UTS Instructors
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April 7, 2019










  Al Pratt

Al retired in 2001 as a millwright from Georgia Pacific in Bellingham Washington where he was employed for over 33 years. He has more than 25 years experience with Whatcom County Search and Rescue Council and has held several officer positions. Al was president of the Whatcom County 4x4 unit for 30 years and  was one of the co-founders of the 4x4 SAR unit. As a special deputy for Whatcom County he works directly with the Sheriff’s office in emergency SAR situations and has participated in several homicide and criminal investigations. He also recently retired from owning and operating his own trucking excavating company which along with the numerous SAR management classes he has attended, gives him experience in managing and handling personnel in the field on SAR missions. Al has been involved in tracking since 1974, a UTS tracking instructor since 1984, and he is one of the co-founders of the UTS program.



Marvin Martin

Marvin retired in 1997 from his long time position as head herdsman and experimental biological technician at Oregon State University at Corvallis, Oregon.  He was employed initially at the University due to his extensive knowledge of horses, cattle and open range mountainous country.  Marvin has been an active participant and in the UTS tracking program since 1974 and a tracking instructor for more than 20 years.  He has gained considerable experience in missing person searching as an expert tracking resource and in crime scene investigations.  He has testified in court as a tracking expert. Since his retirement in June of 1997 he has devoted full time to the UTS tracking program.


Mark Balzer

Mark is a self employed sheet metal fabricator with his wife Linda in Corvallis, OR.  In 1991 Mark joined the Benton County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse as a Special Deputy and began his Search and Rescue and Man Tracking training.  Mark became a UTS Sign Cutter in 2005.  He is a Hasty Team member for Benton County Search and Rescue.  Mark is a founding member of the Benton County Sheriff’s Tracking unit since 1998 which holds in house tracking classes and in house classes for other counties, along with being an Instructor for Benton County Search and Rescue.  Mark has experience not only in missing persons but with major crime scenes including homicides, suicides and burglaries. Mark and his wife Linda reside in Corvallis, OR with their horses and two golden retrievers.  


Mike Neeland

Mike has officially retired from UTS ..... Thank you Mike..
April, 2019

Mike retired from the Royal Canadian Navy in 1981 after 27 years of service.  Mike soon joined Quesnel SAR in British Columbia and became interested in tracking and saving lives through tracking. Mike has taken numerous UTS tracking classes and since he retired from Caribou Mill in 1998 he has devoted his full attention to SAR and tracking.  Mike was among the first five in Canada to achieve Sign Cutter certification in 2004.


Gordon Byrnes

Gordon has officially retired from UTS ..... Thank you Gordon..
January, 2018

Gordon retired from a family owned business, Byrnes Oil Company in 1998.  Two of his sons now run it.  Gordon is an avid hunter, hunting in South Africa, Canada, Alaska and the Northwest.  Gordon started Search & Rescue training with the Umatilla County SAR in Pendleton, Oregon and has been involved with Universal Tracking Services since 1992.  When Gordon is not hunting or Tracking, he will be grooming the trails for the Tollgate Trail Finders Snowmobile Club which he has been doing for the past 25 years.  Gordon was among the first six trackers in the United States to be certified at the UTS highest level of Sign Cutter. 


Peter Wilson

Peter is employed as a purchaser for a Sawmill Warehouse on Vancouver Island BC.  Peter joined Cowichan Search and Rescue in 2004.  He began his tracking career in 2005.  Seeing the value of Tracking for lost people, Peter quickly developed a passion for this skill set. While attending classes as a student Peter also instructed in-house classes.  In 2012 Peter was certified Sign Cutter.  He is excited about having the opportunity to pass on his Tracking Knowledge.



Bart Esplin

Bart is the Fairgrounds Manager for Cache County located in Logan, Utah where he has been employed since 2001. Prior to that he had worked in the construction industry for 20 years. Barts interest in tracking began in 1997 when he took his first class in Downey ID.  Bart achieved Sign Cutter in 2011. He has been through the Train the Trainer program and has taught several in house classes for Cache County as well as other SAR organizations. Bart has been been a member of Cache County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue since 1994 where he has served in many positions including team captain, commander and is currently serving as vice commander. In addition to Tracking, Barts SAR team involvements include snowmobile and ATV riding, caving, diving and high angle rescue and is a MRA team member. Bart is a NASAR instructor and SARTECH II lead evaluator and has completed the AFRCC Inland SAR school.



Jonald Gradwohl

Jonald has worked at HP since 1994, where he manages R&D labs, people, and projects.  He also serves as an Incident Commander and leads Veteran Advocacy programs.
Jonald began his SAR service when he joined Mary’s Peak Search and Rescue (MPSAR) in 1996.  He is a past president of MPSAR, a founding member of and current president of the Willamette Valley Tracking Unit (formerly the Benton County Sheriff’s tracking unit). Jonald holds several SAR certifications, including Managing Ground Search Operations, All Hazards Logistics Section Chief, Oregon State Basic Applied Practices Series, HAZWOPER, and Sign Cutter.  Jonald has experience searching for missing persons, fugitives, and major crime scenes including homicides, suicides and burglaries. 
Jonald and his wife Kristen reside in Corvallis, OR with their two sons.