At Your Service

At Your Service. Customer service is the keystone of Holiday River Expedition‘s business. From the first voice you hear on the other end of the office phone to the warm welcome you’ll receive at the start of your trip, our goal is to provide you with exceptional service. More than 55 years since the founding of our company, we’re still a family-run business. We have a level of institutional knowledge that is unmatched in the industry. Read on, and you’ll find that people who come to work for us tend to stay. There’s a reason for that. With very little turnover of office staff, management, or guides, if you do more than one trip with us, you’re likely to work or float with the same people again and again. We believe not just in cultivating clients, but in creating a community.

Karen Johnson

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1991

I found my way to Holiday River Expeditions quite by chance. While working at Alta Ski Area, and pondering my “summer gig,” a co-worker suggested I try this local river company that he and his wife worked for. Thinking only that I had found my summer job has transitioned into a 30 year career. Originally from Virginia, I always tell people I came to Utah for the skiing but stayed for the rivers. I feel fortunate to have been able to raise my children around mountains and river canyons. Besides getting out to test the product as often as possible, my favorite part of the job is helping my customers choose their rafting or biking vacation. Most I know by name when they call year after year, but I am always looking forward to helping the next first-time rafter discover the powerful pull of these amazing experiences. When work doesn’t feel like work, you know you are in the right place.

Office Manager Karen Johnson on the oars

Lauren Wood

Working for Holiday River Expeditions (officially) since 2009

Ever since my first river trip at age two, muddy water has run a current through my veins and into my heart. After 6 full-time seasons as a guide, I now work in the Holiday River Expeditions office. Like everyone in our office, I wear too many hats to count & wouldn’t have it any other way. I simply love getting to know all the awesome people who choose to take the plunge with us. Who knew only truly delightful people are interested in coming down a river?!

I spend my free time gardening, walking my doggo Bill & adventuring around the Colorado Plateau with my partner. I’m the director of the Green River Action Network, a Waterkeeper Alliance affiliate and team up with Utah-based Living Rivers. I also recently joined the Board of a grassroots media collaborative Of Salt & Sand.

Every day I wake up I choose to work for Holiday because my grandpa Dee taught me that protecting these magnificent rivers takes all of us & once you spend a few nights cradled between canyon-walls I think you’ll surely agree these places are worth protecting.

Meet the Guides Lauren Wood

Justin Malloy

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2012

Running rivers wasn’t part of my upbringing in Cleveland, Ohio. I discovered the joy in boating when I gave whitewater kayaking a try in college and knew instantly I had found my great passion in life. After graduating, I moved to Utah and found a home at Holiday. Ten years of guiding, lots of skiing, and a few life adventures later, I am happy to fill an eclectic role in the Holiday office. If I’m not floating downstream, you’ll find me typing away at my computer, doing what I can to create a positive impact on the people and places that make what we do possible.

Justin landscape head shot

Jesse Dee Wood

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2014

I’m, Jesse or “JD”, and I’ve been a part of Holiday’s office staff since 2014, and have been rafting since my prenatal days. I work year-round in the Salt Lake booking office, helping guests choose their vacations, answering questions, and making sure everyone’s ready to go for their trip! There are no bad questions, so don’t hesitate to ask me anything. I’m happy to assist you. :)

When I do get out on the river, I’ve been known to rally LEGENDARY water fights on hot river days (for those who consent to getting wet of course)! I find that a river trip provides the ultimate reset when the mind, body, and soul need a release from day-to-day grind and stressors. I’ve been truly privileged to grow up on these rivers, and to be part of this community of river lovers, family and friends.

Office Jesse Wood

Sara Hinck

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2024

Growing up in the Bay Area of Northern California, I always felt most at home in the outdoors, where I could explore, learn, and connect with my authentic self. Twelve years ago, I moved to Utah sight unseen through AmeriCorps VISTA, and what started as an adventure soon became home. While living in Moab, I was introduced to rafting the daily sections of the Colorado River, which led to a bucket list goal of doing a multi-day river trip. In the summer of 2023, I checked off that bucket list item with Holiday on the Green River’s Gates of Lodore, and boy, did I catch the river bug! I couldn’t wait for my next trip.

