The Power of Story

Tuesday, September 27 from 9:00-10:30AM

Located in the Navarro Room

Strategic Storytelling – Creating a Cutting-Edge Experience Through the Power of Story 

The PGAV team has found one of the most powerful tools for elevating the visitor experience is Story. Brands as diverse as Universal Studios, Airbnb, Burt’s Bees use story telling in strategic ways, and the fundamentals of storytelling are within your reach.  

In this presentation, Mike Konzen will take you through the process of bringing story into your property. In some cases, it’s using technology to aid in the telling of the story you already have or using the actual construct of a well told story – a beginning, a crisis, a resolution –  as you develop your next tour, or blending the two to can create a new experience for visitors that resonates long after they leave.

Mike Konzen, Chairman and CEO of PGAV, a multidisciplinary planning and design firm. Mike has led PGAV in work for UNESCO World Heritage sites, major museums, national parks, theme parks, show caves and resorts. Today, PGAV Destinations is the largest independent creator of attractions and destinations in the industry, with projects on five continents. Mike will speak about seeing the potential beyond your cave and how you can bring a level of immersive design to everything you do.

No One is Immune to Cyber Claims
Protect You, Your Guests, and Your $$$ €€€

Tuesday, September 27 from 10:45AM-12:15PM

Located in the Navarro Room

No one is immune to cyber exposure—phishing attacks to target C-level managers with intent of stealing dollars or data including credit cards, passports, and other personal data. Point-of-sales systems for day-to-day-running of businesses are very vulnerable. Learn what you can do to protect your most critical asset (next to your cave) - your DATA!

Matt Ross is the National Cyber Claims Leader at Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA). He is responsible for providing cyber and data breach claim consulting to MMA clients at a national level. Matt works with insurers to improve cyber claim processes, outcomes, and communications. Matt acts as a resource by partnering with key stakeholders to develop best client outcomes. Prior to joining MMA in December 2021, Matt spent over 12 years working as both a Claim Consultant and Claim Director in a high-volume cyber claim environment. Matt earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature (Secondary Education) from Miami University and his Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University. He resides in Austin, Texas.

Shawn Tuma is an attorney internationally recognized in cybersecurity, computer fraud and data privacy law, areas in which he has practiced for over two decades. Shawn helps businesses protect their information and protect themselves from their information. He is Co-Chair of Spencer Fane LLP’s Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice Group where he regularly serves as cybersecurity and privacy counsel advising a wide variety of businesses ranging from small and mid-sized companies to Fortune 100 enterprises, across the United States and globally. Shawn’s practice covers three distinct areas: Cyber Risk Management, Cyber Incident Response, and Cyber and Data Breach-Related Litigation.

Merchandising Retail, Food & Beverage

Wednesday, September 28 from 9:00-10:30AM

Located in the Navarro Room

Ever walked into a shop and been immediately drawn into a display? Ever walk out having bought something you had no intention of buying? Increasing merchandise and food sales aren’t magic – but it is part art, part science. A panel of experts from the industry with international experience will discuss best practices for merchandising, procurement, pricing, managing inventory, choosing what to sell, where to order from and how to maximize sales with your displays.

Michael Catcott has led brands as diverse as Anheuser Busch Theme Parks and Schlitterbahn in theme park and resort development. He served as general manager and corporate head of merchandising for Sea World. After 25 years in the business Michael understands how to use strategic planning to increase the profitability of all parts of the business including operations, retail, marketing, and development.

Lenny Freund is a 40 plus year veteran of the amusement industry with a resume that includes Director of Food Service at Dorney Park, Director of Revenue Premier Parks and General Manager for Six Flags Theme Parks. Currently his company, Freund Family Foods, provides food and beverage to dozens of the country's largest fairs, festivals and special events. Lenny is also a Managing Partner of North Star Food and Beverage, which provides food and beverage consulting to the leisure industry. Lenny and his wife Sue have been married 35 years and have seven children.

Claudia Yundt is Park Director at Squire Boone Caverns and has been with the park since 1983. Squire Boone Caverns has a sister company, Squire Boone Village, a wholesale/manufacturing company producing gift shop items. Being involved in all aspects of retail products including developments, manufacturing, sales and retail has given Claudia a unique perspective. With over 39 year’s experience, Claudia has a lot of knowledge to share and will be the first to tell you, she is still learning!

