MEET THE TEAM

Andrew Potter

Founder

 

Andrew began climbing at a young age in Germany, where his father was stationed. As a junior at the University of Central Missouri, he co-founded the UCM Climbing Club, and led trips all over the Midwest, to places like Horseshoe Canyon Ranch and Sam's Throne, Arkansas.

 

As a Captain in the 75th Ranger Regiment, during his third Tour in Afghanistan, Andrew found himself dreaming of climbing the cliffs surrounding the combat zones he was fighting in. While he loved serving his country, he knew the time had come to begin a new mission, that mission became RoKC.

Frank Potter

Founder

 

 

Frank has broad knowledge of climbing as his first climb was at the raw age of 6 months old -- out of his crib. When his brother presented the idea of opening a climbing gym, he had no hesitations in helping bring the latest equipment and facilities in climbing to Kansas City. He spent the next 2 years visiting state of the art climbing gyms all over the United States. His passion deepened for the climbing culture during that time, and he could not be more excited to help develop this phenomenal gym, right here in Kansas City.

Alexis Potter

Community outreach & Director of marketing

 

Alexis began climbing when she met Andrew, which is ironic because she grew up with a terrible fear of heights.  Climbing helped her overcome that fear which has translated to many other aspects of her life.  Creating RoKC became her passion when she and Andrew got married.  She has a heart for community outreach and leadership development and is excited to use RoKC as a tool for both!

Carol Fittell

senior Manager, Head Climbing Instructor

 

Carol loves sharing her passion for movement and the great outdoors with anybody and everybody who is interested in learning. An engineer by trade, Carol brings a unique perspective to rigging, systems, and the risk involved in climbing. Add that to 8 years competing in gymnastics, and 10 years coaching, giving Carol a strong background in body mechanics, spatial awareness, and an ability to communicate tricky topics to a wide array of students. But mostly, Carol just loves helping people realize that they are capable of so much more than they think they are!

 

The mental aspects of climbing are also intriguing to Carol as the body can only be trained to a certain extent. Everyone has their own, unique interests and reasons for climbing. Carol likes to explore individual motivations by asking, "Why do you climb?"

 

When not training for splitter cracks and alpine suffer-fests, Carol can generally be found upside-down in a handstand, napping, or eating other people's food.

Anthony Pomo

underground manager

 

Anthony "Mein Herr" Pomo, a New Mexico native, is doing his best to experience the Midwest. Having trained under the tutelage of grizzled, veteran climbers in the Southwest, he's set his sights on pushing the limits through German "Krafting" and climbing his fair share of Missouri "Rock Chalk." It's the people, though, he most enjoys. ROKC is an important part of an amazing climbing community and a home away from home for this weary desert climber.

Connor Link

head Coach

 

Connor started his climbing career about 5 years ago at Lifetime Fitness. After a year, he switched gears and began climbing in a local bouldering gym. That’s when he was presented with the opportunity to be the sole gym instructor and head coach of their climbing team. Teaching was not his expected path in life, but it quickly became clear that he had a knack for it. Soon after moving on, Connor’s passions were realized by joining the RoKC.

 

"In my eyes it doesn’t matter if you started climbing at a birthday party, are a seasoned vet, or just a proven natural, everyone can always improve. That’s what I love about climbing. RoKC is dedicated to helping people improve, not just climbers, but all who want the opportunity to better themselves. That’s what The RoKC is all about"

Ulises Garcia

routesetter, instructor

 

Ulises, originally from sunny south Florida, came to the Midwest to compete for The University of Central Missouri in the Heptathlon and Decathlon. In his Sophomore year, he fell pole vaulting and injured his foot, ending his career in track and field. This blessing is disguise led him to try climbing at the rock wall on the university campus. He got a job there and and the opportunity to learn the art of route setting. Ulises now runs a climbing wall at the North Kansas City YMCA, sets routes for us and another gym as well. He strives to set fun, unique movements that will challenge a climbers body and mind.

