El Grupo is run by a growing group of passionate, engaged individuals who care about youth, being active and healthy, and the community.
Kate Hiller | Executive Director
Kate started her love for El Grupo when her son, Cole Lanning, attended Summer Bike Camp at age 12. It just deepened from there as he rode with Team El Grupo for six year. During that time, Kate was a dedicated volunteer parent on all things El Grupo. Kate Hiller has over 25 years in the non-profit field in the areas of fundraising, grassroots marketing and organizational development, including working with El Grupo as a fundraising consultant. With a strong dedication to empowering impoverished people, Kate has worked at the Primavera Foundation, Mobile Meals and the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse. As a consultant and as senior leader in community-based organizations, she has worked with staff teams and board of directors to strengthen their organizations and missions to increase their impact. Kate is a long-time resident of Tucson, has her BS in Organizational Development from Prescott College and is married to Bob Lanning a local architect. Kate has always been a bike commuter but caught cycling fever being around El Grupo. Kate is also a clay artist.
Daniela Diamente | Co-Founder
I have always loved to be active and outdoors, everywhere! – which mostly consisted of playing soccer at a high level and camping and traveling with my family throughout adolescence. Traveling took over when I left playing Division 1 soccer at Butler University to study in Spain and Costa Rica. Graduate school and choosing to live somewhere I could commute by bike or walking brought me to Tucson. I have a MA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona with a focus on youth development, democracy and education reform. After extensive work with youth and communities in Central America, I served as the Education and Administrative Director for five years at BICAS, a nonprofit education and recycling center for bicycles. I was the Event Coordinator for the first two years of Cyclovia Tucson, a community-wide event that closed 5 miles of roadways to cars and opened them to people to be active – over 10,000 people attended each event. I am the co-founder of El Grupo with my husband (also the Head Coach) Ignacio – who re-introduced me to the bicycle and the worlds that it opens. We like to ride bikes every way you can, but especially with our son Damiano.
Ignacio Rivera de Rosales | Co-Founder
I am an educator, a coach and a papa. I have an MA in Bilingual Education from the University of Arizona with a focus on using excitement for bicycles for second language acquisition. My “day job” is as Pima County’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Educator. I teach Safe Routes to School to over four thousand elementary and middle school students annually. I served many roles – as Administrative Director and then Lead Instructor / Education Co-coordinator – at BICAS for over 8 years. I have taught thousands of kids and adults the joy of recycling bicycles. I am a nationally certified bike safety instructor through the League of American Bicyclists and a USA Cycling Level 2 Coach. I enjoy helping kids realize and achieve goals that they thought impossible. I was recognized as a Local Hero by Tucson Weekly in 2011, and as Champion for Children by Child & Family Resources in 2012. I have more dreams for making children’s lives better (through bikes!) than a lifetime can handle, but that is not about to slow me down. My favorite axiom is by the esteemed Yoda: Do or do not. There is no try.
CURRENT AWESOME STAFF (in alphabetical order)
Morgan Adams | Grupito Coordinator
I’m an Arizona native, dad, and bike rider/advocate. My bike racing days go all the way back to the early ‘70’s where my first race was at PXA (Phoenix) BMX on my big wheel! I’ve pretty much been obsessed with bikes and racing since that day. My academic education consists of a microbiology degree from NAU, but I only really remember all those Sedona-Flagstaff trails. In 2003 my family moved away from Tucson, then moved back in 2011 – learned about El Grupo and wanted to get involved, but timing was wrong. Now the timing is right between my family and the start of El Grupito. I love coaching the El Grupito riders! I’m always so impressed with their natural abilities and enthusiasm. I hope to help kids learn to love all things about cycling and believe El Grupo is providing a valuable framework for that goal.
Max Cronyn | Team El Grupo Lead Coach & Program Co-coordinator
My name’s Max. I’ve been in and out of El Grupo since I was 11 years old. Before joining Grupo, I lived in Francophone West Africa. Moving to Tucson, Grupo gave me a community and space to call home, as well as a platform to express my budding competitive nature. At the time, I was the first Grupo rider to get my Cat 3 upgrade, and the only one to go to junior road nationals. Great as Grupo was, the experience was short lived. I moved away from Tucson when I was 14, going back to Niger (West Africa). From there I moved to Washington DC, then Madison, WI. Throughout high school I swam competitively, then began rowing when I lived in DC. I was recruited to row D1 at UW Madison, but after a year of rowing and freezing I moved back to Tucson to finish my BA and escape the polar vortex. Upon returning to Tucson, I started volunteering with Grupito and racing for the Grupo U23/Alumni program. I raced through the amateur ranks until mid 2017 when I realized the prerequisite of pro racing is pro training. I started working for El Grupo in the fall of 2017 with my longtime teammate and friend, Ben. I’m excited to be a part of the program as a coach, helping others achieve their goals. My favorite color is green, my favorite Tucson ride is the epic Birthday Ride. Valentina, not Tapatillo. Estrella tortillas are king.
