Our story

The forest where both the Forest Service and the WRBU were conceived.

In 2012, the U.S. Forest Service reported to the South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative Group that the Gifford Pinchot National Forest was full of biomass that was regularly being piled and burned rather than put to use as a source of renewable energy and jobs. The idea for Wind River Biomass Utility was born from that meeting as the four Charter Members decided to incorporate the Combined Heat & Power (CHP) concept to maximize the use of this forest waste.

The WRBU still needed heat and energy clients, however, and a feasibility study proved that greenhouses were a perfect first client for the CHP.

In 2018, a young and ambitious farmer was looking for a site for a greenhouse in Carson, about 10 minutes down the road from the WRBU location. The WRBU invited her to come aboard and develop a greenhouse business plan. She pulled in the most talented person she could think of to join forces. Wind River Organics was born.

Meet the Founders


Bringing decades of experience in forestry, engineering, renewable energy, the forest products industry, and community development to the table –

Paul Spencer
Managing Member
Retired Engineer & B.A. Mathematics – U of Texas ’70; Materials Science graduate study in mid-1980s.

Bob Sourek
Forester. Founder and President of Bear Mt. Forest Products; Board and founding member of Biomass Thermal Energy Council; Member Pellet Fuels Institute. Pilot, golfer, outdoor enthusiast.

Tom Linde
Retired US Forest Service (Recreation, Silviculture). Degree in Horticulture, Clark College, 1972. GPNF stand management; Federal Forest Enforcement Officer.

Norman Ward
Retired Professional Land Surveyor; 32 years with US Forest Service. BS in Physical Education with Minor in Land Survey, Univ. of New Hampshire, 1976.

Meet the Crew


Managing day-to-day operations is going to take fortitude and these folks have it in spades –

Elona Trogub, Co-founder of Wind River Organics
Organic Farmer, Chef, Educator, Community Herbalist, Facilitator. Graduated from Kendall College in Chicago in Culinary Management and Portland State University with a focus on Systems Science and Conflict Resolution. She’s excited to develop Wind River Organics into a powerhouse of healthy, fresh and delicious foods.

Ryan Crist, Co-founder of Wind River Organics
Organic Farmer, Biochemist, Mechanical Engineer, Aquaponic System Designer and Consultant, Educator and Ski Enthusiast. Graduated from University of Minnesota in Biochemistry and Portland State University in Mechanical Engineering. Ryan’s looking forward to growing the aquaponics industry with innovation and sustainable methods.

Karen Leckie, Manager of the Firewood Division
A native to the Pacific Northwest and mother of two sons, Karen earned an Associate’s in Business Administration and has gained real world experience in team management through years of experience in the military and coaching local soccer. She’s provided countless hours in community service; organizing fundraisers, coaching and volunteering time to Stevenson Carson School District and Skamania County.