Kris Shea has always been drawn to the water. He grew up fishing in the rivers and lakes of his home state, Michigan, and when it was time to go to college, his love for surfing landed him in Southern California, where he connected with the ocean every day. After spending time traveling to Central America and New Zealand, chasing new bodies of water, he started a surf and river-themed restaurant in Steamboat Springs in 2011. For him, like many of us, proximity and interaction with water is sacred space, a space that he knew he wanted to help restore and preserve. He had an idea: connect artists to retailers and donate substantially to local river nonprofits so that he could give back to healing the resource that brought him joy throughout his life. In 2021 the River Collective Co. was born. He started with his local river, the Yampa, and since then has expanded his mission to the Colorado River Basin and beyond. He hopes that he can continue to donate and inspire others to advocate for the rivers that are the pulse of our communities.
Jenny Shea grew up in Connecticut, where she first connected to the river and the ocean by learning to fly fish in high school. She majored in English and Peace Studies in college, and in graduate school, fell hard for the works of Thoreau, Abbey, Kingsolver, and Leopold. Her appreciation grew for the power of environmental literature’s ability to connect readership to the natural world. She has spent the last 17 years teaching high school English in Steamboat Springs, CO, regularly integrating environmental literature and journalism that argues the need for preservation and restoration. A year after her husband Kris created the River Collective Co., she shifted to working full time for the organization and is inspired to learn and contribute to the work of the many outstanding non-profits that support the health of rivers. Jenny spends her free time practicing and teaching yoga, reading, rafting, snowboarding, hiking, and spending time with her three-year-old son, Julian.
Chris Menig grew up spending summers on Elk Lake in northern Michigan. Chris has been an avid fly-fisherman for over 25 years, taking him to numerous countries in pursuit of fish and new experiences. Chris is one of River Collective Co.’s co-owners and in house artists. In addition to collaborating on our ongoing artwork he also devotes his time to business development and connecting conservation efforts with our mission at RCC. When not involved with work endeavors he plays in western waters with his wife Lauren and two children Eva and Wes…and dog Rowdy!
Nick Sandler is a native of Phoenix, Arizona who grew up with a desire to explore. In doing so, he discovered a passion for the outdoors, wildlife, and all things adventurous. This led him to pursue an education in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in Colorado as he had always been curious as to how the natural world around him functioned. Upon learning the intricacies and interconnectedness of all ecosystems and the functions within them, it was clear that the delicate balance of these ecosystems had been thrown off due to human intervention. Then came the challenging part, deciding which issue to help remedy. Luckily, his Uncle, Kris Shea, started a meaningful company focused on helping the water crisis, which is at the heart of all environmental and economic issues. Needless to say, it was a perfect fit. When he is not busy growing the collective network, Nick often finds himself fishing, camping and biking around Arizona while spending quality time with friends and family.