Our Support Team

The folks behind the scenes…

Together, there isn’t anything our team can’t do. We’ll work until we get it right! The folks below are responsible for keeping things together behind-the-scenes and work passionately to make our team & tours a little bit better everyday.

Eric Rupp

Managing Director

A broad range of talents combined with an unwavering desire to explore have taken Eric all over the planet and resulted in a delightfully abstract resume. Having recently completed a two year walk-about through Asia and South America, Eric can now add Director of a university to a list of vocations that includes missile propulsion design in California, bartending in Greece, stone construction in Spain, and designing landmark structures in Seattle, WA. That same love of exploration has resulted in Eric leading trips everywhere from up the mountains and volcanoes of Washington and Oregon, to grand kayaking adventures in the US and Canada. A lover of the outdoors, from deserts to rainforests, one of the few things Eric loves more than biking, hiking, paddling and climbing is sharing it all with others.

Kenzi Lacey

WA General Manager

A Northwest native, Kenzi grew up just across the border—the Columbia River—from Portland, OR. Hiking, fishing, swimming, and snow caving were all central to her childhood experience. After a detour to live in S. California for a year, she pursued an Environmental Studies and Disaster Risk Reduction degree at W. Washington University before she landed at Evergreen Escapes. The Seattle area quickly became home. These days you'll find her exploring the city’s many parks with her dog, Jade, getting up before the sun to run trails through the Issaquah Alps or curling up in a local cafe with a good book and a cup of tea. At Evergreen, she stays busy making sure everything is on track at our Washington Basecamp and trying to prevent Danny from eating all of the tour cookies. She attributes her adaptability and resourcefulness to her previous experiences, which are speckled with colorful adventures. From treating injured and orphaned wildlife at a rehabilitation center, to planning an emergency preparedness fair for the city of Bellingham, and even guiding zip-line tours through the trees of Bellevue, WA—Kenzi has worn many hats. Her favorite so far is sharing the Pacific Northwest with travelers from around the globe.

Jeff Pietka

OR General Manager

Born and raised in Portland, OR, when Jeff studied International Affairs and Geography in Washington, D.C. he had an eye on working in the foreign service – being a naturalist and tour leader was nowhere on his map. But upon graduation, his father asked: “So, what was the most important thing you learned back East?” And after a moment’s contemplation, he replied: “That I belong back West.” Travel became a central theme in Jeff’s life, and he learned quickly that a good guide can make or break a traveler’s experience. Inspired by his own travel experiences with guides both skilled and dubious, he started his interpretive guiding career in Southeast Alaska in 2004, and branched out year by year, working in the Pacific Northwest, then Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and British Columbia. Jeff is a National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide, and learned from some of the best around as an Interpretive Ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in ’09 and ’10. After seven years guiding at all latitudes from 30 to 60 degrees North latitude, he returned to his roots in Portland – smack in the middle at 45 North – where he is prepared to put the places that are nearest and dearest to him on center stage and make them shine for you.

Danny Schneider

Director of Sales & Marketing

Danny grew up in Wisconsin where he studied Recreation Resource Management & Forest Science at the University of Wisconsin. He's served in the Forest Service as a wildland firefighter, led big game hunters in Montana, guided multi-day river trips in the Desert Southwest, and worked as a sea kayaking guide in the Pacific Northwest. He’s now called Seattle home for eight years. For three unforgettable years, Danny guided tours for Evergreen Escapes in Washington! Danny genuinely believes that travel and guiding are the only lines of work worth doing. He loves utilizing his years of guiding experience, customer service, and homebrew web design skills to further Evergreen Escapes’ reach and storytelling. When he’s not at work, you can find Danny taking in a sunset on Alki Beach, stalking delicious pale ales and IPAs, or wrestling his little boy, Abe, into submission and into a backpack.

Ben Trammell

WA Guide Manager

Ben grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians in northeast Alabama. He developed a deep appreciation for the natural world and an affinity for college football. Ben has a MS in Forest Ecology from the University of Alabama and worked a number of odd jobs before landing as a guide for Evergreen Escapes. An occupational generalist, Ben has worked as an environmental inspector at a chemical weapons incinerator, a hiking guide in the Southern Rockies, and even dabbled in the tech startup world. When he’s not trying to make Evergreen guide life easier - Ben enjoys biking, fly fishing, and live music.

Clare Cooper

Sales Specialist & Wine Program Manager

Clare grew up in Connecticut and moved to Seattle years ago because she loves the wine, the rugged beauty, and vibrant culture of the Pacific Northwest! Growing up with a long family tradition of adventuring - she was fortunate to travel from an early age. She has visited over 30 countries and will travel to her 42nd state this summer. Clare studied biology for many years and received her Master of Environmental Management while living in Australia. Some of her favorite places in and around Seattle include Discovery Park, Vashon Island, and the Skagit Valley. She spends her days off wandering through farmers’ markets, sipping wine, eating her way through the Seattle restaurant scene, and planning her next adventures!

Jake Haupert

Founder, Owner

A Pacific Northwest native, Jake is the founder of Evergreen Escapes, which he started in 2006. Jake graduated from Southern Oregon University with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management and was recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a ‘Top 40 Under 40 Business Leader in 2014.’ He has a drive to innovate, unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit, and genuine a love for traveling and meeting travelers. An avid outdoorsman and a responsible traveler, Jake has turned his passion for the transformative power of travel into his life’s work. Even his closest friends can't decipher when he's working or playing...

Todd Starnes

Owner

In his former careers as sports scientist and sports marketer, Todd traveled extensively throughout the U.S., South and Central America and Europe. An avid cyclist, Todd has a degree in Sports Science from Seattle Pacific University and an MBA from the University of Washington. He grew up in South Dakota and left as soon as possible to pursue college, travel, and his favorite sports: bike racing, skiing, running and triathlons. Finding himself a much better trainer than athlete, Todd went on to coach bike racing and triathlons at both national and international levels. He continues to volunteer his time coaching at a local high school. Todd is married and has two college-age daughters, but does manage to fit in several bike tours each year. Todd loves getting lost on tours and meeting as many travelers as possible, though the two don't always mix.