Meet the Staff
Currently the staff consists of the following people:
- Joel Hardin – Chief Instructor
- Presto Funkhouser – Sign Cutter, Primary Instructor
- Rod “Seaux” Larreau – Sign Cutter, Military Advisor, Instructor
- Sharon Ward, Sign Cutter, Special Advisor, Instructor
- Kathleen “Kathy” Decker, Sign Cutter, Instructor
- Dick Wilker, Sign Cutter, Instructor
- Jo Peterson, Sign Cutter, Instructor
- Dan Scovel, Journeyman, Instructor
- Kris Scovel, Journeyman, Instructor
- Marcus Lemasters, Journeyman, Instructor
- Additional Staff
Joel C. Hardin, Sign Cutter, Chief Instructor, Program Administrator
Joel completed 25 years with the U.S. Border Patrol in September of 1990 and resigned to enable full-time devotion to tracking training and consultation. His tracking mentor was and is the late master tracker Albert “Ab” Taylor, to whom he credits the inspiration of forty five plus years of progressive training program development and success. He is fortunate to have participated in numerous significant criminal investigations and missing person searches that attracted wide media attention. He has produced primary evidence in such investigations as the “Green River Serial Murders,” fleeing fugitive and escapee incidents, and international missing person searches in Mexico, Australia, Peru, Canada, Alaska, and many other western states of the United States. He has testified on numerous occasions in criminal court proceedings and has been recognized as a tracking expert by federal and state court systems. He assisted the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) and other institutions in development of tracking standards and certifications. The Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services (JHPTS) program is the evolution of Joel’s forty-five plus years of tracking training experience with search and rescue, law enforcement, industrial security, and the military. Joel Hardin Professional Trackers International is a special division of JHPTS that responds to official requests for SAR and law enforcement tracking services internationally. Joel remains an active tracker responding personally to SAR, law enforcement and military tracking mission’s worldwide.
Preston L. “Pres” Funkhouser, Sign Cutter, Primary Instructor
Pres is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with experience in Counter Intelligence, Survival and Anti-Terrorism at all levels including Command positions. COL Funkhouser was assigned as replacement for COL Nick Rowe’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training Directorate at Ft. Bragg, N.C. He holds an M.A. in Political Science and a B.S. in Industrial Management, conversant in several foreign languages and has served as the U.S. Army Attaché to the U.S. Embassy, Oslo, Norway. Pres was assigned as a special advisor on anti-terrorism to police agencies during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, participated in security planning for the 1988 Korean Summer Olympics and principle advisor to Norwegian police and military for the 1994 Winter Olympics.
Now retired on his ranch in North Central Idaho, Pres continues to provide tracking training for JHPTS and his county Search and Rescue Units. He continues to train officers and participates in searches and crime scene analysis for the County Sheriff and State Fish and Game Officers.
Rod “Seaux” Larreau, Sign Cutter, Military Advisor, Instructor
Seaux Larreau has been a member of the Joel Hardin tracking program since 1993. Starting as a member of the Universal Tracking Services (UTS), he transferred over to the JHPTS program and incorporated the training into the 10th Group Special Forces Sniper program and other combat training. As an avid member of the JHPTS curriculum he quickly rose to instructor and military advisor position within the company Seaux used his contacts and reputation within the Special Operations Forces community to secure several courses for the Green Berets. After proving the techniques in combat, MSG Larreau implemented the JHPTS method into other advanced combat skills to include Sensitive Site Exploitation, Counter IED Operations, Counter sniper missions and Military K-9 teams. Acquainted with all US Army attempts at creating a visual tracker school, MSG Larreau has always advocated the step by step method of JHPTS as a foundation to successful military combat skills.
During his time off and leave, Seaux Larreau also participated in JHPTS Track Aware and Search and Rescue tracking courses. He participated in the classes all across the United States and Canada. Because of his reputation among SAR and Law Enforcement, he was called in on several actual missing person and crime scene investigations. His steadfast methods and conclusions only helped to solidify the proven techniques of the JHPTS program. Seaux has been featured in books and articles for the expertise he exhibited during some of these incidents.
