Who are we?
Who are we?
We’re Fred and Alexandra Thevenin, the current owners and operators of Arizona Raft Adventures (affectionately “AzRA” for short).
Both of our families have been rafting since the early ‘60s, and both Lou and Rob Elliott (Alexandra’s grandpa and dad) and Paul Thevenin (Fred’s dad) ran their first Grand Canyon trips in 1965. When our families weren’t working on the river, they were playing on one. So neither of us remember our first river trips on smaller Southwest rivers. We envy you of your first view of the Grand Canyon, because we don’t remember that, either. We can both remember our first Grand Canyon trips, though—Fred was 8, and Alexandra was 10.
Later we became full-time river guides. Fred guided his first trip when he was just 14 and by the time he was 18, he was running 12 trips a year. He learned the back of the house details—patching boats, fixing motors, planning menus, tuning trucks, etc.—all the while juggling winter construction and snow mobile guiding. Today, Fred oversees AzRA operations year round.
Alexandra, after dipping her toes in different waters, began guiding in 2001. She worked in the office during her winters, learning reservations, punching numbers, understanding guide dynamics, and all the inner-workings of the business. She is now the General Manager, but continues to concentrate most of her efforts on the “front of the house”—from overseeing the guest/staff relationship pre- to post-trip to cultivating AzRA’s presence and voice. She also oversees the delightfully diverse guide community, our Respect & Inclusion task force, among many other things.
In 2007, we went straight from rowing our boats to settling into office chairs, and we had to learn management by managing. We purchased AzRA from Rob Elliott in 2008, and in 2014 we added Moki Mac River Expeditions to the AzRA family.
After waffling on what our “official established date” was for years due to the many “firsts” Lou and Rob experienced in the early stages of AzRA, we decided to settle on 1965, when Lou and Rob Elliott took their first paid guests down river together. We’re sure that trip saw some adventurous times!
We now operate a company with over 75 trips per year between April and October, and, although it’s no small feat, we not only excel at what we do, we also love it! We work all year to stay at the top of the industry, doing everything from wage comparisons to risk management seminars, working on both the small details and the big picture to ensure we are providing the best adventures for our guests and the best employment for our team.
You will still find Fred in the warehouse and Alexandra on the phones, or working on Grand Canyon protection issues in changing political climates. We both still guide a handful of trips a year and we recreate on rivers with our own family now, keeping our love of what we do fresh. It is an honor to be part of the Grand Canyon community, and we take the task of operating our rafting adventures seriously. AzRA’s pay and benefits are at the top of the industry, so we attract the best talent. We volunteer in Grand Canyon and support the non-profits that protect this amazing place. We make sure AzRA is at the forefront of safety preparedness, while also providing a wilderness experience.
Perhaps most importantly, AzRA feels like a family because it is a family. Like families, we take care of our home, the Grand Canyon, and we take care of our own, the crew and our adventurers. Welcome. Welcome to the Grand Canyon and to the AzRA family.
Photo by Margeaux Bestard