El Grupo is run by a growing group of passionate, engaged individuals who care about youth, being active and healthy, and the community.
Sean PantellereExecutive Director
Deidra BustosBikepacking Coordinator
Deidra Bustos grew up commuting the streets of Tucson by bike. She was a volunteer coach at El Grupo from 2014 until 1018. Deidra became a Pima Bicycle Ambassador in 2015 and has taught traffic safety skills in multiple schools across Tucson. She has been a mountain biker for eight years and started bikepacking in 2016. Deidra’s favorite trail is the AZT (Arizona Trail) because it’s rugged and spans the length of the state.
Colter ThomasBike Club Coordinator
Colter is an accomplished photojournalist, having worked on numerous political campaigns and embedded in Mexico during the migrant crisis. By the age of 19, his work had been featured in national publications. His first real taste of independence came from El Grupo, joining the team at age 12, he very quickly became obsessed with the freedom the bicycle provides. After deciding he needed a break from the stresses of photojournalism, Colter found himself back at El Grupo as a volunteer. Now he leads El Grupo’s Bike Club program and wishes to provide others with the same opportunities that made him who he is today. Passionate about the bicycle as both a tool of transportation and empowerment, he is super excited to be a part of El Grupo and help it grow!
Sam AlexanderGrupito Coach
Sam has been involved with El Grupo for nearly a decade. Starting as a rider in 2013, Sam stayed with the program all the way through high school, racing and even placing 4th overall in the NICA high school MTB league. After high school, Sam shifted from racer to full-time commuter, graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Photography, Video, and Imagery, and now is starting a photo-based festival for Southern Arizona. Sam has returned to coach with Grupito and help push the next generation of riders to be safe on the street and to ‘Be Your Own Rider’!
Allison ArensmanTeam El Grupo Coach
Max BevierGrupito Coach
Max is a student at the University of Arizona studying Biosystems Engineering. He was also a part of El Grupo for 4 years racing and building connections in the cycling community. He is the 2021 XC(Mountain Bike) State Champion and has experience working with kids through his time at Grupo. Max is excited to be a coach because the coach facilitates the ride and makes it safe for everyone else to experience the bike to its fullest. Max has had some of the best experiences on the bike and thinks it is time to pass on what he has learned to the kids propelling them into their future.
Juliana CullenBike Club Coach
The daughter of Brazilian immigrants, Juliana has lived in seven different states in the US and in Germany. She got into cycling after one move during high school when she enjoyed finding her way around her new town in New England. After moving to Colorado for college Juliana did some mountain biking and distance riding in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, but has always been more of a casual “commuter” rider. She has been an environmental educator and outdoor adventure mentor with youth for the last five years, including backpacking, snowshoeing, biking, hiking, farming, food foraging, and canoeing. When she’s not riding bikes with El Grupo, you might find her at home with her three chickens.
David CrossGrupo Coach
David’s love of cycling has taken him on some pretty amazing bike rides. He
completed the Lands End To John A Groats ride in the UK, an epic 1000 mile
ride taking in Great Britain from its furthest two points. He has ridden
some of the legendary climbs of the Pyrenees, traversing from the Atlantic to
the Mediterranean. Annually riding Mt. Baldy and some of the iconic climbs
of the Sierra Nevadas. And every year (pandemic permitting), he competes in
the Mallorca 312, a 200-mile mountainous lap around the Spanish island.
David’s involvement with El Grupo began as a dedicated volunteer when his
oldest son joined the club, and now, with both sons in the Grupo family,
David is excited to step into a more committed coaching role. He is a firm
believer in the value of positive role-modeling and looks forward to working
with all of the team members to help them achieve their goals and grow their
Cara O’NeillTeam El Grupo Coach
Cara was born in Tucson, grew up in Tucson, and is now at the University of Arizona working towards her Bachelor’s in Computer Science. Since 2012, Cara’s been riding bikes – racing, commuting, and as a way to unwind. More recently she’s enjoyed collegiate cycling as an active member of the UA Cycling Team. She saw success in 2019 as the Collegiate Road National Champion and has worked to lead weekly skill-building rides with the UA Cycling team. Cara says that balancing time on the bike and pursuing a career in software engineering is challenging but rewarding. She hopes to impart the same skills and passion developed through cycling to El Grupo youth members so they can pursue their own goals – education, cycling, or otherwise.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lisa Anne Trudinger-Smith, Board ChairManaging Shareholder, DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C.
I still remember the great 10 speed bike I got when I was about 10 years old. I remember how much I loved that bike and the freedom that it gave me to ride all over the place and spend long summer days exploring the creeks and candy stores of my hometown. Riding a bike years later in Boston as I commuted to and from work made me feel like some kind of an urban warrior, fighting for my life among the crazy cars out there on the road. Then I found myself living in Tucson without a car for a couple of years and getting everywhere on my bike. Around the time I turned forty, I learned to swim and became a mediocre triathlete. I’m no longer a kid, a car-free student, or a triathlete; I’m a mother of three and a lawyer and I get most of my exercise in my garage-gym. But I still feel freedom when I get on my bike and ride. I’m happy to be a part of El Grupo to make that same joy available to the young people of Tucson!
