SENIOR STAFF ALUMNISenior Staff Profiles
The following individuals have served as members of the Burning Man Senior Staff in previous years:
Ada Lee Chester
AKA Dago Bay
Operations Manager, DPW
Senior Staff: 2000-2004
On a hot summer afternoon, while traveling through New Orleans, Ada made surprise discovery in a brochure tossed on a friend's coffee table: Burning Man. Two weeks later, Ada assembled a crew from Austin, Texas, and arrived in the desert on a hell-bent mission to volunteer for three months at DPW. Years later, Ada split her year living between San Francisco and Gerlach, working full time for Burning Man in DPW.
As Operations Manager of DPW, Ada oversaw DPW business management, including purchasing, receiving, human resources, accounting, volunteerism, the Gerlach offices, and other behind-the-scenes support. Ada's background is in purchasing, event coordination, and bronze casting.
Andie Grace's role kept her involved in many of the ways Burning Man speaks to the world - to its participant community, to the media, on the web, through photography and filmmaking, in its printed materials and internal communications, and through the multitude of activities that define Burning Man Regional groups and other year-round community efforts.
For thirteen years, Andie helped Burning Man to hold the space for this diaspora to connect and express itself online, offering support for those actions and striking the balance for Burners to promulgate community and collaborate outside of Black Rock City, while staying true to and aligned with Burning Man's principles. In her description, given that the culture is intensely participatory, the organization's job is only to provide a framework for expression and community; often, she says, this feels like "running to keep up with the front of a hundred different parades that keep growing and growing-- while describing every amazing thing you see along the way."
Andie, a transplant from St. Louis, was lured out of the Media Team's volunteer ranks and joined the full time staff in the year 2000. She's been attending the event since 1997 when she (reluctantly) agreed to attend with her bass and her band; these days, three generations of her family reunite annually on the playa, from parents and cousins to her husband and now, their young daughter. A vocalist, artist, and avid cook, she dreams of a table in her backyard big enough to bring everyone she meets home for dinner.
Bex made an unexpected, long journey from Ohio, across the US, to Black Rock City in 1997. Unaware of what she was about to experience, she found herself completely at home only 20 minutes after arriving on the playa, and has been coming back for more ever since. She moved to San Francisco from Ohio right after the 2000 event and has been working for the Man ever since.
Bex's job has changed drastically over the years. She is the former Ticket Manager having worked with the SF Ticket Team and the on playa Box Office for over 6 years. She has also managed the printed publications that are mailed out year-round as well as the materials passed out to participants upon arriving at BRC. She was also the Regional Network Coordinator, providing year-round support to the ever growing Regional Network.
In her former life, Bex was a cook and baker. She holds a double Bachelor's in French and Russian languages. Bex spends her time clowning around, playing with her cat, bending up like a pretzle, and teaching herself new tricks she never thought she could do.
Senior Staff: 1998-2000
Senior Staff: 2003-2008
LadyBee dealt with all things visual and aesthetic, including managing the theme art and the grant program, photo-editing the Image Gallery, writing art content for burningman.com, working with the Artery and Image volunteers, managing the Archives and lecturing and writing about the art of Burning Man.
After earning an MFA in sculpture from the Art Institute of Chicago, she spent four years in Africa and Jamaica as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching art and working with woodcarvers. Always interested in popular culture, she began photographing hand-painted signs while hitchhiking across West Africa, and later published articles and lectured about them. She has also written several articles about visual culture in Jamaica. After struggling as a sculptor in New York for a decade she moved to San Francisco and started a jewelry business. In 1995 she found Burning Man, and proceeded to get deeply involved in the community, performing in the Court of Gaia at Mysteria (1997), creating the Shrine of the Dessicated Rats (Burning Man 1997 and 1999) and throwing the Ageing Hipsters Cocktail Party (Burning Man 1998). After helping to curate the first Art of Burning Man exhibit at the SF Arts Commission Gallery in 1998, she realized that she found greater satisfaction in curating art than in making it, and started her work at Burning Man. As a former sculptor and painter, she has an empathy with artists that serves her well in this work. She is known for her outgoing nature, her wit and style, her devotion to the arts, her photographs and her amusing costumes.
