Staff

Adventure Cycling staff photo

Carmen Aiken, Short Trips Initiatives Event Coordinator

Photo: Carmen AikenCarmen hails from Chicago, left their heart in Oakland, and very recently enjoyed cruising on their hot pink Nova in South Minneapolis. She loves pairing bike adventures with rail and bus lines. Her resume includes stints in bike shops and warehouses, tech startups, and active transportation advocacy. A freelance writer, Carmen's writing appeared in publications like .them and The Radavist. Their book, "hotspur", was longlisted for the 2020 PANK Big Book Prize. Carmen believes in paper maps, smoked snacks, and that we get to define our own adventures, in any which way we want.

Joe Baker, Membership Director

Photo: Joe BakerJoe Baker joined Adventure Cycling in 2019 after 13 years working for Care2 in Silicon Valley. At Care2, Joe was VP of Advocacy and Growth, overseeing advocacy, Care2 member support, and online advertising. Prior to Care2, Joe worked for NTEN as Executive Director and for Amnesty International doing membership organizing, online advocacy, and online fundraising. He also volunteered for the Sierra Club in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, leading peak bagging trips and assisting with outdoor training programs. Joe enjoys cycling, backpacking, skiing, gardening, and guitar.

Melinda Balchan, Tours Specialist

Photo: Melinda BalchanMelinda came to Adventure Cycling in 2020 after residing in Indiana for most of her life. She fell in love with cycling on the rolling hills of Southern Indiana while training for the Little 500 race at Indiana University. After graduating, Melinda spent several years working in analytical chemistry, but she desperately missed having her days revolve around bikes. She consequently bought a one-way ticket to Finland in 2015 and spent much of the next 2.5 years cycling her way through Europe, Asia, and North America. Melinda eventually returned to the USA and led her first organized, cross-country bike tour with Bike & Build in 2018. She quickly realized that introducing folks to touring was just as much fun as being on the road herself and is excited to continue to do so as part of the Tours Department. In addition to cycling, Melinda enjoys fiber crafts, spending time in nature, and laughing at her own jokes.

David Barth, IT Specialist

Photo: David BarthDavid lived a good part of his life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he worked in IT for a telecommunications corporation. He grew restless working at a behemoth corporation so he took time off of his career to work in bike shops while earning a degree in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After graduating David found himself in Montana. He has worked at Adventure Cycling Association since the summer of 2013. For leisure David enjoys all that Missoula and Montana have to offer including playing hockey, backcountry skiing, and backpacking. David is an avid bike commuter and truly enjoys the recreation of all types of cycling.

Brian Bonham, Membership Manager

Photo: Brian BonhamBrian joined the organization in 2014 after having worked for various bicycle frame and parts manufacturers across the western United States. His most memorable, and longest bike ride was a 209 mile loop through central California. Most days you can find him riding his bike or running the trails around Missoula with his wife, Jenna, and their dog, Leo.

Levi Boughn, Digital Designer

Photo: Levi BoughnLevi’s been drawing pictures since he could hold a marker, an obsession that led him to a BFA in Graphic Design from Montana State University in 2014. It was during college that he realized just how much fun cycling (on roads and mountains) could be. A few years after graduating, he found a spectacular career at Adventure Cycling in the Marketing & Communications Department. When he's not clicking a mouse around, Levi would prefer to be with his wife Sally, drawing pretty pictures, or riding one of his bikes.

Chris Brown, Tours Specialist

Photo: Chris BrownChris fell in love with bicycles as a young boy during his summer visits with family in Germany, where he would go on rides with his grandfather to explore neighboring villages, nearby forests, and old castles, all via a network of quiet farming roads. Since those early years, he has experienced many other modes of travel in his life and work, including two years of sailing around the world as a cruise ship musician and four years of driving a van and trailer while leading small-group camping tours throughout the U.S. and Canada for various international travel companies such as Trek America and Intrepid Travel. After three more years of training and managing new driver-guides, Chris was stoked to join Adventure Cycling in 2021 as he is convinced that the bicycle is still the best way for humans to travel!

Rick Bruner, Adventure Cyclist Advertising Representative

Photo: Rick BrunerRick joined Adventure Cyclist magazine in 2008 and works out of his office in the Columbia River Gorge in White Salmon, WA. He started off his career in the ski industry in Colorado and has continued in all facets of the sporting goods industry including the windsurfing, kiteboarding, stand-up paddle realms that brought him to the Gorge. He has been involved in publishing for the last 15 years and has been an avid mountain and road biker most his life. He enjoys all and any sports that the current season brings!

