Chairperson, Chief Encouragement Officer: Tara Tiger Brown - Technical Director, Connected Learning Alliance and Technical Director, Digital Media Learning Research Hub at UC Irvine
Tara Tiger Brown is co-founder of LA Makerspace and Represent.la to help connect and promote the Los Angeles tech startup community. She currently serves as Technology Director for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub and Connected Learning Alliance. Brown has held every job title available in the software industry at numerous institutions and companies including USC, UC Irvine, Shazam, Topspin, and Microsoft. She has been known to blog on Forbes and was recently named a Los Angeles "Power Mom.".
She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, Austria and the first Hacker-in-Residence at SparkFun in Boulder, CO.
Tara's speaking engagements include LA Tech Summit, DIY Days, CASH Music Summit, Silicon Beach Fest, Imagination Foundation Educator Salon, Rhizome, init(together), General Assembly, SXSW, OSCON, Mozilla Fest, Fun Conf, Farmhouse Conf 2/3/4, BUFF Film Festival, Hollywood 3.0 Forum, Transmedia Hollywood 3, BarCampLA, BarCampSeattle.
Vice-President: Kent Nichols - Director of Content & Talent at Maker Studios and Co-creator Ask A Ninja
Kent is an expert at building audiences organically online and redefining how video is produced and consumed by creating True Fans using behavioral economics, social media, and lean production strategies.
He shot and edited the LA Makerspace Kickstarter video and co-runs the Film club with Jeff Geoffray.
Specialties: Viral Videos, Social Marketing, Video Production, Event Marketing, Crowd Funding, YouTube, Podcasting, Event Planning, Community Management.
Secretary: Scott David Edwards - Manager and Associate Vice President, Information Technology at The Capital Group Companies
Scott David Edwards is an information technology manager with expertise in systems development, integration, system performance, programming, and databases. He leads groups and individuals with skill and compassion. His thirty years of experience in business ranges through many different programming languages, hardware platforms, operating systems, and database environments. He manages high performing teams of associates constantly challenged by technological evolution.
Scott hopes to engage in the development of knowledge and skills associated with general purpose computing and other topics for himself and others. His background and experiences with coaching, mentoring, and teaching in a collaborative and inclusive environment inform his approach. He believes that individuals have the best experiences in safe environments that enable learning and development.
Treasurer: Cecile Read - Attorney at Law, Poole & Shaffery, LLP
Cecilie Read is an attorney specializing in employment law. She both handles litigation matters and provides counseling in human resource matters. Cecilie was drawn to the legal field by the constant problem solving that it requires. In her time away from work, Cecilie is the mother of a small whirlwind. Her son teaches her on a daily basis about kids’ curiosity and desire to learn to do things with their own hands.
Cecilie believes that people, especially children benefit from learning to do things for themselves, not only for the skills they gain but for the self-esteem it builds. She hopes to bring her skills as an attorney and a parent to aid in the future development of LA Makerspace.
Dir. of Education: Becky Herr-Stephenson - Ph.D., Researcher, Writer, & Editor
Becky is a researcher in the area of media and learning. She is especially interested in what kids learn from media production, participating in online communities, and intensive engagement with media properties (i.e. media fandom.) She is a co-author (with Catherine Belcher) of Teaching Harry Potter: The Power of Imagination in Multicultural Classrooms, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.) The book investigates how popular media (the Harry Potter series in particular) can be used to challenge the culture of standardization and low expectations in contemporary urban schools. Becky contributed to the book that the LA Makerspace is referencing in the design of its new space: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out.
Becky earned her Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in 2008. She has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California, Irvine, a research fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and a research associate at the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC. Currently, Becky works in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University, where she manages an online journal and teaches courses on qualitative research methods.
Chief Technical Officer: Bill Lay - Ph. D., Founder & Principal, The William Lay Group
Bill is a technologist, scientist, finger-picker, avid gamer and part-time cowboy. He is an independent consultant, working in the space of data modeling, data analysis and visualization. He helps clients by providing strategy, building software solutions and training & mentoring.
His technology journey started in the 80's with an Apple II+ and has hit various coding languages along the way, more recently: C/Objective-C/C++ and SQL. Computers have been a focal point in Bill’s life, both as a hobbyist as well as a professional. He has filled various technical roles ranging from developer to director.
