Specialty: Kayaking, Rafting, Snow Climbing
Brad has spent the better part of the last decade searching the state of Iowa for unique outdoor activities. After living in Montana and Colorado he moved back and has made it his mission to not only discover new places to go but also teach other people about them. Brad loves to canoe and kayak when time allows. For the last few years his passion has been rock climbing which has taken him all over the country seeking new rock and challenges.
Brad’s goal with Argo Adventures is to make outdoor recreation fun, accessible and educational. There are many natural wonders in the state and many opportunities to appreciate them. He’s excited to watch people experience those areas and enjoy their activity; whatever it may be.
Specialty: Riverboat Guide Captain, US Coast Guard Approved
Michael LaValle can’t remember a time when he wasn’t in the hospitality industry. From the time he could walk he was helping in Rocky’s Pizza Restaurant, the Ames pizzeria his parents operated for nearly 40 years. Michael studied and grew to be a lover of fine cuisine. He served in nearly every capacity in various fine dining establishments in the area – from chef to Maitre d’. He joined the Des Moines Embassy Club as General Manager and Culinary Director in 1993 and has traveled the world looking for interesting wines and dishes to bring back to the Des Moines community. He is also extremely involved in downtown and metro development and has been an active member of the Iowa Sister States Veneto Committee, Bailli Chaine de Rotissuers, Des Moines Winefest, and other organizations.
Michael has always celebrated the history, community and beautiful views of the DMEC. You will often catch him working in a quiet corner in the Club, just taking it all in. He is a huge fan of the Club’s special events and has almost never missed a special wine tasting dinner, Club-hosted guest artist performance, or annual family event. When Michael isn’t at the Club, he is enjoying time with his wife Lisa, who is also a chef, and their three beautiful daughters or captaining his old-fashioned steamboat that is now a fixture on the Des Moines River.
Position: Lead Guide
Specialty: Rock climbing, Mountain biking, Kayaking, Sailing, Rigging/Rope-work