Maxton Caplanides, Development Officer

Photo: Maxton CaplanidesMaxton, originally from North Carolina, lived in over a dozen locales across the country before finding himself in Montana. After strictly commuting by bicycle for years, he decided to ride the TransAmerica Trail and Oregon coast in the summer of 2015, where he discovered his love for long distance touring and the magic that comes along with it. He joined the ranks at Adventure Cycling the following summer. Maxton and his son love to host touring cyclists at their home. He has also taken on the role of photographer for “The Open Road Gallery,” Adventure Cycling’s extensive black and white portrait collection.

Richard Darne, Database Administrator

Photo: Richard DarneRichard was born in Virginia and moved to the Missoula area at the age of three. He loves it here in Montana and has no plans of leaving. He started working for Adventure Cycling in May 2004 after doing similar jobs for the Forest Service for the previous four years. In his spare time he enjoys crossword puzzles, camping, riding his swing bike, and playing banjo while singing with his dad.

Eva Dunn-Froebig, Short Trips Project Manager

Photo: Eva Dunn-FroebigEva Dunn-Froebig came to Missoula to complete her master's degree in journalism at the University of Montana in 2000. Since then she has worked for the Missoula Art Museum and Run Wild Missoula, and now Adventure Cycling. Eva enjoys going on outdoor adventures with her family, including bikepacking, backpacking, running, and skiing.

Shannon Fischer-Kendro, Tours Specialist

Photo: Shannon Fischer-KendroShannon was born and raised in San Diego where she spent her early years following her father around the city on a bicycle. She has been an avid cyclist ever since. In 2014, Shannon moved to Missoula where she discovered all that Western Montana has to offer. When she’s not on her mountain or road bike, you’ll find her skiing or backpacking. In 2021, Shannon joined Adventure Cycling as a Tours Specialist. Shannon is thrilled to connect tour leaders and cyclists through transformative and empowering adventures by bicycle.

Jake Flaherty, Accounting Assistant

Photo: Jake FlahertyJake grew up in Logan, Utah and spent time in Big Sky, Montana and Jackson Hole, Wyoming before attending school in Missoula, Montana. He studied finance at the University of Montana through 2017 and was a student employee for Adventure Cycling for more than half his time in school. He started out as a volunteer restocking bins used for guided tours. Next, he worked as a membership assistant through the university’s work-study program. In 2015 he became the accounting assistant and was married to his wife Amber in the same year. Jake officially became an employee with Adventure Cycling in 2017. Jake fell in love with long-distance bicycle travel after riding from Bozeman, Montana to Sacramento, California in 2006. Now Jake can be found cycling on the trails and logging roads surrounding Missoula.

Haydin Grotz, Development Coordinator

Photo: Haydin GrotzIn 2013 Haydin biked cross country from Baltimore, MD to Seattle, WA with the 4K for Cancer – a program of the Ulman Foundation that raises funds and awareness for young adults with cancer. From her bike seat, she was able to see first-hand how beautiful things are and how generous people can be. After her trip, Haydin worked at a bike shop in her hometown of Lusby, MD for three years before moving to Missoula, MT. She loves everything Missoula has to offer including biking, hiking, fly fishing, and sour beer! She also loves meeting new people, volunteering, and snuggling with her cat, Arthur.

Katie Harris, Director of Advocacy

Photo: Katie HarrisKatie joined the Adventure Cycling staff in 2021. She is passionate about creating a future where bike travel is safe and inclusive. Katie rode the northern half of the Pacific Coast Route in 2009 and the Northern Tier Route in 2013. Katie sees bike travel at the nexus of climate change, transportation justice, and healthy communities, and spent six years in Washington, DC working on federal transportation policy and regional trail initiatives. Now in Bellingham, WA, she spends her free time hiking, skiing, fly-fishing and poring over maps, planning the next adventure.

Mike Lessard, Tours Director

Photo: Mike LessardHailing from the great state of Maine, Mike joined Adventure Cycling in the fall of 2013 as a Tours Specialist. After a brief hiatus, he returned as the Tours Assistant Director and is excited about getting people out traveling by bike. Before moving to Missoula, Mike spent six years with Apogee Adventures, planning and leading hiking and biking tours for students, including co-leading two cross-country (Charleston, SC to San Diego, CA), self-contained bike tours. In his free time, Mike enjoys all things active and outside, trying to find a tall mountain to climb.

