Meet The Advocacy Board
All members of the Wild Horse Fire Brigade, LLC volunteer their time and resources.
Founder & Chairperson
William E. Simpson II
Founder & Chief Executive Officer - Capt. William E. Simpson II: Naturalist - Author, ‘Capt. Bill’ is a retired U.S. Merchant Marine Officer; commercial airplane and helicopter pilot; Master SCUBA Diver; gemologist and university instructor (Univ. of Hawaii - Maui Campus).
Bill spent his formative years on the family working-ranch raising livestock. He also worked in forestry-logging industry in Southern Oregon. After graduating high school, he attended Oregon State University as a pre-med science major, but ultimately earned his degree in Flight Technology.
He currently lives at his wilderness ranch among a herd of free-roaming wild horses in the Soda Mountain wilderness area on the Oregon-California border where he studies the behavioral ecology of wild horses on wilderness landscapes and wildfire. Bill is a published author with two books in print and has also authored over 150 articles on subjects related to natural resources management, with a focus on wildfire and wild horses. Over the last seven years he has been a been a guest on several radio and TV News shows relating to Wild Horse Fire Brigade. In 2019, William was nominated to the Bureau Of Land Management's Wild Horse Advisory Board by numerous elected officials.
Deb Ferns, MBA, has spent the last four decades as an event planner for both corporations and associations. Since 2004 she has operated her own firearms company, Babes with Bullets LLC, and in 2009 founded a charitable program under the Women's Outdoor Media Association. Ferns is a shooting sports champion, author, public speaker, and co-host of Gunstuff TV. She is also a long-time equine enthusiast, passionate about saving America's endangered wild horses. Deb resides in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband (Gary) and they have two daughters.
Kelsey Stangebye J.D.
Kelsey's equine passion began at an early age at her grandparent’s boarding horse farm. The American Quarter Horse (AQHA) became her focus which she parlayed into a recruitment with University of South Carolina’s NCAA equestrian team as a horsemanship rider. Ms. Stangebye received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Carolina. She graduated cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law, where she was the Research Editor for their Law Review. During law school, she also worked as the AQHA International Intern managing a clinic process throughout nine countries to support its introduction into the world of horses and AQHA.
Ms. Stangbye has extensively researched the secondary law materials and statutes on wild horse and burro management. Her article “Cowboys Gone Rogue: The Bureau of Land Management’s Mismanagement of Wild Horses in Light of its Removal Procedures of ‘Excess’ Wild Horses,” examined the use of public land in the western states. Ms. Stangebye is elated to join the efforts of Wild Horse Fire Brigade to collaborate efforts to improve the ethical management of the wild horses and burros and while doing so, generate a management plan that is environmentally sustainable and economically profitable. Ms. Stangebye is still involved with AQHA as a state director and amateur exhibitor, spending the majority of her free time competing and taking care of her horses. Kelsey has a new personal journey of learning and caring for two BLM burros that are a mother and daughter pair. The burros offer life lessons every day!
Treasurer - Ethologist/Photographer
Michelle Gough is a lifelong horse lover and animal advocate with a family history of Native American influence. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis on animal behavior. Michelle obtained a Master's degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner has worked in plastic surgery, wound care, cardiac surgery, and dermatology. Michelle is now living among and studying free-roaming wild horses.
Jessica Adanich is an alumna of the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied industrial design, graphic design, sculpture and glass. She spent her early career working with renowned brands such as Vitamix® and Hasbro NERF®. She spent the next six years leading the design and marketing department of Mace® Brand. As a seasoned professional, Jessica yearned for a creative agency of her own. DesignPod Studio was born in Cleveland in the fall of 2018.
Jessica moved to Tampa Bay in October 2019 to be closer to the ocean she loves, where she leads DesignPod Studio as well as her shark conservation endeavor Fuzzy Sharksde that creates artwork to educate individuals on shark conservation. Jessica’s love for wildlife doesn’t stop at the oceans shoreline, as she’s incredibly passionate about using her creative talents to help all wildlife. Thus her interest in Wild Horse Fire Brigade. She designed the logo and was instrumental in developing their new website.
