Meet the Posse
Here you can find a full listing on every member of our pro staff and learn more about them.
Founder and President/Producer
Tim Smith graduated in the top 10% of the Naval Nuclear Power School in 1986. In 1989, he received a Naval Commendation and Medal for major equipment repairs on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, enabling it to be available for a major deployment prior to the first Gulf War. Tim was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1990. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Penn State University in 1995, the same year in which he founded Continuous Metal Technology Inc. In 2000, Tim was a founding member of the Center for Innovative Sintered Products at Penn State, and he sat on the Industrial Advisory Council the first two years. In 2004, Tim developed a new type of Tungsten Iron Shot that has the perfect balance of density, hardness, and ductility. He filed for a US Patent on this product, and Federal Cartridge Company introduced this shot to the industry. In 2006, he formed a Joint Venture Company, Springfield Munitions, with major partners to load and sell many innovative types of ammunition related products. Tim served as President of the JV for the first two years. In 2007, he developed and filed for a patent on a new high density shot product. Tim continued his entrepreneurial endeavors in 2007 when he co-developed the TomBob® Lure and filed for two more US Patents. In 2008, Tim received the first of two US Patents on the Lure. He introduced the new lure to the public at the Eastern Outdoor Show, selling over 1000 units in a week. In 2009, Tim developed the first non-toxic Roundball Projectile for traditional shooters who had been locked out of their sport by the California lead ban. Later that year, Tim received a Notice of Allowance on the Patent for the ITX Shot. Tim is married with three children and resides in St Marys, PA. True to his roots and spirit of safeguarding the ecology, Tim is an avid outdoorsman who uses the very same lead-free, non-toxic, hunting and fishing products that he produces.
Executive Director of Sales and Customer Service
Jeff Auman has over 20 years of experience at the managerial level. He understands what it takes to get the job done. Jeff brings a personal touch to all of his company responsibilities. He brings such a high level of energy and passion to the job that he’s able to bring out the best in people and situations. He is affectionately known as “the miracle worker” at CMT.
As Executive Director of Sales at CMT since 2007, Jeff coordinates new projects, quotes new and existing components, and ensures ongoing customer relationships. He functions in the same capacity for the TomBob Outdoors division. Prior to joining CMT, Jeff was the owner/operator of Western PA Landscaping from 1989 – 2007 and the owner of Bonanza Restaurant in St Marys, PA from 1993 – 1998. In his earlier career, Jeff was a construction contractor/foreman in St Marys and a landscaping contractor in Erie, PA.
In his personal time, Jeff is involved in many recreational and sporting activities. He has played and coached in the area’s softball league and has spent numerous hours in the outdoors enjoying nature and its beauty. Jeff often reflects on the enjoyment he had as a youth, his strong family ties, and his years with the Boy Scouts organization. He believes that his personality traits and work ethic are directly attributed to the experiences and values learned from these early years.
Jeff is an avid outdoorsman with a love of the outdoors. Hunting, fishing and camping are a few of his favorite activities that he enjoys in the hardwoods of Western Pennsylvania. Jeff states that living in western P.A. gives you the opportunity to enjoy the four seasons of the year, with every season bringing a new adventure and challenge to the outdoors. In the spring Jeff enjoys the two sports of Fishing and Spring Gobbler. Jeff’s preferred fishing lure is the TomBob 1/8oz stainless steel. The scent is impregnated into the lure and stays with it all season long. “It really works well on the different species of trout in the area, especially the native brook”. On the Turkey side, Jeff likes the #6 ITX shot for Spring Gobbler, stating that it’s a hard load to beat with a range of 60 yards and more, it almost isn’t fair to the Gobblers. Hunting and fishing are a big part of Jeff’s heritage and enjoys bringing new people into the sport, young and old.
