Guides & Staff
Our Guides & Staff
Touch the Southwest prides itself on working with the finest guides in the region. Each has been handpicked for their educational and professional backgrounds, their outgoing personalities, and their dedication to providing our clients with the finest in personal service.
Each guide holds advanced degrees in subjects ranging from history and archaeology to art, law, and the natural sciences. Each has decades of professional experience throughout the region, and being excellent communicators, they bring to life the wonders of New Mexico.
Our travel consultants are experts in luxury travel in New Mexico and throughout the southwest. They know the special places that you seek and know how to create great itineraries that allow you to explore these special places. We are proud to be associated with these exceptional individuals. Without them, we’d be just another tour company.
Ed fell in love with the Southwest as a Boy Scout while on a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico. At the age of seventeen he relocated to Santa Fe from New Jersey and has never looked back. Leading a life filled with adventure and exploration, he has been active as a guide for over 18 years. His desire to share experiences with others has taken him from the tip of Patagonia to Alaska and many places in between but prefers illuminating guests to the mystery and beauty of his home. As a graduate of The University of New Mexico, he brings his knowledge and extensive personal insights of our areas unique history and natural wonders to weave a truly memorable experience for our guests.
Tony Ortiz is a retired public policy attorney who has lived and roamed throughout northern New Mexico for over 30 years. During his professional career, he had the privilege of working with New Mexico governors, lawmakers, and the good people of Nuevo Mexico.
Tony lives with his family and beloved Australian Shepherds in Santa Fe. He has hiked, biked and skied throughout Northern New Mexico and has a passion for the deep and fascinating history of the region. Whether the mind-blowing ruins of Chaco Canyon, the abstract art of Georgia O’Keefe, or the charms of Taos, he enjoys sharing his knowledge and love for the American Southwest. And when not on tour, he enjoys a good read, working in his yard, and making green chile chicken enchiladas.
An artist, actor, art educator, NM tour guide, and outdoor sports person, Elizabeth Mesh offers a wide variety of insight into New Mexico’s history and the arts. A tour with her will open your mind to the huge swath of how history and art come together in this amazing place. She is a long-time resident of New Mexico originally coming here to go to graduate school in Art Therapy. She spearheaded a bicycle advocacy campaign earning her the Mayor’s Award. She has been on Home and Garden Television, and on the sets of “Crazy Heart,” “Only the Brave,” and “Longmire,” all filmed in New Mexico.
She currently works as an art educator at SITE Santa Fe, has her own business, acts in the movie industry, and tour guides through the southwest.
Travel Specialist and Vice President
A mother of four, Brenda was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and moved with her family to southern California when she was very young. She studied fashion and interior design before setting out on a career designing and creating original wedding dresses for an exclusive clientele. This led her into the wedding and event planning industry, where she discovered that she was better at planning than the planners with whom she worked. Subsequently, Brenda made the jump from wedding dress designer to wedding planner. This career took her to Palm Springs where she worked with the best hotels, country clubs, and event venues as she produced unique weddings and events of the finest quality. Brenda joined Touch the Southwest in 2007 as our lead Event Planner and we are very lucky to have her.
Brenda’s interests and hobbies have expanded over the years. Although she is still very much interested in fashion, designing, and making clothes and gowns, she has discovered the wonders of the southwest and spends a fair amount of time exploring the wilds found here. She is also an avid reader of mystery novels and an enthusiastic gardener specializing in wildflowers and regional native species.
Founder and Owner
A native New Yorker, Bruce has spent most of his life traveling throughout North America. He has visited 49 states and lived in 14, including Alaska. He discovered the Colorado Plateau over thirty years ago and things haven’t been the same since.Trained to be a saucier in classical French cuisine, Bruce’s first career was as Chef, working in fine dining restaurants in New York and Denver. In March of 1990, Bruce left the kitchen and went camping outside of Moab, Utah. For five months he wandered the wilds of southern Utah and the Colorado Plateau in his Jeep with his Siberian Husky, Chilako. This intimate exploration of wilderness motivated him to return to school to learn about the region, its land, history, and its people. Majoring in geology, he also studied southwestern archaeology and history, Native American cultures and religions, primitive pottery making, and learned the Dine’ (Navajo) language. While in graduate school, he started Touch the Southwest Tours.
For over twenty years, Bruce has created the finest, most luxurious custom tours across the southwest. His regional knowledge and expert planning abilities have been recognized by such esteemed organizations as Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, where he has been honored as one of their Top Travel Specialists of the World. He was also invited to join the “invitation only,” international, luxury travel, network, Virtuoso, where he was an OnSite for fourteen years. OnSites are regional specialists, 125 worldwide, and Bruce was the specialist for the southwestern United States.
These days, Bruce lives just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. When not running Touch the Southwest, you can find him in his wood shop making custom furniture, or out with his camera photographing New Mexico, or hiking in the hills with his fifth husky, Kako.