Marc Fleischman, CPA, Board Vice ChairCEO, BeachFleischman
Riding bicycles, living healthy and supporting our youth are aspects of life that are very important to me, and any organization with a mission that combines all three has my support. Our goal with El Grupo is to empower underprivileged youth to become the next generation of active and community-minded cycling enthusiasts and leaders in Tucson. When I’m not cycling, I’m working in my role as CEO of BeachFleischman PC, where I lead a team of community-minded professionals who collaborate with businesses, individuals and organizations to save taxes, preserve wealth, improve accountability, achieve compliance and enhance profitability. Working in public accounting since 1976, I have extensive experience helping small to medium-sized businesses throughout the various stages of their development. I also specialize in litigation support services, including mediation, business valuations, damage calculations, financial consulting and taxation issues in domestic relations matters. I’m a University of Arizona graduate and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants. I am also actively involved with the Tucson Jewish Community Center and a board member of Sun Corridor Inc.
Doug Friman, JD, Board SecretaryAttorney at Law
I joined the Board of El Grupo because I wanted to be involved with an organization that is devoted to helping Tucson youth learn lifelong skills as well as experience the joy that comes from riding bikes. My personal bike history began when I was tearing around Edinburgh, Scotland (where I grew up) on my Blue Schwinn Sting-Ray (with a banana seat and backpedal brakes) bike. I upgraded to a 10-speed bike when I turned 10 years old and crashed heavily on its inaugural ride when I couldn’t figure out how to use the hand brakes. I kept riding (and crashing) for about 23 more years. I’ve been in Tucson since 1999 and rode a bunch of Saturday Shootouts (thanks Ralph Phillips) and loved seeing the El Grupo kids and coaches out on the local hammer fests. I don’t ride my bike much anymore, but I have a law degree from the University of Arizona, and I am happy to add my skillset to this impressive Board.
Charlie Everett, Member at LargeDigital Technology Executive Director, Raytheon Technologies
Charlie is an executive director in Digital Technology (DT) at Raytheon. In this position, Charlie is responsible for all operational aspects of Program DT Computing Environments, as well as for the career growth of 600 team members. With the goal of becoming a great ancestor, Charlie supports his family and the community in various ways. He has spent time giving back on Boards, including the Engaged Leader Strategy Work Group (ELSWG), Big Brothers Big Sisters, Greater Tucson Leadership, and the UA Eller College Industry Advisory Board. Charlie believes that an important part of supporting the community is to influence healthy living through physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness. He started his cycling journey in 2014 and is now a Masters USAC Cycling competitor. Charlie also partners with fellow racers and cycling companies to impact diversity and inclusion in cycling. He was an Obstacle Course Racing athlete prior to cycling, competing around the nation. Charlie also had the opportunity to participate in the Season 7 American Ninja Warrior competition. As a member of the Board for el Grupo, Charlie is able to converge numerous passions, including racing, healthy living, supporting the cycling community, and contributing to youth development.
Matt Donaldson, Member at LargePrincipal of Empire High School
Matt Donaldson grew up in Rochester, NY, and made the transition to Tucson, AZ in 2001. Since then he has been an educator in the Vail School District, where he currently serves as principal of Empire High School. Matt’s passion for cycling began when he moved to Tucson and has continued ever since. Matt is married and has two children who started their involvement with El Grupo through the summer bike camp program and are now both members of El Grupito. Matt is an advocate for all things cycling and all things involving supporting the positive development of our youth
Katie Bates, DO, Member at LargeCardiologist, Carondelet Medical Group
Bio and photo coming soon.
Max Blowers, Youth RepresentativeEl Grupo Team Member and Student
Bio and photo coming soon.
Joe Delgado, Member at Large
Photo and bio coming soon.
Paul Durham, Member at LargeRetired Attorney, Tucson City Council Member
Within 48 hours of finishing my first bar exam, I was on a plane from Seattle to London to begin a two-month solo bike touring trip from London to Athens. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I had read some books on the subject! I’ve loved cycling all my life and bike touring since that first long trip. I’m a former business transactions and securities lawyer, living in Tucson since 2004. After a much more recent bike touring trip in 2012 from Vancouver, BC to Tucson via the Pacific coast, I resolved to make a greater contribution to cycling in my home town and support the next generation of Tucson cyclists by joining the El Grupo Board. I am one of many adults who regret that there was no organization like El Grupo in my community when I was a kid.
Linda Fahey, Member at LargePresident, Dark Horse Media
Linda’s extensive experience prior to establishing Dark Horse Media encompasses many areas of the advertising agency business, working for agencies and media outlets in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson. Additionally, Linda has held corporate marketing positions with Helen of Troy, Castle Park Entertainment and Chuck E. Cheese, complimenting Linda’s well-rounded portfolio of event marketing, strategic planning, advertising campaign planning and community relations abilities. Linda acquired her BBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1981. Linda has been cycling for 15 years, participating in and even winning a few races in Arizona. Prior to cycling Linda was involved in numerous sports, most notably she attended university on a tennis scholarship, was a teaching pro and even played in a few pro tennis tournaments.
Brenda Kazen, Member at LargeCounselor, Rincon High School
Growing up on the far Northeast side of Tucson, riding a bike was the only way to go anywhere. I loved the freedom of riding “into town” and buying an ice cream or going to the mall. As an adult I rediscovered cycling by commuting to work. A friend convinced me to buy a road bike and spandex and . . . here I am. I learned of El Grupo and the wonderful work we do through my involvement with Ride On Cycling. As a high school counselor, I firmly support the mission of El Grupo and the values and work ethic our students gain by participating in the program. I often say the most important lesson students can learn in high school is perseverance. El Grupo teaches this every single day. I cannot think of a better organization for our youth than El Grupo.