Dana Harrison is the BizBabe, a fitting "next phase" for her life after retiring from 18 years in various corner-office jobs in San Francisco's downtown palaces of commerce. She now devotes her time to a happy split between wilderness, international travel, and subverting the dominant paradigm. From 1999 to 2008, Dana oversaw the Center Camp Cafe, CampArctica (Ice Sales), the Commissary, and vendor relationships and contracts, and supported the project as a volunteer business consultant and couldn't have been more delighted to be doing it all NOT wearing a suit and pantyhose. In the rest of her "spare" time, she does humanitarian relief work with Planet Care/The Burmese Refugee Care Project, and hosts the Oakland Noodle Factory, a performing arts/live-work/community space in a former food-processing warehouse in West Oakland. Her mottoes are "Be clear about your intent, then align your action with your intent" and "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.
As Nevada Properties Manager for Burning Man, Dave was responsible for the maintenance, development and acquisition of BRC's properties in Nevada, Black Rock Station, Gerlach Office, Gerlach Showers, Black Rock Social Club, Bruno's Trailer Park and the Reno Office. Working with the State and County officials, he secured permits and licenses for facilities operation and construction on the properties. Working with the BRC Board, Washoe County Planning Commission and our contractors, Dave helped to develop property improvements and coordinated new projects.
Overseeing routine maintenance and caretaking of the properties is a talent he learned when he took care of more than 400 apartment units while still in high school. A licensed contractor and Local 39 Chief Engineer, he has been involved in construction for more than 25 years. Working in various fields such as Scuba Diving Products, International Import/Export, Commercial Fishing, Specialty Printing as well as the various trades that go along with construction of commercial and residential properties.
He enjoys motorcycle riding and racing, photography, scuba diving, flying and putting roofs on water towers and bars in his spare time. If not off in some foreign country, Dave can often be found in the hills of Northern California relaxing on some piece of heavy equipment.
Dave Thornton came to the Burning Man office in January of 2000 to change a tire on the Lamplighter's golf cart and found himself working as the official Bean Counter. In his own words, his job included reading bank forms, filling in insurance applications, crunching budgets and other boring stuff like that.
Dave hails from Salt Lake City, where he worked for Novell in finance and operations for 10 years. He studied International Relations at Brigham Young University, and has occupied such lofty positions as U.S. Senate intern, janitor, fast food jockey, door-to-door sales, and fish slinger in the Alaskan fisheries. When he's not pinching pennies, he enjoys hiking, backpacking, and road tripping.
Director of Operations, DPW
Senior Staff: 1995-2003
Flynn Mauthe has spent most of his life organizing people, building homes, and constructing large flaming art. After growing up in East Texas, he did what all good Texas freaks do and moved to Austin. While working construction (building custom homes in Texas and the Virgin Islands), he numbered amongst his friends the cast of Richard Linklater's Slacker and members of the Butthole Surfers. He played guitar and accordion in several punk bands, including the Hickoids, Marching Plague and Butterscotch Tuna. Flynn's life next took a turn toward the normal, and he spent the next seven years selling real estate. In 1994 he saw his first Survival Research Labs show, quit his job, liquidated his possessions and moved into SRL's San Francisco warehouse, where he resided for the next six years. He first came to Burning Man in 1995, and was a transportation manager, construction foreman and chief site foreman for the Project. In 1999 he became the official Director of Operations for DPW. In his spare time, he studies flamenco guitar, hangs out on a private island in Texas with his friend Kalman and brother Brett, and is the CEO of two independent Militias.
Black Rock Ranger Department Head
Senior Staff: 2003-2009
Greg was the Black Rock Ranger Department Head from 2003 to 2009. He was responsible for the overall operations of the Ranger Department, including the Black Rock Rangers, LEAL team, Sanctuary team and Echelon group. On the playa he could be found almost anywhere at all hours. Being the department head for one of the largest departments on the playa his days were spent in meetings and nights interfacing with participants, staff, and outside agencies. He likes to say his job was like that of a conductor of a symphony when all the parts are in tune they make fine music. If you ask him he is quick to tell you that the Ranger Department Staff are some of the most dedicated hard working volunteers on the playa.
