Nico Spadafora Trackers Guide
Nico is originally from Prescott, Arizona where his life-long interest in paleontology and appreciation for the natural world was sparked. Nico loves dinosaurs, drawing, sculpting, archery, throwing hatchets, reading up about dinosaurs, rockhounding, hiking, adventuring... and dinosaurs!
Nico has been an educator since he was 15 years old, when he volunteered at the Oregon Zoo and discovered his fascination with the natural world and his passion for sharing it with others. Nico has honed his wilderness and teaching skills while working at Trackers Earth for six years. His teaching philosophy is: if you’re not having fun, you’re not learning.
Nico’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Hunting for fossils!
Neil Bacon Trackers Art Programs Director
Neil Bacon comes from Durban, South Africa, and has been teaching outdoor education through art for nearly 14 years. As the activity director for a special needs camp, Neil coordinated dances, talent shows, holiday events, and annual plays which he wrote and created the artwork for. He holds a master’s degree in Fine Art and you can find him channeling his creative energy through woodworking and photography.
Neil’s teaching philosophy is that everyone can and should create art. He believes that art is a safe space to teach success, failure, and perseverance.
Neil’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Walking through the forest with his neighbor's two cats.
Roman Shapla Mentorship Director
Roman is from Kentucky, where the grass is blue. He speaks Slovenian and enjoys wildcrafting, foraging, and practicing archery. Roman is gifted at teaching kids stealth, movement, balance, and patience. However, his superpower is getting any human passionate about Nature in under ten seconds. If he were an animal he’d be a seahorse (with no jockey).
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Teaching Stealth and Camouflage
Tom Brown III Adult Programs Director
Tom, also known as T3, has been a practitioner and teacher of primitive living skills, wilderness survival, tracking, and nature observation since he was a kid. He grew up in New Jersey, where he began his journey in outdoor education. There he developed a deep reverence and respect for wild places and the skills our ancestors used to live close to the land.
At Tracker’s Earth Tom is both a land steward and an adult educator. During his down time you can find him on a river somewhere, fly-fishing for steelhead with his spey rod and enjoying all the wonderful things the PNW has to offer.
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Fly-fishing
Maggie Frantz Family Success Associate
Maggie is from Louisville, KY, and loves being in and wandering natural spaces. Maggie has been studying Outdoor Leadership/Education at Prescott College in Arizona for the past three years while taking advantage of her surroundings by rafting on the San Juan River and hiking in the Grand Canyon. She is incredibly passionate about building intentional communities for nature education and teaching/learning wilderness skills from various communities around the world.
Maggie worked as a Trackers Guide in 2019. Her #1 goal when working with students is to create safe, exciting spaces for them to explore and grow.
Maggie began guiding families to the perfect adventure with the Customer Success team in the summer of 2020. Her favorite part of customer connection is problem-solving with all of the families in our Trackers community. She approaches her work with families the same way she would if working with a group of students—with compassion, understanding, and patience. It definitely takes a village.
Maggie’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Braving raging rivers while rafting.
Holly Noconi Customer Success Director
Holly is from Pacific Palisades, CA, and is an avid proponent of all things outdoors. In addition to camping, hiking, and caring for animals, Holly has worked as an educator for Garden School and holds a certification in Herbology. She loves to share practical uses for wild plants and demonstrate the benefits of our connection to flora.
Holly brings her love for nature to her role as the Customer Success Lead by helping families find their perfect outdoor adventure.
Holly’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Foraging for wild plants while hiking with her family
Mandisa Basarich Customer Sucess Associate
Esther Ikoro Culture Innovation Officer
Esther’s love of nature dates back to her childhood years spent watching National Geographic and the Science Channel. She got more involved in outdoor recreation while earning a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since then she has been dedicated to helping improve life outcomes for underserved groups, especially increasing access to natural spaces.
At Trackers, Esther’s role is to hold space for everyone in the community to feel heard, supported, and empowered; to identify opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion; and to engage colleagues, parents, and campers in programs and practices that are growth-oriented for Trackers.
