Ride the Ducks of Seattle opened with a Duck and a dream.
Ride the Ducks of Seattle opened with a Duck and a dream: to provide the ultimate experience in Seattle by land and water. What started with a small group of dedicated individuals, striving for excellence in entertainment and customer service, has grown into one of the largest tour companies in Seattle and one of the most successful amphibious tour companies in the world! We’re fortunate to have a leadership team who works hard to ensure our guests enjoy their experience at Ride the Ducks and our employees feel valued.
Brian Tracey is an entrepreneur, business man and an entertainer. He has more than 25 years experience in the entertainment profession as a creator of television programming, as on-camera talent and as a television producer. Brian spent many years as a nationally known television personality, hosting shows for the Discovery Network, NBC, ABC and Lifetime Network. Many people in the northwest will remember Brian as the host of “Evening Magazine,” seen on King5 television.
After graduating from Boston University with a degree in biology, Brian traveled all over the world as a performer, musician and recording artist. Then, with the help of his brothers, he founded “Tracey Entertainment Associates.” This company owned and operated one of the largest talent agencies in New England, two recording studios and produced a regionally syndicated television show called “The Best of New England.” The show quickly became one of the highest-rated television shows ever produced in the northeast. In 1989, Brian was honored by NATAS with an Emmy for Outstanding Craft Achievement “Host.”
As founder and President/CEO of Ride the Ducks of Seattle, Brian has used his business experience and his entertainment background to turn Ride the Ducks of Seattle into one of the most successful tour businesses in the country. Today, Ride the Ducks of Seattle has 20 Ducks, 120 employees, and has welcomed over 2 million passengers! He attributes this success to his love for business, his people skills, and his ability to create an “entertainment venue,” not just a tour. In addition to its financial success, Ride the Ducks of Seattle has donated to over one thousand charitable organizations and has adopted the Starlight Children’s Foundation of Washington by giving thousands of dollars in cash and advertising to help families of seriously ill children.
Brian lives in Woodinville, Washington and has been married for more than 40 years to his wife Joanne. They have two daughters and two beautiful grandchildren.
Mikie Shepler is the General Manager of Ride the Ducks of Seattle. This demanding and all-encompassing role enables her to be involved in almost every aspect of the business from customer service to finance, maintenance management to HR and beyond for 120+ employees and counting. Her career at Ride the Ducks has spanned 16 years; in her previous role as Director of Sales, she increased sales revenue from 5% to 30% and created an exciting new division within the company to cater to high-end corporate clients like Microsoft, Starbucks, T-Mobile and others.
Not one to be confined to her office, Mikie frequently spends time in the Ride the Ducks ticket booth working alongside her customer service staff selling tickets, greeting guests and staying plugged in to the needs and challenges of her employees. She encourages her staff to provide honest feedback and regularly meets with her various leadership teams to ensure that each individual feels supported and satisfied. It is through this hands-on and “open door” approach that Mikie is able to lead a successful and energetic team.
Mikie graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She has since parlayed this enthusiasm for the public forum into involvement with Visit Seattle, the National Tour Association and most recently, on the Board of Directors for the American Bus Association. Her passion remains in the equestrian realm, where she spends much of her personal time competing in hunter jumper events with her horse, Hugo.
Director of Operations
Ryan Johnson has been a valued member of the Ride the Ducks team since March 2003. Starting in the ticket booth, he was quickly promoted to Ticket Booth Manager and eventually to Director of Operations in 2005. He is an integral part to ensuring the safety of the guests and employees at all times. Growing up in West Richland, Washington, he quickly learned that education and work ethic were very important to having a long and successful career in any chosen occupational field. He has a variety of experience from coaching young children to painting houses and landscaping.
At Ride the Ducks, Ryan is the first to respond to all safety and operational concerns, handles customer issues and manages more than 80 staff members working in customer service, as a Captain or as part of the maintenance team. He is an expert in DUKW operations and an exceptional teacher and trainer. Ryan maintains a consistently high level of professionalism and shows patience and respect for all co-workers and guests. Throughout his employment, he has sharpened his skills as a teacher, trainer, manager and customer service professional, as well as in the art of small business operations.
Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. If he is not at work or with his young family, you can find him bass fishing on one of the many lakes in Western Washington.
Director of Safety
Moti Krauthamer’s #1 goal as Director of Safety is to protect and maintain the health and wellbeing of our staff, our guests, the general public and the environment. We take safety very seriously at Ride the Ducks, and Moti is diligent in ensuring that we are holding our operations to the highest standards. One of his primary responsibilities is our rigorous training program, which includes new Captain training and continuing education, both of which are done in the classroom, on the water and on the road.
While not at work, Moti is very active in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary where he promotes safety on the water and protecting the environment. As a certified vessel examiner, he tests both recreational and charter vessels for required safety equipment and systems. Moti has also been certified by the United States Coast Guard as an instructor.
While Moti started his working career on the water as a sailing instructor at the age of 14, he ventured off into the world of television for a several decades. He covered world news for networks such as CNN, BBC and CBC. In addition to covering hard news, Moti also worked for one of the leading fashion television programs in the world covering the trends of Milan, London, Paris and New York. Moti has created several documentaries and has won numerous awards including an EMMY.
Having a 100 Ton Master’s License including a sailing endorsement, Moti can often be spotted sailing some of Seattle’s well known sailing schooners on Lake Union.
Director of Sales
In May of 2011, Tammy Guill jumped at the chance to join the amazing team at Ride the Ducks of Seattle. In her role as Director of Sales, also known as the “Quack-Master of Fun,” Tammy manages all aspects of group and FIT sales, which includes expanding the group customer base, creating strategic partnerships and developing relationships with local and international clients.
With creativity and a strong operational background, Tammy has consistently driven positive revenue growth through targeted sales efforts. Her Duck duties include newsletter content, package creation, partner relations, media outreach, revenue management, collateral design and event organization. She is dedicated to optimizing the guest experience and believes that honest personal relationships are the key to healthy business.
Tammy’s tourism background runs deep. Prior to starting her current adventure with Ride the Ducks, Tammy spent three years as the International and Domestic Travel Trade Manager for Washington State Tourism. Before joining the tourism team in 2008, Tammy was the Director of Sales at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma for seven years.
Tammy brings many desirable strengths to the table. She is a powerful multi-tasker, positivity engager, undaunted optimist, world traveler, choco-holic and she has an amazing singing voice! A bonus on Duck tours! At Ride the Ducks, Tammy helps groups positively connect with their employees, families, tour guests, convention attendees and co-workers through an interactive experience on board the Ducks. “It doesn’t feel like work if you love what you do,” says Tammy.
Director of Tour Development
A Connecticut native, Thom joined the Ride the Ducks of Seattle family in 2011 as a Captain, and became our Director of Tour Development the following year. Thom’s resume is a potpourri: acting, retail Visual/Merchandising, construction, management, Advertising/Marketing, rowing coach to bingo host – all of which prepared him for his role at the Ducks!
A Connoisseur of Comedy, Thom earned his BFA (Bachelor of Fun Arts) at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. He then toured with the circus for 3 years as a clown, performing in Japan and criss-crossing the U.S., traveling and living on a train! This adventure (and general wanderlust) enabled him to visit 48 of the 50 states. A fan of all types of humor, Thom enjoys Buster Keaton, Bugs Bunny, Lucille Ball, George Carlin, Louis C.K., and Jon Stewart among many others.
Responsible for all aspects of the tour experience from the script to music selection, he also trains and coaches each Tour Guide to ensure that their individual personalities shine through, whether they’re narrating Seattle’s history or delivering a laugh (or groan) inducing pun. When not at work, Thom is a fan of air-cooled VWs, vintage boats, and hunting for Mid-Century treasures at yard and estate sales with Joshua, his partner of 11 years.