Ally Mabry, Lead Designer

Photo: Ally MabryBorn in the Yellowhammer state, Ally developed an affinity for magazine design in Alabama; she fell in love with bicycles in Texas. After receiving a BFA in Graphic Design and Printmaking from The University of Alabama in 2014, she headed to Austin where the bike scene consumed her. There, Ally spent her weekends matching road mileage to the temperature (106 miles in 106° once) and weekdays commuting around the city. Now she prefers to stick to dirt, rambling around the backcountry. Ally began her dream job at Adventure Cycling in 2017 after experiencing a series of truly transformative bike tours.

Carla Majernik, Cartographer

Photo: Carla MajernikCarla bicycled across the country in 1976 with Bikecentennial; the trip changed her life and she moved to Montana. She's been a part of the Routes & Mapping Department since 1983, from the time of hand-drawn maps all the way to the present computer-generated mapping. Now that she is enjoying an empty nest, she has time for biking, reading, traveling, and doing crafts

Teri Maloughney, Community Marketing Director

Photo: Teri MaloughneyIn 1989 Teri joined the organization and since then she has held the title of Receptionist, Administrative Assistant to the Director, Sales Director and Sales & Marketing Director. A native Montanan, Teri loves to bike, hike, ski, camp and travel the world with her husband Thorsten.

Geoff McMillion, Customer Service and  Membership Fulfillment Coordinator

Photo: Geoff McMillionOriginally from Chapin, SC, Geoff was lured west by Glacier National Park where he spent two college summers. The lure became permanent when he transferred to the University of Montana graduating with a BS  in Recreation Management at the UM School of Forestry. Geoff joined the Adventure Cycling team in 2012 with Cyclosource. He then spent 5 years as Admin/Bookkeeping prior to joining Membership. Geoff enjoys exploring the trails, rivers, and backroads of Montana in his free time — and if you happen to hear the drone of bagpipes in the Missoula area, you may find Geoff there, piping his favorite tunes.

Dan Meyer, Deputy Editor

Photo: Dan MeyerOriginally from the Twin Cities, Dan studied German in Duluth, worked as a mechanic in the Marine Corps for five years, and studied creative writing at Columbia University. He finally moved to Missoula in 2013 for graduate school and stayed because, well, duh. He first caught the mountain biking bug in Minnesota and has lately been considering cycling of the paved variety. If there’s snow in the mountains, you’ll likely find Dan out there with his snowboard. If the snow has melted, he’ll be on his mountain bike.

Melissa Moser, GIS Analyst/Cartographer

Photo: Melissa MoserBefore coming to Missoula in early 2012, Melissa studied GIS at the University of Wyoming. After completing an M.S. degree, she biked cross-country from Los Angeles to Boston to promote cycling as transportation. This experience introduced her to bicycle touring and Adventure Cycling, both of which she quickly came to love. Three years later she was able to combine her career (GIS/mapping) with her passion (bicycle touring) by joining the Routes & Mapping crew at Adventure Cycling. When not at work, Melissa can be found biking, hiking, gardening, traveling, and enjoying music.

Daniel Mrgan, Graphic Designer

Photo: Daniel MrganDaniel grew up in Croatia where he developed an early interest in graphic design inspired by childhood obsessions with drawing, comics, and reading popular science magazines. After moving to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1999, he eventually found work as a magazine designer in the custom publishing industry. While looking to replace a stolen commuter bike, Daniel entered the wacky world of Craigslist bike ads and became obsessed with acquiring and repairing used/abused bicycles. That initial sprinkling of magical, bike-fairy dust turned hard to shake off — he started volunteering at, and eventually became a part owner of, St. Pete Bike Co-op and his cycling expanded from commuting to bike camping and touring. He somewhat reluctantly exchanged his Florida sandals for winter boots, but Daniel is more than happy to call Missoula his new home and is enthusiastically awaiting whatever new adventures Montana throws at him. His free time is usually divided between riding bicycles, drawing, reading, eating dark chocolate snacks, and watching movies — preferably all in the same day and in good company.

Jennifer O'Dell, Chief Marketing Officer

Photo: Jennifer O'DellJennifer joined Adventure Cycling in 2021 after 23 years of working in consumer-packaged goods, ecommerce, and fitness and apparel industries. She is excited to combine her marketing skills and passion for the outdoors to help people create lasting memories from their own adventures and travels by bike. Originally from Oregon and Alaska, BK (Before Kids), Jennifer spent her free time traveling having epic adventures as often as possible. After earning her MBA, she started adventure racing, backpacked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, went bike touring through Vermont, and scuba diving in Belize. AK (After Kids), she now spends her free time instilling a love of adventure in her kids and exploring the outdoors with her family. When she’s not hiking, mountain biking, or driving kids to various sporting events, she loves cooking, watching live music, photography, and reading books.