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Canoeing
Tina Ewing Director of HR
Tina has been with Trackers since February 2021 and is excited to be a part of our team.
She grew up in the PNW and appreciates so much of what it has to offer. Being an avid traveler, seeing and exploring the world, Tina couldn’t imagine not having this as my homebase.
Prior to Trackers, Tina was professionally in the financial institution industry. Starting as a teller, loan officer, branch manager and finally as the compliance director.
Tina thrilled to change her focus to be more involved with individuals and grow within this community.
Tina considers herself a low scale thrill seeker! She loves to go ziplining, parasailing, rafting, all with a qualified lead of course. She's always down for a hike with her ruck as long as she gets assistance with navigation or have a GPS.
Kyle Shaw Global Programs Director
Kyle grew up in Juneau, Alaska. It was there, exploring the forests, mountains, glaciers, and waters of The Great Land, that he fell in love with nature’s interconnectedness. When teaching Guides and kids alike, he enjoys pointing out the quiet relationships between animals, plants, and ecological systems.
With over a decade of working in outdoor environments, Kyle delights in the revelatory ""Aha! moments"", like seeing a new climber traverse a difficult route; the look of mutual understanding between a wild bear and a visitor; and a kid’s excited celebration of a successful fishing expedition.
Kyle has been with Trackers Earth for three years, as a key leader in amplifying our mission of inspiring kids and families outdoors for a lifetime of connection and adventure. He has an unending commitment to giving space and fostering confidence in young people so they may have their own experiences outdoors, as he did in his youth.
Kyle’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Carrying the adventure with him while Backpacking
Fred Voelkel People & Experience/PNW Program Director
Raised on the Oregon Coast, Fred spent most of his non-school time outdoors on forest trails, camping, crabbing and collecting mussels, or catching salamanders. Early exposure to mountaineering and rock climbing from his mother left a lasting impression; Fred has been a volunteer mountaineering instructor and is helping guide his children’s interest in climbing and the outdoors at large.
Fred spent over a decade in China working in education both as a teacher and administrator before returning to Oregon in 2016.
Fred is utilizing his enthusiasm for outdoor pursuits and respect for the importance of thoughtfully designed, learner-centered experiences to guide staff training and develop new programs and opportunities for learning in our community.
Outside of Trackers, Fred is most likely spending time raising small livestock and vegetables or spending time outdoors with family.
Fred’s Favorite Outdoor Activity: Exploring hiking trails with his family.
Tony Deis Founder
Tony Deis is the founder of Trackers. He dropped out of high school and trained in the arts of awareness, forest-craft skills, primitive skills, and tracking. Since then, he has learned to run a business in order to make a profound impact on the educational world.
Tony believes that kids are far more capable than the modern world allows. He fosters the opportunity for them to be given greater freedom and greater responsibility so that they can create a better and more wild world.
Tony runs Trackers as though it were an extension of his large Italian family. Every member is responsible for creating a better world for the other members to live and bring new members into.
David Kacena Technology Architect
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, David has been helping get families get into outdoor adventures with only a few clicks since 2018. David is inspired by the experiences available at Trackers Earth.
He loves that because his son has grown up going to Trackers camps, he is now more knowledgeable in outdoor skills than David is!
When he’s not working his web wizardry, you can find David playing music and coaching soccer.
Favorite Outdoor Adventure: Backpacking
Molly Deis Founder
A native Oregonian, Molly received her Bachelors degree in German from Davidson College in North Carolina and spent a year in Germany, also traveling throughout much of Western Europe.
She spends her time between Portland and Sandy, where she and her husband (Tony) live with their children. She keeps busy herding goats, wrangling chickens, planning gardens and wandering the woods with kids in tow.
Molly is also an avid cellist and one of the "voices of Trackers" you probably spoke with her regarding any one of the Trackers programs.
Christina Codino Executive Operating Officer
Chris joined Trackers full time as our EOO in 2012 after 17 years in the credit union world. She has been involved with Trackers off and on from the beginning and is thrilled to be part of the community full time. When she isn't processing registrations or assisting parents and staff, she enjoys camping, baking, cooking and hanging out with friends and family. She is actively involved in her daughter’s school and a strong supporter of her husband’s ultra marathon running.