Guest Services Manager
Tiffany Taylor has been providing exceptional guest service for Ride the Ducks since June 2008. Starting as a ticket booth team member, she was promoted to Guest Services Manager in October 2009. At Ride the Ducks, Tiffany oversees daily operations, including managing up to 50 employees per day, scheduling tour times and departures, increasing ticket and merchandise sales, and ensuring all safety requirements are met. As an employee supervisor, she creates an environment built around teamwork, leads by example and can motivate and communicate well with all her co-workers.
Tiffany has spent much of her professional life in the restaurant and guest services industry. In previous jobs, Tiff has worked at hotels, restaurants and billiard rooms–doing everything from hosting, to managing, and even becoming a billiard expert, house pro, and tournament player. Tiffany is a respected and valued member of the Ride the Ducks team. While away from work, she dedicates her life to her husband, family, and dog named Dexter.
Fleet Maintenance Manager
Our Maintenance Facility (the “Duck Nest”) is kept in line by Joe M. Hatten, retired United States Army non-commissioned officer with 20 years serving our great nation. (YES-SIR-M’AM!) Joe runs a tight ship at our maintenance facility, ensuring the highest standards of safety for our Duck fleet, our team of nine full-time mechanics and our Captains. The opportunity to join the Ride the Ducks of Seattle team came from an out-of-the-blue phone call in 2011 and two years later, he’s still intrigued by the intricacies of WWII amphibious craft.
Joe jokes that after 20 years in the military, he needs to work on his “softer side,” but feels he’s next in line for the title of Mr. Congeniality! When Ride the Ducks decides to make a reality TV show, we hope Sgt. Slaughter from WWE would step in for Joe – or Foghorn Leghorn, whoever is available.
Born in Columbia, Louisiana and a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Joe has been married to his high school sweetheart for more than 30 years. His hobbies include spending time with his three children (one at work!) and three beautiful grandchildren, gardening and camping.
When you see Joe, be sure to say, “Hey Hero!” and you’re sure to get back, “Have a great Duck Day!”
Isaac grew up loving cars. “I was working on customizing my bike when I was about 10 and started working on cars when I was 12. It seems like all of my uncles were ‘car guys’ and my grandfather was a school bus mechanic for Renton School District, so becoming a mechanic was kind of inevitable. Building and repairing things makes me happy; it’s in my blood.”
Isaac is continually learning and expanding his knowledge to improve his skills. Through his work at Ride the Ducks of Seattle, he has earned an ASE Med/Heavy Duty Master Mechanic certification, as well as his Federal Brake Inspector Qualification. As Shop Foreman, he is focused on not only becoming a knowledgeable mechanic, but also a great manager. His role at Ride the Ducks is to ensure that our fleet is fully-operational to meet the needs of our business. During the winter, he is an integral part of completing our United State Coast Guard COIs and annual DOT inspections. He directly manages our seven full-time mechanics to ensure that workloads are balanced and preventative maintenance is completed regularly.
Isaac was born and raised in the greater Seattle area. He likes to stay busy, living by lyrics from Tom Petty’s Mary Jane’s Last Dance, “You never slow down, you never grow old.” When not at work, you can most likely find him in his shop working on his hot rod, dirt bike, wood working or spending time with his wife Annie and their two Corgis; Petey and Lola. He and his wife are expecting their first child in February of 2017.
Hayley was thrilled to join the fun at Ride the Ducks of Seattle in November of 2016. As an Everett-native, she has lived in Washington her entire life. Hayley graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington with a degree in Communication Studies. Before Ride the Ducks, Hayley took on a number of roles within a variety of customer service positions over the past 7 years—and has even worked as a commercial fisherwoman in Alaska!
With a passion for marketing, writing, and anything that involves being creative, Hayley approaches her job as the Marketing Coordinator with excitement each day. Her duties include managing the Duck’s social media platforms, designing marketing assets, building marketing campaigns, along with an array of administrative duties.
Outside of work Hayley enjoys traveling, going to concerts, reading books, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She loves the city of Seattle and hopes visitors and locals alike disembark their tour with a smile on their face and a newfound appreciation for this wonderful place.