As a member of the Burning Man Senior Staff he had the reputation of telling it like it is without the sugar coating. Greg has a broad base of experience, being a retired Naval Officer, ex-airline pilot, general contractor, and business owner. He brought a unique and different approach to solving the ever changing problems facing the Burning Man Project.
Theme Camp Coordinatrix
Senior Staff: 1999-2003
Holly knew she was home the moment she stepped foot on the playa at Burning Man 1995. She successfully stayed as far away from the event organizers as possible for two years before destiny captured her to join the team in 1997. She began her service assisting Harley with Theme Camp Placement and her duties grew to include working in the San Francisco office handling such exciting tasks as phone system maintenance, network coordinator, and purchaser of equipment. She also acted as staff liaison to several Technical Teams. Holly also worked with Harley to coordinate, map and physically place Theme Camps as they arrived on the playa.
Holly is originally from Wisconsin and came to California in 1991. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree by double majoring in Cultural Geography and Journalism.
Senior Staff: 2007-2008
Office Efficiency Nurse
Senior Staff: 2003-2005
The Nurse was a meta-node in an environment that depended on her ability to rapidly determine the best direction for anyone at any time in terms of their needs in relation to personnel and resources. Rapid-fire she would send you and the line of people behind you on your way to the destination you needed.
She believes she is genetically wired to Burning Man. On her days off she usually dons only a crop and a satchel of sass from which she dispenses readily and indiscriminately.
John is a recovering engineer. An Englishman who has lived in California since 1991, John dropped out of college to start his first company at the age of 18. It went bust in three months. Since then he's learned a lot and has been a founder of several successful high-tech companies. Along the way he installed the first commercial internet connection in the UK (a whole 32 kbits, about half the speed of dialup). After founding and taking public a couple of dot coms (Beyond and CyberSource) he "retired" and became a professional photographer. In 2003/4 John worked as staff photographer for Howard Dean's presidential campaign. When Dean wasn't nominated, he took a vacation in the desert in the summer of 2004. John joined the Black Rock Rangers in 2005 and hasn't looked back.
John was a consulting senior staff member with the role of Ranger Logistics Manager. It was his job to make sure that the Black Rock Rangers have the supplies and equipment they need and that the other departments got the information they require from the Rangers. John continues his professional photography and (as of this writing) is working on a book project.
Joseph F. Fenton
Sr. Staff Member: 2000-2002
12 year Burning Man participant, Boggmann led the Black Rock Ranger's Operations Department. Coming to Burning Man as an Anthropological researcher in 1991, Boggmann has worked in almost all aspects of the organization. In 1993 he created the first of two Burning Man Tarot decks (the second, in color, was produced in 1996), along with T-shirt designs and graphic art pieces. As a participant he produced such events as 'Golf-Skeet' and the 'Drive-by Shooting Range' in the early years of the Burning Man event. Landing finally in the Rangers in 1994, Boggmann worked on deep desert rescues and general Ranger activities. Returning after a one year hiatus in 1997, Boggmann developed a Ranger Operations Department, worked to build the Department of Mutant Vehicles and served on the Burning Man and Ranger Senior Staffs. He currently lives noisily in the East Bay with his cat.
Joseph founded Black Rock City's Emergency Services Department and was a member of the Burning Man staff since 1996. He served as Chief of Operations for Black Rock City's 911 system, including fire, rescue, EMS, clinical services, communications system, 911 dispatch center, and mental health services. As Operations Chief he had an ongoing Government Relations role with outside agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County Sheriffs Office, Humboldt General Hospital, and the Nevada Department of Health to make Burning Man as safe as reasonably possible from a public health and safety perspective while still preserving the vital essence of the Burning Man experience. Additionally he also served in an organizational Risk Management capacity and as the Chair for the Safety Committee.
