The Team

RETREET is a kaleidoscopic group of bicycle and tree enthusiasts with strong backs, sharp minds, and big hearts who volunteer to replant communities whose trees have been lost to natural disaster.

THE TEAM
 

 
 
 
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GRADY MCGAHAN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Grady graduated from Georgetown University in 2004 with a BA in English. A professional project manager, Grady helped produce numerous film festivals, the Papal Mass at Yankee Stadium, the PBS Series “Texas Ranch House," and Michael Moore's film “ SiCKO” while living in New York City. Grady left New York in April of 2010 to travel around the world, visiting 25 countries on 5 continents in 18 months. Upon his return to the United States, he founded RETREET to redefine disaster relief and, through it, find fulfillment. An avid cyclist and amateur arborist, Grady is also the president-elect of Texas Urban Forestry Council and a 2015 graduate of Municipal Forestry Institute.

 
 
 
 

PATRICK BEYER

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE (Austin)

Patrick earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Ball State University.  While working toward his degree, Patrick ventured on an independent study circumnavigating the United States by bicycle and train to analyze urban cycling infrastructure.  The 1,500 mile bicycle journey led him to an internship with BikeTexas where he used the knowledge gained to help create the BikeTexas Benchmark Study.  After graduating in 2011, Patrick returned to Texas to begin his apprenticeship in Landscape Architecture with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. In 2016, he passed his Landscape Architecture Registration Exam and is now a professional landscape architect.

 
 

DIANA PREISEN

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE (Minneapolis)

Diana received a B.A. in environmental studies from the University of Minnesota. After graduating, she spent time working on an organic farm in northern Minnesota and then with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota where she actively restored oak savannahs and fought wildfires across the state. For the past 9 years, Diana has worked for Tree Trust, an employment training and community forestry non-profit based in Minneapolis.  At Tree Trust, she serves as community forester and is responsible for the planting and distribution of thousands of trees at parks, schools, homes, and businesses each year. She also manages the Learning with Trees program, teaching the next generation of tree stewards about the importance of trees. Diana is an ISA certified arborist and a Minnesota Tree Inspector. A self-described tree hugger, she is also active in the Minnesota Society of Arboriculture, Minnesota Shade Tree Advisory Committee, and serves on the Minnesota State Arbor Day committee.

 

 
 

DANIEL AVAZPOUR

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE (Dallas)

Daniel was trained as a sculptor at the Maryland Institute College of Art and at the Pratt Institute in New York. His diverse range of skills and experience contribute to his unique vision as an artist. Utilizing printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture and video, Daniel’s work reveals a visual free verse. His résumé presents an arsenal of experience that strengthens his ability to communicate as an artist. As a member of the Scenic Artist Union, Daniel worked on the sets of Saturday Night Live, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Lion King, to name a few. He also created window displays for a variety of clients along Madison Avenue in New York City. A creative problem solver, Daniel also enjoys custom remodeling projects and provides fine art services to many major museums and galleries. His current efforts revolve around The Artist Sustainability Project, a socially based endeavor that was initiated in order to generate awareness and create jobs while connecting patrons with artists. By creating opportunities to collaborate creatively though both food and art, Daniel is working to build an enterprise that can reinvent modes of survival and shift perspectives about the current economic situation. The Artist Sustainability Project aims to foster and nourish creativity as a means toward an enriched and sustainable community. 

 
 
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RAMIRO GUERRERO

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE (Los Angeles)

Ramiro is an advocate of natural and sustainable food sources with a background in culinary arts. His education began with formal schooling in San Francisco at California Culinary Academy and continued with an internship at 2-Michelin-star-rated Ristorante La Peca in Veneto, Italy. Since then, he has worked at urban farms, restaurants, and experimental kitchens in San Francisco, Dallas, and his hometown Los Angeles, for chefs Jose Andrés, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, and, most recently, Timothy Hollingsworth at Otium Restaurant at The Broad Museum. Ramiro has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and South America, and is inspired by nature and the serenity that trees bring to both the urban and rural environment. An advocate and patron of the arts, Ramiro builds bridges between diverse community stakeholders to forward the unique and powerful mission of RETREET.

 
 

JAMES FITZGERALD

PROGRAMS ASSOCIATE (Dallas)

James is a traveler and amateur artist, which means he only considers himself an artist while making art, and only a traveler while on the road. His favorite media are drawing, sauce pans, and chainsaws. His muse can be found in all the manifest forms of light and matter large and small. Trees and plants might be the center of things, in his opinion, as they collect light and turn it into matter. James has been in and around trees for the short extent of his life. He revels in their long grab for the sky and the day. One might say James is inspired to produce more and consume less when witnessing the work ethic of your average tree.  He has spent time in the US Navy, where there were few trees, and in college, where there were many. While James mostly prefers the big trees, for climbing on, he also thinks the smaller ones are easier to plant.

 
BOARD MEMBERS

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MICHAEL SULTAN

Michael is a Certified Arborist and Municipal Specialist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) who holds a degree in Forest Science from Texas A&M University. He currently works as a project developer for Davey Resource Group, providing expertise in urban and community forest inventories, and resource analysis and management, as well as utility right-of-way vegetation management. Michael spent more than twelve years of his career as the chief arborist for the City of Dallas and as the urban forester for the City of Plano. He is a former advisor to the Texas statewide Urban and Community Advisory Committee and a 2008 graduate of the Municipal Forestry Institute. He is a member of the ISA (Texas, Rocky Mountain, and Midwestern chapters), the Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA), and the Utility Forestry Council, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Urban Forestry Council and as immediate past president for ISA Texas chapter.

 
 
 
 
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CORALINA MEYER

Coralina graduated with honors from Parsons with a BFA in Architecture and from Hunter College/CUNY with an MFA in Combined Media.  A Brooklyn based artist and architect, Coralina integrates multi-media and social practice into her work as a method of piquing the senses and stimulating memory. Although media varies in her art, the conceptual rigor, and critical analysis of expression is constant. A foundation of sailing, athleticism, and cultural exploration infused by her mother, a chef, and father, a landscaper and tree farmer, has embedded a deep sensitivity to social, emotional, natural, sensory, and cognitive environments. Coralina has received numerous awards, including a William Graf Travel Grant and a Luetz Riedel Fellowship, has frequently lectured on and published her work, and is the creator of The Last Supper, a curated, indoor-outdoor salon of ideas occurring in Brooklyn during the crux of seasonal change, that has drawn thousands of participants.

 
 
 
 
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HARRY BANKER

Harry is an ISA Certified Arborist who graduated with a BS in Business Administration from Seton Hall University. Before joining RETREET, Harry served in the USMCR from 1962 to 1966, was owner-operator of Trees Inc, an arboricultural firm, from 1965 to 2007, past president of Arborists' Association of New Jersey, past president of NJ Certified Tree Experts, past president of NJ Chapter ISA, and coach of West Orange Police Athletic League from 1979 to 2003.

 
 
 

ADVISORY BOARD

Jennifer Lorenz

Sarah Anderson

Erik A. Lamb, Esq.

Tim Sullivan

 
 

 

PAST BOARD MEMBERS

Dan Patterson, Founding (2012-2015)

Stuart Crow, Founding (2012-2013)

Greg Hill, Founding (2012-2013)