Tyler Schleisman

ROUTESETTER

 

Tyler has been climbing for almost four years. He began climbing at a local bouldering gym and was instantly hooked. He joined the gym’s Climbing Team and began learning from the one and only, Connor Link. Around that time, Tyler began working for the gym and found his second love: routesetting. He recently acquired his USA Climbing Level 1 Routesetting Certification and hopes to use the knowledge he gained to continue to improve his setting. When he isn’t throwing pieces of plastic at a wall, or pretending to climb, Tyler can be found futilely attempting to answer all of life’s unanswerable questions, trying to figure out what he should do with his life, and watching Netflix

David Van Volkenburgh

assistant manager, instructor

 

David is currently a senior at the University of Central Missouri, studying Exercise Science and Kinesiology with a focus in Corporate Fitness. David started climbing as a freshman in college and immediately fell in love with the sport.

 

After beginning work at the university rock wall, he quickly acquired his AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor certification to allow him to teach lead climbing and top rope belay courses. During his junior year, David became the President of the Central Missouri Climbing Club, leading climbing trips to Sam's Throne, Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, and several Missouri crags. During the school year, David is Supervisor and Head Routesetter at UCM with dreams of someday opening his own climbing gym.

 

When David isn't climbing he enjoys mountain biking, long boarding, and snowboarding.

Dan Allenbaugh

customer service

 

Dan has been climbing with ropes for 22 years now, but still has much to learn. He has spent 14 years working with the Division of Youth Services teaching experiential education through low and high ropes courses, rock climbing, back packing, river outings, caving, and bicycling.  He believes we’re born with two fears… loud noises and falling, and because of this common trait, rock climbing can be a great way to learn more about ourselves, each other, and how we react to fear in general. Dan received a B.S. in Sociology from The University of Central Missouri

 

Abby Emerson

customer service, instructor

 

Abby is currently a Junior at Parkhill South Highschool. She plays cello in her school orchestra and is on the tennis team.

Abby is fairly new to the climbing community. She started climbing when ROKC first opened and quickly fell in love. Abby now aspires to learn as much as she can about the sport, and to continue to grow as a climber.

Estephan Coronado

Customer Service, instructor

 

Estephan is originally from Lee’s Summit but moved to Springfield in 2012 to attend Missouri State University where he studied mass media/digital film production. He found climbing at MSU’s rec center and hasn’t stopped since. Estephan worked for MSU’s Rock Wall and Outdoor Adventure Program, as well as at the rock wall in a Springfield YMCA. Estephan loves chocolate, his cat Bolts, and teaching newbies and kids to climb. Estephan doesn’t really care for shoes that are too tight, people who spray too much beta, or flaking ropes that are 70M long.

Cody Sally

customer service, instructor

 

After graduating from Rockhurst University in May of 2017, Cody left to bicycle across the country for personal growth and to help people he met along the way. Joining the climbing scene in KC a year ago changed his life as he found supportive community in the awesome people he met. Cody is looking forward to growing with the community for years to come.

Andrew Daniels

customer service, instructor

 

Andrew is currently a student at University of Central Missouri, recently relocated from his home country of Panama. He has always been a huge fan of the rainforest and participated in Cayuco an indigenous paddling sport found in Panama. He frequently participated in races all over the country including the Ocean to Ocean race which crosses the country through the famous Panama Canal. Once relocated there, he wanted something that would excite him just as much as the water did. The UCM Climbing club gave him his put and he has been climbing since September of 2016 with no end in site. Searching for a way to learn more about rock climbing he came to ROKC to be thrown straight into the heart of Missouri climbing community.

Blake Ewing

Customer service

 

In 2015, Blake's cousin introduced him to the sport of climbing at a local bouldering gym. Blake instantly fell in love with climbing and began working at the gym. As part of his duties, Blake began to learn the awesomeness of routesetting, which he enjoys doing with friends. Blake hopes to improve his setting and rope skills as he progresses at RoKC. While Blake generally prefers to boulder, he is starting to branch out to sport climbing, too.

 

When Blake isn't climbing he can be found at home playing video games, reading, or just hanging out with friends. Always looking to broaden his circle of friends, feel free to ask him to climb or hang out!

