The creation of Waterside Workshops served a two-fold purpose, addressing the need for alternative approaches to education as a part of a healthy community and revitalizing highly under-used buildings in an urban park. Our staff and board members are artisans, tradesmen, mechanics, and teachers from a variety of backgrounds whose lives have all been greatly influenced by their exposure to handcrafts and skills.
Our executive director believes that the only way to lead is from the ground-level. Born and raised in rural North Carolina by traditional artisans, she spent her young life getting her hands dirty working in a blacksmith’s shop and on the family farm. Upon going to college, she chose to study architecture, because it seemed to fuse her passion for preserving the environment, and inspiration as an artist, but quickly found it required too much time quietly working in an office. At Waterside, she oversees fundraising, budgeting projects, organizing staff and interns, and ensures the activities of the organization serve the community to the fullest extent possible. She is committed to going the extra mile for young people in need, even if that means walking most of the way.
Neil brings five years of fundraising and nonprofit administration experience. Prior to joining Waterside, Neil worked at Bike Works, a similar youth focused nonprofit in Seattle, and Pacific Forest Trust in San Francisco. Neil believes that the bicycle is a vehicle of empowerment, an amazing tool for experiential education, and the key to building sustainable communities.
Born and raised in the Azores Islands, Helder developed a love of traditional boats as a very young child. Helder is a UC Berkeley alumni holding a degree in Archeology. His academic studies took him around the world studying ancient cultures and often studying their watercraft. Tiring of academic pursuits, and craving working with his hands, Helder moved back to California to study traditional wooden boat building, but continued his connection with is homeland. Helder has worked in the Azores not only as an underwater archaeologist, but has also apprenticed with one of the last master Azorean whaleboat builders. His passion “for all things maritime Portuguese” has also taken him to mainland Portugal where he has worked with traditional bateira builders of the Aveiro region of northern Portugal. He hopes to educate people young and old, as well as further his own knowledge of the time-honored craft, and to establish a community of people who are passionate about wooden boats.
Danny has worked in the bicycle industry for 12 years. He enjoys bicycling of all kinds from commuting to cruising, but his passion is racing. Most Saturday’s he can be found in the far-reaches of California competing in mountain bike races. He is excited to be working in a shop that is built around reuse, education, and community.
Augusto grew up in New Mexico and came to California to find opportunity. His experience as an immigrant and compassion for those who are facing barriers to employment, coupled with his interest in hands-on trades makes him the perfect addition to the Waterside Workshops team. At the age of five, his family migrated from Mexico. In New Mexico, he was an auto mechanic and a manager in a shop where he learned leadership and teamwork skills. While searching for a connection to the ocean, he found Waterside Workshops and started as an apprentice in the boat shop, quickly making his way into a full-time position as an instructor and Café Manager and Administrative Assistant. Augusto enjoys being a mentor and working with kids while exploring his interest in boats and sailing. He currently attends Berkeley Community College.
Before moving to California, Nick worked at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Center where he assisted inner city high school students in developing resiliency and social and emotional learning skills through the process of wooden boat building. In a previous life, he was an environmental attorney who represented public interest environmental organizations and their allies in administrative, state, and federal courts. Nick’s passion for youth development and environmental stewardship, pared with his in-depth knowledge of the legal system make him a perfect fit for Waterside. He holds a B.A. from UCLA and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.
Cat designs curriculum and manages our youth internship training program. She also provides one-on-one tutoring for Waterside youth in math, chemistry, biology, and Spanish.
Maya is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Originally from Israel, Maya completed her Masters degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco, and has over 10 years experience working with high risk populations in the Bay Area. At Waterside she provides individual and group therapy to youth interns and staff.
Gio is a former youth interns who is now a full time staff member. An Oakland native, he serves as a mentor to our younger staff and interns, and brings a passion for local bicycle culture to Waterside.
Justin started as a boat shop intern when he was just a youngin’, shortly before his 13th birthday. Over the years, he has worked in our cafe, and has become a very skilled third-wave barista. He is now one of our bicycle mechanics at Street Level Cycles. In 2018 he completed a Professional Repair and Shop Operation course at United Bicycle Institute in Portland, OR.
Chaco is head of security at Waterside. He tirelessly patrols the perimeter and protects the ducks from passing dogs. He also assists with boat rentals, and is a good listener when someone is having a bad day. In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with Cricket, going to the beach, and taking long walks.
Cricket is vice president of security at Waterside. She also helps keep all of the basketballs put away in the courtyard, and is happy to help if someone can’t quite finish what they brought for lunch. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with Chaco and her friend Hank. She doesn’t want money for her work at waterside, but instead prefers to be paid in “schnackey”.