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Ken Streater, president, Wilderness Trips

“I went rafting once with my dad and it bit me hard!” Ken Streater says of his offbeat career choice. Originally from California, he took his first trip in the Sierra Nevada. He has since traveled all over the world, re-creating the thrilling experience of taming a wild river. Ken got into the field the most common way—by going to a weeklong river guide school. “That school was the foundation for my career. It gave me all the necessary skills.”

Before he started rafting, Ken worked as an assistant manager at a sporting goods store. This experience was a crash course in personnel issues (hiring the right people, firing the wrong people, forming a cooperative and productive team), which served him well when he started his own outfitting companies, first in Alaska, then in the Pacific Northwest, where he now resides. Ken has also run tours in Scandinavia and was a guide on the first joint Soviet-American river trip in Siberia.

His advice for river-reading enthusiasts? “The best thing you can do is go on one of these trips! It will give you a feel for whether it's something you can see yourself doing.”

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