ACTOR/HOST/PRECISION DRIVER

In addition to his current focus on television hosting and film roles, Kris Van Nest is a precision driverexternal link opens in a new window and off-pavement driving consultant for film, television, and various SUV manufacturers, including Land Roverexternal link opens in a new window. Kris created, executive/post-produced, and hosted the national weekly television series Trekkenexternal link opens in a new window −featuring some of the most challenging and breath-taking off-road destinations in the US−and the weekly adventure/sports television seriesFREESPORT-TVexternal link opens in a new window. Each episode incorporated his interest in local histories and cultures with his love of the outdoors, exploration, learning, and adventure.

Kris has also worked internationally as an off-road/adventure competition developer, and across the United States as a driving instructor and new vehicle public relations consultant. His driving and instructional projects have included Land Rover’s national Range Rover Experience Tour held from NY to CA, Land Rover’s GQ and Condé Nast media events in Manhattan, DaimlerChrysler’s Camp Jeep and Jeep® 101 courses in CO and VA, Camel Trophy events in Spain, Asia, and South America, and various national customer and press tours. He has also appeared in film, television, and industrial lead precision driving roles. Kris has developed and led many four-wheel drive instructional seminars, and guided events sponsored by local dealerships and adventure parks in the Northeast.

ADVENTURE TRAVEL & COMPETITION

Voted 1996’s best new guide of the year at Pocono Whitewater in Lehighton, PA, Kris expanded his interests to include international travel and off-road driving when ranked 1st for Team U.S.A. in Camel Trophy Mongolia ’97external link opens in a new window. The 1997 adventure competition sponsored by Land Roverexternal link opens in a new window selected a final 40 team members from an international pool of over 1 million applicants. After multiple selection and training events in Georgia, Colorado, and Spain, Kris and his teammate were chosen to represent the United States. They spent over three weeks driving their Land Rover Discovery TDI (turbo diesel models) over 1800 miles throughout Mongolia, from the frozen lake Khovsgol in the north to the Gobi desert in the south. New for ’97, the competitions spanned multiple disciplines to include mountain biking, kayaking, orienteering, and off-road driving.

The following year, Kris worked with Land Rover to train and select the U.S. team, and was then hired as one of 10 competition developers who setup the competition route for Camel Trophy Tierra del Fuego ’98. The ’98 competition work in South America took the staff on a two month, circuitous off-road trip driving Land Rover Defender 110’s from Tierra del Fuego to Santiago during July, and then back along a different route to Tierra del Fuego during August. The routes introduced them to the area’s unique peoples and cultures, and took them over ice-covered roads, snow, desert, and jungle as they made their way through the multi-climatic zones during South America’s winter season.

EDUCATION

To balance his off-road interests, Kris enrolled in a broadcast television program at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studiesexternal link opens in a new window and a doctoral program at Columbia University’s Teachers Collegeexternal link opens in a new window, both in New York City, NY. His courses at NYU are designed around a Certificate in Broadcasting/Broadcast Production. At Columbia, he was studying to receive a doctorate in Educational Psychology: Human Cognition & Learning, with a specialization in Intelligent Technologies, before taking a sabbatical to pursue television and acting. He focused many of his class projects at Columbia on the psychology of instruction and incorporated many of his studies into his consulting. He received a Certificate in Artificial Neural Networks from the University of Cambridgeexternal link opens in a new window, U.K., a Master of Science in Educational Technology from Lehigh Universityexternal link opens in a new window in Bethlehem, PA, and a bachelor of arts in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence, with a minor in Anthropology, also from Lehigh. At Lehigh, Kris was a brother and recycling chairman at Delta Upsilon fraternity and played the wing position for the college’s rugby team.

PROJECTS

Inspired by a class taken with Brian O’Neil, Kris created and developed the beta CastingNotes™ project, a performing arts journal that lets performers keep organized, track their progress, and network with others working in their field, as well as assisting new performers in organizing and highlighting all aspects of their work for better representation and Internet search results. He also created  theunpaved™ community project to bring together off-road driving enthusiasts (using treadlightly® guidelines), and is currently developing an Earth Rights Watch™ program (link pending launch) conceived for the Kights News Challenge to provide a central location for raising awareness of, and providing public-sourced solutions for, sustainable living at local and regional levels. These projects may also serve as a foundation for the development of future television concepts.

MEMBERSHIP/SUPPORT

Kris is currently a Board of Trustee member in charge of media/technology at Art House Productions and is a sponsor ofChildren International in Chileexternal link opens in a new window. He has also been a member of the International Motor Press Associationexternal link opens in a new window, a deckhand supporter of Living Land & Watersexternal link opens in a new window, a member of Tread Lightly! and contributor to the One Laptop Per Childexternal link opens in a new window initiative.