The People

Chad Hines

Chad has been training hunting dogs since he was a child. He started out reading any literature he could find and watching every dog training video available. Willow Creek started when Chad was 11 with his first Beagle named Willow Creek’s Running Wrinkles. Over the next few decades, Chad has continued to research and develop training methods, seeking a more positive approach to training dogs.

Although there are certain techniques that Willow Creek uses for training, we also recognize that many different approaches work to get the same result. We are constantly experimenting and looking for easier and more effective ways to achieve the same goal. Over the years, Willow Creek has trained and handled more than 70 AKC Master Hunters under Chad’s direction.

Integrity, honesty, and ethics are core principles at Willow Creek. As a breeder of German Shorthaired Pointers, Chad has diligently researched bloodlines and hunting ability through many generations, and he strives to produce dogs that are right for today’s hunters and pet owners.

Tracy Hines

Owner / Business Operations / Puppies
Tracy has been an integral part of Willow Creek’s business operations, marketing and breeding program. Tracy and Chad work together to determine future breeding plans. Together, along with their children, they care for Willow Creek's breeding dogs at their farm. Tracy also has the benefit of being WC Honker's favorite person :).

Tracy's goal is not to "sell" puppies or training. Rather, it is to share the messages of the trainers and the stories about the Willow Creek dogs. By sharing stories we hope to connect with people wishing to learn more about working with their dog as a hunting partner as well as connecting with families looking for the joy a canine companion can offer.

She previously worked as a Senior Consultant with DTA Associates, focusing on quality strategy and process improvement for Healthcare Organizations. Tracy earned her Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Jordan Pharris

Assistant Manager / Trainer
Jordan Pharris grew up hunting and fishing in Nebraska. He can remember walking the fields with his dad before he could carry a shotgun. Jordan’s passion for dogs was cultivated through hunting at such a young age. He grew up with three golden retrievers, June, Jill, and Lucy, who ruled the house!

Jordan achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources with a Minor in Fisheries and Wildlife from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He worked many different jobs in college, including working at a petstore where he could enjoy another passion of his, “fish!” After college, Jordan lived in Bowling Green, OH, where he worked as a Fisheries Technician on Lake Erie. He mapped the Maumee Bay to better understand the structure that juvenile walleye use to survive.

Jordan’s wife received a job working as a hydrologist for the Minnesota DNR, which brought him to Brainerd, MN. At Willow Creek, he handles customer communications, trains our breeding animals as well as customer dogs. His passion for dogs and positive nature makes him a great fit for the Willow Creek team.

Jordan is a natural with the dogs. He has trained dogs from start to finish at Willow Creek. He has learned our system well and we are seeing very good results out of his dogs. He's one of the most natural dog trainers we've had as part of our team.

Jordan has taken an interest in running trials with his English Setters.

Charlie Wilczek

Trainer / Bird Keeper – Minnesota
Charlie has been with Willow Creek since 2003. He grew up on a neighboring farm and has applied his farm work ethic to the kennel. In his 14 years in 4H, Charlie showed just about every animal you can. He was a wrestler for 17 years; two of those years he served as team captain, and he placed 5th at state (112 pounds) in 2009. Charlie has worked as a kennel attendant, a groundskeeper, a general handyman, (pretty much Chad’s right hand man) and now a full time trainer. Charlie has a one year degree in Wildland Fire Fighting and a two year degree in Welding and Robotics.

With his years of experience handling dogs coupled with his hard work ethic and passion for hunting, Charlie is a great asset to the Willow Creek training team.

Dave Erickson (in memoriam)

Puppies / Trainer
We keep David Erickson in our hearts (2/13/1977 - 6/25/2018). Dave worked with us for about a year in 2013 and came back to us again in 2017. He helped with our puppy program and our training program.

Dave carried the heavy burden of depression and died by suicide June 25th, 2018. He was 41 years old. We remember him as a tender heart with so much good and we wish his brain would have allowed him to perceive all the good in him and around him. Even with the pain he felt, Dave loved what he did and he loved his dogs. He found peace in nature. He has made a mark on all of us here and we hope to carry the light of goodness forward for him.

In this sorrow we have sought some wisdom to help us heal: Be kind to others. Show compassion. Give others the benefit of the doubt. You don’t know what pain they may carry. Positive thoughts.

Peace, love and positivity. Good vibrations. ❤️ ;

We want you to be alive. If you ever have thoughts of suicide please reach out to someone, family, a friend, a doctor or the suicide prevention lifeline 1-800-273-8255.