Please join us in welcoming ClearCause’s newest Safety and Security Advisor, Dave Dennis.
“It’s an honor to be allowed to join an elite group of professionals to support and contribute the great work that ClearCause performs in protecting young international travelers. I am profoundly connected with this work both professionally and personally. I have dedicated the past 20 years building a career in the student and adventure travel industry, and am a proud father of two wonderful children—one of which started traveling internationally as a freshman in high school in 2015.
I began my career in the travel industry in 1996 where I spent four years leading adventure tours throughout North America. After guiding nearly 30 trips, I transitioned into management and ran an operations base for nine years for one of the largest tour operators in the U.S. During this time, I was fortunate enough to be elevated through the ranks of the organization eventually leading to my placement as Vice President of Operations.
A tragic and transformational event occurred in 2006 when one of our 15-passenger vehicles had a tire failure and rolled twice ejecting nine of the fourteen people inside. One international customer aged 22 died onsite and five others were air evacuated with life-threatening injuries. I volunteered to fly to the site, meet the family of the deceased, and care for them while we visited the crash site and processed the repatriation of their son from the U.S.
The organization was sued for negligence, and during this process, I became acutely aware of the gaps in safety and risk management that existed within an organization that had a successful 34-year history without an incident of this magnitude. I began educating myself in order to contribute to the organization’s recovery, and in doing so found a larger calling: to improve the safety and risk management systems of tour operators in order to better safeguard travelers within an industry I cherished.
I returned to school in 2010 and graduated with honors in 2012 with a Master’s degree in risk management. During this timeframe, I created a consulting firm and began developing and training staff on risk management and emergency response systems for a range of global and domestic tour operators.
In 2014, I found Rustic Pathways and unexpectedly found a connection that compelled me to inquire about available positions. I was hired as the Global Safety and Risk Management Director and since then have received ongoing support from the entire organization to pursue my passion. This year, Rustic Pathways will carry over 11,000 students throughout 18 countries worldwide. I continue advising and consulting through my own business and feel fortunate to have developed multiple platforms to continue my work.
Upon discovering the ClearCause Foundation, I was immediately moved by Tyler Hill’s story and felt compelled to reach out to Sheryl. Throughout our initial discussions, we shared a deeply aligned passion for change although we came from differing perspectives of tragic events. I feel strongly that any successful risk management technique must recognize and understand varied perspectives. I’m hoping my experiences and background will bring a different and valuable perspective to better acquire buy-in and engagement of tour operators—the type of organization responsible for Tyler Hill’s tragic and untimely passing.
I am grateful for Sheryl Hill’s ability to consider my involvement and am anxious to contribute to ClearCause’s efforts. I’ve already had a few phone calls with a handful of other advisors and have left each discussion more inspired and energized to be a part of this movement.”