Ben Duncan | Team El Grupo Lead Coach & Program Co-coordinator
I was born Halloween of ’96 in Tucson. I began my involvement with El Grupo after meeting Daniela and Ignacio at Bicas, where they both taught the “build-a-bike” class. Shortly after taking the class, my brother and I joined El Grupo at age 13. I was on the team for 7 years and raced competitively with Team El Grupo and team El Grupo U23. A very short stint in the pro-ranks made me realize I enjoyed riding and racing my bike, but not the training commitment necessary to be successful. It was during these years that I volunteered as a coach for El Grupito, and in fall of 2017 I joined my friend and teammate Max as coaching staff for El Grupo. As a coach, I bring a knowledge of the team due to my experiences with the program, race experience at a high level, and a rich passion for the program and its effects on youth. El Grupo shaped who I am, and I now get to enjoy my part in helping Tucson youth with their own goals and self-betterment. I enjoy high speed/technical mountain biking, hard days in the saddle with friends, welding, eating quesadillas, and bandit camping in the middle of nowhere. I dislike shrimp, the cold, and moving slowly.
Colin Holmes | Grupo Coach & Gruppetto Coordinator
I have worked as a bicycle advocate in Tucson since 2007. My work includes coordinating the Gruppetto bike packing program, coaching El Grupo, working as a Collective member and the IT coordinator at BICAS, and for 8 years I worked for pima county teaching bicycle safety and bicycle repair. My side jobs and other interests are software engineering and welding/fabrication. I studied Computer Science, and Mathematics with a focus on Computer Science, at the University of Arizona. I have been riding with/coaching El Grupo since 2007 and I love promoting the bicycle as a form of transportation!
Lynn Hudson | Clubhouse Manager & Grupito Coach
I am a Grupito Coach, physical educator, graduated form the University of Arizona, and long time bike mechanic! I love anything with wheels and enjoy sharing my passion for bike riding with others, especially youth. Arrived in Tucson in 1999 and fell in love with the desert through cycling. Cycling has taking me many places over the years and made many friends along the way. I now get to share these experiences with my two children through el Grupito and work along side el Grupo! Mountain biking, road biking, BMX, commuting, and anything else bike related is a great way to instill positive life long habits in the youth and el Grupo/Grupito is the way!coaches on El Grupito.
Julia Liatti | Academic Advisor & Administrative Assistant
I started on the team as a junior in high school. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona and came back to El Grupo throughout that time to help with academic tutoring. After a full Peace Corps experience in Indonesia, where I taught and led youth development programs, I returned to work as the Academic Advisor and Administrative Assistant at El Grupo. I start Medical School at the University of Arizona in the Fall of 2019!
Lucas Murray has been part of the El Grupo team since the end of 2010 and had drifted away for a year only to realize something huge was missing in his life. With a background in Shakespearean and children’s theatre, rock climbing and an all encompassing love for the bike, Luke is one of our lead El Grupito coaches.
Pam Patterson | Grupito Coach & Volunteer Coordinator
Hi, my name is Pam and I was born and raised in West Texas. When I was 20, I decided to become a ski bum and moved to Durango, CO. I lived in Durango from 1980 to 1994. While in Durango I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Human Services at Fort Lewis College and later a Master of Arts in Counseling from Alamosa State College. While in Durango I began road cycling and quickly figured out how to ride mountain passes . . . slowly, and my knees can attest to the climbs. I also watched the first UCI Mountain Bike World Championships held at Purgatory Ski Area in 1990. Pretty cool. I accepted a position as a Federal Probation Officer in San Francisco, CA where I lived for seven years until I transferred to Tucson in 2001. I retired in July 2016 and immediately traded in my professional clothing attire for spandex and mountain bike shorts. Life is good. As a retiree I wanted to dedicate my time to meaningful work and found it in the form of El Grupo Youth Cycling where I work as the volunteer coordinator and an El Grupito coach. I love the culture of expectation, encouragement, fun, and respect found within El Grupo. I especially love interacting with all of the youth in Grupo programs. They are our future and I like to think I have a small part in their development.
