We’ve Got the Best Guides in the Biz
Each of our guides brings a unique background and set of life experiences to the team. This diversity brings a depth of knowledge and understanding of what it means to create an exceptional visitor experience. That’s our focus… you. The Duluth Experience vision is founded on a deep sense of place, an appreciation for local business, a passion for outdoor adventure, and a deep pride for our region’s past, present, and future. We value creative storytelling, access to the outdoors and have a thirst for excellence, innovation, and education. Our Team is diverse group of fun-loving individuals who share a passion for Duluth. We are educators, outdoor professionals, beer brewers, researchers, local business leaders, and above all… ambassadors for Duluth!
Passion • Thirst • Service
Are you interested in joining our Team? Check out our current job openings and apply today!
Dave GrandmaisonCo-Owner | CEO | Cycling & Brewery Tour Guide
Dave is a 4th generation Duluthian - and proud of it. After finishing high school in Duluth, Dave attended St. John’s University where he earned a B.A. in Natural Science and began his love affair with home brewing. After graduating, Dave drove his pickup to Alaska, eventually arriving in Juneau where he worked as a guide for an Alaskan tour company. After a summer in Alaska, Dave returned to the lower 48 and worked as a seasonal wildlife biologist for three years before heading back to Duluth to attend graduate school at UMD. Dave earned a M.S. in Biology, moved to Arizona, and spent 8 years coordinating wildlife research studies as a Senior Project Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. In 2012, Dave returned to Duluth to help start The Duluth Experience.
- Dave holds current certifications as a Wilderness First Responder and American Heart Association CPR and is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Kris McNealCo-Owner | Chief Operations Officer | Kayak, Cycling & Brewery Tour Guide
Kris's passion for adventure manifested at an early age. As a child his parents took him and his brother camping on Lake Superior's North Shore, on adventures around the U.S. and abroad. At 16, Kris and his brother embarked on a roadtrip adventure that took them to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. From that point on Kris was hooked on outdoor travel & adventure. Kris moved to Duluth in 2004 and started college at the UMD where he earned degrees in Life Science & Outdoor Education. During this time, Kris worked as a kayak instructor and guide for the UMD Outdoors Program. Now he's joined The Duluth Experience to pass along his passion for Duluth and outdoor adventure. Check out Kris' travel adventure film which premiered in October 2014.
- Kris holds current certifications as a Wilderness First Responder and Red Cross CPR and is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Jess PoppieAdventure Program Coordinator | Kayak Adventure Guide
Jess was born and raised in Wisconsin where she spent years exploring the shores of Lake Michigan and hiking the bluffs along the Mississippi. Jess realized her love for outdoor adventures when she guided a week long youth canoe trip. Since then, she has had many awesome opportunities to lead bike treks, backpacking excursions, and other outdoor activities. Her dream is to share her love for the outdoors with others, so she transferred to Duluth and is currently working on her degree in Physical Education with an emphasis in outdoor education at UMD. In her spare time you can find Jess around Duluth hiking, road biking, or taking a swim in the lake. Jess loves Duluth and can’t wait to share this amazing city with others.
- Jess holds current certification in First Aid, Waterfront Lifeguarding, and American Red Cross CPR.
Kyle ChisholmCity Program Coordinator | Brewery & City Tour Guide
Kyle was born in New England where he grew up in Massachusetts and New Hampshire before moving to Duluth in 1994. Kyle is a graduate of Duluth Central High School and a two time graduate of UMD where he earned a B.A. in History and a B.A.A in Teaching Social Studies. Kyle holds a Minnesota teaching license and has worked for local historic institutions such as the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and The Historic Glensheen Mansion. On top of that, Kyle has visited historical sites and parks all over the country. Some locations include: The Freedom Trail in Boston, many sites in and around Washington D.C., Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC, Smoky Mountains NP, Yosemite NP, Mt. St. Helens National Monument, and Katmai NP in Alaska. In addition to his work with The Duluth Experience, Kyle works for Duluth Public Schools as an Instructional Interventionist and regularly contributes to projects for Pearson Education.