Terri Adams, General Manager of Natural Bridge Caverns will facilitate this discussion. She oversees the operation of the caverns with the Wuest family. Prior to that, Terri spent 41 years with Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, working her way up from lifeguard to spending the last 12 years as their Chief Operating Officer overseeing all parks and resorts. During Terri’s lifelong career in the travel industry, she has served on many boards and been a member of a number of associations in various Texas cities. Terri is well known in the Texas travel industry.

Loss Control Observations (NCA Only)

Wednesday, September 28 from 10:45-11:45AM

Located in the Navarro "B" Room

Do you know what is walking out your door? Have you discovered things missing at the end of a season or shift? There are ways to keep firmer control on your assets. Adam Bryant, Senior Safety Advocate of the National Caves Association, will present on actual losses reported and advise on ways to prevent losses at your show cave as well as entertain us with his bag pipes!

Adam Bryant is a Senior Safety Advocate at Assurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company. Adam provides our clients with policy development, on-site and remote training for managers and staff, and on[1]site safety audits to identify safety hazards and provide solutions to help mitigate risk. This includes ensuring his clients are OSHA compliant and given the necessary safety and risk management consulting and claims engineering. By recognizing the ROI in an effective safety program, Adam has consistently cut expenses for his clients by 20 to 40 percent. He’s worked with over 500 employers across several different industries to help create and establish safety programs from scratch or supplement and refine existing programs. Prior to Assurance, Adam was a National Loss Control Consultant at AmTrust. While there, Adam developed and delivered risk management services for all lines of coverage including workers’ compensation, general liability, auto, and professional liability.

Adam graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance and a minor in Finance. He holds the following insurance designations: Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS), UL Recognized Risk Engineer (RRE), Underwriters Laboratory, Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS), National Underwriter Company, and Certified Staffing Professional (CSP). Adam is also an active member of the National Fire Protection Agency, American Society of Safety Engineers and National Safety Council.

Thursday, September 29 – Morning Breakout Sessions

The following sessions will be repeated, so you will be able to attend 2 of the 4 sessions.

The first set of breakout sessions is from 9:15-10:15AM.

These same sessions will be repeated from 10:30-11:30AM

Ticketing Trends: Are You Maximizing Revenue?

Thursday, September 29 (9:15-10:15AM, 10:30-11:30AM)

Located in the Zapata Room

Curious how dynamic and variable pricing models can maximize revenue and the visitor experience? This session will be led by three industry experts: Harry Tomasides, Chief Revenue Officer with Digonex, Randy Josselyn, most recently with Gateway. Together they'll be covering everything from partnering with OTA’s, timed ticketing, discounts, ticketing software, online ticketing, kiosks and other ticketing trends that work for both large and small caves.

Harry Tomasides has been the Chief Revenue Officer for Digonex since 2015 and is honored to speak again at this year’s ISCA Congress. He is passionate about helping organizations transition to a more efficient and data-driven approach to pricing. Digonex specializes in providing automated dynamic pricing solutions for Attractions/Tour Operators, Performing Arts and Live Entertainment organizations. Today Digonex and serves almost 60 organizations in North America and the UK.

Harry and the Digonex team have worked closely with the Natural Bridge Caverns team since 2017 and he is excited to share their story with other operators. Prior to joining Digonex, Harry trained media executives and served in management roles with ABC/Disney, IHeart Radio and Citadel Broadcasting. When he is not evangelizing dynamic pricing, Harry enjoys playing guitar, cooking and listening to a wide variety of podcasts. Harry resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife Christine and 2 daughters Demi and Marki.

Randy Josselyn is an expert in ticketing systems, theme park marketing, revenue management, attraction operations. Randy is Vice President of Experiences at Icon Experiences providing operational insight and best practices to the attractions industry. Previously, Randy founded Trajectory Ticketing, a consulting company providing expertise for waterparks, theme parks and museum/zoos/aquariums. Prior to that, Randy was employed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts where he managed new and existing ticketing projects, including the Annual Passport Monthly Payment Program. Randy was also the Director of Admissions and Hospitality at Wild Rivers Waterpark in Irvine, California where he worked for 15 years, working up through the ranks in a variety of departments. At Wild Rivers, Randy was responsible for ticketing systems, computer technology, website development, parkwide hospitality, pricing, guest services, and was a member of the Wild Rivers marketing team. Randy chairs the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) IAAPA Finance and Technology Committee and instructs the Institute of Attraction Managers program. Randy is a multiyear speaker at the IAAPA, WWA and other associations and is a IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive (ICAE). Randy and his wife Bria reside in in Nashville, Tennessee with their 5 children.

