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 50 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.
Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 1991
I found my way to Holiday River Expeditions quite by chance. While working at Alta, Utah, and pondering my “summer gig”, a co-worker suggested I try this local river company that he worked for. Thinking only that I had found my summer job has transitioned into a 26+ 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.
Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2009
I have been a river runner my entire life. Ever since my first river trip at age two, muddy water has run a current through my veins and into my heart. Growing up I marveled at the stark contrast between a busy urban environment like Salt Lake City and the untamed tranquility I would find between two canyon walls. My adolescent summers were spent learning life lessons while lounging upon Holiday rafts: the greatest sense of pride comes with a good work ethic; one person can go far but one can go much farther working within a team; the river, like life, only flows in one direction…and don’t touch the poison ivy! It was learning from the boatwomen and men of the 1990s that led me to find my own oars. When I’m not on a boat, I spend my time in Salt Lake City. I now help run the Holiday River Expeditions office and spend my free time as a climate justice activist. I work on a number of regional campaigns: I’m the director of the Green River Action Network, an affiliate program with Waterkeeper Alliance, and work with Utah-based Living Rivers. I find that the lessons from the river inform my organizing work and truly all aspects of my life. I love investigating the way natural cycles could work with our cities and influence the currents that direct and shape our communities.
Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2014
I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, and grew up in a family that spent a good chunk of time outdoors. Exploring Utah’s beautiful landscape was always a great way to spend my free time, but I had never considered that I could turn such an incredible playground into my workplace. Then in 2014 a friend of mine asked, or nearly forced me to go on a river trip with him. During that trip down the Yampa River I had the realization that I was ready for a change. Exactly two weeks from the end of my trip I was in Green River working for Holiday River Expeditions. Tim started me off as a driver, and slowly I began to take on more responsibility. In September of 2016 Holiday offered me a year-round position with the company.
I now work in the office heading the social media department, helping manage our storefront, and carrying on other responsibilities that are given to me. And in the summer I still get time working in the desert. I’m grateful every day for the opportunities this company gives me. I get to work for a company I respect, with people who have quickly become family, in an environment that rivals most. I get to escape the daily grind, and lose myself in the beauty of the river. I also get to show my son what it means to be happy in the work you do, and share with him the joys this state has to offer.
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 rafting since my prenatal days. I provide support around the office in whatever mode is needed. And be warned, I’ve been known to rally legendary water fights on hot river days! I currently work part time for Holiday while finishing up a degree in public and consumer health. Since childhood, I’ve had the great fortune to be immersed in a community of river mentors and family, all of whom instilled within me a deep respect and appreciation for the wild and natural. I’ve experienced first-hand the transformative powers of a river trip. A river trip provides the ultimate reset button when the body, mind, and soul need a release from day-to-day life and stressors. I have a robust passion for the preventative side of health and as such, enjoy working for a company that embodies and promotes so many dimensions of good health and wellbeing.
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 37 years.
Director of Operations for Holiday River Expeditions since 1978
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.
Ben Levine, aka LB
Working for Holiday River Expeditions since 2003
Our Vernal operations are managed by another Holiday all-star, Ben Levine, known by many as “LB”. Ben has been in the Holiday fold since 2003, when he got his start in the warehouse. Learning his craft from the ground floor up, Ben has internalized all the intricate details of the elegant design that is Holiday’s operations. His attention to both the details and the big picture mean that every Vernal trip is sent off with a mark of excellence. Although Ben is often found tuning operations in the Vernal warehouse, he is just as likely to be doing what all guides love best: running some serious white-water. His Go-Pro video footage has become viral online, making Ben one of our most laudable guides to date. Vernal couldn’t have better hands on its oars.
Vice President of Holiday River Expeditions
– Quality Control Specialist since 1963
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.