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
Gord FraserHead Coach
Gord brings a lifetime of experience in the world of cycling, first as a competitor, then as a coach, and most recently for the past decade directing pro-cycling teams as they competed across the globe. He raced with the Canadian Olympic team in 1996, 2000, and 2004, and raced in the Tour de France in 1997. Gord is no stranger to Tucson and El Grupo; both his sons were in the Grupito pilot program. “I want to teach the youth on Team El Grupo the passion for the bike that I’ve enjoyed in my 40 plus years dedicated to the sport,” said Gord. “Whether kids like to race, tour, bike pack, or mountain bike, there’s a place for them in the Team El Grupo Program.”
Luke MurrayGrupito Coordinator
Luke Murray is a born and raised Tucsonan whose been a part of the El Grupo team since the end of 2010 when he joined as a rider in high school. For the last seven years he has dedicated himself to cycling advocacy and education both inside and outside of El Grupo. Luke is the cycling elective teacher at City High School, an actor with Stories that Soar, a musician, and an artist who pursues a life of growth and happiness by sharing his passion for exercise and the arts with everyone he encounters.
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!
Allison ArensmanTeam El Grupo Coach
Donovan CaputoGrupito Coach
Photo and bio coming soon.
Juliana CullenGrupito 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.
Sarah JansenGrupito Coach
I am a Tucson native with a lifelong passion for cycling. I got started riding the Loop with my dad and bicycle commuting, purchasing my first bike with my employee discount at the Tucson bike shop I worked at in high school. I raced mountain bikes all through college and philosophy graduate school at UCLA, winning the California State Championships and placing third in the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Ultra-Endurance Tour. I soon discovered adventure biking and went on to complete the Tour Divide Race and win the Arizona Trail Race 750. I kept hearing about El Grupo and wanted to get involved, so I volunteered for both El Grupito and Team El Grupo before coming on as a coach. I also teach philosophy at Pima Community College, where I took my very first philosophy course back in high school! I am deeply dedicated to helping youth build their confidence, joy and character through the sport of cycling and the discipline of philosophy. Never stop riding or asking life’s biggest questions!
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.
Dava VarelaGrupito Coach
Karen ChildressAdministrative Assistant/Bookkeeper
Karen moved to Tucson in 2018 with plans to retire. It turned out she wasn’t tired enough to retire, but didn’t want to do a 9-5 gig or start another business. Instead, she decided part-time work in an organization with a strong mission would offer the right balance of work and leisure life. Karen happily landed a position at El Grupo in late 2019. More yogi and hiker than big-time cyclist, she can still occasionally be found on The Loop riding her purple cruiser.
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
Bio and photo coming soon.
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.
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.
Kim Watkinson, Member at LargePremier Banker, Walls Fargo
Bio and photo coming soon.