The Elktracks Team

Jim Linnell
Founder, President, Lead Instructor

Born and raised on a ranch in eastern Montana, Jim Linnell has had leather working in his blood every since his first visit to the Miles City Saddlery. The sounds and smells of those visits are some of the most vivid memories he has of that early introduction to the leather working world. Now, after spending the last 50 years working with leather and nearly 40 years in the leather industry, those sounds and smells are still a part of his life.

As an artist, Jim’s leather art has been featured on magazine covers, catalog covers, in galleries and at countless shows. As a businessman, Jim has a track record of building some very successful and profitable national retail chains. In the leather working world he has received some of the most prestigious awards recognized in the industry. The Al Stohlman Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Master Leather Artisan Award from The Academy of Western Artists are some of the better known.

Jim has taught leather working skills to thousands of students around the world. His passion for the art has made him one of the most sought after instructors of our day and his students often get a history lesson on the art along with in depth instruction.

Click on this sentence to learn more about Jim Linnell on his Stohlman Award Winner page here at Elktracks Studio.



Michael Magnus
Head of Digital

Michael Magnus is a digital advertising lecturer and consultant, specializing in social media strategy.  He enjoys utilizing his experience journalism, public relations, and video production to help preserve and promote the rich legacy of the leatherworking industry.
The first decade of Magnus' professional career was spent working all over the world in the film industry.  His experience includes producing, acting, and working in production on numerous television shows, independent films, and commercials.  

After a stint working in the Philippines as a department head at a private studio, Magnus moved back to the states to create some roots in Texas, where he grew up. Upon his return, he served in fundraising and administration role for a small non-profit while returning to school to finish a degree in Public Relations and Broadcast.  

Magnus' accomplishments caught the attention of one of the organization's largest sponsors, where the CEO offered to create a job developing the social media efforts for their international retail brand.  After joining the Tandy Leather advertising team, Magnus lead substantial growth in their social media, as well as producing videos and writing press releases for the company.  During the two and a half year stint with Tandy, he also completed his Masters degree in Communication from the University of Texas at Arlington.

In 2016, Magnus was offered the opportunity to teach digital advertising and social media as a lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Shortly after, he also joined Jim Linnell as the Head of Digital to help develop the newly established Elktracks Studio.  

Magnus' wife is a theatre teacher and they have two children, one of which has her own philanthropy selling drawings and leather projects online to raise money for charity.  Magnus is a recreational leathercraft historian, writes articles for online publications, and is hobbyist vintner.