my partners and I opened a 2nd eco-lodge in Costa Rica, the Inn at Coyote Mountain (www.cerrocoyote.com) and in 2006 an eco-friendly vacation rental in Granada, Spain (www.alhambravistas.com). My partners and I provide consulting services in areas such as destination marketing, geo- and eco-tourism, pubic relations, and facilities design. In 2009, Trout Point Lodge was a finalist in the 2009 Geotourism Challenge.