“I find the most pleasure when someone new is introduced to the outdoors and gains a certain respect and understanding of its beauty” -Jeff Auman
Tom Hibbert was born and raised in Falls Creek, Pennsylvania and first took to the woods by his father at the age of 10. Some of his fondest memories were of the two of them on opening day of gun season sitting in a homemade tree blind waiting patiently for the buck they had been seeing while spotting come strolling past. Around the age of 16 Tom had his first experience archery hunting, and the rest was history. You will find Tom 20 feet up a tree as much as possible in the months of October and November, not to mention the countless hours scouting, shed hunting, monitoring trail cams, etc. Most of that time is spent with fellow pro staffer Adam Fox as they try to harvest and film the illusive whitetail buck throughout western Pennsylvania and beyond. He started filming with TomBob Outdoors in 2012 and has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Friends in Wild Places team. Tom now resides in DuBois with his two sons Tommy and Gunner which he is now passing down his love for the outdoors with. He is currently employed by Penn State University as a Facilities Director.
“God has blessed me in many different ways recently. I have two great sons that I couldn’t be more proud of, a great job, not to mention the opportunity to film for Tom Bob Outdoors. Life is good! I am looking forward to the upcoming seasons of Friends in Wild Places and just being a small part of this outdoor show is quite rewarding.” –Tom Hibbert
Maintenance Director/Posse Coordinator
Nick is an avid deer and turkey hunter in the Elk and McKean County areas of Pennsylvania. He enjoys hunting with his in-line and flintlock muzzleloaders using ITX Saboted .230 grain non-toxic bullets. While hunting turkeys, Nick uses his Remington 870 STX shotgun with his choice of ammunition being the ITX #4 non-toxic, lead free, high density premium shot. Nick also hunts on public land in the state of New York just above Ellicottville, where he uses his Remington rifled barrel slug gun. On most occasions, Nick is accompanied by his son, Nicos, who also enjoys hunting and being outdoors. Nicos is involved in the high school Track & Field team. His passion is the Drama Club and Theater Arts. He speaks highly of going to college in the future and studying Culinary Arts.
Adam Fox was born and raised in St. Marys, Pennsylvania and was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age by his Father Cornelius Fox, Jr., and Godfather, the late Tom “Tom Bob” Fox. Adam has taken the lessons he learned at a young age by his peers and taken it to the extreme. As a youngster, Adam spent long hours with his Father and God Father fishing the streams of the surrounding areas of his home. When he turned 12, he was introduced to the Pennsylvania rifle season, and there was no looking back. Adam has been able to spend so much time in the woods due to his previous profession. A three sport athlete in high school and an All American baseball career at Ohio University, Adam was fortunate enough to get drafted in the 10th round by the Texas Rangers and given a shot at the Majors Leagues. He spent 9 ½ yrs in the minor leagues with a brief 3 day stint on the 25 man Major league Roster in 2007 with the Rangers. In the offseason he was able to have the entire fall and winter to take to the woods. Primarily a rifle hunter until his early 20’s, Adam found a new love in archery hunting. His best year was in 2010 when he scored on 2 pope and young bucks with the bow in PA and Ohio and then killed a stud 8 point in Missouri with a rifle. Currently a videographer and hunter for TomBob Outdoors, Fox always finds himself in the woods somehow either self filming hunts, being filmed by one of the other Posse Members, or filming for others. Adam has since retired from professional baseball and now plays locally for the Sykesville Senators in the Dubois Federation League. He is employed by Boyles Insurance Agency in State College where he now resides as a Commercial Insurance Specialist.
“I love to take things to the extreme. I describe myself as a go getter, passionate about the outdoors, and an adrenaline junkie! If I could bottle up the adrenaline and the emotion I feel when a trophy Whitetail is approaching bow range and sell it, I would be a millionaire! I hunt for the biggest buck in the woods, and if that means eating a tag, so be it! I try to leave no stone left unturned when it comes to hunting, and I will try just about anything. My greatest joy in my life is my son Brayden Gunnar Fox. He will be hunting with a cross bow next year as a 6 yr old and I cannot describe the excitement I am anticipating, spending time with him in the woods, teaching him everything I know.” –Adam Fox, Pro Staff
Leatherwood Outdoors is made up of a group of friends from western Pennsylvania who share the same great passion for the outdoors. They enjoy filming all of their outdoor adventures, which they have been doing for over five years with the purpose of having memories to look back on in the future.
