Meet Our Facilitators

Michael Cohen

Michael, a Santa Barbara native with a passion for outdoor adventure, has been the proud owner of Coastal Team Building since 1998. With a vision to provide top-notch team building experiences to corporate groups and small businesses, he established the company to help teams grow and thrive through engaging outdoor activities.

With an impressive background spanning 30 years in outdoor leadership, Michael has honed his skills by working as a guide and trip leader for numerous renowned outfitters across the western United States and abroad. However his love for Santa Barbara always led him back to his beloved hometown between professional engagements.

Throughout his career, Michael has gained extensive experience in various outdoor pursuits. He has served as a river guide and trip leader on some of the most popular sections of river in the western United States, such as Idaho’s Middle Fork and Main Salmon, American, Tuolumne, and Rogue rivers, and even rowed baggage on the Grand Canyon. His international exploits include leading multiday self-supported sea kayaking adventures in Belize and spending two winters as a diving instructor and underwater videographer in the British Virgin Islands.

Kim Vawter

Kim has been a dedicated facilitator at Coastal Team Building for over 6 years, creating memorable experiences for groups of professionals. She began her career journey after graduating from Purdue University, where she engaged in numerous on and off-campus leadership opportunities. Holding a B.A. in Psychology and Photography from Purdue, Kim later earned her Masters in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University.

Kim’s passion for education led her to join Teach For America – Los Angeles, where she taught middle school Math and Science for four years. She then transitioned into school leadership roles, ultimately becoming a school principal. During her tenure in education, Kim participated as a Teaching Policy Fellow with Teach Plus and was a LENS Fellow through Building Excellent Schools.

Now, as the General Manager for Coastal Team Building, Kim applies her leadership skills and passion for fostering collaboration to host incredible trips for professionals.

Matt Kettmann

Matt is a contributing editor for Wine Enthusiast, where he’s covered the Central Coast and Southern California since 2014, and a senior editor for the Santa Barbara Independent, where he started his journalism career in 1999. He is the author of Vines & Vision: The Winemakers of Santa Barbara County, and has made small batches of wine in most vintages since 2012. His journalism travels have taken him around the world, from the Bolivian Andes and Amazon to post-war zones in Northern Uganda and Nagorno-Karabakh to slums of Mumbai and regenerative farms of Cuba, netting him bylines for the New York TimesTIME MagazineSmithsonian, and other international publications. A fifth generation Californian originally from San Jose, the UCSB graduate lives in Santa Barbara with his Bordeaux-born wife, two children, a dog named Arrow, and a struggling zinfandel vine that came from Santa Cruz Island. 

Dustin Harris

As a facilitator on our team for over 5 years, Dustin plays a pivotal role in creating and fostering team cohesion among our clients. He brings extensive experience in our outdoor adventures, having instructed kayaking and led outdoor excursions with UCSB Adventure Programs. He has also demonstrated leadership in his roles as a summer camp director and counselor, as well as a graduate of his high school’s esteemed Outdoor Leadership Program.

Dustin’s passion for safety and preparedness is evident in his numerous certifications, including SCUBA, lifeguarding, and Wilderness EMT. Holding a B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from UC Santa Barbara, Dustin possesses a strong foundation in scientific knowledge that further complements his skill set in outdoor team building and leadership.

Kyle Fischler

Kyle is a highly skilled team-building expert with over 9 years of experience at Coastal Team Building. In his time with our organization, he has successfully led numerous corporate and school groups in engaging and transformative team-building activities, drawing from his extensive background in adventure and safety.

His certifications include CPR/AED for the professional rescuer, Water Safety Instructor, and Wilderness First Aid.

Prior to joining our staff, Kyle served on the staff of UCSB’s Adventure Programs, primarily teaching rock climbing. He also boasts over eight years of experience as a trained lifeguard, including serving as a head lifeguard. In addition, Kyle has been an active member of various clubs and organizations, taking on multiple officer and organizing roles, and contributing significantly as a treasurer and board member of the California Student Sustainability Coalition.

As an Eagle Scout, Kyle has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, further honed by completing the Leadership Training course at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Communication and an Associate of Arts with an emphasis on Social and Behavioral Studies.

Carly Gammel

Carly is a dedicated and experienced outdoor professional with a passion for adventure, exploration, and team building. As a skilled facilitator for Coastal Team Building, she excels at fostering collaboration and personal growth in dynamic outdoor settings.

