The Team

Brenda Mikec

Executive Director

“When human beings are raised in poverty and do not have access to  resources to better themselves, they fall into unhealthy life patterns and habits and struggle to escape.” Brenda’s passions include building genuine relationships and helping others in difficult situations. Other passions include nature, spending time in the outdoors, volunteering, traveling, photography, cycling and reading in her down time.

Brenda is a business professional with experience in the Nonprofit sector, Volunteer management, Outreach, Outdoor recreation, Human Resources, Marketing, Recruiting, Event Planning, Fundraising and Development.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree with a double major in Human Resources and Marketing from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.

Brenda is honored and excited to combine her love for reading and cycling and to continue pursuing Ride for Reading’s mission to help children become healthy and literate.

      Mathew Portell

      Ride For Reading Founder

      Mathew Portell founded Ride for Reading in 2008 while serving as a 4th grade teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Not only is Mathew still an integral part of Ride for Reading, but he also continues to contribute positively to the lives of children in Nashville, TN by serving as the Principal at Fall-Hamilton Elementary School.

          Stephanie Ward

          Board Chair - San Antonio

          Stephanie Ward is a Professor of Management and Department Chair with the Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University.  She holds a Ph.D. in Management from the University of Houston, an MBA from the University of Houston, and a BBA in Accounting from Angelo State University.  After growing up in San Angelo, Texas, and spending 15 years in Houston, she and her family moved to San Antonio in 2004.  She has been an avid reader and cyclist her whole life.  Her first job, at age 9, was selling eggs via her bicycle in the mornings before going to school to neighbors.  Her second job, at 14, was shelving books in the local library.  Being involved in Ride for Reading SA combines her loves of education, literacy, and cycling and provides the opportunity to foster those loves with the San Antonio community children.  Stephanie is married and has one son

          • Location: San Antonio, TX

            Jeff Eck


            Jeff is the Compensation and Benefits Manager at Nashville Electric Service and has lived in the Nashville area for six years. After starting his career in accounting, Jeff found his second career in human resources 15 years ago. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and an MBA from West Chester University. He was a voracious book reader as a child and is excited to help ignite that passion in others. As a Christian and a teacher at heart, he loves teaching English as a Second Language classes at his church. Jeff loves challenges and will confess to a fondness for competing in triathlons. Jeff lives in Mount Juliet with his wife and two teenage daughters.

                Spencer Sweat

                Board Member

                Spencer Sweat is currently a Project Manager at Dev Digital. DevDigital is a full-service software developer that also offers SEO, learning management systems, and hosting. “Growing up riding my bike everywhere while also having access to books is something not every kid has. Bringing my Technology background to Ride for Reading will help spread our message while also getting books in the hands of more kids in our communities.”

                    Graham Gerdeman

                    Board Secretary

                    Graham earned his bachelors of science in Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL in 1995. Working first in marine biology, he moved back to his native Middle Tennessee in late 1999 and spent 12 years working in healthcare at Vanderbilt University (Laboratory Supervisor/Computer Systems Analyst). He also served on the Vanderbilt  Medical Center Staff Advisory Council for 8 years.

                    Graham now works as a freelance photographer and is a technological assistant / videographer at the Nashville Jazz Workshop (NJW), a non-profit music school and performance space in East Germantown – and is active in the local music and visual arts scene. He serves on the NJW Advisory Board, as well as the Board of Directors of the Harpeth Trace Services Association (HTSA).

                    An avid cyclist, Graham has volunteered with Ride for Reading for many years and is currently the Chair of Ride for Reading.

                        Ed Wildermuth

                        Board Chair - Nashville

                        Ed is the owner and financial planner for Clear Financial Solutions, based in Brentwood, TN.  He has been in financial services since 2012.  Prior to that, Ed held various positions in corporate accounting and finance.

                        Ed is a native of the Chicago suburbs. He attended Monmouth College (IL), graduating Cum Laude with BA’s in Accounting and Business Administration. While working his way through college, he was also a member of the men’s golf team, and served as the co-captain his senior year. After college, he continued his education by earning the Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) designation.

                        Ed currently resides with his wife and two daughters in Franklin, TN. His loyalty still lies with the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls. He enjoys golfing, traveling, and has been an active member of his local homebrew association, Music City Brewers, for over 6 years.   A regular blood donor, Ed has recently become a blood drive coordinator with the American Red Cross.  His most recent event generated 25 pints to help those in need.

                            Dave Perreault

                            Board Member

                            Dave Perreault is a Scrum Master at Onlife Health in Brentwood, Tennessee. Dave has been volunteering for Ride for Reading since 2012, and was volunteer of the year in 2015. Dave joined the board of Ride for Reading in 2018.

                            The monthly book deliveries are what keeps him coming back. Dave says “The only thing better than hearing and seeing hundreds of children gathered together to get their books, is the ‘Thank yous’ from the teachers. He adds, “If you can ride a bike, come on a delivery, I guarantee you will be hooked.”

                            Dave grew up in Connecticut, where he graduated from Hartford State Technical College and the University of Hartford with a BS in Computer Engineering.  Dave and Marty live in Mount Juliet, and they have a dog and 3 cats. He enjoys cycling of all types and participates in Mountain Bike, Criterium and Cyclocross racing.