“We are not only deer hunters but all around outdoorsmen. We film all aspects of the outdoors, from rattlesnake hunting to ice fishing to mushroom hunting. We bring videos to the public that are not often seen on TV, such as hunting with flintlock muzzleloaders and deer drives with bows. Also, we bring the Pennsylvania outdoors to the public in our videos, which is also not often seen on TV, and we all hunt fair chase. We plan to keep filming as long as we can to keep creating memories for ourselves and sharing them for everyone to enjoy.” –John Royer, Founder of Leatherwood Outdoors
Posse Member/Marketing Contributor
Ken is a traditional flintlock muzzleloader located in California. He grew up living, hiking and hunting small game in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains. Ken often hunts and camps with like-minded souls using 1780 era clothes and gear. He enjoys hunting upland game with his 20 gauge repro flintlock smoothbore. Ken’s ITX shot load preference is 65 grains of FF Goex Black Powder, an over powder card or natural wadding, and a 95 grain measure of #4 ITX shot topped off with a thin over shot card. He also hunts big game with his repro 50 caliber traditional flintlock longrifle. Ken’s ITX roundball load preference is 75 grains of FF Goex Blackpowder with a .487 ITX roundball wrapped in a greased heavy cotton or thin leather patch.
“Hunting and shooting with traditional patched roundball is important to the history of America and is also an interesting, challenging, and effective choice for the modern bp hunter. ITX non-toxic shot and roundball allows me to safely hunt in areas that have been closed to traditional muzzleloading due to the 2008 CA Condor lead ban.” –Ken Prather, Pro Staff
Debbie Shilling joined our team in May 2013. She is our office assistant for TomBob Outdoors. Debbie’s duties include capturing, cataloging footage, and typing closed captions for our ‘Friends in Wild Places’ episodes. Debbie and her husband Jake live in Portland Mills, which is a few miles south of Ridgway, in the heart of the PA Wilds. On the Rails to Trails that is close to her home, she loves riding bike, walking, and fishing. It’s so peaceful being right in the heart of nature watching the wild life in their natural habitat.
John A. Straitiff
John grew up in Northern Jefferson County in the small town of Sigel in family that spent most of their free time hunting and fishing together. He graduated from Clarion University in 1989 with a B.S. in Communications. John spent over two decades in sales at WTAJ-TV in Altoona, PA. He is currently the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau which promotes tourism in Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, and Jefferson County. He and his wife have traveled extensively in North America and Africa on hunting and fishing adventures. John has also worked as a professional hunting and fishing guide. With his love for adventure and experience in the both the broadcasting and outdoor industries, he is a valuable new member of the TomBob Posse.
“I am proud to call Pennsylvania my home. I love the natural beauty of our region, the spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, and enjoy sharing my passion for our part of the state.” –John A. Straitiff
Co-Producer/Camera Operator /Senior Draft and Design Engineer
Ben is a North Western Pennsylvania native, born and raised in the small town of Ridgway by two working class parents. He’s always had ingrained in him that you only get back what you put in. Growing up near the great setting that is the ANF, but although never the true hunter or fisherman himself, he has always had a love for nature and all things associated with it. He is a graduate of Ridgway Area High School (2000), also possessing a degree from Triangle Tech in the field of Mechanical Computer Aided Drafting and Design (2002). Ben’s exposure to the TomBob brand originated in 2004 when he began working for Continuous Metal Technology Inc. as a Drafter. Then in 2007 when the TomBob Lure was conceptualized as the first truly original TomBob Outdoors LLC product, along with the company’s continued endeavors into lead free ammunition development and sales, Ben was there on the ground floor, creating concept drawings as well as tooling drawings to begin production. Following this development and the addition of the marketing and branding department, which in 2012 brought into being the TV series ‘TomBob Outdoors Friends in Wild Places’, Ben’s work ethic got him involved as an editor and camera operator and even sparingly some in front of the camera work. Today with a lot of responsibility and experience under his belt, he has become a fixture in both the day to day operations of Continuous Metal Technology Inc., as well as a major contributor to ‘Friends in Wild Places’ now functioning as a Co-Producer along with fellow Posse member Nick Forsyth. Recently he’s even taken up the hobby of archery; maybe we’ll be seeing him on a future episode as he moves from hobby to harvest.