In addition to instructing, Seaux Larreau has been instrumental in revising military manuals and publications concerning tracking and counter-tracking. Many of the instructions printed in older Field Manuals have been disproven by members of the Special Operations Command utilizing the JHPTS methodology. During his last assignment at the 1st Special Forces Command, MSG Larreau emphasized the need for training of individuals over purchasing expensive gadgets that virtually do the same thing as an experienced tracker. Recognized for his expertise, he has testified and demonstrated at several conferences and think tanks focused on the future war fighter on the United States. Seaux Larreau has retired from the US Army in the summer of 2016 after 28 years of combined active duty.
Sharon Ward, Sign Cutter, Special Advisor, Instructor
Sharon has been a member of the Joel Hardin tracking program since 1999. In addition to her membership in JHPTS, she serves on two Washington State search and rescue teams. She is a Senior Field Team Leader for Cowlitz County Search and Rescue, and the Training Officer for Pacific Crest Search Dogs. In addition Sharon is an operational member of KlaasKIDS Search Center for Missing & Trafficked Children.
Sharon is a tracker and a canine handler. In her position as an instructor for JHPTS, she teaches SAR and LE tracking, and has trained US Special Forces units tracking techniques, especially with regard to using canines and trackers simultaneously in the field, to find missing persons and to assist law enforcement with crime scene evidence.
In addition to instructing, Sharon responds as an operational member of Joel Hardin Professional Trackers International, a division of JHPTS that responds internationally to official SAR and tracking investigation requests.
Sharon is an attorney by trade, who, for the last 25 years, has specialized in legal issues facing non-profit organizations. She regularly lectures at SAR conferences and to search and rescue groups about managing legal risks and avoiding legal liability.
Kathleen “Kathy” Decker, Sign Cutter, Instructor
Kathy joined the King County (Washington) Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy in 1985. She rose to the rank of Detective and has over 13 years experience working in the King County Sheriff’s Major Crime Unit, where she specialized in Homicide investigation. Kathy was also the Search and Rescue Coordinator for King County, managing over 300 volunteers over a five year term.
Kathy returned to patrol before being reassigned to the Major Crime Unit, where she is currently working as a Detective.
Kathy holds a BA degree in Criminal Justice from Washington State University.
Kathy has investigated and worked many crime scenes, providing tracking expertise and examination. As a result of her work on crime scenes she has testified as an expert witness, presenting tracking evidence.
She has been associated with the Joel Hardin tracking program since 1998, regularly providing introductory tracker training to law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office. Kathy has traveled internationally as a member of Joel Hardin Professional Trackers International the division of JHPTS that responds internationally to official SAR and investigative tracking requests.
Kathy has also provided forensic photo analysis and testimony, based solely on crime scene photographs. She provides instruction to law enforcement on the identification and processing of outdoor crime scenes.
Kathy’s background in criminal investigations and her experience in managing and coordinating have also been used on missing person cases.
Dick Wilker, Sign Cutter, Instructor
Dick first met Joel Hardin along with Ab Taylor at a tracking class in Buckley, WA in 1983. The course was conducted for the then newly formed Pacific Northwest Trackers Association. Dick was instrumental in the transition of Pacific Northwest Trackers from a hobby tracking club to a fully functioning search and rescue unit specializing in tracking for King County, WA. During the following years Dick has continued to pursue his passion for tracking, participating in lost person searches and was an active member of Northwest Trackers for over 25 years. Dick currently resides in Idaho and no longer actively participates in Pacific Northwest Trackers activities.
As his experience and confidence has increased, his role as a tracker has expanded from lost person searches to include crime scene investigations. He has attended several crime scenes for King County including murder and arson cases. His experience includes examination of both indoor and outdoor scenes for footprint evidence regarding subject movement/activities. He has also developed an unexpected liking for writing reports for inclusion to the case files. He has been a part of the JHPTS instructor staff for many years, traveling throughout the region to assist with classes and especially enjoys working with new students to help them understand what they are seeing.
During the last three years Dick has contributed to the production of the Training Modules as well as working on other Program documents. Dick is also working with the local SAR group in Idaho County to increase their skills in Tracking.
Dick has retired from Kenworth Truck Company after more than 30 years of service as an engineer. He worked in virtually every area of the truck design process. He is currently enjoying his retirement and traveling through the country in his role as a JHPTS instructor.