Joseph also has several other professional affiliations with various public safety organizations and agencies, including balancing his time between Burning Man and the emergency response and consulting company Mutual Aid Response Services that he founded in 2001. Unlike most professionals who deeply silo into a single area of specialty, Joseph is uniquely situated with a renaissance background with both academic and professional experience in management, pre-hospital emergency medicine, crisis intervention, emergency psychiatric services, law enforcement, dispatching, communications technology, fire fighting, safety, and risk management.
Originally from Sweden, he spent part of his youth growing up in the Bay Area where he eventually made contact with one of the Burning Man organizers at a community event and the rest was history.
When not working for Burning Man he spends his time giving conference talks, writing books, scuba diving, and tweeting about it all: http://twitter.com/josephpred. After all, life is the adventure you make of it...
Bucky operated incognito at Burning Man for over 7 years. After being invited to volunteer at the mysterious northern Nevada festival back in 1998 by a previous Gate Leader and his "real world" foreman, Bucky found himself bringing his crew back year after year to save the day when conditions take a turn for the worst, ensuring that everyone who enters Black Rock City is entitled to be there.
Growing up in a meager agricultural community in the middle of California, Bucky knew that the small-town was not for him, and quickly moved at the age of 18 to the the East Bay. Bucky is a Journeyman Electrician with IBEW Local 595. With what little spare time he has, he enjoys spending time in the Studio playing guitar, Long-Range Shooting, and building strange contraptions, including a bathtub on wheels.
Senior Staff: 2001-2003
Molly managed the volunteer program at Burning Man. She coordinated a volunteer team that work on organization-wide volunteer issues. Together with the volunteer team, Molly helped the city's many volunteer coordinators find, place, train, schedule, and work with volunteers. Each year, over 2,500 people build, run, and clean up Black Rock City. The organization's volunteer needs are most pronounced on the playa, but the off-playa needs (like the volunteers for this website) and the pre-playa needs (including planning in every department) make the volunteer department a year-round operation. Molly has a background in organizational development and public policy. She holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Georgetown and Harvard Universities, respectively. Molly's non-Burning Man work is spent focusing on energy policy, especially the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency. She has founded two non-profit organizations that work on clean energy issues; most recently she started a public-private partnership on climate change. She also served on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Children's Council.
Senior Staff: 2001-2003
Rob Miller first attended Burning Man in the year 2000. While he was there, somebody handed him a glass of kool-aid, and he hasn't been quite the same since. He started volunteering for the Technology Team in early 2001, and joined the Project full time as Tech Team lead in November of that year. Since then, he built servers, kept email, web, database, and myriad other services running, oversaw an office move, watched the organization (and the network!) quadruple in size, built web applications, produced webcasts, supported on-playa operations, gave trainings, managed budgets, helped cultivate a growing community of volunteers and staff, attended retreats, spoke at conferences, made funny faces, and met and worked with hundreds of talented, fascinating, beautiful people.
Rob became involved with computers at age 12 when he first sat down in front of a TRS-80 Model II. He studied fractal geometry and chaos theory while attending University of California at Riverside because he liked to look at the pretty pictures. He tries to appease his growing sense of unease with world affairs by calling his political representatives from time to time, and by engaging in such radical activities as hosting a website for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile, reading books, and hanging out with his daughters. Despite all appearances of a healthy social life, he is really an hopeless geek who can often be found up in the middle of the night hacking python code for fun.
Born in Honolulu, HI, and raised in St. Louis, MO, Tim came to Burning Man in January 2002, because he was very enthusiastic about art and how it applies to day-to-day life. He believes in the importance of aesthetics and living life as art. He worked in Burning Man's accounting department until 2009.
He likes painting on canvas, drawing on paper, reading classic authors, watching good and bad movies, taking pictures of people and places, taking long walks through the city and just goofing off. His ideal day would involve a couple of these things, a really really good dinner, drinks at the Hyde Out, a good or bad movie, and watching "The Simpsons" at least once.
