MEET THE TEAM
FOUNDER GREG RAY
Like most that enjoy hunting and fishing, I grew up in the outdoors, on a 2000 acre cattle ranch in Oklahoma, where I chased squirrels and rabbits with my mighty hunting Dachshund (Tinker Bell, don’t let the name fool you, she was a killer!) I also had access to 19 ponds on our ranch and was spoiled with some of the best fishing in Oklahoma!
I didn’t start my outdoor career until late 2003 when I purchased a franchise from a company that booked hunting and fishing destinations to preapproved outfitters. This was supposed to be a side gig to help support my outdoor habit but God, Fate, whatever you want to call it had other plans for me.
In October of 2005 a Jeep going 70 mph, crashed through my house and ran over me while I was standing in my kitchen! (yep you read that right). I now work in an industry I love because of it. Due to my injuries, numerous surgeries and extended time off from work, I lost my job as a National Sales Manager for a Fortune 500 Company out of Chicago, it was a blessing disguised as a fast-moving Jeep.
My wife, Deborah and I decided to jump in with both feet and run our franchise full time. We built an incredible business and stayed with the Franchise model until 2012 when we partnered with the NRA, creating their NRA Outdoors program. We were blessed to run the program until February of 2018 where we once again branched out on our own to create Outdoor Solutions.
I never dreamed that my “side gig” would grow to the company it is today, partnering with some of the industries most well-known manufacturers.
I am truly blessed to work side by side with my wife of 20 plus years and more recently our son, Eddie, has started working full time for Outdoor Solutions.
CHEF ALBERT WUTSCH
Albert Wutsch, the author of The Art of Cooking Venison, The Art of Barbecuing and Grilling Game, The Art of Cooking Game,and the producer of The Art of Backyard Butchering is retired as department chairperson of Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts. Chef Wutsch is a certified executive chef and culinary educator who combines his mastery of cooking with his passion for the great outdoors.
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Chef Wutsch has cooked for professional outfitters in Montana’s Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Spotted Bear Wilderness, the largest untamed areas in America. He has cooked in many hunting camps throughout the country and has taught courses on game cookery across the nation. He has been a featured guest speaker for many sports shows and national conventions such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation, and the Annual Pheasant Fest, as well as the NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show, the largest sports show in the world.
Chef Wutsch’s professional career has spanned over 45 years of culinary experience. He has received numerous culinary teaching awards and has been featured in many newspaper and magazine articles. He has conducted game cooking demonstrations on TV, has written columns for national magazines such as Pennsylvania Game News, Women in the Outdoors, Buckmasters, and North American Hunter. Chef Wutsch has hosted and judged game culinary competitions and has been retained by publishers to review culinary manuscripts. He has owned and operated a catering business and has specialized in catering throughout the country.
He is now a regular contributor to fromfieldtotable.com and co-host many of Outdoor Solutions From Field To Table events across North America.
As a chef of a chef, cooking has always been a huge part of my life. I started my career working in my Dad’s kitchen at the Yorktown Hotel at the age of 15. Also instilled from my Dad and Grandfather are the love for the outdoors, hunting, fishing and trapping. Depending on the season you can find me on any nearby lake fishing, in the field hunting, or on my trap line.
After graduation from the Culinary Institute of America, I proudly served in the armed services for four years. I have been certified by the American Culinary Federation as an executive chef (CEC) and certified culinary educator (CCF). My industry experience includes working for American Hotels and Sheraton Corporation. A high point of my career was working as Executive Chef for 23 years at the Hershey Lodge: with 600 plus sleeping rooms, 4 restaurants, and 2,000 capacity banquet facility hotel where I had the privilege to serve all 50 Governors at their annual conference and several Presidents of the United States. Another achievement was working as Chef Instructor for 17 years at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Academy of Culinary Arts. Besides teaching and passing on my culinary expertise to students, I judged numerous high school cooking competitions, Pennsylvania Skills USA State Competitions, and ProStart Student Invitational in Ohio, Georgia, Wyoming, and New York.
Having never retired from cooking or outdoor activities, I am excited to join the Outdoor Solutions From Field To Table team. I want to bring the enjoyment of the hunt to the kitchen, from processing game, cooking demonstrations and sharing recipes.
CHEF MARGIE NELSON
Margie was born and raised in Livingston, Montana, a place that lends itself to growing up with a rich and divergent education in hunting and fishing. She was raised by her Grandparents and learned skills from loading ammo and building guns in the family gunroom (basement) to cooking outdoors over a fire or a wood cook stove. Her Grandpa was an NRA marksman and instructor and her Grandma was always cooking something up with the wild game they had harvested. Hunting lifestyle skills were always being taught and learned.
After many years and many careers from Lifeguard and Marine Biology in Hawaii, and climbing the corporate ladder with Pepsi in Seattle to bartending at local and back country watering holes in Montana She settled down to raise her son, Rock. Her goal was to give him the lifestyle that she had enjoyed growing up in rural Montana.
