Filmmakers Biographies

Brandon Wade
Director | Executive Producer

Originally from Davenport, Iowa and raised minutes from I-80, Brandon Wade began his adventures in documentary filmmaking with the three-year production of LET IT SHINE, which premiered in the spring of 2007.

After graduating from the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver, Brandon founded Visionary Reflections—a multimedia and marketing company. He is also the owner and founder of Depth of Field Productions, a documentary film production company.

Brandon is inspired by the past and hopes to inspire others with the rich and varied history of the world around us. His favorite pastime is the road trip, and finding the beautiful, hidden places of the American landscape.

Learn more about Brandon’s work at

“I grew up in the middle of the country and spent all of my summers on road trips. I have some great memories of driving through the West, seeing mountains, forests, exploring our National Parks. As a filmmaker, I’m most interested in personal stories, the lives of people throughout history, how those experiences relate to my own life, how they relate to other peoples’ lives today.

So when I found this story about the National Park-to-Park Highway tour, how it pioneered the idea of Interstate Highways and spread awareness of the National Parks at a time when most people hadn’t seen them before, plus the fascinating stories of people like Stephen Mather and Anton Westgard and the others who made the inaugural tour, I knew I had to tell this story.”

-Brandon Wade


Jennifer Wade
Executive Producer

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, just off the I-70 trail, Jennifer Wade has always loved a good adventure. Jennifer loves the outdoors and has signed up as Executive Producer with her husband, Brandon. Her addition has been a wonderful gift to the production. Jennifer is a graduate from the University of Kansas and she currently lives with her husband, Brandon, and dog, Sonic, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jessica Potter

Born in Denver, Colorado and raised just off of Highway 40—the U.S.’s longest continuous street—Jessica began her career in media production while cutting her teeth as a crew member at radio station KPCC in Los Angeles, an NPR member station.

Jessica earned her Bachelors Degree in Politics at Occidental College In L.A., where she gained a taste for the Sunset Strip and year-round tans, though the beauty of the Rocky Mountains eventually drew her back to Denver.

Jessica enjoys ping-pong, crossword puzzles and wine tasting and has always loved road trips. Her love of the outdoors and production experience bring a valued contribution to the production team.

Kendra Willey

An Iowa native, Kendra grew up close to I-35 and I-80 before moving to St. Louis. She loves the open skies, rolling fields, and wooded hills of the Midwest, as well as just about anything else nature has to offer. For her, the love of the road trip lies in not just the exploration of new places, but the comfort of familiar ones as well. Among various other hobbies, she enjoys rock climbing and crocheting. She signed onto PAVING THE WAY to write grant proposals, but has moved on to writing script.

Kendra graduated with a degree in German and History from the University of Northern Iowa, where she worked at the university’s writing center for three years. Creative writing is also a significant interest for her, enough for her to earn a minor in it. She is currently attending a masters program in European history at St. Louis University.

Bill Painter

His early years as a Navy junior had Bill changing schools eighteen times before graduating High School in Japan. In trying to fit in wherever he happened to be, he became something of a verbal chameleon. It’s no wonder he earns his living as a voice actor, providing voices for radio and television commercials, industrial videos, e-books and the like.

Bill also has several decades as a stage and on-camera performer and – he claims – the psychic scars to prove it. “I’m a Gemini. Schizophrenic. I never know who I am until someone hands me a script.”

Of “Paving the Way,” Bill said he is reminded again what an amazingly big and varied country this is, and of our great good fortune to simply have been born Americans.

When asked about his involvement in Paving the Way he said, “My good fortune at being involved with a project like ‘Paving the Way’ is surpassed only by being associated with some really talented people, whose input has made the project such a richly-textured and viewable work.

It’s been a learning process for me, too, and I’m grateful to Brandon for his steady hand at the helm – despite a certain proclivity for perfection.

My hope is that this leads to bigger and better things for all concerned; it’s a wonderful saga, well-told, and an outstanding PBS offering. I am delighted to have been included in the creative process.”

Bill also provided the audio post-production mix.

Check out his web site here:

James Hersch

For over twenty-five years acclaimed writer, singer and guitarist James Hersch has been quietly building a repertoire of work that puts him squarely on the edge of acoustic music’s importance in North American culture.

James has a rare mixture of straight forward musical talent, humor and sensitivity that allows him to create songs that speak to what is common in all of us. James is one of those few performers who allow his listener to experience his music through intimate images which confront and celebrate today’s human condition.

James, a native Minnesotan, has eleven album credits to his name and has become known for his guitar/voice-only releases “BackTracks” and “Innerweather” (strictly acoustic, just James, his voice and his guitar). Hersch has been nominated National NACA Coffeehouse Entertainer of the Year several times and has been a finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival.

Although James has a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical guitar, his songwriting and performing styles are eclectic and broadly appealing. While Hersch performs as a solo acoustic artist, his music has taken on a life of it’s own, deeply planted in the minds of the thousands who hear him each year.

To learn more about ‘REACH and James Hersch, click here.

Terry Coolidge
Visual Effects

Terry Coolidge has been creating computer generated images for nearly two decades. After studying the science behind computer graphics as an undergraduate, Terry enrolled as an Illustration major at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Following graduation from Art Center Terry spent the first part of his professional art career with the Walt Disney Company in both the Interactive Entertainment division and the Imagineering unit. As an Imagineer Terry helped to visualize new theme park attraction concepts through 3D models, animation, and motion graphics. This included participation on the creative team responsible for Mission: SPACE, an “E-ticket” thrill attraction at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Orlando, Florida. Terry was credited for his contribution to the concept development of Mission: SPACE when it received a 2004 Thea award for Outstanding Achievement.

More recently Terry had been helping to create the breath-taking virtual worlds of Cyan. Known for the surreal beauty of Myst and Riven, Cyan had switched gears from its pre-rendered roots and developed extraordinary real-time content during Terry’s five years there. Terry served as a member of the art production team for URU: Ages Beyond Myst (2003), and then as a Lead Artist on MYST V: End of Ages (2005). Both URU and MYST V received high praise for their artistic excellence.

In 2005 Terry set out on his own and established Wellspring Digital Studio to deliver top-quality computer graphics artwork and animation to professionals and amateurs alike. Under the Wellspring banner Terry has provided computer graphics services for over a dozen different clients. While some projects have been small, others have been quite large.

Bob Wade
Associate Producer

Born off the Highway 34 route, Robert Wade, Jr. grew up in Monmouth, Ill. Bob has been involved in may of his son Brandon’s films before signing on to the production of PAVING THE WAY in the winter of 2007.

Bob has traveled with his family every summer for the past 3 decades, all by car, and hopes to continue the legacy of the road trip by contributing his words and ideas to PAVING THE WAY.

Bob loves working on projects like this one, and brings his wonderful talent for managing logistics and thoroughness to the crew.

Lee & Jane Whiteley
Associate Producers

Lee is a retired computer programmer/analyst who now spends most of his time researching the history of transportation in the West. He is the author of THE PLAYGROUND TRAIL, THE YELLOWSTONE HIGHWAY: DENVER TO THE PARK, PAST AND PRESENT, THE CHEROKEE TRAIL: BENT’S OLD FORT TO FORT BRIDGER, and he is the co-author of CHEROKEE TRAIL DIARIES VOLUMES I AND II.

Jane is a retired elementary school teacher who has written numerous articles for children’s publications. She and Lee have traveled thousands of miles throughout the West, exploring lost and forgotten trails and roads.

Besides their book endeavors, the also contribute articles to American Road Magazine.