“When I started working at a small P/M company in what amounts to Middle-of-nowhere PA, I never expected to be involved in an outdoor program airing on national TV. This truly shows the diverse nature of our products and company. Standing still gets you no-where; moving towards the unique and unknown is the only way to evolve and survive.” –Ben Gnan
Lance Neal is 20 years old and has three brothers of which he is the second oldest. He and his wife, Hailey Neal, have similar personalities, values, interests, and goals making them two peas in a pod.
Lance grew up in the rural countryside near Smicksburg, Pennsylvania. As a kid, every waking second that was available, Lance was running through the woods behind his house with his older brother. Anything that had to do with being outside, he was sure to be part of. Since the day Lance was of age, he played basketball, football, and baseball, but he always had an interest in hunting. Around the age of 9, he started watching hunting shows on television. Soon he was hooked, having an unreal drive to hunt and desire to feel the rush that the “pros” on TV had. However, Lance’s father wasn’t into the outdoors to the extent that Lance was, so he didn’t get to be as active as he would have liked. Luckily his relatives were avid outdoorsmen and really introduced him to hunting. By the time he reached high school, Lance realized that hunting and sports didn’t mix very well. Something had to give, and it sure wasn’t going to be hunting.
In ninth grade Lance enrolled at the Jefferson County Vocational Technical School where he took up building trades. Early on he realized that he wanted a career in the construction field when he graduated from school. He participated in several competitions related to his shop class. His sophomore year he scored third place in his district, and by his junior year he had moved to third in the state. With permission from the school, he went on work release his junior year and then went to full-time employment his senior year, fulfilling his course requirements in the evenings after work. .
2016 has been a year of real change for Lance. In January of 2016, he became self-employed when he formed Neal Construction Company. During spring turkey season in 2017 while filming an episode of Friends in Wild Places, he proposed to his sweet-heart and hunting partner (now wife), Hailey Neal. Of course, she said “Yes!”
Hailey is a girl from Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania and married to Lance Neal. She started hunting with her step father who taught her everything she knows about hunting and hunting safety, but now hunts mostly with Lance. She grew up in a family of avid hunters and has had a huge interest in hunting since she was about seven years old; this is the same year that she received her first bow as a birthday gift. Hailey has also trapped, fished, and hunted with riffle since a young age. Considering that Hailey grew up in the country and has always had access to the woods, she was outside all the time, whether she was climbing trees, making forts, or shooting things with her BB gun, you could guarantee you could find her outdoors. As she got older, she continued her passion for hunting and being in the woods. She also began playing volleyball when she was in grade seven and played the whole way through her senior year. In her senior year, she was a co-captain and made the district all star team. During those years, she had to work around her volleyball schedule to make time for archery hunting and convinced the coaches, also in her senior year, to give the team the first day of archery off. She also was the vice president of her school’s agricultural club, and her adviser really pushed her to do great things and inspired her to be something some day. Hailey is now graduated and has plans to work at International Cartridge Corporation.