Professor Michael Harris
Michael R. Harris is the director of the Environmental Advocacy Clinic and an Associate Professor of Law. He has litigated environmental cases and supervised law students for more than two decades. Before joining Vermont Law and Graduate School in 2022 he was General Counsel and Director of the Wildlife Law Program for Friends of Animals, an international non-profit animal organization. From 2008 through 2014, Professor Harris was an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law where he also directed the environmental law clinic. He has also worked for EarthJustice, the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Los Angeles, and several private law firms.
Professor Harris received his Juris Doctor from the University of California—Berkeley School of Law. He earned a Masters in the Study of Law from Vermont Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Pitzer College. He has published papers that examine the intersection of environmental and administrative law in the Ecology Law Quarterly, St. Louis University Law Journal, Tulane Law Review, Hofstra Law Review, Quinnipiac Law Review, the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, and Hastings Journal of Environmental Law.
Professor Harris lives in New Hampshire with his wife (Charlotte), son (Raymond), a border collie (Pan), an Aussie shepherd (Bradley), and two lively guinea pigs named Coffee and Tea.
Equine Science Advisor
Professor Julie Murphree
Julie Jo Murphree has been teaching wildlife conservation, animal nutrition, equine science, ethical issues in biology and animal behavior courses at Arizona State University since 2009. Her principal areas of research focus on issues embedded within compassionate conservation, behavioral ecology, rewilding initiatives, and the ethical concerns surrounding human/non-human relationships. Murphree’s analysis on foraging behavior and nutrition in ungulates utilized controlled feeding trials in pygmy goats in order to evaluate the efficacy of DNA sequencing and microhistological analysis for diet determination in wild ruminants. Her most recent doctoral research lies at the intersection of the social, political, economic and scientific factors surrounding the management of free-roaming horses on public lands in the American West. Her primary investigations focus on the ecological role of wild equids on biodiversity and functioning of novel ecosystems. Murphree’s fieldwork is mainly conducted on the Salt River Wild Horses within the Tonto National Forest in Arizona and the Heber Wild Horses along the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains of Arizona. Her aim is to bridge the gap between wildlife management that focuses on individual animal concerns (animal welfare and animal rights) and ecosystem concerns (conservation biology).
Livestock Advisor - Member at Large
Founder of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, serving as the Executive Director/CEO until 2007.
Original first year member of R-CALF USA and now serving as Country-of-Origin Labeling Committee Chair.
Board Member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church, High Plains Shrine Club and the Kansas Upper Republican River Basin Advisory Chairman.
Recently elected to the board on the Organization for Competitive Markets.
Mike is very independent and proud of working with those who started R-CALF USA. It has been a great challenge and rewarding while representing real independent USA (cattle) producers. He and his wife (Dawn) stay actively involved in the community, agriculture, cattle and farming in NW Kansas They work at diversification to survive and make life better for those in their community and especially their family with includes two daughters and three granddaughters.
Humane Advocate - Member at Large
Dr. Sharon Greenleaf La Pierre
During Sharon’s career, she has been involved in many aspects of the educational field from being a director, board member, and teacher at various levels, as well as a Kellogg Post Doctoral Fellow at Montana State University in Adult Learning Research and a professor of Graduate Studies at Northern Arizona University. Her research interest and publication record have been extensive in the field of the nature of spatial intelligence. She has many publications to her name, including several books and has been an editor of many juried research publications and journal articles. Sharon has been president of several professional and international research organizations. She was the Founding Chair of the Wildlife Legacy Trust Fund Serving the Community Foundation of Boulder County, Colorado. She is involved actively in a national network of rescue for animals. Her involvement with horses came through her rescue of an abused baby Peruvian Horse, Caramela de Raza.
If you would like to join the mission to help preserve the Wild Horse Fire Brigade, please send us a message and we'll be back in touch as soon as possible.