Rock is grown now and hunts with his Mom often. They successfully hunted Moose in Alaska together and Margie backcountry cooks for the same Outfitter in Alaska now. Being involved with many wildlife Conservation groups and the local Rod and Gun club she stays close to her hunting heritage.
Margie teaches wild game processing and wild game cooking through her business Wyld Gourmet and she uses her Marine Biology education for vacations these days and you can find her at least once a year dipping her head underwater to see what’s up.
Being on Team Outdoor Solutions is a great opportunity for her to use the skills she has earned and learned with a group of like minded conservationists, hunters and wild game Chefs. You can follow Margie on Instagram at wyldgourmet.
SALES ERIC SUAREZ
I grew up hunting small game and deer in Northeast PA and New Jersey. I enlisted with the Marine Corps in 1998 at the age of 17 and spent the next 18 years doing all manners of things that came up, during this time I was never able to get out into the field. I was fortunate enough to be presented with opportunities that took me around the world and provided life skills that were transferrable to the civilian world. I retired in 2016 and moved to North Alabama to provide a better support structure for my family.
After retirement I was hired at a major gun manufacturer as a Master Gunsmith and to run their gun room, for 18 months I built the latest prototypes and firearms in which many are still seen in today’s market. Having the military background that I had I was asked to move over to a PR/Marketing role within the company. Through this career change I was fortunate to meet and build a relationship with Greg and his team. Being able to be a part of the launch of From Field to Table has been amazing. I don’t need to shoot an animal myself but being able to teach shooting fundamentals to a new hunter then watch them go through the process of harvesting their first animal has been simply moving to me. More and more we see people from different segments of life come through our doors for all types of reasons, but the end goal is always the same. A person wants to be able to provide sustainable, natural meat for themselves and their families. They want to understand where that food comes from, how to process, package and ultimately prepare nutritious meals and to be able to provide and take care of their loved ones. This process is no different than my own.
I have an amazing wife (together 20 plus years) and two young very active sons, and it is important to me that they understand how to sustain themselves. Both recently harvested their first animals this past year and having them jump right in on field dressing and butchering showed me that even at the age of 8 and 12 they understand the importance of self-reliance. Both have expressed their excitement for next season, and I can’t wait to get them out in the field.
CHEF JOE COLISTRO
Chef Joe Colistro was born and raised in southeast Portland Oregon. I grew up in an Italian/Hillbilly household in which Family, Friends and food were the main focus of Life. My dad catered and owned a restaurant. Dad grew up and was friends with many of the top chefs in Portland during the 60s and 70s and once a month the chefs would gather at our house or one of theres and they would create new meals for their menus and that was the beginning of my culinary experience. Camping, hunting and fishing were started at an early age, by the time I was 10 years old I was packing my own shotgun, cleaning, butchering and cooking what I harvested, all under the close eye of my father. Dad had a dream of me working side by side with him in the restaurant, but my dream was to travel and see the world and at the age of 18 the only way for me to do that was to enlist in the United States Navy. I was stationed in Pearl Harbor Hawaii and served six years active duty and traveled half way around the world and learned how to prepare many asian and Pacific Islander dishes. After the service I returned to Oregon and spent 30 years in law enforcement. I never stopped cooking. Using the skills I learned from my father, and recipes I had gathered from over seas I focused on creating recipes and meals with the fish and game that I harvested, I also became a master chef at smoking and curing fish and game.
After retirement I became the head Chef at the Portland Yacht Club and after two years I left to become a chef at a lodge in Alaska. For 3 years I worked in Alaskan fishing and hunting lodges preparing and teaching clients how to cook the fish and game they harvested. Settling down In Montana I took the head chef position at Camp Mak-a-Dream, a Children’s Oncology camp, I started a Catering business and became a contract chef and food consultant and have worked in Lodges in both Montana and Wyoming developing new dishes and creating new menus for them. Chef Joe is also the Author of a cook book; Giuseppe’s Recipes “An Adventure with a Fork”.
OPERATIONS JONATHAN (MAC) MCDONALD
Jonathan (Mac) McDonald is a native Texan and currently resides on the shore of Lake Conroe in Montgomery, Texas. Jonathan has acquired a wide range of specialized skills through his service in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Beret, 18 Delta medic) and private employment with defense contractors for the U.S. State Department. Over the course of his service in the U.S. Army, Jonathan was deployed in Afghanistan, Peru, Iraq, and Bosnia and completed the Land Navigation course, the Combat Tracking course, SERE, advanced Scout Sniper training, and instructed the Basic Field Firearms Officer course. As a civilian defense contractor, he trained and directed the Designated Defensive Marksman assigned to protect the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, and trained emergency response personnel in tactical combat casualty care.
Jonathan joined Outdoor Solutions in 2020 as a long-range shooting instructor and has more recently added event operations and field-to-table to his responsibilities. He enjoys all aspects of hunting and fishing and is an enthusiastic instructor and advocate for humane wildlife management.