It's amazing what a few years and a handful of trips can do to a friendship. For us, what began as a few weekend backpacking trips slowly evolved into a series of adventures that have taken us to over 50 countries and counting. With a shared passion for travel, our staff of web developers, software engineers, MBAs, educators, cinematographers and writers has collaborated to provide you with a unique new adventure travel planning site. We are proudly the Embark.org team.
Jim McLaughlinChief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer, Jim steers the ship in the right direction. In addition to overseeing the overall project schedules and timelines, he is the web master, designer, and programmer for the site. A true man of nature, Jim can be found hiking rugged trails, skiing down a powdery mountainside, or soaking up the California sunshine in his free time.
John WachunasChief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, John plays a leading role in almost all the daily affairs of Embark.org, including content development, social media marketing, branding, sales and community outreach. A graduate of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, his adventurous pursuits include hiking, running, swimming, climbing, biking, skiing and scuba diving, as well as a healthy dose of reading and guitar playing when the time presents itself. To date John has traveled to over 20 countries in 5 continents, and includes hikes up Volcan Acatenango (13,045 ft), Peru's Lares Valley (14,600 ft) and Mt. Kenya's Pt. Lenana (16,354 ft) among his greatest achievements to date. He currently resides in Paris, France.
Brett DeColyseChief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Brett handles the numbers for the business. Additionally, he works on evolving the long-term strategic direction of Embark and is the primary liaison for all third-party strategic partners. Currently based in Shanghai, Brett is exploring the vast beauty of Asia at this time in his life and is always open to recommendations from the embark community. Outside of work, Brett is a lover and performer of soul music, patron of the arts, and devourer of fine foods.
Alessandro RafanelliChief Brand Officer
As Chief Brand Officer, Alessandro is responsible for the overall look and feel of the site media content and the development of our long-term branding strategy. He creates some of the site's beautiful photos and videos and is also in charge of strategically driving the embark.org brand. Alessandro is a sought after professional cinematographer, as well as a worldwide skier, mountain biker and badass trekker.
Drei GoldfainChief Technology Officer
As Chief Technology Officer, Andrei is responsible for the architecture and development of Embark's underlying world travel databases and downstream business analytics. Once dubbed 'Broseidon, Lord of the Brocean', when he's not working diligently with the team on Embark's mission, he can often be seen riding the waves of the Pacific, wandering in deserts under the moon and stars, or romping around wilderness areas around the world.
Giuseppe FontanaVP User Experience
As Vice President of User Experience, Juice is responsible for expanding Embark's worldwide following through the use of social media and keeping the company connected to the world. His background in film also plays an important roll in assisting the media department by developing video content for the website. A year abroad in Italy sparked Giuseppe's obsession with travel, and he has since wandered through countless cities in Europe, Asia and (to date) forty-four U.S. states. When Giuseppe is not flying jets for his airline day job, he can be found jumping off cliffs, ripping through powder or hiking the 'dacks. On low-key days, he'll be sipping organic hand-rolled non-GMO green tea at a cozy café in New York City.
Derek SpanfelnerVP Content Management
As VP of Content Management and User Experience, Derek's contributions to Embark.org include content creation, SEO/SEM optimization, development strategies, and senior-level marketing experience. A native of Upstate New York, he first caught the adventure bug on a cross-country road trip in 2008 and hasn't looked back. A proud father of two future adventurers, Derek enjoys all things outdoors and considers himself first and foremost a writer and teacher, no matter the entrapments of his job title. Find him here at Embark.org or over at Learnivore building a community of educators.
Anand KanabarVice President Quality
Anand is a man of many interests and an avid world traveler to boot. In spite of having been spoiled by his mom's transcendent home cooking, he maintains a taste for the wide variety of food styles found around the world. After filling his belly and logging his culinary impressions on embark.org, you'll likely find him off exploring the finest mountain ranges of the world by day, and showing off his dance moves at local village pubs by night. At Embark, Anand is the VP of Quality and takes on many key tech decisions with the Development team. He hopes to take his deep passion for travel and message of cultural open-mindedness out to the rest of the world.