Jeremia Petz | Manzo Bike Club Coach
Hello, I am an el Grupo alumnus and coach. I started off on the team racing mountain bikes in high school and have since worked and volunteered at many el Grupo events such as summer bike camp and several of the community outreach events. I am currently a coach for the Manzo bike club with Chloe Welch, twice a week we take out our club of around15-20 students and show those students the skills necessary to be safe and competent riders on the street and on the trail. I love working with the el Grupo staff and riders, being a part of this organization has created a mass of pleasant experiences that I would not have obtained otherwise.
Ian Ure | Team Mechanic
Back in high school, I took a cycling elective that Ignacio taught, so I got into bike riding. I eventually started riding more and worked on my own bikes. I ended up riding and racing with El Grupo from 2006-2008. I would also go to BICAS and learn more about bikes and the tools. Through Ignacio, I got my first job at FairWheel Bikes. Ever since then, I’ve been working at bike shops around town. Being back with El Grupo is nice to get back to my roots and work with the kids. It’s also a joy to work with a variety of bikes and parts that aren’t necessarily brand new. Working on bikes with the parts you have is more fun- it’s like a puzzle.
Chloe Welch | Manzo Bike Club Coordinator
Chloe started on Team El Grupo when she was 11 years old. She is now a sophomore at the University of Arizona, has won National Titles in various disciplines, and loves mentoring kids at Manzo Elementary School as the Bike Club Coordinator.
CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Marc Fleischman | Chair
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.
Reg Dowdall | Vice Chair
Don Hubman | Treasurer
I moved to Tucson in 2009 and immediately fell in love with the weather and outdoor lifestyle. Endurance sports such as cycling and running have always been a part of my life and through the cycling community in Tucson I discovered the awesomeness of the El Grupo mission. Sports and outdoor activity have been fundamental in forming my character and I believe have played a major role in the successes I have had. I therefore support groups who use physical activity to help youth find their way in life.
My career started in Manufacturing Engineering in Pennsylvania, and I have progressed through various stages of technical consulting, sales and business management over the years. As such I bring what skills and experience I can to the El Grupo board.
Lisa Anne Trudinger-Smith | Secretary
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!
Nathanial Cross | Youth Representative
Kelly Doty | Member at Large
Paul Durham | Member at Large
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 Large
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
Willie Joffroy | Member at Large
I am a native of Nogales, Arizona and lived there until 2003 when Margarita, our three children and I moved to Tucson. My college education consisted of 2 years at Menlo College and one year at the University of Arizona. Starting in 1973 I spent 30 years working in the cross border logistics industry in a business founded by my father in 1950, William F. Joffroy, Inc.
Sports have been a huge part of my life, 4 years of high school football, 4 years of high school track and field and 2 years track and field in college. I ran distance races from 1975 to 1985 and triathlon from 1985 to 1997. I have been cycling since 1985 and started Willie’s World Cycling in 2009, operating cycling tours in Italy and Spain.
El Grupo’s focus on youth development and leadership through cycling has proven to be an excellent method for our local youth to embark on life’s adventures through teamwork, competition, leadership and handling victory and defeat with grace.
My involvement with El Grupo started in 2012 as a small sponsor and has continued to date. Having served on several boards over the years, I can sincerely say serving on the El Grupo board is a true honor. It is one of the best boards I have served on.
Brenda Kazen | Member at Large
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.
Gillian Paine-Murrieta | Parent Representative
I feel that it is very important to give back to organizations and causes that are important to you. Three of my four children have either been or currently are on El Grupo. El Grupo has changed our lives for the better and given all members of my family so many important life skills, memories, friendships, and experiences. I have always enjoyed riding my bicycle, but I now have a renewed interest in the sport especially mountain biking. I feel that my life and work skills can help me facilitate the mission of El Grupo and be a strong parent representative.
Steve Wilson | Member at Large
I came to Tucson in 1980 right out of college to work for IBM. I have a BS in electrical engineering and a MS in engineering management and spent the next 31 years working on high end storage development projects, retiring in 2011. I starting cycling as an adult in 1990 and started bike commuting in the mid 90’s. 150,000 miles later I still love riding my bike everywhere. I love unsupported bike touring and have ridden many places around the globe on 4 continents and counting.
I joined the Board of Directors at GABA in the early 2000’s and that is where I came to know Daniela and Ignacio and learn about the new youth cycling group El Grupo. I liked what I saw and stayed in contact through the years, joining the Board 4 years ago. I really enjoy being a part of the organization and watching the young people develop and grow in their capabilities and self confidence. Organizations like El Grupo are a big part of what makes Tucson a great cycling community.