El Grupo is run by a growing group of passionate, engaged individuals who care about youth, being active and healthy, and the community.

OUR STAFF

Sean Pantellere

Sean Pantellere

Executive Director
sean@elgrupocycling.org
Sean grew up in New Jersey and found his way to Tucson in 2020. He has a background in organization management, event management, fundraising, and bicycle racing. During his non-profit career, Sean led teams in multiple markets to raise more than $30 million for various causes. Sean is excited to work with the El Grupo staff to empower youth across all programs. Sean once held the distinction of being the Massachusetts State Champion in Cyclocross, Road, and Time Trial State Champion in the same racing season.
 

Dr. Jody Bartz

Programs and Operations Manager, Junior Level Programs
jody@elgrupocycling.org

 

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 Bustos

Deidra Bustos

Bikepacking Coordinator
deidra@elgrupocycling.org

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 Cullen

Juliana Cullen

Bike Club Coordinator
juliana@elgrupocycling.org

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 Alexander

Sam Alexander

Grupito Coach
sam.a@elgrupocycling.org

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’!

 

Max Bevier

Grupito Coach
max.b@elgrupocycling.org

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.

Nikos Casto

Nikos Casto

Bike Club Coach
nikos@elgrupocycling.org
Nikos was born in Tucson but spent five years living in Pennsylvania before moving back to Tucson where he attended high school and now college. Coming from a family of six with three sets of twins, Nikos has always focused on family and his connections with others. He believes in El Grupo as a way to share the passion for cycling and connect with others. Nikos has been riding bikes since the age of three, and continues to enjoy it. He now rides competitively for the UA Cycling team where he is working towards his Bachelors in Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. When not riding bikes, you can find him playing guitar or causing mischief with his younger siblings.
Rickie Rincon

Rickie Rincon

Grupito Coach

Born and raised in Mexico, City. I’ve been into sports all my life, started doing enduro, motocross, and mountain biking when I was 6 years old and did my first off-road race at 13 years old. I was highly competitive at a national level. Unfortunately, when I was 14 years old, I had an accident on my dirtbike and broke my back leaving me paralyzed from the chest down. I did not let the accident stop me from continuing my sports career or my academic career. After just one year of the accident, I took on off-road handcycling, and sooner than later I was back in the same trails where I used to ride my dirt bike. Being highly competitive, riding by myself and my family was not enough so I found myself wanting to try other sports where there were more people to compete against. I moved onto triathlons first and completed three of them at the age of 17. Shortly after I realized my strongest sport was the road handcycle, so I decided to fully dedicate my time on the road. When I was 18 I was recruited by the University of Arizona Handcycling Team and moved to Tucson to pursue the dream of completing college and racing internationally. Since I moved to Tucson in 2017 I had accomplished a vast amount of achievements such as riding my handcycle across America, many podiums at a national level, becoming 3x national champion in Mexico, and attending my first UCI World Cup representing Team Mexico. I do believe breaking my back made me a more perseverant individual which has helped me both in sports and life and through countless hours of training I have mastered how to be a disciplined athlete. I also think most teachings that I learned through cycling can be transferred into everyday life situations such as not giving up, working hard, enjoying the ride, and being in touch with nature! Being a cyclist is not only about going fast but is also about being in tune with your body, mind, friends, and learning how to be a better person all around!

David Cross

David Cross

Grupo Coach
david@elgrupocycling.org

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
self-confidence.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Doug Friman, JD, Board Chairman

Doug Friman, JD, Board Chairman

Attorney 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, Secretary

Charlie Everett, Secretary

Digital 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 Large

Matt Donaldson, Member at Large

Principal 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 Large

Lisa Anne Trudinger-Smith, Member at Large

Managing 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 Large

Paul Durham, Member at Large

Retired 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 Large

Brenda Kazen, Member at Large

Counselor, 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 Large

Joe Delgado, Member at Large

Sales 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 Large

Cardiologist, Carondelet Medical Group

Bio and photo coming soon.

 

Max Blowers, Youth Representative

El Grupo Team Member and Student

Bio and photo coming soon.

Alexis Favis, Member at Large

Alexis Favis, Member at Large

Madden 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