Brian M Rosen (aka "Scoutmaster") is not and never has been a Boy Scout. His call sign derives from his first Burning Man project in 2005, the Goth Scouts. (You may have seen their cookie drives in front of Spike's Vampire Bar). As communications/logistics manager for the Rangers, Scoutmaster coordinates meetings and information flow between the many teams within the Rangers and the other departments that interact with the Rangers.
Originally from New York, Brian studied music composition at Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan and computer science at Princeton University. He moved out to the Bay Area in 1993 to join Pixar Animation Studios in the creation of the first full length computer animated film in history (Toy Story), and remains on staff at Pixar as a software engineer, technical director, and occasional voice talent. In A Bug's Life, you can hear his masterful portrayal of a slug saying "Ow Ow, Hey, I said no salt!" which earned him a nomination for "Best Performance By A Gastropod In a Motion Picture".
As a vocalist and actor, Brian performs in venues throughout the United States, including the San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Opera, Cinnabar Opera Theater, the Punk Rock Orchestra, various professional touring companies, and the 2001 PBS Great Performances production of Sweeney Todd in Concert. As a composer, Brian has written and arranged an entire album of material for the Webby award-winning a cappella ensemble The Richter Scales, completed a commissioned operatic adaptation of Alice in Wonderland for Cinnabar Opera Theater, composed a string quartet, and is completing the composition of a solo opera that he will be performing in the winter of 2010.
Kate (K8) first made the trek to Black Rock City in 2003, where she likes to say she met herself in the middle of a dust storm. She's been coming back to the playa ever since, working with theme camps, art car projects, volunteering with Greeters and Lamplighters and, since 2006, with the Black Rock Rangers. In 2008, she became a Volunteer Coordinator for the Rangers, allowing her to meet and work with the ever-increasing ranks of the Ranger Department year-round, which she thinks is pretty darned neat. In 2010, she became a Consulting Senior Staff member representing the Rangers with a focus on communications and personnel.
Off playa, Kate provides graphic design, art direction, and opinionated feedback to a variety of endeavors, raises an amazing little boy, and tries to sneak as much reading, dancing and sleeping in late as possible (in between meetings and deadlines, of course).
Marshall first came to Burning Man in 2004 and was welcomed "home." Little did they know that Marshall's family settled in the Black Rock Desert many years before. His first year, 2004, he volunteered for Gate and found a family to which he belonged. Marshall's responsibilities have grown from searching vehicles as a volunteer to managing the D-Lot and Will Call Lot to managing Gate operations. Having spent the 1990s in the military as an Arabic Interrogator, Marshall brings a bit of the military to the beautiful cacophony and chaos of the Gate. He also enjoys working Playa Restoration with DPW and driving a bus full of filthy MOOPers through the desert.
Marshall has the ability to tell someone to go to Hell so that they look forward to the trip. In his spare time he teaches martial arts and has been known to conduct undercover investigations as a private investigator.
Like many folks, Zabed was introduced to Burning Man in 1999 by a knowing friend, who packed all her playa essentials water, food, 21 costumes into his already-dusty Honda and invited him to share what was, to him, an unknown and better universe. He was literally blown away by his first encounter with the Man, learning that capes need vents to be practical in high desert winds. Falling in love on first contact-addling sight, Zabed vowed to make Burning Man a year-round commitment.
Despite good intentions, Zabedís on-off tussle with procrastination and a decade working on the (coffee) chain gang intervenedÖuntil one fateful day when he seized the chance to put his finely tuned administrative skills to work for Burning Man. Having also worked in many, many non-coffee jobs, including hauling frozen chickens, searching for false teeth, and hitting folks with rubber hammers, Zabed felt he was perfectly prepared to join the Burning Man team.
Zabedís days as the Administrative Manager were spent sorting things (paper and pixel), organizing things and, occasionally, training non-things (people). While at it, he made sure the Burning Man office never became The Office.
Zabedís non-Man activities include butchering American English, dosing up on vitamin D in Dolores Park, shaking his rump to anything that isnít a jam band, and riding his tragically un-hip bike.