Meet The Flock of Black Sheep Adventures

Our barn (office) staff and shepherds (guides) eat, sleep, and breath adventure in so many forms.
The common bond we have in our adventures is our love of sharing travel with everyone!

Barn Staff

Fred Ackerman

Fred Ackerman

Founder & Chief Shepherding Officer, 2002

Born in the Mojave Desert, raised in Northern Minnesota and blessed to call Cape Cod “home” for most of his life, Fred began traveling from a young age. He has not only traveled six continents, he has lived in four of them. With a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in hand, Fred was a busy young professional with no time to plan vacations, but had a strong desire to get out there and explore. After traveling with a few adventure tour operators, Fred quickly realized that he wanted to be on the other side of the equation to be out seeing the world and to share his passion for being active outdoors with others.

Leaving a promising management consulting career, Fred joined one of the industry’s largest active tour operators, creating and leading trips throughout the US and Europe – and hasn’t looked back since! Although his waking hours are now shared with raising a family (baby number 4 was born in May 2016…he should probably learn their names), Fred is focused on managing the business growth and ensuring we stay true to our values, but he loves it when he can get out to guide a trip

Ashley Vincent

OPERATIONS NINJA, 2011

Quick to smile and laugh, serene and yet a master of productivity, Ashley grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Vassar with a degree in Economics. After college she started guiding trips for kids at Overland Travel including an epic one across the USA from Savannah, GA to Santa Monica, CA. Back in 2003, a friend invited her to join her for a through-hike of the entire 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail. Her friend bailed, but Ashley did it – alone. Back when Ashley started with us in 2011, she did it all: lead guide, head mechanic, IT department, and any and everything else we needed. Now mother to three children she’s working behind the scenes on many essential tasks.

Dave Goodman

Cycling Operation Guru (aka “The C.O.G.”), 2018

A native of Texas, Dave somehow found pond-based ice hockey as his sport of choice in addition to cycling. He now calls Reno, Nevada, home. A passionate bike expedition tourist who has toured around the American west, Dave handles all things bicycle, from designing custom tours, to guiding to maintain our fleet, which is why we call him the COG. With his quick wit, yet understated humor, Dave is a hit as a guide and colleague alike. In his off time Dave pursues creative outlets working with wood and stone.

Frank Ackerman

LEARNED SHEPHERD/CO-FOUNDER OF FOUNDER, 2005/1974

A retired National Park Service Ranger who in his 32-year career lived and worked in a variety of parks from Dinosaur National Monument, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Voyageurs National Parks before retiring as Chief of Interpretation for Cape Cod National Seashore. Frank later returned to full-time work for another 5 years as Curator of Education and then Director of the Nevada State Railroad Museum. Now he’s our resident educational tour expert, designing, writing educational commentary, and accompanying many of our educational tour programs. He greatly enjoys living in Northern California and exploring the region’s various hiking trails, and railroads.

The Shepherds

Ryan Fowler

SENIOR SHEPHERD & CUSTOM TOUR SPECIALIST, 2011

Born and raised in Northern California, Ryan began cycling at age 15 and the wheels never stopped rolling from that point on. He began racing as a junior, started a collegiate cycling team while studying film production and banana slugs at UC Santa Cruz, and still competes at the semi-professional level for mountain bike events nationwide.

Now living near Lake Tahoe, Ryan spends his free-time backcountry skiing, capturing photographs, writing, backpacking, and, yes, cycling. His passion for the outdoors and all things cyclical is challenged by his love for good food, great wine and even better beer. The resident quick wit, Ryan is likely to leave you on the floor laughing. Now in his 8th season guiding professionally, Ryan also researches and plans many of our custom tours.

Jen Slowey

SENIOR SHEPHERD & CUSTOM TOUR SPECIALIST, 2013

Jen grew up in Upstate New York (smack dab in the middle) and after a semester abroad in New Zealand, knew she wanted to see more of the world. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in music, then headed to Europe for some adventure and culture. She fell in love with Chamonix, France where she lived high up in the Alps, played trumpet in a band and skied powder with the locals. Now she lives in Truckee.
Jen has perhaps more nicknames than anyone else here at BSA: Some favorites include: Slowdog, J.Slo, Jennifer Snowski, Flowbee and Jen. Between trips she plays French horn in the Reno Orchestra and, like Ryan, plans custom BSA tours.

Beth Bittle

SHEPHERD extraordinaire, 2017

An avid hiker, cyclist, kayaker and traveler who enjoys exploring new places and meeting new people, Beth is passionate to share her love and knowledge of the outdoors with our guests and is an encouraging, supportive leader. Beth grew up spending lots of time outdoors hiking and riding horses in Missouri. In college, she studied recreation and led backpacking trips for international students. She loves cycling and hiking in all the places she visits, especially in the U.S. National Parks and has been to 17 so far (but who’s counting). Beth has also traveled extensively internationally, including to India, Nepal, Vietnam, South Korea, England, Scotland, Holland, Botswana and South Africa and is always planning her next adventure.