Brian Vauter, Director of IT, POS, Data & BI at Natural Bridge Caverns will be facilitating. Brian began working at Natural Bridge Caverns in 1986 as a tour guide in high school. He graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Geology. He worked for the United States Geological Survey in Nevada for the Yucca Mountain Project looking specifically at groundwater and water vapor flow through the volcanic rocks. He returned to Natural Bridge Caverns as the Staff Cavern Geologist. In addition to Geology, he works extensively with ticketing systems and business intelligence software.

Cave Lighting & Development

Thursday, September 29 (9:15-10:15AM, 10:30-11:30AM)

Located in the Madero Room

After decades of touring groups through a cavern, you think you know it better than anyone – until you light it with state-of-the-art systems that change your perspective completely. That’s what happened when the Natural Bridge Caverns team walked back into the Hidden Cavern after the Cave Lighting Team lit up the room. “We gasped. Literally.”

Hear from Alexander Chrapko from Cave Lighting and Matt Carr, Director of Cavern Development about the recently completed lighting project and the dramatic impact on the tour experience as well as ways to add to your cave with Wi-Fi, improving access and exits, and even the building of the BAT – the Belt Assisted Transport system.

Alexander Chrapko is the Managing Director and Project Director for Cave Lighting CL GmbH & Co. KG based in Germany. He is a geologist and IT Specialist with 10 years experience in lighting up show caves all over the world. He is a member of several professional organizations including the International Show Cave Association.

Matt Carr is Director of Cavern Development at Natural Bridge Caverns. Matt started working at Natural Bridge in 1991 as a seasonal tour guide. Over the years, he has served in a variety of leadership positions at NBC including tour guides, food and beverage, and human resources. Matt took on his first cave development project in 2000, opening a 600-foot-long passageway that allows visitors and staff to bypass the lower sections of the cave when they are inundated with aquifer water. More recently, Matt has acted as NBC's liaison with Cave Lighting on re-lighting the Discovery Passages and Hidden Passages. Matt and his wife Liz live in nearby New Braunfels with their two kids, Kylie and Evan.

Importance of Exploration & Cave Science

Thursday, September 29 (9:15-10:15AM, 10:30-11:30AM)

Located in the Villa Room

Exploration, Cave Critters, Paleontology & Archeology: From unique marketing opportunities to shaping changes in operations to guiding development, there’s no question that knowing more about your cave impacts your success. This panel of experts will discuss the nuts and bolts of continued exploration, discovery, preserving, studying and interpreting your show cave’s fascinating biology and historical treasures. Facilitated by experts in each field.

Dr. George Veni, is the Executive Director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) and an internationally recognized hydrogeologist specializing in caves and karst terrains. Prior to NCKRI, he owned and served as principal investigator of George Veni and Associates, conducting multidisciplinary environmental karst management studies for more than 20 years. He has conducted karst research throughout the United States and in several other countries. He has been a member of the governing board of the International Union of Speleology since 2002 and served as its President from 2017-2022, organizing the International Year of Caves and Karst in 2021-2022. He has served as an advisor for geological, geographical, and biological dissertations and theses at several universities in Greece and the USA, and has published and presented over 270 papers, including six books, on hydrogeology, biology, and environmental management in karst terrains.

Liza Colucci, Project Manager & Ecologist at Zara Environmental LLC, earned a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Chemistry from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Liza’s experience includes 15 years working with endangered species in central Texas as a conservation biologist with the City of Austin and biologist with Zara Environmental. She has extensively monitored Eurycea salamanders, karst invertebrates, and groundwater fauna throughout Texas. Her projects have also included restoring endangered species habitats and monitoring ecosystem health in karst systems. Liza’s experience includes developing habitat conservation plans, biological assessments, and research projects with endangered species. Liza manages compliance of federal and state permits and has spent extensive time onsite for numerous construction and maintenance projects in federally protected habitat. She has been managing projects for nearly a decade. Liza has been a caver since 2005 when she was handed a carbide headlamp in upstate NY. Since then, she has been caving for fun, for science, and for work.

John A. Moretti, a paleontologist and PHD candidate at the Jackson School of Geosciences, at the University of Texas at Austin. For 18 years John has worked as a field archaeologist and researcher in museums and universities across the state. He has spoken on topics ranging from ancient animals of West Texas, the ice age in Texas, and prehistory of West Texas. A prolific contributor to dozens of papers, John has worked on various independent research projects and designed exhibits for local museums.