Scott Pankratz, Executive Director

Photo: Scott PankratzScott looks forward to expanding Adventure Cycling’s community to give everyone with a bike the confidence, community, and gratitude that is at the heart of the Adventure Cycling experience. His association with Adventure Cycling goes back to when the organization was still called Bikecentennial. In 1991, he stepped off a plane in San Francisco with a bike and a Bikecentennial map to lead him down the Pacific Coast. He’s also embarked on bike trips through Mexico and from Alaska to Montana. In addition to his previous role as Executive Director of EPI in Missoula, Pankratz has served as a nonprofit leader in Western Montana and a guest lecturer at the University of Montana.

Kenneth Pararo, Membership Assistant

Photo: Kenneth PararoKenneth Pararo spent his formative years in Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Japanese. From there, he quickly joined a tech company, MailChimp. In 2017, he biked solo from Atlanta to New York City, which ignited a desire for more adventures. After 5 years of professional work, Kenneth left MailChimp to hike the Appalachian Trail, where he met his partner, Alli. After successfully hiking from Georgia to Maine, Kenneth biked the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, hiked the Vermont Long Trail, sold his Atlanta home in order to bike the ACA Trans-Am route, lived in a converted camper van, and, most recently, rode the Southern Tier West-Bound from Texas to California. It was during the Southern Tier that Kenneth had a feeling there may be a position for him at Adventure Cycling. Some quick research confirmed as much and now he and Alli are Missoulians.

Beth Petersen, Office Manager/Staff Accountant

Photo: Beth PetersenBeth started in 2001 for Adventure Cycling as the receptionist then spent some time as the sales lead. Since then, she has added many tasks to her position, including keeping our busy office organized and managing the Bike Bits email list. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and baking in her time away from the office. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe and their two young adult kids, whenever they can catch up with them.

Gage Poore, Membership Database Coordinator

Photo: Gage PooreA Montana native, Gage moved to Missoula in 2003 to attend the University of Montana where he received a BA in English Creative Writing and Literature in 2007. After graduation, he spent five years employed in the corporate world before finding his true calling with Adventure Cycling in the spring of 2012. While out of the office, Gage enjoys cycling, hiking, gardening, reading, and floating the rivers around Missoula. More than anything, he enjoys spending time with his wife Karen, their cats Toonces and Wednesday, and a tenacious pug named Napoleon.

Jamie Robertson, Routes Director

Photo: Jamie RobertsonJamie joined the Adventure Cycling staff in the spring of 2015. In 2007 he earned a BA from The University of Montana in Cartography/GIS and has been making maps nonstop since then. He has been bike commuting all of his life and looks forward to learning the ropes of bike touring. When not tinkering with maps and computers he can be found hiking and boating around Montana and Idaho.

Max Siebert, Director of Sales

Photo: Max SiebertA native Missoulian and UM graduate, Mad Max has spent the majority of his life astride a bicycle. Though most folks see the bicycle as a means of transportation, young Max saw it as a way to get airborne and go fast. With childhood enthusiasm, he turned his poor parents’ yard into an obstacle course of elevated wooden skinnies and large dirt jumps. Before he was old enough to be legally employed, Max moonlighted at a local bike shop, using his meager profits to purchase more bikes and products. Max followed up a decade-plus in bike shops with a brief career as the finance director for a car dealership, which bolstered his bike collection and professional resume. He has since broadened his bicycle endeavors to include cyclocross and touring, though you're sure to find him aboard a mountain bike on the weekends. 

Jackie Slovak, Development Director

Photo: Jackie SlovakJackie joined Adventure Cycling in the Spring of 2020 after collecting a broad range of professional experiences in several diverse organizations in the nonprofit and business worlds. While her work spanned such varied activities as development and communications in the arts, software development at Easter Seals-Goodwill, and operations management at an Atlanta tech startup, the one constant in her life endures: gathering teams to advance forward toward a common, bold goal. Working at Adventure Cycling fulfills a lifelong dream to connect her personal passion for cycling and the great outdoors with her professional work, allowing an avenue for her enthusiastic, engaged creativity. She enjoys sharing her outdoor activities with her daughter Emily, husband Dave, and yellow Labrador Barkley. 