Bill holds a Ph.D. in Physics from UCLA where he studied theoretical condensed matter physics, with an emphasis on computational methods. He lives with his wife and son in Los Angeles. Current passions include Minecrafting, listening to and playing Jerry Reed & Chet Atkins and cattle ranching with his family.
Director of Communication: Magalis Martinez - Creative Producer & Impact Designer, DIY Days
Magalis is a Storyteller, Creative Producer and Impact Designer. Her work spans a variety of fields that include: the film, television and music industries; education; NGO’s; and youth development. Her work over the last few years has been dedicated to projects centered on Story Design for Social Impact and applying a human centered design approach to storytelling.
Recent projects include: developing a youth-driven new media design studio that trained youth in the art and craft of digital storytelling; youth-driven public health awareness campaigns, food security initiatives and systems change in early childhood education. She has consulted on film and literary projects; and with school districts on the integration of digital media arts programs across a STEM curriculum.
Director of Citizen Science: Ariel Levi Simons - Teacher, The Wildwood School & Citizen Science Director, Safecast.org
Ariel Levi Simons is a physics teacher at the Wildwood school in west Los Angeles, where he also manages a student research program. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in physics from the Illinois Institute of Technology he went to University of California, studying physics and education before graduating with both a science teaching credential and masters in education. His teaching career started with teaching high school math and science in charter and private schools in the Los Angeles area as well as English as a second language in Seoul.It was during these experiences he practiced developing various curricula based around his experiences as an undergraduate and graduate researcher. Later this idea grew from building various science courses entirely around research projects to building a course around what students would want to research. Working with his wife, and other members of the Science Teachers And Research (STAR) network, he coordinated a water quality monitoring and mapping project with a number of high schools along the California coast. This experience, in addition to being involved with the Los Angeles-based engineering and artists group CRASH Space, has formed the basis for his involvement with Safecast in their efforts to establish a community-based radiation monitoring network for Japan following the meltdown at Fukushima. Ariel is currently involved in expanding a student research network in Los Angeles, expanding Safecast to include a variety of environmental data such as air quality, and is currently managing a community lab at LA Makerspace for students in Los Angeles to develop their own projects.
Levi hosts the monthly Citizen Science meetup.
Jeff Geoffray - Producer, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of Blue Rider Entertainment, Inc., Blue Rider Pictures and Vumanity Media
Jeff Geoffray is a motion picture producer and executive with a deep knowledge of all facets of filmmaking, including financing, development, production, special effects, post-production and distribution. His passions include his family, his birthplace (Louisiana), music and “the business” of storytelling. He is one of the founders of Blue Rider Pictures, one of Hollywood’s most prolific, long established, film production companies.
Since 1999, Geoffray has been developing a product called Vumanity that can help producers in a way altogether different than bridge financing. The product is a platform for creating truly social video. Vumanity allows its users to create talk shows that can approach broadcast quality with their webcams. The ‘secret sauce’ of the technology involves algorithms that automatically edit the shows into an
attractive format that is easy to customize with your own brand.
Jeff is also a musician whose single, Bring Me Rain, from his album First Barbecue reached #14 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. His day job has kept him promoting his second album, Brand New Day. He met his wife Marcy in the same week in 1983 that he met his business partner, Walter. Jeff and Marcy have now been married since 1989 and they are blessed with two great kids.
Richard Tom, Transactional and Regulatory Attorney
Richard is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience focused in the areas of environmental compliance and permitting and governmental relations. In addition, Richard provides business consulting services in procurement and contract management and supplier diversity, and community consulting services in development project permitting.
In addition to his role with LA Makerspace, Richard is active in the California non-profit community, serving in leadership roles with Net Impact, Los Angeles Professionals Chapter, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, and the California Bar Foundation. Richard manages the Mott Street Farm, an urban microfarm experiment in Boyle Heights, serves as a non-profit consultant with the Executive Service Corps of Southern California, and as a volunteer leader for L.A. Works.
Richard holds an J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and a B.S in Applied Earth Sciences from Stanford University. Richard also attends the Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. Richard lives with his wife, Peggy, and two children in South Pasadena.
Richard's passion for technology started in the 80's with the first Apple Macintosh. Seeing how far we have come since then, Richard is excited and honored to have the opportunity to make LA Makerspace's vision for the future a reality.
Former Board Members
We appreciate the support and dedication from the following board members:
Sharon Ann Lee