Travis Wuest, Vice President & 3rd generation co-owner of Natural Bridge Caverns, will be facilitating this session. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University’s Department of Recreation Park and Tourism Sciences. Travis has served as Chairman on the Texas Nature Tourism Council and Chairman on the Comal County Regional Habitat Conservation Committee. He was also a member of Governor Rick Perry’s Tourism Advisory Committee. Currently, Travis serves on the New Braunfels Food Bank Advisory Board, the San Antonio Visitor’s Alliance’s Executive Committee, and the Visit San Antonio Leisure Advisory Committee. He is a member of Oakwood Baptist Church. Travis is married to his college sweetheart, Jennifer Wuest. They are working to raise 3 children, Morgan, Ryan, and Logan, who they hope will one day carry on the family’s legacy of conservation, nature-based adventure, and family fun.

Events at Show Caves? How unique!

Thursday, September 29 (9:15-10:15AM, 10:30-11:30AM)

Located in the Navarro “A” Room

Show caves offer a wonderfully unique venue for events. Learn how to plan, promote and execute successful special events at your show cave including seasonal events, corporate meetings, parties, weddings, reunions, concerts, team building experiences and more! This panel of experts will share their experiences and best practices with you.

Dempsey Warren’s mission in life is to help others feel celebrated and important, and that extends to her clients and their audiences. She received her B.B.A. in sports, event, and tourism management and her M.B.A. from UTSA while serving as captain of both their NCAA volleyball and NCAA basketball teams. Those leadership roles gave her the interpersonal communication and organization skills that she applies to all her projects. She currently is a Event Senior Manager at The CE Group with some of her notable projects including the NCAA 2018 Men's Basketball Final Four, the NCAA 2021 Women's Basketball Tournament, Majesty Outdoor Clay Shoot & Gala, San Antonio Express News High School Sports Awards and many others. She has a special place in her heart for non-profits and organizations with philanthropic missions. Although her collegiate athletic days are over, she still loves staying active through cycling and other group exercise classes so that she can keep up with her growing family.

Steve Thompson is the Vice President of Bridal Cave Development Co. Inc. in Camdenton Missouri. Steve has been with the park for 45 years after starting as a tour guide fresh out of High School and working his way up the ranks. During his time at the cave Steve has doubled the tour route via man made tunnels, overseen construction of a new visitor’s center, made numerous land acquisitions that include a new event center and warehouse facility.. Bridal Cave has become famous as a unique place to “tie the knot”!

Kara Van Brunt, Executive Director of Ruby Falls, brings over two decades of commercial cave operations experience to her role. Kara’s expertise in administrative and operational efficiency, management of award-winning events, strategic development, leadership team oversight, and risk management ensure operations perform at their peak, meeting business objectives. Actively involved in the advancement of the tourism industry, Kara is the current President of Southern Highlands Attractions and was named Tennessee Tourism Manager of the Year in 2016. Kara resides in Lookout Mountain, GA with her husband Jeremy and their two daughters, Emery and Ellie.

Tania Baños Martos, Mayoress of the city of La Vall d'Uixó, a Spanish Mediterranean city which owns and manages Coves de Sant Josep, one of Europe's longest underground navigable rivers and which attracts the attention of thousands of tourists who visit the Valencian coast every year. Tania serves as Counselor of Sports and Historical Memory at the Council of Castellón, and she is a graduate in Economics at the University of Valencia. She also has a master’s degree in Taxation from the College of Economists of Valencia.

Master Planning - Shaping Your Future NOW

Thursday, September 29 from 1:00-2:30PM

Located in the Navarro Room

There’s tremendous value in stepping back from your day-to-day operations and thinking through your future. Whether your goal is increasing revenue or creating advocacy for protection of karst landscapes, master planning is critical to achieving it.

In this session, John Kasman with PGAV outlines the process of effective master planning. From identifying your goals, to understanding your audience, to exploring your assets, each phase informs the next and sets your cave on a path to realize it’s potential. Start more than dreaming – start planning!

John Kasman, Vice President & Senior Designer at PGAV has over 25 years of Destination expertise with specialties in guest experience and interpretive design for a multitude of project types such as museums, historic sites, and brand destinations. As Vice President at PGAV Destinations and a licensed architect by trade, John provides effective management of large-scale projects and multifaceted project teams. He also has extensive on-site experience including stakeholder engagement.