Jo Peterson, Sign Cutter, Instructor
Jo has been a student of Joel Hardin’s tracking program since first meeting him at a class in 1994. She thought tracking would be a good skill to have if she ever became disoriented on her many solo hikes into the Marble Mountain Wilderness Area in the Northern California mountains after moving there from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Unlike most tracking students, she started tracking before having any involvement with search and rescue. However, Jo was soon encouraged to join the local SAR group by, at that time, current SAR members who were also learning to track. In 1996 she joined Siskiyou County Sheriff Search and Rescue as a volunteer and is now an integral member of their Training Committee, responsible for monthly instruction and/or review of the many different aspects and skills necessary for the search and rescue field in general. She is their Lead Tracker, and involved in most SAR missions at all levels of operation.
Jo has been an instructor for JHPTS since 2010 and received her Sign Cutter certification in 2013. She continues to be an active member of this tracking community responding to law enforcement requests, search and rescue mutual aid call outs, and to private individuals as a public service when called to do so.
When not tracking, Jo still makes her living as a Building Designer of custom homes for private home owners, offers planning and design services for commercial land developers, and is a Building Codes Consultant, and International Code Council (ICC) certified Plans Examiner for the Building Departments of local cities. She began her design business from her home in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1974.
Dan Scovel, Journeyman, Instructor
Dan has been with the tracking program since 2001. With Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit (IMSARU), Dan is currently a Search Manager, active tracker within the unit, previously served as Vice President and part of the Tech Team, and is a member of Idaho State Trackers Association. Dan has traveled internationally as an operational member of Joel Hardin Professional Trackers International a division of JHPTS that responds internationally to official SAR and tracking investigation requests.
Dan began working for Hayden Beverage Co. in 1978, and serves as the President of the company. Hayden Beverage Co. distributes Beer, Wine, Red Bull and other beverages, whose territory currently includes all of Idaho and Eastern Washington.
As an instructor, Dan has had the opportunity to participate with In-house trainings and JHPTS courses throughout the region, and provide training and tracking presentations to SAR, LE and Military groups.
Kris Scovel, Journeyman, Instructor
Kris has been involved with the Joel Hardin training program as well as Search and Rescue since 2001. She was able to put her tracking skills to use within just a couple of months from her very first tracking class on a missing hunter search and has been hooked ever since.
Kris is a Search Specialist, member of the Operations Team, Family Liaison, coordinates the Insurance, and is a past Officer of Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit (IMSARU). She has attended several search management classes, and is the primary coordinator for IMSARU on the annual Race to Robie Creek half marathon coordinating all of the communications and first aid stations throughout the race. Most recently she has volunteered to be the liaison between IMSARU and Homeland Security. She is currently the Lead Tracker for SW Idaho and a member of Idaho State Trackers Association. Kris is an Instructor with the JHPTS training program and attends as many JHPTS classes as possible. She helps organize and instruct regional, in-house and JHPTS tracking classes.
Kris works as a Credit Analyst and has been in the credit and finance industry for over 27 years, but her true passion lies with tracking and search and rescue. She is the Emergency Response Team Coordinator for her employer as well as serves on the Safety Committee complying with all OSHA guidelines.
Marcus Lemasters, Journeyman, Instructor
JHPTS Journeyman, Instructor – In his desire to support his community, in 1995 Marcus became one of the founding members of the Top of Virginia Search and Rescue Group based in Winchester, Virginia. After several searches he realized he wanted to concentrate his SAR efforts in the specialized field of human tracking and went through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM) tracking certification process. Marcus took his first JHPTS class in 1995 sponsored by VDEM. Realizing the importance and validity of the program, he has been a proponent of JHPTS ever since. He has participated in many SAR missions in support of VDEM’s efforts.
Having worked 23 years for the County of Frederick as a GIS manager and IT Director, he and a fellow JHPTS tracker established a rapport with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and worked as a team in providing tracking evidence and resolution in criminal cases involving bank robbery, gangs, breaking and entering, domestic violence, missing persons and evidence recovery. Marcus currently fulfils the JHPTS position of Lead Tracker in Virginia and has worked with several other JHPTS certified trackers in creating a new tracking corporation in Virginia, Tracking Resources-Atlantic Coast, focusing on the JHPTS methodology of training and operations.
The Joel Hardin Professional Tracking Services program currently has a staff of eighteen Instructors and forty-two Designated Trainers nationwide which present the JHPTS training program. JHPTS engages additional personnel as administrative assistants, personnel specialists, instructional staff, and professional advisors as needed to maintain an orderly schedule of events, presentations and recording of training and student achievements, and correspondence.