Sebasttian Panimbosa

customer service

 

Sebasttian is a student at Park Hill South High School and is part of the soccer program. He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri but his family is originally from Colombia and Ecuador, South America. Sebasttian has always been adventurous and has loved the outdoors and traveling,  so his love for rock climbing didn't come as a surprise. He had the opportunity to start rock climbing in the summer of 2016 and hasn't stopped since.

Jake Wilson

Customer service

 

Jake was a junior in high school when he first found out about RoKC through the Northland CAPS internship program at his school. NCAPS is a program that works in connecting high schoolers to a multitude of professional businesses in the Kansas City area. Luckily, he found us. Jake was not totally new to climbing as he had started climbing shortly before he learned of the internship opportunity at RoKC. After joining, he decided his goal would be to connect with as many customers as he could before leaving for college. Back on breaks and summers, he’s still keen on forging those connections, so when you see him, say "Hi.”

Joel Blake

Customer service

 

Joel grew up in the Ozarks and has always had a love for the outdoors. He became interested in climbing when he started working at Moosejaw several years ago. Upon moving out to Portland, Oregon, he became enthralled with expedition style alpinism and its romantic nature. He's summited a few peaks in the Northwest Cascades while he lived there, and is looking forward to bagging several other peaks around the world. Joel is stoked to be exposed to new categories of climbing, and is thrilled to be back in the Kansas City community.

 

As a huge nerd, Joel also enjoys playing board games and consuming many different forms of media.

Alek Lanter

Customer service

 

Alek was born and raised in Kansas City, MO, and has a passion for various outdoor hobbies. He currently attends Northwest Missouri State University where he is majoring in Recreation and Parks Management, with a minor in Geography. He likes being involved in his community, and currently holds two executive positions in organizations on campus, as well as being on an honor society for the top 3% of Greek leaders. He began climbing in his sophomore year of college, and has now added it to his repertoire of hobbies, along with hiking, fishing, tennis, and creating music.

Maddie Krowe

Customer service

 

Maddie was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in Kansas City. She fell in love with the outdoors at an early age. Swimming became a big part of her life. She was a competitive synchronized swimmer and then competed on the high school varsity swim team. After high school, Maddie began traveling as a way of dealing with anxiety and depression. Landing in Mammoth Lakes, California, she worked as a photographer on Mammoth Mountain. She fell in love with snowboarding and all the Eastern Sierras has to offer. After a full summer living the van life, she returned home ready to pursue a degree. To keep her mind healthy, she hikes with her dog Basil and is a new climber (she has fallen head over heels for it). Maddie will return to the mountains one day as a nurse midwife or a paramedic rescuing someone in the backcountry.

Alex Gromacki

routesetter

 

Alex was introduced to climbing when she moved from Wisconsin to St. Louis, and it continues to be the gateway to awesome communities throughout the Midwest. As a member of the routesetting team, she derives inspiration from overhung Arkansas sandstone and a background in gymnastics. She seeks out climbs that straddle the line between power and technique, requiring a mix of big pulls, body tension, and flexibility. Even more than climbing itself, she loves the excuse to travel to remote places and the opportunity to meet new people.

 

When Alex isn’t climbing, she’s likely halfway through a pot of coffee and a book. She’s currently applying to master’s programs for creative writing, and hopes to teach and work in the world of make believe.

Zoe Bitters

routesetter, CUstomer service

 

Soon after giving up gymnastics, Zoe began climbing at a local bouldering gym in 2014. Her love of creative movement translated well, and soon after, started competing on their youth team. When RoKC opened she switched over and has thrived in competitions ever since. Zoe's life centers mainly around climbing, but also plays the oboe in her school's band.

Lori Hanson

customer service

 

Lori first experienced the world of climbing about six years ago, right here in KC! After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting, she decided to move to Boulder, CO, where she explored the rockies and partook in about four years of climbing and snowboarding adventures. She is now back in KC, closer to family, and also closer to her original team of beloved Kansas climber-friends. Lori brings to ROKC her Colorado sunshine and loving nature for all ROKC guests who equally love the art of climbing and the great outdoors.

