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Meet the Team.

George Avila, Jr.

Founder & President

After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, George began his career in video production creating initial and recurrent training videos for pilots. He went on to work in television news in Portland Oregon as a cameraman and editor, then briefly for a company that produced training videos for the fire service. This is where he developed his admiration and respect for the fire service community and set him on the path to starting Action Training Systems in 1988.

George remains active in day-to-day operations and follows the challenges and changing dynamics in the first responder community. “Working side by side with my staff and understanding the needs of the fire service, is integral to product development and our continued success at ATS”.

George maintains a very active lifestyle, starting with a consistent physical fitness program in his home gym. He enjoys kayaking, golfing, and attending sporting events, especially baseball. “I’m also a huge fan of Formula 1, there’s nothing quite like the sound of an F1 engine at speed!” George also enjoys traveling domestically and internationally with his wife Ellen. “I’ve enjoyed visiting many cities within the U.S., as well as travels to countries such as Japan, Malaysia, and several European countries.”

Even though he is in his 70’s now, George has no plans to retire. He has an experienced and dedicated team that feels like family, many of whom have been with the company for 10 to 25 years! With this support behind him, George remains committed to the development of meaningful training tools for the emergency responder.

Paul Daniels

Operations Manager

Paul joined ATS in 2012 as Operations Support. A building contractor and business owner by trade, he learned the business from the inside out, by performing many roles and learning about the training needs of the first responder community. Paul became Operation Manager in 2014, overseeing all aspects of the business and the products we produce. He’s the right hand of our CEO and acts as a consultant and confidant to staff and sales. He helps with marketing ideas and campaigns; he assembles our online product into the interactive software, does all that “business-y accounting-legal stuff, and helps out wherever else he can.

Paul appreciates the dedication of the first responders to their communities and is proud to be part of a company that provides training and support. Away from work, Paul and his wife Linda enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. They also love spending time with their adult children and the first (of hopefully many) grandchildren.

Beth Crittenden


Beth started writing and producing first responder training over 30 years ago when video training had just started to gain some traction but was still new to fire and EMS. She loves working with the first responder community and has had the privilege of meeting many amazing educators, leaders, writers, rescuers, and caregivers. She has written and produced hundreds of programs and won many awards for her work.

Since 2010, Beth has been the producer, writer, and production manager for Action Training Systems. She enjoys learning about new things, researching, writing, and producing. “It’s like a puzzle to solve when presenting information both visually and with words, I love the creative process.” Beth considers the work she does her “purpose” and that it is meaningful and essential to the first responder and the community.

Beth lives with her husband, 2 cats, and a dog. She enjoys gardening, painting, and the great outdoors.

Sjon Johnson

Camera, Editor & Graphic Artist

Sjon got his first Super 8 movie camera when he was 11. He has been making “moving pictures” ever since. He joined ATS in 2003 and has worked on every training series ever produced by ATS in the last 20+ years. Sjon performs a multitude of production jobs, from director, camera operator, and video editor, as well as our graphic and animation designer. He also creates marketing and sales videos for our website, along with promotional and recruitment videos for the local fire and EMS agencies we work with.

“I find the variety of activities that the first responder performs very interesting, that, combined with the great personalities that are drawn to the profession, really inspires me to make compelling training.”

When not working Sjon helps his wife with their many horses and enjoys exploring the wild places of the Pacific NW.

Rob Johnson

Business Development & Technology Manager

Rob joined the ATS family in March 2009 as a customer support representative. He has had the privilege of working directly with customers while also maintaining internal and external technologies for the business and exploring larger opportunities outside of the typical sales process. Rob appreciates working in a company that supports and provides training for the first responder community.

When not working, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife of 30 years, boating, fishing, and RV’ing. You can also find Rob coaching football or brewing. Rob’s current distraction and great joy is a new granddaughter.

Rick Marple

Product Development & Support

Rick has been with ATS since 2008. If you call our support line, most likely you will get Rick, he’s our stellar customer support expert! He supports our online training system (ATO) and the department administrators who use it. He also helps with compliance reporting and account management. Rick is also essential to the production and marketing team, he creates website images, product graphics, video feedback, PowerPoint© images, and other components for our online interactive courses. Rick considers it an honor to assist the brave men and women of the fire/EMS service.

When not working you can find Rick playing guitar mostly, but also writing & producing music, creating graphic art, biking, swimming, and spending as much time as possible outdoors.

Ellen Avila

Marketing & Accounting

In December 2017, Ellen joined the ATS team as a short-term fill-in position, doing some bookkeeping and working in the shipping department. This eventually evolved into a full-time position that included marketing. When she first started, she didn’t have much experience with the emergency response community, but after attending FDIC and meeting customers in person it gave her a quick lesson in fire service culture. “FDIC was amazing! I find working in an industry that supports first responders very rewarding.” We expect Ellen will be around for quite some time since she is married to the founder and president!

Tara Forrest

Training Consultant – Retired

Tara started with Action Training in August of 1999 in the shipping department. However, it did not take long before she moved into a sales position where she could help those who serve their community.

When younger, Tara practiced martial arts and gained an understanding of the dedication it takes to train and be ready to respond. With this knowledge and compassion, it became her mission to help her customers get the training they needed to stay safe and return home at night. With over 24 years with Action Training Systems, Tara continues to provide the highest level of customer service and the best first responder training resources possible.

In her free time, she likes to camp and kayak. She has raised 1 son and is happy at home with her husband, 4 dogs, 2 goats, and 1 cat.

Jusup Lowry

Strategic Accounts

Jusup got started in the emergency response training industry in 2008 with a focus on EMS training for basic and advanced levels. As he gained experience and appreciated the importance of cross-training firefighters and EMS personnel, he began to learn more about regulatory compliance, fire service training, and online course delivery through Learning Management Systems.

This proved useful when he joined Action Training Systems in 2012. Jusup helped to introduce customers to a new EMS product line and assisted them with the transition from computer-based to internet-based training.

With over 16 years of experience in the first responder training community, Jusup has had the privilege of working directly with state and provincial entities, along with fire and EMS regulatory authorities. His vast knowledge of training requirements, and regulatory compliance allows him to advise and direct his customers in the most effective ways. Having a direct impact on community safety by introducing fire and EMS agencies to quality competency-based training provides Jusup with a great sense of accomplishment.

Marc Kaye

Training Consultant

Marc has been with ATS since October 2019. Some of Marc’s closest friends are First Responders and in Law Enforcement, and he knows the importance of training firsthand. “Our ATS customers expect the most updated and relevant training to do their jobs to their best capabilities, and we provide that through our many platforms”. Marc loves being a Training Consultant and providing critical training that ensures that First Responders are ready for any type of call. In his free time, Marc enjoys spending time with his son, boating, and working with student-athletes through his nonprofit.