Rawland D. Cogan (Rawley) is the President, CEO, and co-founder of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance. The Keystone Elk Country Alliance is a Pennsylvania based 501 (c) (3) wildlife conservation organization. Prior to working with the Keystone Elk Country Alliance, Rawley worked as a Lands Program Manager for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. His career with the PA Game Commission began in 1982 with field research involving elk home range and movements, elk/human conflicts and mitigation, aerial survey and population estimates and calf survival and elk habitat preference. He is a wildlife biologist with 20 years of experience with the state wildlife agency as an Elk Biologist and 12 years of experience working in non-profit conservation organizations. Rawley completed a Master’s Degree at Penn State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, a Bachelor Degree at Slippery Rock University in Natural Resource Management and an Associate Degree at Penn State in Wildlife Technology.
His research work has been published in The Wildlife Society and National Geographic. Rawley has narrated and co-authored the script for the Pennsylvania Game Commission video titled Pennsylvania Elk; Reclaiming the Alleghenies, which presented lectures throughout the country on Pennsylvania Elk, appeared on numerous television shows, is a host of the national TV show TomBob Outdoors, Friends in Wild Places, is a life member of the Keystone Elk Country Alliance and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, holds memberships with the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International. Rawley currently is working in partnership with Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to manage and operate the Elk Country Visitor Center. The Elk Center attracts over 350,000 visitors annually.
The Mecca Family
Born and raised in St Marys, PA, Steven and Tiffany Mecca have a natural love for the outdoors. They both enjoy hunting or fishing along their favorite stream. One of the things they love most is staying at their camp in Glen Hazel, PA, next to East Branch Dam, where they get to experience nature at its best. They love taking their children, Benny and Gabbi, on new adventures and teaching them to respect nature. They always say nature is God’s ever changing canvas. Tiffany has been working as the Administrative Manager at Continuous Metal Technology since 2009. Steve is the Maintenance Coordinator at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, PA, one of our partners here at TomBob Outdoors.
“We are very lucky to have our children grow up in this beautiful area and experience everything the outdoors has to offer, and they love every minute of it! It’s the simple things that make life rewarding.” -Steve & Tiffany Mecca
Jake grew up in an outdoor family, with his dad being the biggest influence on him. Jake started hunting and fishing with his dad at the age of 3. Jake grew up and lives in State College, Pennsylvania. He found his passion for fly fishing on the Little Juniata River during a Sulphur hatch in May of 2005. He had never seen so many wild fish feeding so aggressively and consistently since he could remember. After that experience he was hooked. He’s been fly fishing and fly tying since the age of 10. His passion for fly fishing has opened a world of endless opportunities and connections. Because of his passion he started a fly fishing club at Shippensburg University which he is currently attending. Because of this club, it has made him realize how much he loves teaching and guiding individuals in the sport of fly fishing. It has also made him an ambassador and steward of both warm and cold water fisheries. It has taught him that fly fishing means more than just fooling a fish but conserving and protecting these fisheries for generations to come. He is more than blessed to be able to have this opportunity to be a part of the TomBob Outdoor Posse. It has always been a dream to be involved in the outdoor industry. Through TomBob Outdoors, his dream is coming true.
The Unis Family
The Unis Family
Ray is a contractor by trade and also an avid outdoorsman. He grew up in the small town of Brockway, Pa which is located in the northeast corner of Jefferson County. Growing up, Ray spent most of his spare time in the woods in pursuit of game, on the banks of Toby Creek casting a line for trout, or camping along the Clarion River. As he got older, his passion for the outdoors has become stronger, not only because his passion has led him to the harvest of multiple trophies in The Pa Wilds, but because it has given him the passion of wanting to get more people involved in the outdoors. This passion has led him to volunteer his time in hunter education classes and youth field days as well as taking new outdoorsman on adventures, whether those adventures are the pursuit of wildlife or the peacefulness of casting a line in the water along a stream. Whatever the adventure may be his passion to see someone new to the outdoors having the experience of making a lifelong memory of accomplishment is what means the most to him.