Thursday, September 29 – Afternoon Breakout Sessions

The following sessions will be repeated, however NCA will attend first sessions (2:45-3:45PM) during ISCA’s General Assembly meeting and ISCA will attend the second sessions (4:00-5:00PM) during NCA’s business meeting.

The first set of breakout sessions is from 2:45-3:45PM.

These same sessions will be repeated from 4:00-5:00PM.

Marketing & Public Relations: FREE & paid

Thursday, September 29 (2:45-3:45PM and 4:00-5:00PM)

Located in the Madero Room

Hear how to promote your cave and stay connected with the public all year long, best practices for social media platforms, insights on marketing trends, and the importance of tracking your advertising returns.

Trevor Wood, is President of The Wood Agency, a full-service marketing & advertising agency. Trevor was “born and raised” in the advertising biz – literally walking from grade school to the agencies his parents managed. He graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. Degree in Advertising, and immediately joined the agency full-time.   Trevor has held positions as Copywriter/Producer, Account Executive, Account Supervisor and Vice President – Account Service.  Over that time, he developed strong beliefs about what makes advertising effective, which eventually informed a new strategic approach for creative development called Connections. One of Trevor’s favorite pastimes is debating attribution models.

Winter Prosapio, heads up communications for Natural Bridge Caverns and is also an award-winning novelist and humor columnist. She has over 30 years of experience in communications, working in tourism, public affairs, finance, and has led trainings across the country on a variety of marketing, social media, and PR topics. She's also a big fan of caves, small dogs, waterparks, wooden rollercoasters, and funnel cake, not necessarily in that order. You can learn more about her, read some funny stuff, and even hear from her on her website at

Cave Rescue & Tour Guide Training

Thursday, September 29 (2:45-3:45PM and 4:00-5:00PM)

Located in the Navarro Room

Best practices in staff training, working with cave rescue teams and first responders for commercial tours, adventure tours and explorations.

Carrey Bull , is an instructor and serves on the Education Committee for the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) for the NSS. She started taking NCRC classes in 2015, which is also when she found caving. She joined the Underground Texas Grotto and the NSS and gets underground as much as her work schedule will allow. Carrey is Fire Specialist (driver) with the Austin Fire Department/Special Operations. In addition to teaching cave rescue, she also teaches rope rescue and confined space rescue for R.E.S.E.T, a regional training.

John Young is an Adventure Tour Guide trainer at Natural Bridge Caverns. He assists training guides in rope and vertical skills, rescue techniques for guests on caving tours, and is part of our Cavern Expedition Team. In addition to his work at Natural Bridge Caverns, John is a Lieutenant in the Bulverde Spring Branch Fire Department and has been a Firefighter/Paramedic for 15 years. During his time in the fire department, he developed a passion for caving and is an active member of the Bexar County Grotto, the TSS (Texas Speleological Society), and the Comal County Cave Data Manager for the TSS. He is also an adjunct instructor for the Colorado Bend NCRC Regional Training. John often takes part in educational events at the Caverns, showing guests the more technical aspects of cave exploration including advanced rope techniques and proper equipment use. Most recently he rigged a new tour, the St. Mary’s Adventure Tour, at Natural Bridge Caverns to enable guests to complete various climbs and traverse a pit area.

Valentin (Val) Hernandez , has been part of Natural Bridge Caverns for ten years. He worked as a tour guide when he was 16, then enlisted in the army where he served in Afghanistan as an artilleryman in the 82nd Airborne Division in Operation Enduring Freedom. Val rejoined the caverns when he returned and now serves as Tour Guide Operations Manager. He leads a crew of 60 tour guides for four separate tour products. His focus is training, safety, and events. Val is also an avid outdoorsman, enjoys hiking, kayaking, breakfast tacos, and cold beer.

Nicole Ridlen, was finishing her Bachelor's in Business when she decided her new hobby, caving with a Missouri grotto (caving club), was more of a passion. She went straight from graduating with her first college degree to earn her Bachelor's (Central Missouri) and Master's (Mississippi State) degrees in Geology, specifically studying cave & karst geology. She has spent a lot of time traveling, having been to caves in 22 of the U.S. states and 5 countries, long being a believer that experience is just as important as education. When she left her PhD program at Vanderbilt, she found herself in the unique opportunity to use both fields of study and experience; she was hired as a cave manager for a SW Missouri Cave. Nicole has been actively involved with multiple caving organizations like the National Speleological Society, Cave Research Foundation, Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy and six different grottos. Today Nicole is the General Manager for Cumberland Caverns, the longest cave in all of Tennessee open to the public.