|“Major Tom” Varden – Founder / Astronomer / Artist
This was my crazy idea. I inherited a love of space travel from my parents. My love of photography and the planets led me to take 30,000 photos of the red planet in 2003. I received my degree in Fine Art and Photography in 2013. I spend most of my time travelling with Black Rock Observatory or working at Griffith Observatory as a telescope operator.
| Gregg Fleishman – Architect/designer/artist/inventor
Gregg Fleishman’s work is informed by geometry and functionality. He received his Architectural degree in 1970 from USC. His acclaimed futuristic innovative iconic SCULPT CHAIRS are in collections and museums. He coined the term “Rhombicube,” a diamond panel form distilled out of a 3-D checkerboard of cubes, which forms the geometrical basis for his Shelter Systems. His patented designs obviate the need for screws or fasteners, using integral slots and notches in plywood, employing wood springs and hinges. Gregg’s mission is to continue developing ways to make building easier. Gregg has designed major art installations at Burning Man 2011, 2012 and the Temple of Whollyness in 2013.
|Krista An “Valkyrie” – Build Lead / Project Manager / Technical Designer / Artist
Intelligent, Active, Positive, Involved; I enjoy building things, sewing costumes, dancing (Argentine tango, and house music), and playing outside on the weekends (hiking, biking, surfing, and snowboarding). By trade, I am former kindergarten teacher, turned Engineer. I have been blessed with a fantastic mind for problem solving, understanding order of operations, and creative thinking. I enjoy contributing to community events and art projects. In addition to being Black Rock Observatory’s project build-lead, I am also taking on some design roles using 3D AutoCAD.
|Anthony Lanni “Shade” – Meteor Specialist / Telescope Operator / Build Team / System Administrator|
|Scott Kelley – Build team
Scott Kelley is full time nerd, part time geek who has been hacking stuff since 5th grade. After getting degrees in Math and Physics he has worked on a range of projects from top secret death machines to children’s toys. He currently spends a lot of time hanging from ropes in waterfalls.
|Heather Varden – Operations Manager / Logistics|
|Kevin Bond “Hammer Time” – Lighting Design / Build Team / Telescope Operator / Geographic Information Systems|
|Peter EarthBiscuit “Both Balls” – Build team / Telescope Operator / Talent Scout / Head Brew Master
Peter makes a damn fine beer, but spends too much time on Facebook.
|Constantino Ontiveros “Ranger Picante” – Build team / Telescope Operator / Ranger|
|Zoom Newhouse – Build Team / Telescope Operator / Crew Cook / Lawyer
Zoom is quite the charming chap and is not nearly as much of a creeper as he thinks he is. However, he is responsible for near 50% of Robin Newhouse’s DNA.
|Robin Newhouse – Build Team / Telescope Operator / Research Scientist
Robin likes space.
|Michael Risch – Build Team / Telescope Operator
Michael Risch from Baader Planetarium is a professional observatory builder, photographer and space enthusiast.
|Matt O’Dowd – Emergency Astrophysics Response Specialist
I spend a lot of my time in front of classes talking about physics and astronomy. I also hang out at the American Museum of Natural History, where I take that physics and apply it to that astronomy, trying to understand black holes and quasars and things like that.
| Pat Rapp – Media / Communications / Publicity / Fundraising
As a Desert Wizard at a remote North Coast Outpost, Pat is part of the promo and funding crew, working to make BRO famous on the interwebs and in print, and helping the crew crush our Kickstarter goals. Pat brought BRO to our first Maker Faire, our first adventure at an actual science museum (Buffalo Museum of Science Maker Weekend), our first NASA Space Apps Challenge and our first TED talk.
Jenny Chung – Telescope Operator / VR Specialist / Build Team / RealtorJenny lives to empower and connect the rich with the poor to generate limitless resources for the world!
|Tino Ontiveros – Build Team / Telescope Operator / Aerospace Engineer / Energy Technician
Tino goes camping and stuff. Safety is not guaranteed.
|Barry Kulmann – Build team / Telescope Operator / Blacksmith
Barry is the owner and designer in iron arts, and satyr-smith at Garden of Iron. He enjoys blacksmithing in the forest, and being a fencing instructor.
|Matt Bierle – Build Team
“The Burner with No Name” Life-long artist, hobbyist, mechanic, and fabricator. Decorated veteran, eagle-eyed perfectionist, and an experienced burner.
|Sage Haas – Former Build Team / Construction
Sage has all the tools! Any tool you need, he owns and just happened to pack it to bring out on that build. He enjoys to reading on science topics and can sometimes be a bit of a blow hard.
|Rachel Willman – Build Team / Mechanical Engineer|
|Liz Turnipseed – Support Coordinator|
Jonathan is a creative thinker who connects emerging technologies with social trends, bringing the arts, science and technology together, and connecting people and ideas. His expertise keeps him in dialog with creative thinkers including scientists, designers, engineers, artists, makers, game developers, filmmakers, business strategists, and education and government leaders. Known as “Knitter” on the Playa, Jonathan is an active member of the Burning Man community and volunteers with the Black Rock Rangers.
|Syd Mooney – Orientation / Acclamation / Crowd Control|
|Justin Wardell – Lighting Designer
There are many hats I’ve worn in the 25 years of working in the field of technical entertainment including theatre, film, television, live concert, and performance art. From community theater to red carpet premieres on Hollywood Boulevard, I’ve provided a wide range of technical support and consultation. Currently, I’m working at Disney’s El Capitan theater as an Assistant Technical Director as well as a stage technician around Southern California. My love of teaching technical theater and sharing the wonders of the cosmos is boundless. I feel that teaching while also working as an industry professional lends credibility to the curriculum. In addition to volunteering for special projects of the heart, I’m always looking for more opportunities to lead technical theater projects and provide entertainment technology instruction. I have been involved with the Burning Man community for many years as an educator for the Black Rock Educator’s Consortium, The Mars Rover Art Car, Mike Lanni’s “Human Spirit”, and now BRO. I am proud to be working with such creative, talented, and energetic crew members on The Black Rock Observatory.
|Gary Spiers – Laser Safety
An accomplished archer with over 3 decades of experience, a founding member of the Phoenix Projekt Fire Archers and one of the team of developers of the archery safety systems used for the Trojan Horse Burn I am also an amateur astronomer with over 15 years of experience entertaining people with views through telescopes of the wonders in the universe. My curiosity has dragged me willingly from a small rural village in Wales to working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where I lead the invention, design, development and then playing with new laser devices for remotely making scientific measurements from aircraft and spacecraft.
|Tina Merrie – Build Team
I gained my BFA in graphic design and then threw myself into welding and fabricating. I love the support of the Burners I surround myself with; I feel respected and supported as I navigate new skills and ridiculous art projects. With a few hurts, bumps, and bruises I am now actually building the art cars, flame effects, camps, art, and random mayhem we as Burners deem fit to be built. It’s a good life.
|Keith “Split” – Build Team / Clown / Construction
Keith Split is a talented and experienced construction professional, but he is even better at encouraging and teaching other community members how to build safely in harsh environments. Many times he has proven this in the role of Build Lead for several LA League of Arts projects. Split is a very lovable goofball who enjoys the ocean, hot springs, fishing, and clown school.
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