This past spring, I joined the Holiday team, working in sales and social media. I’m excited to help foster a sense of belonging and connection for people from all walks of life to the landscapes and riverways I love!

Tim Gaylord

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1978

Director of Operations

When you arrive at the meeting point for your trip you’ll be met by a staff of guides, warehouse workers and drivers, all under the direction of our operations director, Tim Gaylord. Tim has been with Holiday River Expeditions since 1978. His attention to detail and his ability to single out the folks who possess the qualities essential to becoming the best guides in the business are surpassed by none. Tim’s organizational skills, and his higher-than-the-average-human’s energy level, is the magic behind our seemingly effortless outfitting of all our Utah raft and bike trips.

At Your Service Tim Gaylord

Emily Tilton

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2018

Vernal Manager

Hi, I’m Em! My story is pretty short (like me)! I graduated from college with a degree in Graphic Design and immediately jumped into the real world. Three years of sitting at a desk and staring at a screen prompted a life change.
A packed car, 2300 miles, and a small family connection later I landed myself at Holiday! Born and raised in little Rhode Island I was searching for a big adventure, and I found one on the rivers. Happiest with a guitar or camera in hand I am excited to share my adventure and create new ones with all of you!

Emily Guides

Rachel Zuckerman

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2024

Operations Manager

Hi, my name is Rachel! I’m originally form New York, but spent the past five years in mid-coast Maine where I oversaw the Wilderness Tripping program at a summer camp, taught social-emotional learning, and spent most of my free time hiking, rock climbing, and sitting ou ton the lake with a dirty chai. I worked in the Holiday warehouse in 2020 and am stoked to be back out west to enjoy the desert sun and wild rivers!

Rachel Zuckerman

John Wood

Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1980

President of Holiday River Expeditions

John Wood, our co-owner and president, started as a rafting guide and quickly worked his way to the office. From behind the scenes with both his creative and business background he led Holiday River Expeditions to the company we are today. John Wood, co-owner, president, back-up phone help, computer fixer, programmer, creative director, and raft guide, with Holiday River Expeditions for over 40 years.

Rafting Company Owner John Wood

Janet Wood

Vice President of Holiday River Expeditions
– Quality Control Specialist since 1980

Holiday would surely not be the same without the consistent presence of Janet Holladay Wood, Dee and Sue Holladay’s second-eldest daughter. Over the years, Janet has slipped into almost every role at Holiday from reservations to accounting and even guiding in the late 70s to early 80s. Her love of these rivers stems from her lifelong connection to them, floating through the canyons with her parents years before Holiday River Expeditions would even open up shop. Since that first trip at five years old, she hasn’t missed a river season with Holiday, spending a lifetime in Utah’s incredible back country. You can always find her helping out around camp or washing every single dish after meals. She recently celebrated her 60th birthday in the heart of Westwater Canyon, the place Dee fought to protect most passionately.

Dee and Sue Holladay

Founders and Owners of Holiday River Expeditions since 1966

 

And finally, the two folks who started it all, and the reason most of us are still here: Dee and Sue Holladay. The summer of 2015 marked a watershed moment for our company as we had to say goodbye to Dee, our founder, moral compass, and river father. His presence will be missed not simply by Holiday, but by the entire rafting community. Sue Holladay, although largely retired, still gives her magic touch to the menus. Despite the loss of Dee, the vision and the tone that he and Sue set for the company still resonate profoundly. The roots are planted deep, as they say, as deep as the river runs. Your Holiday River Expeditions experience from the first contact with a voice in our office to the book you pull from the library can on the river are all tied back to the special care Dee and Sue took with growing this business. They taught us all how to pay attention to details, to always look for the better way, to care for our environment, and to treat our guests with thoughtfulness and exceptional service.

Dee and Sue on the Yampa River trip