tom.jpgTom Zartman found his way into the Challenge Course Industry over an extended period of time. Graduating from Va Tech in 1975 in Outdoor Recreation he went to work with adjudicated youth at Paradise School for Boys in Pennsylvania. After two years he was invited to apply for the Extension Director position at the York YMCA in south central Pennsylvania. In 1977 he embarked on an Outward Bound course at the North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) in Morganton, NC. The experience was incredibly impactful and his quest to pursue experiential education began. In 1981 Tom took a position with the North Carolina Outward Bound School as an Assistant Instructor and then moved to a full time position managing the whitewater program and the winter program in the Florida Everglades.

Then in 1989 Tom began working for Mike Fischesser as Mike developed Alpine Towers Inc. As the company grew Tom moved into the office as Operations Manager and helped with the transition of the company in 1999 to Alpine Towers Int'l Inc. For the next 10 years he continued as President/Operations Manager until the announcement of a new company Phoenix Experiential Designs LLC.

Tom sits on the Association for Challenge Course Technology's Installation Standards Committee and the ANSI Task Force.

Tom has been married for 23 years to Kathy Wike and they have two adopted boys Matthew and Daniel. The live in Montezuma NC in a home he built with friends and family.


robbie.jpgRobbie Oates brings a unique combination of skills, experiences, and professions to the team. He has been working in the challenge course construction field for over 21 years; 19 with Alpine Towers. During this time Robbie has built courses in most of the US including Alaska and Hawaii.

Robbie's earlier professional background as an arborist, stonemason, landscaper, and outdoor educator, helped create a blend of skills and attitudes that suited his development and perspective as a challenge course builder, trainer, and inspector.

He has served as an on site project manager and foreman since 1994 and the Director of International Operations since 1999. Robbie has extensive international experience building both challenge courses and canopy access systems. He has worked in Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru, India, Tahiti, Mexico, Belize, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Germany, Israel, Canada, and Panama.

Robbie has also designed, built, and implemented extreme events and challenges for several TV shows, including MTV's "Road Rules", Animal Planet's "King of the Jungle" and NBC's "Endurance"

Robbie lives in an intentional neighborhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife of 29 years, Laurie Percival-Oates. They have two children; Jesse - 27 and Austin - 26. Both Jesse and Austin have traveled and worked with their dad since they were in their early teens.

alan.jpgAlan Frye graduated from Appalachian State University in 1983. He received a bachelor's degree in science with a minor in mathematics.

He has spent 25 years in the home building and remodeling industry. This experience has developed a wide set of skills that range from framing, cabinetry, and constructing elaborate staircases, to timber framing, home design, and site management.

Alan has 15 years experience in the ropes course construction business. He has been the foreman and site manager for 95 ropes course projects that are spread over 40 states.

Additional experience includes designing, engineering, and erecting stair towers that are used for access to bridges in the forest canopy. The towers range from 75 to 90 feet and are located in Florida, Peru, and Indonesia.