An experiential program is often only as good as its facilitators. ChallengeWorks is part of a network of experiential facilitators from all over Texas. Depending on your program’s goals and needs, we will hire facilitators from around town and the state, that best suit your group. Our facilitators include:


Amanda Laurel

Amanda LaurelAmanda is the new and current Program Director of ChallengeWorks! She is from San Antonio, Texas and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University, WHOOP! During her time at A&M, she took a class at the challenge course and stumbled upon a new passion she didn’t know existed. She obtained her practitioner certification and traveled throughout Texas working at numerous camps assisting in their ropes/challenge course operations – she even worked at ChallengeWorks as a student worker.

In 2016, she began working at a start up zip line company in Austin, Texas – there she wore many hats from training new guides to guiding guests to course maintenance to marketing and assisting in operations management. During her time in Austin, she was given the opportunity to train practitioners/facilitators and is currently a Qualified Course Professional. Amanda made her way back home in 2018, she recently worked for the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas as their Camp and Outdoor Education Manager. A large task upon arrival was creating the local operating procedures to commission their brand-new ropes course. Amanda is ecstatic to be back at Texas A&M and brings a diverse set of experiences and a wealth of knowledge to the challenge course.  

When she is not at the course, she loves spending her time climbing, being outdoors, building puzzles, and playing video games. Her number one bucket list item is to visit every National Park in the world!


Lorenza Phillips

Lorenza is retired from the Austin Independent School District, where he ran the challenge course program for many years, Lorenza is now a contract facilitator for many challenge courses around the state. He has worked with ChallengeWorks for 15 plus years and loves to travel the world with his wife Pixi, and family, when he is not working.


Art Ortiz

Currently running the challenge course for the City of Georgetown and leading facilitator trainings for Rope Works, Inc., Art also finds some time to work at ChallengeWorks. He is an avid runner, rock climber and whitewater guide, as well as a devoted husband to Maura and father of two fantastic kids!


MaryBeth Henthorne

As an Assistant Professor in Health and Kinesiology here at TAMU, Marybeth teaches many classes including… Leadership at the challenge course, yoga, canoeing and rock climbing. Marybeth continues to develop her yoga instruction with a recent training in India and is an avid pickle ball player when she can fit it in. She is a wonderful wife and mom, and proud to talk about her son, the college graduate!


Frank Eckles

As well as a longtime facilitator on challenge courses, Frank is the Executive Director for the Academy for Competent Youth Work. He also loves to sail his 42 foot sailboat off the coast of Texas and beyond with his wife Vicki.


Chad Nelson

While finishing his PhD in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences, Chad teaches Leadership classes at the challenge course, Aggie Action Ball and trail running. He is a high energy facilitator and runs the Deerfoot Camp for A&M in the summer. When he is not working, he likes to travel with his wife Candace, often “escorting” horses around the world to new owners.


Renz Phillips

In addition to facilitating for several challenge courses, Renz is a Rigging Specialist for many big theater productions. He even worked the halftime show for Super bowl 51 in Houston with Lady Gaga flying off the roof!

Thank you Bob Gantt!

Bob was the previous program director of ChallengeWorks and retired at the end of 2020. He has a degree in Recreation and Parks Administration from Texas A&M University, as well as a certificate from Texas A&M as an outdoor education specialist. He is also certified as an experiential therapist, and a wilderness leader.

Bob worked the Challenge Course field beginning in 1990, and has experience facilitating a variety of groups, including corporate clients, teachers, psychiatric patients, and students. Bob began training facilitators in 1994 and was employed as a challenge course builder and inspector for 2 years in Colorado before returning home to Texas A&M.

We thank Bob for paving the way and for his 20+ years of service here at ChallengeWorks!