Beth and her wife live in the Bay Area. They have an adorable toddler and a dog that enjoys rocking a Mohawk (the dog, not their son). Beth also serves on the board of her local Sierra Club.

Marie Hernandez

SENIOR SHEPHERD & CUSTOM TOUR SPECIALIST, 2016

Four years ago Marie found her calling leading trips. A California native, she loves to explore new areas as well as showcase the place she calls home. She holds a BFA in Photography and Digital Media from CalArts and previously was a professional photographer. In her last career, she managed a team of 50 people, hosted team building activities and coordinated events for up to 200 guests. She has lived and worked in remote parts of Australia (where her Irish-born mom is from), traveled throughout New Zealand and South East Asia independently, cycled through Taiwan, and planned a 21-day, 225-mile rafting and camping expedition on the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon. All of these past experiences have been invaluable training for her role with us as a professional guide and trip planner. Phrases like “How can I help” and “Let me get that for you” are a mainstay of Marie’s vocabulary. The reason? She genuinely enjoys people and loves to go the extra mile to help. She has a fun sense of humor and is a prankster as well (which apparently, like her triple Australian-Irish-American citizenship, she also gets from her mom).

Austin McInerny

austin mcinerny

SHEPHERD EXTRaordinaire, 2019

Austin believes immensely in the power of cycling to transform the lives of individuals and the culture of entire communities. Starting in elementary school and continuing thru his time as an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz and as a graduate student in Regional Planning at Cornell University, Austin has ridden all types of bikes both recreationally and competitively and has toured the Tyrolean Alps, around northern Greece and thru the Pyrenees as well as extensively in the United States by bike. Along with his wife, Austin coached a high school mountain bike club for many years and, as a result, put a career in environmental mediation on hold to serve as the president of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association “NICA” for nearly eight years until mid 2019. Having played a major role in growing NICA into the largest youth mountain biking organization in the United States, BICYCLING Magazine named Austin one of the “New Heroes of Cycling” in 2016.

Patrick Makiri

SHEPHERD EXTRAORDINAIRE, 2012

Native Californian, Pat was born and raised in Southern California, but he has lived in Northern California for much of his adult life. At UC Santa Cruz he earned a degree in American History and further developed his great appreciation for surfing and cycling. Patrick just relocated from Santa Barbara back to San Francisco where he continues to enjoy time on the water and on two wheels as well as cooking with his girlfriend using farm fresh organic ingredients as much as possible. 2016 marks his 5th season of guiding active vacations with Black Sheep Adventures. He is now one of our “go to” guides for both active and educational tours and between trips he also helps out with trip planning, bike maintenance, and warehouse organization.

Talley kayser

SHEPHERD EXTRAORDINAIRE, 2021
“Did you know” is a phrase you’ll hear often from Talley! Her fascination with both the natural world and human culture powers her enthusiasm for learning—and for sharing what she’s learned with others. During the academic year, Talley puts these traits to work at Penn State, where she teaches in and directs the English department’s Adventure Literature program. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, makes music and art, and takes time for adventures large and small. Our guests love the energy and joy Talley brings to our tours.

Nicole Marcoe

SHEPHERD extraordinaire, 2015

A graduate of Binghampton and native of the Northeast. Her love of the wilderness and adventure travel led her to teach at various educational institutions. These include The Student Conservation Association, The Appalachian Mountain Club, The Outdoor Academy, The White Mountain School, Visions Service Adventures and The National Park Service.

From Alaska to Guadeloupe, and the Cascade Mountains to the Appalachians, Nicole has had the pleasure of exploring many scenic areas throughout the U.S. After honing in on her love of the bike, both mountain and road, Nicole began guiding trips to Europe. A fluent French speaker, she has spent ten summers in France guiding cyclists following Le Tour. Formerly of Sausalito, these days she’s building a successful career as a florist and setting up her new home in Silicon Valley.

Trevor Husted

Trevor husted

shepherd extraordinaire, 2018

Trevor has been guiding professionally for many years in a variety of capacities from mountaineering to kayaking to cycling. A dual EU & US citizen he has guided many bike tours in Europe as well as the US. Originally from the state of Washington, he is now a resident of Tahoe City. Trevor discovered the joy of the mountains at a young age. The landscape of the Pacific Northwest forged in him a unique respect and love for nature. Seeking out hills, landscapes, rivers, valleys and delving into different cultures has been the draw and yearning to get outside. He has had the opportunity to live, travel, and guide all over the world and through this and writing he has been able to share his experiences with others with the hopes of instilling the same admiration for adventure, culture, nature, and empathy that fuels his lust for life. A talented musician and actor he also brings a sense of fun to each trip.