- Kyle is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Nick SchutzBrewery Tour Coordinator | Brewery & City Tour Guide
Nick's fascination with Duluth's natural history started at an early age, when he explored Duluth's unique geology and topography. After relocating to Duluth in 2005, Nick began an in-depth study of the connection between the Great Lakes waterway and early settlement by Native American and European populations. His interest in the region's history was borne out of a deep admiration for the area, the lake, and its people. Nick is eager to continue to dig deeper into these subjects and share the resources and information he compiles with The Duluth Experience's guests. Nick is an accomplished marathon runner and a wicked good disc golfer.
- Nick is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Jonee VanceOutreach Coordinator | Brewery Tour & Kayak Adventure Guide
Vance has lived in Minnesota her entire life and has been a Duluthian for about 7 years. Much of her childhood was spent hunting, fishing, swimming, and hiking on Rainy Lake and camping in the Boundary Waters. She picked up the canoe paddle at an early age and her love for kayaking soon followed. Since graduating from St. Scholastica with an B.S. in Elementary Ed and Ojibwe Language and Culture, she has worked in the local craft beer industry and guided whitewater rafting on the St. Louis River. She's also an avid photographer and loves to travel. Jonee has been a good friend to The Duluth Experience over the years and we are excited to welcome her to the team!
- Jonee holds current certification in Wilderness First Aid and CPR and is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Courtney LovasBrewery Tour Guide
Courtney grew up in Milwaukee, WI as the youngest of four children. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse in 2012, she moved to Madison where she lived for 6 years, planning craft beer festivals and events for a local publishing company. She made the move to Superior, WI in September 2018 with her boyfriend Ryan and their black lab, Deja. Courtney also works full-time planning beer festivals for the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and is excited to learn all she can about the local beer scene. In her free time, Courtney enjoys drinking craft beer, meeting new people, traveling, and playing outdoors.
- Courtney is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Shannon LaingCity Tour Guide
Shannon was born in Hastings, MN, and attended Wartburg College where she earned her Communications Major and experienced a bunch of epic adventures along the way in places like Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Dublin. Eventually, Shannon moved to Duluth in 2002 and dove right into community building. After 13 years marketing our local co-op and advocating for the natural food industry, she now works for Ecolibrium3, a nonprofit organization located in Lincoln Park. Shannon has a passion for telling the stories of local crafters, artists, artisans and others folks who create and work with their hands. She looks forward to showing you today’s Duluth within the context of the past and an eye to the future. In her spare time, Shannon loves digging in the dirt to help things grow, slow rolling on her sweet cruiser bike, experimenting in the kitchen, and working on her first book.
Nathan AndersonBrewery Tour Guide
Nathan was born and raised in Duluth but left town to attend college at St. Olaf and travel to fun places like Chicago and Egypt before returning to Duluth almost 20 years later. Nathan has spent over fifteen years of experience in the classroom teaching high school physics and he now lectures in physics and astronomy at The University of Wisconsin, Superior. Nathan can also be found exploring the Hartley Nature Center with elementary school groups or teaching games of lacrosse for the YMCA. In addition to his extensive teaching background, Nathan has been brewing his own beer for over ten years. When not sharing and drinking his own beer, he likes to visit the local breweries and is excited to share Duluth's craft beer scene with our guests.
- Nate is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Lisa MalcombBrewery Tour Guide
After living all over the country as a Navy brat, Lisa's family settled back in their home state of Minnesota. Lisa attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a visual art degree and received her Master in Education at the University of Minnesota. She taught art in DC for 8 years and somehow snagged a southern husband who fell in love with Duluth on a visit to her sister in 2011. In 2012, Lisa and her husband moved to Duluth, adopted their fur baby at Animal Allies, and moved into their first house in Lakeside. They brew beer together and Lisa bakes ridiculous amounts of bread, treats and (from time to time) a wedding cake. During the school year, Lisa teaches K-12 art in Silver Bay, one of the most beautiful areas along the North Shore. Lisa loves meeting new people and looks forward to introducing her guests to the experiences that makes Duluth worth moving across the country for.