Saara Snow, Advocacy Manager

Photo: Saara SnowSaara joined the Adventure Cycling staff in the fall of 2013, after working as a volunteer on the U.S. Bicycle Route System. She has been a bike commuter all her life and bicycle advocacy has long been one of her passions. She came to Missoula in 2006 to attend the University of Montana and graduated with a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies. She has a serious case of the travel bug and plans to explore the world bit by bit on her bike, while pursuing her obsession with photography.

Sheila Snyder, Chief Operations Officer

Photo: Sheila SnyderSheila joined Adventure Cycling Association in 2001 as the Controller and in 2009 moved to Chief Operations Officer. She previously worked at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. She received both her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Master’s in Accounting from the University of Montana. She spends her free time with her husband Ron, daughter Erin, and son Dylan. She enjoys going to bluegrass festivals and hockey games, as well as baking and reading.

Nathan Taylor, Senior GIS Specialist/Cartographer

Photo: Nathan TaylorNathan has been in Montana since 1998, and now has the privilege of raising his sons Aden and Bay here with his wife Christa. A native of coastal Maine, he had found himself employed throughout the country as, among other things, a Christmas tree harvester, a sushi chef, and a lobsterman before settling in Missoula and earning a BS in Geosciences from UM. When he is not attempting to corral rambunctious boys, Nathan enjoys going up mountains.

Amy Wally, GIS Specialist/Cartographer

Photo: Amy WallyAmy grew up in Northern California and moved to Missoula in 2013 to fulfill a lifelong dream of living in Western Montana. She earned her master’s degree in Geography from UM in spring of 2015 and began working at Adventure Cycling in fall of 2015. Amy loves to spend the weekends in the mountains, exploring the beautiful wildness that Montana has to offer with her husband Garin. When not escaping into the wilderness, Amy can be found biking around town, hanging out at the Top Hat, or snuggling up with a good book and her two precious cats, Sugar and Spice.

Carolyne Whelan, Editor-in-Chief

Photo: Carolyne WhelanCarolyne grew up in eastern Massachusetts, where her love of riding her training wheels down to the harbor to watch the fishing boats grew into a passion for exploring the city’s furthest neighborhoods on two wheels. She moved to New Mexico as a teenager, where she got a wild hair to ride her bike down the west coast with nothing but a picnic blanket and she’s been hooked on bike touring ever since. In the meantime, she’s earned a BA and MFA in writing, wrenched in bike shops around the US, hiked and biked around the Americas and Europe, and worked as a writer and editor at a number of publications, including Dirt Rag Magazine. She started at Adventure Cycling in 2021, uniting her passions for publishing, bike-powered travel, and community building into the ultimate role as Editor-in-Chief at Adventure Cyclist. When she isn’t writing or riding, Carolyne can typically be found hiking or kayaking with her Very Good Girl, Broose.

Kate Whittle, Cultivation Coordinator

Photo: Kate WhittleKate Whittle grew up in a rural area outside Billings, Montana, and comes to Adventure Cycling with a background in journalism. She graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2011, and has been very lucky to spend most of her career in beautiful Missoula. Her previous employers include a TV news station, an organic farm, and the Missoula Independent newspaper. She currently makes some pretty decent hot sauce. Kate is also passionate about food, writing, biking to work, and growing massive amounts of heirloom tomatoes in the summertime. Her bike has a kickstand, and she likes it that way.

Jessica Zephyrs, Inbound Marketing Manager

Photo: Jessica ZephyrsJessica, born and raised in Oklahoma under the sign of the scissor-tail flycatcher to a long lineage of Oklahomans, took flight in 2007 and landed in Missoula, Montana. With a background in nonprofit marketing, she joined Adventure Cycling in 2018. Her job is to make new online visitors comfortable, promptly giving them whatever they might be looking for, fluffing their pillows in the hopes they’ll stay awhile and get to know the adventure cycling community. Jessica has a couple of degrees, but more importantly, she has a beautiful 1970s Gitane mixte that she recently converted into a single speed for her daily commute. Look for her on the local trails, running downhill as fast as her legs will carry her and encouraging others to do the same.

Rebekah Zook, Tours Operations Manager

Photo: Rebekah ZookBekah relocated to Missoula after four years of bike tour guiding on the east coast. After completing a degree in journalism at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, she worked in radio production for several years before being captured by the small mountain town of Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, which she considers her home base. After a few wonderful years on the rivers and trails of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, she swapped coasts and has been catching up on all Montana has to offer. She spends a lot of time pitching half-baked biking trips to her unsuspecting friends and family members. Her three siblings are her heroes and always-game adventure pals. 

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Top photo by Greg Siple

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