Jon Feder

instructor

 

Jon fell in love with climbing in college at the University of Nebraska, where he became an instructor of climbing and paddling. After graduating from college, Jon moved to Colorado to teach both in the academic classroom and in an experiential, outdoor format and spent the summers teaching climbing and outdoor living at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico. Jon is stoked to have moved back to his hometown of Kansas City and to be a part of the RoKC crew!

 

In addition to climbing, Jon loves running, skiing, playing and coaching soccer, reading about philosophy and adventure, and constantly seeking delicious burritos.

 

Jon is also pursuing AMGA guiding certification.

John Zhou

customer service, routesetter

 

Raised in St. Louis, John ascended his first route while taking a course in high school to fulfill his gym requirements. It wasn't until six years ago, however, that he began to truly explore the sport. In his six years climbing, he has experienced numerous injuries, but he triumphantly overcame them each time with the hopes to come back stronger. During this time, John worked for a rock climbing gym in the St. Louis area and started route setting. Eventually, he received his level 1 route setting certification from USA Climbing and continues to set awesome routes.

 

John moved to Kansas City in July of 2017 with his girlfriend who is currently a student at the UMKC School of Dentistry. He quickly sought out and joined the ROKC team for an amazing climbing environment and atmosphere. John hopes to continue his route setting career and spread the joys of this wonderful sport in the KC area.

 

Outside of climbing, John is currently applying to medical school, in the hopes to one day travel the world with Doctors Without Borders. Wish him luck!

Will Nagengast

guest ROUTESETTER

 

Will started climbing in college and was immediately hooked.  He quickly discovered his chief interests; pushing himself while sport climbing, and long climbing trips.  These passions have led him to visit Asia multiple times for lengthy trips, as well as to climb all over the US and Europe.  While he calls Kansas home, his climbing home has always felt like Yangshuo, China, a place he has visited often.

 

When he's not abroad, he enjoys spending time with his incredibly supportive wife, playing soccer, and dressing his cat in sweaters.

yoga instructors

Essie Titus

YOGA INSTRUCTOR

 

Essie Marie Titus is a Kansas City, Missouri firefighter and she really enjoys sharing her yoga practice with the community.

 

Join Essie on Wednesdays for "Restorative Yoga Therapy"

(All levels class. Donations go to local not-for-profits)

We invite all first responders, active duty and veteran military personnel to enjoy the benefits of this mindful practice on the house. After yoga, stay and climb with us!

Ali Judy

YOGA INSTRUCTOR

 

Four years ago Ali discovered yoga and made it a part of her daily life.  Soon she was inspired to share this practice and in 2014 Ali obtained her 200 hour training certification in Baptiste Yoga. Baptiste Yoga is a power vinyasa flow for not only the physical aspect of yoga but also connecting the mind to the body. The same principles of mind-body connection apply to climbing. Ali loves climbing and has created a yoga flow with a focus on skills utilized most in climbing. She is looking forward to her Yoga for Climbers class to improve your climbing and overall mind-body connection.

Jesse Shroyer

YOGA INSTRUCTOR

 

Jesse would “do yoga” with her grandma in the backyard as a kid, along with gymnastics and cheerleading. She kept with the cheerleading competitively through college and started to get serious about yoga in 2011 after realizing the benefits of the breathing exercises which forced her busy mind to slow down and focus.  After being diagnosed with celiac disease and dealing with the symptoms that came with it, yoga was the only form of exercise she could manage some days and it really helped with some significant anxiety that had developed.  After 12 years of teaching cheerleading camps she realized she could take those same skills to teach yoga to a much broader demographic.

 

Jesse loves heights (see cheerleading) and iseager to learn how to be a better and more efficient climber. You can usually find Jesse with #rosathedog on various adventures throughout KC.

David Rodziewicz

YOGA INSTRUCTOR

 

David is an avid rock climber, mountaineer, runner, and yogi, with an unwavering love for nature and the outdoors. He was originally introduced to mindfulness and meditation while sailing in the Bering Sea as a commissioned officer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). His yoga practice came later as a method to counter the imbalances that can come with rigorous climbing training. David appreciates the physical, spiritual, and emotional growth a regular yoga practice can cultivate and teaches with the intention of integrating those aspects into his yoga classes. He is excited to teach yoga to climbers and to those who may benefit most from a regular practice.

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