Josh StangleBrewery Tour Guide
Originally from Ithaca, New York, Josh journeyed across the Great Lakes to Minnesota after graduate school. During the summer of 2017, Josh landed in Duluth and instantly fell in love with the scenery, weather, and vibe. After learning to home brew a few years back, Josh discovered a passion for the craft and hasn't stopped talking about it since! Besides being a mathematics professor at UW-Superior, Josh spends his time biking and hiking around Duluth, building trails with local clubs, and enjoying local music. Since he's still somewhat new to the North Shore, there are tons of new things to learn and adventures to have. Luckily, his wife Claire and dog Willow are always up for some adventure. Josh is excited to learn something new from each guest he meets, while also giving them some new insights about beer, the wild, and Duluth.
- Josh is a Cicerone Level 1 - Certified Beer Server.
Liz BerghKayak & Cycling Guide
Liz's love for Duluth and passion for adventure have grown side by side. As a child, Liz spent nearly all of her free time exploring the town's woods and streams, hiking and running on The Superior Hiking Trail, and riding her bike all over town. In 2015, she moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to attend Michigan Tech, where she developed a passion for mountain biking that she constantly fueled during her summers home in Duluth. At the same time, she grew as a road biker with multi-day bike touring and bikepacking. In her spare time, you can find Liz fixing bikes at Twin Ports Cyclery, exploring The Duluth Traverse, petting strangers' dogs, chasing sunrises with her camera, and swimming in Lake Superior.
- Liz holds current certifications in Wilderness First Aid and American Heart Association CPR.
Nik NerburnCity Tour Guide
Nik Nerburn is an artist, lover of dogs, dive bar connoisseur, and Duluth's biggest fan. Born in Bemidji in 1989, he has since lived on both coasts and several places in between. He studied history and documentary filmmaking at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. His short documentary films have been shown on public television across the midwest, at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and at the Walker Art Center. He loves peoples' histories, genealogy, lost architecture, talking to neighbors, old maps, tall tales, and The Duluth Public Library. He writes in the margins of all books he reads.
Jake DahlkeDigital Marketing Assistant
Jake grew up in South St. Paul and came to Duluth to study marketing at the University of Minnesota. Jake fell in love with the area after a pitstop at Palisade Head during a North Shore road trip to his first camping adventure in the Boundary Waters. Jake is pursuing a marketing degree and plans to focus his photography and videography skills in the outdoor and fishing industry - a true passion of his since he was young. Now going into his senior year of college, Jake spends most of his free time fly fishing, hiking, taking photos, and traveling. Jake’s favorite activity along the North Shore is steelhead fishing during the spring run.
Clayton TannerCity Tour Guide
Clayton has called The Twin Ports home for three years and currently attends The University of Wisconsin in Superior where he studies History Eduction. In his free time, Clayton is a sports fanatic! He plays collegiate tennis for UWS and soccer for the club team. When he's not hitting or kicking he loves long-distance biking, rollerblading and running! Whoah. Clayton also has a passion for photography and loves poking around Duluth and its many parks to find new photo ops.
Kaylee MatuszakCity Tour Guide
Kaylee is a native Duluthian with a love for travel and local history. She is a full-time English Education student at Minnesota State University in Mankato but loves Lake Superior too much to live down south year round. In addition to guiding at The Duluth Experience, Kaylee also works as a guide for Glensheen and the Vista Fleet. Kaylee is interested in everything Duluth, from its vaudeville history to the shipping industry. Kaylee is also a singer-songwriter, so when she's not giving tours she can be found playing original music at venues around town.
Your Name HereJoin Our Team!
The Duluth Experience is dedicated to creating fun and educational experiences that connect people to the businesses and adventures that define the Northland’s rich natural, historical, and cultural Experience. If you have a deep appreciation for Duluth then you’re qualified! Our core values are: Passion, Thirst, and Service. Embodiment of these three core values is essential for The Duluth Experience Team. Everyone on The Duluth Experience Team is truly passionate about what we are doing, because this is what makes our company special! Our customers respond to our passion and it enriches their Experience. Our Team Members have a thirst for excellence, innovation, and knowledge. That thirst helps keep our tours fresh and fun. We serve our customers, our Affiliates, our community and our Team, and this helps The Duluth Experience maintain its sense of place. As a Team Member of The Duluth Experience, you are an ambassador for Duluth! Click here to see available positions.