OFFICERS & DIRECTORS
President/CEO | Bozeman, MT
Gray Thornton serves as president and chief executive officer of the Wild Sheep Foundation. Prior to joining WSF in 2008, he served as executive director of the Dallas Safari Club in 1997-2008 and chapter & membership director for Safari Club International from 1990 to 1997. During his tenure, he produced record results for membership growth, fundraising and mission funding for both organizations. He followed his passion to the conservation/hunting industry after a successful sales career with Unisys and Xerox corporations.
As a public speaker, Gray has been invited to present keynote addresses on wildlife conservation and hunting and angling ethics internationally to diverse audiences. These audiences range from civic and sportsmen’s groups to international associations, the Serbian Parliament and former presidents of the US, France and South Africa.
Gray was awarded the Wildlife Utilisation Award by the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), the association’s highest conservation honor. He also received PHASA’s highest service honor, the Coenraad Vermaak Distinguished Service Award and is the only non-South African to be so recognized. He received the President’s Award from the Guide Outfitter Association of British Columbia for his years of dedicated service to the hunting and conservation community. As an outdoor writer, he received a Katie Award from the Press Club of Dallas, representing the southern US for the best outdoor story of the year with “Iron Horse Fly Fishing.”
He is a Summit Life member of WSF, a Chadwick Ram Society member, and a Life member of Idaho WSF, Washington WSF, Wyoming WSF, Texas Bighorn Society, SCI, NRA, PHASA and other organizations. He is also a member of numerous guide/outfitter associations.
Secretary | Las Vegas, NV
Brett Jefferson grew up in Boulder City, Nev., where seeing bighorn sheep was a daily occurrence and marked the beginning of Brett’s passion for wild sheep. Brett attended Denver College, where he received an Associate of Science degree and later attended California State University-Fresno’s Surveying and Photogrammetry program. Brett is a licensed professional land surveyor in Nevada, California and Arizona and for the last seventeen years has been the executive vice president/chief operations officer for Tri State Surveying, Ltd., with offices in Reno/Sparks and Las Vegas.
When Brett relocated back to Southern Nevada in 2013, he became more involved with the Fraternity of the Desert Bighorn and was elected president in April 2015. Brett has served on the banquet committee and participated in water developments, trap and transplant projects and disease investigations in Southern Nevada. Since 1998, Brett has been a member of Nevada Bighorns Unlimited-Reno and served as a director and treasurer for his last three years on the board. Among his highly active service, he was chair of the Membership and External Relations Committees, volunteered at youth outreach events and edited the NBU Journal.
Brett has served as secretary to the WSF board of directors and chaired or vice-chaired several key committees, in addition to working on several initiatives vital to WSF’s growth and future. Brett is a Summit Life member and a member of the Chadwick Ram Society.
Chris Barker was born in the United Kingdom in 1963. His family immigrated to Canada when he was eleven and moved to Prince George, British Columbia, which is where his interest in the outdoors began. He started hunting deer when he turned 20 and switched to bow hunting exclusively eight years later. Today, Chris lives in Victoria, B.C. with his wife and children and has worked in the construction industry for the past 30 years.
His involvement in conservation started with the Victoria Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. After volunteering for several years, he became co-chair for two years. Meanwhile, Chris found his interest in wild sheep would lead him to attend a Wild Sheep Society of B.C. convention 15 years ago, and he has not missed one since. Two years later, he was elected treasurer, then president. As president, he found the biggest issue his organization faced was the contact between domestic and wild sheep in B.C. He continues to be involved with the wild sheep separation steering committee in his home province as well as on the special sheep permit committee and the Churn Creek Junction bighorn recovery project. A Life member of WSF, Chris has attended many WSF Chapter & Affiliate Summits and several WSF conventions.
Karen Gordon grew up with an interest in wild sheep inherited from her grandfather, who was a sheep hunter in Alaska. One of his rams hung in her family home as she was growing up. She started shooting competitively when she was 14 and shot on the University of Alaska Rifle Team for three years. Karen holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska.
In her professional life, she has worked in banking and public administration, with Alaska Native Corporations, and with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She ultimately became a self-taught and biologist-tutored Dall sheep biologist. She is employed as an administrator and wildlife support specialist for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. In all, she has worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Natural Resources for three decades.
A WSF Summit Life member and Chadwick Ram Society member, Karen has been active in the Alaska FNAWS/WSF Chapter for about a decade as a board member and officer and has served on the WSF Professional Resources Advisory Board (PRAB) for almost that long. She has served on WSF’s board of directors as vice president, secretary and treasurer, and she has been a grants reviewer for the foundation since 2005. Active in fundraising for WSF and at the Sheep Show™, she has represented the Alaska Chapter at Chapter & Affiliate Summits and was the logistical coordinator of the 2004 Northern Wild Sheep and Goat Council Biennial Symposium in Canada and Alaska’s Inside Passage. She has also written a variety of wildlife conservation/hunting-oriented stories for magazines including Wild Sheep.
North Salt Lake, UT
Ryan Foutz has been involved with wildlife conservation for the past 20 years. For the same amount of time, he has worked in sales, marketing and outfitting and is currently a managing partner in his business. He is a past president of the Utah Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, where he led the organization for nearly a decade and is regarded as a leader in Utah’s successful wild sheep recovery. A Summit Life member, Ryan and his wife Tiffany are also members of WSF’s Chadwick Ram Society.
In his rewarding work as a WSF director, Ryan has focused on strengthening the foundations of wild-sheep conservation while advancing the foundation’s financial stability and protecting our hunting heritage. He has served on several committees within the foundation and been a familiar face at Sheep Show™ conventions. Ryan and his wife have two sons, who inspire him to work for the benefit of the next generation of hunters and conservationists.
A native New Mexican, Lanny is proud to say he has spent almost all of his life in the Land of Enchantment. He attended the University of New Mexico for both his graduate and undergraduate studies and completed his graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. His professional life in the financial services industry has featured 37 years with Morgan Stanley in Albuquerque. He retired in September 2009. Lanny and his wife Susan have four grown daughters.
When he was eight years old, Lanny began big game hunting with his maternal grandfather, who impressed upon him the importance of fair chase. This hunting relationship engendered a passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors, which became a focal point for his entire life beyond family and career. He has hunted throughout North America and, in 2005, completed the 29 North American big game species pursuit when he took his desert bighorn in Sonora. Involved in other conservation organizations, Lanny found his interest in wild sheep had evolved into an obsession that ultimately led him to join WSF, then known as FNAWS. Today, he is a Summit Life member. He and his wife Susan are also members of WSF’s Chadwick Ram Society.
Intern | Wheatland, WY
Sierra Amundson of Wheatland, WY, serves as intern on the WSF board of directors. Her interests are diverse, including bringing a young woman’s perspective and vision to the board to increase WSF membership, public interest and knowledge of conservation and hunting. After graduating in the top five percent of her Wheatland High School class, she went on to attend the University of Wyoming, where she is pursuing a degree in veterinary science (wildlife/livestock).
In her working life, she has been a bighorn sheep research technician for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s Tom Thorne and Beth Williams Wildlife Research Center and has also served as a disease surveillance technician and game check station attendant for the WGFD’s Wyoming State Veterinary Lab. She has also volunteered as a veterinary assistant intern in her hometown. She is a Life member of WSF.