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The Summit

Our Team

When Health Fitness & Performance Matter

Robert J. Confessore PH.D., RCEP CCEP EP-C, EIM3 FACSM

B.S.      City University of New York-Brooklyn College
M.S      University of Montana
Ph.D.    University of Maryland
Dr. Confessore is a clinical exercise physiologist with almost 40 years of experience in the Exercise Science field. He began work at KRH SMFC in the fall of 2014. His previous position was lead clinical exercise physiologist of the University of Chicago Medicine’s Personal Health and Prevention Program. Rob has held numerous professional positions including: Exercise Physiologist Cardio Fitness Corporation [New York City], Research Associate at Applied Research Associates [Fire, Police, Military Fitness] and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Professor/Program Coordinator Exercise Science within the NH Community College system; Founding Director Human Performance Laboratory Elliot Health System, Manchester NH; Senior Clinical Exercise Physiologist New England Heart Institute, Catholic Medical Center, Manchester NH. Dr. Confessore holds all ACSM Certifications within the clinical tract; is an ACSM Fellow; and Legislative Committee Chairman of the Clinical Exercise Physiology Association. He takes great pride in a professional life dedicated toward helping others improve their health and physical performance.

Vanessa Kercher, Ph.D, SSC, M.Ed.

Ph.D. Exercise Physiology and Sport Psychology, University of Idaho
Statistical Sciences Certification, University of Idaho
M.Ed. Health and Human Performance, University of Texas
B.S. Exercise Science, Athletic Training, Texas State University

Vanessa brings passion, enthusiasm, and grit to her new role at The Summit Medical Fitness Center. Her unique combination of expertise in Exercise Physiology and Sport Psychology make her a valuable asset to the expanding Competitive Edge Performance Lab team. Initially from Texas, Vanessa began her journey studying Athletic Training at Texas State University. She then took to human performance at the University of Texas – Brownsville in her Master’s program. With a goal of becoming the first Ph.D. in her family and empowering underserved women she enrolled at the University of Idaho where she worked with world-renowned Sport Psychologist and former AASP President, Damon Burton since 2013. Vanessa recently completed her Ph.D. in 2017 after defending her dissertation on the development and validation of the Reasons to Exercise (REX) scale. She is excited to share her passion for helping people develop a growth mindset within the Kalispell community.

Dan Paine, Ph.D., B.S.

B.S.        University of Wyoming
Ph.D.     University of Utah

As a Biomedical Engineer specializing in Sport and Clinical Biomechanics, Dan’s passion lies in optimizing the body mechanics of both athletes and patients. His biomechanics-based research for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sport Science and Technology Division has significantly benefitted several Olympic associations including U.S.A Gymnastics and U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding. He has collaborated with the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball, and all branches of the U.S. Military including the U.S. Special Forces. Clinically, Dan has worked at the Mayo Clinic and the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT specializing in pre and post-surgery gait and full-body motion analysis. Whether you are returning from an injury, starting a new sport, or you’re an elite athlete looking for an edge, The Competitive Edge Performance Lab is a great place to improve your technique, reduce the risk of injury, and optimize your performance.

April Terry M.S., ATC, CHES

B.S.   Kinesiology, University of Utah
B.S.   Secondary Education, University of Great Falls
M.S.   Exercise Physiology & Athletic Training, University of Utah

April has over 25 years of experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer and is a Master’s level Exercise  Physiologist.  She has worked in a variety of settings as an Athletic Trainer and professor for several universities and colleges.  She worked with the NBA, WNBA, 2000 Winter Olympics and has taught and trained in several high school and hospital settings.  For the last 12 years, April has worked in the Flathead Valley as an educator and trainer, emphasizing preventive health and “Exercise is Medicine”.  She has a passion for body mechanics, kinesiology, strength training and concussion management. 

Here at the Summit, we look forward to helping you be your best, believing that there is no limit to what the human body can accomplish.

Kerianne Richardson M.S., ATC, LAT

M.S. Athletic Training, Montana State University - Billings
B.S. Health and Human Performance - Exercise Science, Montana State University

After completing my Bachelor's in Health and Human Performance - Exercise Science from Montana State University, I received my Master's from Montana State University - Billings. During this time, I gained clinical experience in many different outpatient, high school, and collegiate settings. I was with the University of Montana football team for the 2016 season. I am originally from Dillon, MT and very excited to join the CE team!


Amy Thoreson M.S., ATC

M.S. Exercise Science, Montana State University
B.S. Athletic Training, Whitworth University

Amy is a certified and licensed athletic trainer whose passion and focus is to help athletes stay in the game through both injury prevention and injury rehabilitation. She grew up in the Flathead Valley and has participated in a variety of both organized and recreational sports - soccer, track and field, cross-country skiing, hiking, and peak-bagging. Amy attended Whitworth University in Spokane, WA where she received her bachelor's degree in Athletic Training. She then went on to work as a graduate assistant at Montana State University, providing medical coverage for both Bobcat football and track & field. After earning her masters in Exercise Science at Montana State, Amy worked at Flathead High School as their head athletic trainer for 5 years before transitioning to The Summit and Competitive Edge in August 2017. She and her husband Sky, their son Leo, and their black lab Charlie live and play in the Flathead Valley. 

Brian Straub, ATC, LAT, NASM-CES

Health and Human Performance w/ option in Athletic Training, Iowa State University

Brian is a national board Certified and State of Montana Licensed Athletic Trainer. He comes to Kalispell from Texas where for 9 years he worked at Summit High School in the Mansfield Independent School District. He just completed his 1st year at FHS. He and his wife Lauren love Montana, and were very excited when he was offered the position at Flathead High School to be the athletic trainer here. They have 2 dogs, a black lab mix named Maggie, and a welsh corgi named Kobi. Brian and Lauren both enjoy the outdoors and what Montana has to offer. They look forward to being a part of KRMC and Kalispell for a long time.

Melody Strauss ATC, LAT

B.S. Sports Medicine - Athletic Training, Vanguard University of Southern California

After completing her Bachelors in California, Melody spent 4 years working in Emergency Medicine as an EMT and ATC in Washington with Skagit Medic 1, Skagit Valley Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue as well as The Summit at Snoqualmie Pass Ski Patrol. In 2008 she moved to the Flathead Valley and began working at Youth With A Mission (YWAM) where she spend much of her time as a Certified Athletic Trainer traveling with high school and college age teams overseas providing camps and clinics for under privileged youth in multiple countries. In 2015 she accepted the Head Athletic Training position at Glacier High School and joined the Competitive Edge team here at The Summit in August of 2017.

As a multi-sport athlete in both high school and college she understands the importance of proper health, fitness and biomechanics in the midst of competition. This played a key role in developing her passion for coaching. In addition to serving youth as an Athletic Trainer, Melody has spent countless hours coaching young athletes to develop and improve their skills in volleyball, track & field, skiing, snowboarding and gymnastics.