Randall Chalawsky Chief Strategy Officer
Randall has held senior production and programming roles at CBS and HBO, on multi-year, multi-platform franchise media properties -- including Everybody Loves Raymond and the HBO Aspen Festival. He was instrumental in building Levity Live-IMPROV, which sold to Madison Square Garden Entertainment / Azoff and AMC Networks, for its industry leading media and customer acquisition platform. Chalawsky is a first adopter of consumer digital technologies, building fans through video, social, and mobile; an early strategic partner at Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix, amassing global audiences for enterprises such as Trevor Noah, Jeff Dunham, and Jackson Galaxy. His creative and operational leadership created a multi-channel network of 100M+, generating hundreds of millions in revenue.
Chalawsky is an industry leader in connecting digital marketing to live events across Europe, South Africa, and Australia, with partners such as Sony, Viacom, and Universal, introducing an entire ecosystem of content monetization and concert ticket sales at tentpole venues including London’s famed O2 Arena. His brand work includes Norwegian Cruise Line, Jameson, Clorox, Pepsi, and Toyota. He is the publisher of a top 10 iphone app, and a development partner with Amazon, Google, and Apple, among others, with dozens of web / mobile / SW products to his credit. He has produced over 90 hours of primetime television programming.
Previous board level roles include PIAS Belgium, a unit of the leading independent European music distribution company.
He is a mentor at SDSU and WeWork Labs, a volunteer member with ThinkLA and LA 2028, and part-time faculty with CSU-Fullerton in the College of Business and Economics. He is a principal organizer of Southern California’s largest data focused conference, DataConLA. Having started four companies, sold two, incubated and accelerated dozens, Chalawsky also advises a number of startups in LA and the Bay Area working in direct-to-consumer, future of work, and social impact -- including Wisdom Labs, Religion of Sports, BackFlip, and Defy Ventures, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, running life saving entrepreneurship programming for the incarcerated.
He earned his MBA from USC, where is he’s a mentor and program leader at the USC Marshall / Grief Incubator.
Randall joined Trackers Earth in 2020 as a key leader in amplifying the organization's work in this golden age of outdoor education. He has traveled through the PNW all of his life, including high school in Alaska, where he spent summers during childhood and as a commercial fisherman during college.
Jackson Jones Marketing and Outreach
Jackson Jones was born in the Rocky Mountains and adventured through his young life in the highland terrain of Utah and Colorado hiking, biking, and hitting the ski slopes.
He moved to Portland, OR to study Marketing at PSU and graduated in 2019 with a degree and an Athletic and Outdoor Industry Certificate. Impressed by the roving bands of kids with bows and firemaking kits in his neighborhood of SE Portland, he applied for a position at Trackers Earth and has been working there to inspire families outdoors ever since!
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Shredding Gnar (skiing)
Thomas Paquet Digital Marketing
Michelle McCann Editor in Chief
When Michelle R. McCann was a girl, she dreamed of creating books. She would disappear at birthday parties, only to be discovered hours later hiding in a closet with her friend’s books. She studied children’s lit at Brown University, got an MFA in Writing for Children at Vermont College, and has been working in publishing ever since. For the past 30 years she’s edited and art directed hundreds of books for kids, and for 13 years she taught Children’s Book Publishing at Portland State University.
Michelle grew up in Oregon doing all kinds of outdoorsy activities—rock climbing, hiking and camping, whitewater rafting, snowboarding. Trackers brings together her two passions: books and the outdoors. She writes an outdoor parenting blog for Trackers, and has helped create how-to outdoor skills books for families, fiction novels for kids set in the Trackers universes, and lots of super cool Trackers comics!
When not at Trackers, Michelle writes her own award-winning children’s books including Girls Who Rocked the World, Finding Fairies, Reading Together: Share in the Wonder of Books with a Parent-Child Book Club, and an upcoming book about women’s soccer. And she still loves to do all the outdoorsy things she did as a kid—now with her own kids.
Michelle’s favorite outdoor activities are snowboarding and rafting.