Carly holds a BA in Experience Industry Management from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has further enriched her education with a minor in Child Development. Her leadership background is extensive, having spent three years as a kayak guide and four seasons leading and supervising activities at summer camps. As a Wilderness First Responder, she is well-prepared to handle emergencies and ensure the safety of those around her.

When she’s not guiding or facilitating team building experiences, Carly loves planning road trips and exploring the great outdoors. As a Southern California native, she has a special affinity for the mountains and makes it a point to hike, bike, and dive into pristine mountain lakes and rivers whenever possible.

Chuck Graham

Chuck is a versatile freelance writer and photographer based in Carpinteria, California, as well as an experienced facilitator for our team, where he helps foster collaboration and communication among groups in the great outdoors. With a strong passion for the outdoors, he has devoted over three decades to being a dedicated beach lifeguard. Chuck also shares his expertise as a guide for Channel Islands Adventure Company, where he leads exhilarating kayak tours and immersive backpacking trips throughout the Channel Islands National Park. In addition, he served as the editor of DEEP Surf Magazine, showcasing his diverse talents and dedication to the ocean.

As a published author, Chuck has written two books, Carrizo Plain, Where the Mountains Meet the Grasslands, released in January 2021, and Hike on the Channel Islands, published in May 2022.

Chuck’s captivating stories and stunning photographs have graced the pages of numerous publications, including Backpacker, Trail Runner, Men’s Journal, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug, Photo Technique, Nature Photographer, Living Bird, Earth Island Journal, The Surfer’s Journal, The Surfer’s Path, Standup Paddle Magazine, SUP the Mag, Canoe & Kayak, Adventure Kayak, Sea Kayaker, Islands, American Forests, BBC Wildlife, Bay Nature, Outdoor California, Ojai Quarterly, Santa Barbara Seasons, Los Angeles Times, Santa Barbara Independent, Montecito Journal, Natural History Magazine, High Country News, National Geographic for Kids, and the Ventura County Reporter.

Esteemed commercial clients have also sought Chuck’s expertise and visual storytelling, including Patagonia, Willow Creek Press, Channel Islands National Park, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, California Coastal Commission, Los Padres National Forest, Photographer’s Market, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tidelines Calendar, and Channel Islands Provisioners. Through his multifaceted career, Chuck Graham continues to inspire others with his passion for nature, adventure, and team building.

Ricardo “Caco” Filipouski

Caco is a seasoned team building professional, having served as a facilitator for Coastal Team Building for over 12 years. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to every program, ensuring participants feel inspired and motivated to achieve their goals.

Caco’s educational background includes a degree in Hospitality from the Associação de Ensino de Santa Catarina, Brazil, equipping him with a deep understanding of customer service and team dynamics. His passion for adventure and leadership development is evident in his extensive outdoor and water sports experience.

Before joining Coastal Team Building, Cacoo spent three years as an outdoor guide on Campeche Island in Florianópolis, Brazil, where he led archeological hikes and facilitated memorable experiences for tourists. He also honed his water sports expertise during a six-year stint as a sailing instructor and kayaking guide in Mission Bay, San Diego.

Caco’s favorite adventure trip to date is Sea Cave Kayaking at the Channel Islands, which highlights his love for outdoor challenges and exploration. His dedication to creating meaningful and engaging experiences for others has been a cornerstone of his successful tenure at Coastal Team Building.

Aubrie Fowler

Aubrie is a passionate marine biologist with a strong educational foundation in Biological Sciences. She holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, specializing in Marine Biology and Fisheries. As a skilled facilitator for Coastal Team Building, Aubrie combines her expertise in marine life and environmental conservation with her talent for fostering collaboration and camaraderie among teams.

Aubrie’s commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation is evident in her leadership experiences, particularly in her work coordinating collaborative beach cleanups at the Channel Islands. These efforts have led to the successful removal of lobster traps and other harmful marine debris, protecting the fragile marine ecosystems.

A true adventurer at heart, Aubrie’s favorite expedition is the Channel Islands Adventure Kayak tour, where she explores the beauty and wonder of the area while engaging in the sport she loves. When she’s not guiding or participating in conservation efforts, Aubrie enjoys exploring tide pools and taking long walks on the beach, allowing her to further connect with the natural world and immerse herself in the breathtaking coastal environment.