El Grupo is run by a growing group of passionate, engaged individuals who care about youth, being active and healthy, and the community.
Dr. Jody BartzPrograms and Operations Manager, Junior Level Programs
Known as a passionate advocate for ALL kids—and it is fair to say that Jody is
incredibly enthusiastic about empowering kids and using bikes as “the tool.” She prides herself on connecting with families and the community in which she lives. You will most often find Jody on a bike–commuting, out on the gravel roads in the region, or on the amazing trails of Tucson. She enjoys competing in endurance gravel and mountain bike races and looks forward to mentoring our “junior” level (El Grupito and Manzo Elementary) youth who choose to race in the future or guiding those who want to embrace the bike as an awesome mode of transportation.
Jody has extensive program development experience, and a solid record of securing project funding, and looks forward to “leveling up” programs across Grupo. She is excited to bring her professional and personal experiences and combine those with my ability to enlist, engage, and mentor our amazing El Grupito team members to help grow our dynamic, youth-centered cycling program.
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.
Juliana CullenBike Club Coordinator
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.
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’!
Nikos CastoGrupito Coach
Stefan WalzGrupito Coach
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
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Doug Friman, JD, Board ChairmanAttorney 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, SecretaryDigital 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
Lisa Anne Trudinger-Smith, Member at LargeManaging 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!
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.
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.
Joe Delgado, Member at LargeSales Executive, Microsoft
Joe Delgado has been working as a sales/consulting executive in the IT Industry for the past 30 years for various companies including IBM, SAP, and Microsoft. Joe is a Tucson native and grew up in the Tucson Mountains trail running/cycling and eventually running cross country and track in college. Having spent most of his life as an endurance athlete Joe made the connection of using the same skills to perform well in endurance events for work and life. Joe is excited to be a Board Member of El Grupo so he can help support an organization where kids can learn these same lifelong skills while being a part of the Tucson cycling community. Outside of work Joe is a certified professional coach with a passion for performance and helping people reach their personal and professional goals. Over the years Joe has been a volunteer coach for various Tucson youth organizations. Joe met his wife at the University of Arizona where they both earned their accounting degrees. They have two children ages 20 and 18. His daughter is a distance runner at the University of San Diego while his son is a senior in high school hoping to run at the college level.
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.
Eric Thomas, Member at LargeEnglish Teacher, Tucson High School
Some of my earliest memories involve trikes and bikes. I still remember the day I received the silver Schwinn Scrambler! I launched from every curb, driveway, and kid-built jump within my boundaries. I have been enamored with bikes since. As my boundaries expanded, I explored much of Tucson, delivered countless newspapers, rode to school, work, and the UA on two wheels. I still ride for enjoyment and commute nearly every day to work on a bike.
I try to subtly pass on the same reverence to the students I teach at Tucson High, and I’ve tried a less subtle approach with our two children. Our son, a former El Grupo rider and employee is working to get kids on bikes that might not otherwise have the opportunity. My son’s experiences and my own as a parent volunteer have made me aware of El Grupo’s impact and its nearly boundless potential.
I believe that bikes can solve some of our biggest problems. It’s important to teach and model this to all in our community and especially to our youth.
I’m proud to be part of an organization that empowers youth (and future adults) through bicycles and the spirit and guidance that is El Grupo.
Alexis Favis, Member at LargeMadden Media
Alexis comes to the El Grupo board with a deep passion for community involvement, serving on multiple boards whose mission is to support Tucson youth. She has been involved with the Tucson advertising community since 2009 where she has supported pro-bono marketing campaigns for several Tucson nonprofits. She is a NextGen Award recipient recognizing advertising professionals age 40 and younger who are making a significant impact on the industry through their leadership, career achievements, and personal qualities, which also inspire others to excel. Professionally, she is the Director of The Agency by SANDOW, a leading force in the architecture and design space, where operational excellence and digital marketing are her areas of expertise. She loves to cycle, hike and travel, all hobbies that pair well with her affinity for photography