2019 RBAC Worker Profiles

RBAC spotlight:Ken Gillgren

Ken Gillgren is the Tech Strategist at RBAC. Ken was raised in Milwaukee and has been in Seattle since 1992. One of his favorite books is Smiley’s People. His favorite dish is a Korean dish called Sundubu (A soft tofu stew) with typical Korean side dishes. Two of his favorite movies are Fearless with Jeff Bridges and A Beautiful Mind. One of his favorite places to travel to with his wife is the San Juan Islands. There is whale watching observatory in the lighthouse where there is a chance to see some wildlife.

He has been with RBAC for almost 10 years. Before RBAC was RBAC he joined Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition. (RBCEC) around 2011. That is almost 10 years serving the Rainier Beach Community. One of his proudest moments at RBAC was the Bootcamp training people in community news skills. He recruited several young people to help. After working with them for a week, they did a week-long boot camp with several other people from the corner greeter program. During this boot camp, they created the badges and milestones for community newz training. Something he would like to see in Rainier Beach is more gardens and locally produced honey. He would also like to see a journalism class back at Rainier Beach High School.

RBAC has allowed Ken to bring parts of his life together, his community development work and tech skills especially, freedom next. He is grateful to be in a neighborhood as lively and dynamic as Rainier Beach.

RBAC Spotlight: Patrice Thomas


<strong>Patrice Thomas is the strategist at RBAC. She has been working for RBAC since 2012. Her favorite movie is Tombstone. Tombstone is a country-western movie about family, friends and making good or bad decisions. Her favorite subject in school was science. She likes to sleep when she is not working in a room that is preferably 80 degrees Patrice likes watching TV and Seattle weather. Take it easy type of days.  Born and raised in the South End of Seattle. Her favorite place to travel to is New Orleans. Her mom’s side of the family is from Louisiana. They’re not from New Orleans but enjoys New Orleans because it has so much history, art and free culture. Even throughout the storms/weather, New Orleans is still a great place to visit. She loves soul food. Besides that, her favorite dish is jerk chicken pasta from Bahama Breeze. And if she has enough room in her stomach she gets a Key Lime pie and a banana shake.</strong>


<strong>One of the things she is proudest of during her time at RBAC is helping them get into the office space they are in now. She knew the property owner because her mom rents a house from him. He owns multiple houses in Rainier Beach and he actually wanted to develop the property that RBAC is currently located. A job that helped improve people’s lives. She was able to gain her professional legs and prowess from a neighborhood organization. A neighborhood that she is from and grew up in.</strong>


Jeremiah Conyers

Messiah Fagerholm

This gentleman is Messiah who is a part of the Beach 5 program. He is also the person responsible for most of the videos that are on the RBAC or FreedomNet website. Also the person responsible for the Corner Greeters flyer design and the Facebook banner on Rainier Beach’s website.  A lot of time he works alone on the Olympics computer. He estimates that he has done at least 7-10 video for RBAC. Considering how labor intensive video editing can be this is very impressive. He goes to school for design, animation, and things of that nature. So in a couple of years, you can find him in the rolling credits of the next great animated movie.  He is currently working on a video for the Othello Square Festival that RBAC recently dispatched a Community Newz team to. Before he started on this video he added the finishing touches on the Rainier Beach Emergency Communication Emergency Hub drill video. Look for his work up on the website soon! Messiah also graduated from Rainier Beach High School and was also a member of the breakdancing team. If you are lucky enough you might find JJ and Messiah in a dance battle at one of our events.

Messiah works with a lot of the technical stuff. He does a lot of media management and handles a lot of RBAC’s social media work. He is the person to go to if you need help with a camera or any other equipment. He has been doing more of design work. Making posters and focusing on our physical media.   His first personal project was the banner for our Facebook page. Which turned out very well. For the summer he is working on a personal project creating a brochure of all the art installments in the Rainier Beach. Hopefully, his project can be converted digitally shown on the website. His favorite color is blue although he isn’t sure which shade of blue. His favorite place that he has traveled to is Hawaii. The sand and the ocean are beautiful there. He also has a lot a love for Los Angeles. Some things you should know about him are that he’s very nice, and is really close to his friends.  If he could pick any superpower he would pick teleportation. Although he enjoys riding his bike, teleportation would be great in a pinch.


Amanda Lopez-Castanon is our Food Innovation Center Director. She’s the lady on the left in the picture below. The picture is of the judges for the first Rainier Beach Grill Off Held at Beer Sheva Park. It was the third in a series of gatherings there to promote the development of a RB waterfront at Beer Sheva Park with a 50’x150′ paved boardwalk.

Anyway Amanda does much more than judge culinary arts contest. She has a history of running large scale food service venues. It’s this experience, and the fact she’s a great cook,  that excited RBAC’s leadership as we sought skilled workers to help develop the “Food Innovation Center” in Rainier Beach. Amanda has been at RBAC for almost three months. Her official title is director of the Food Innovation Center. Which is a project that being incorporated from the neighborhood plan many years ago.A facility designed around  some programs that will help community members learn how to start a business, give them a space to support their food business She hails from Lafayette, LA. She came to Seattle after living in Los Angeles for a number of years. She wanted to try something new and moved to Seattle. In her free time she likes to play soccer with her son and husband. She loves spending time with her family. She loves cooking and getting creative with food! She likes to work in her yard, do DIY projects in her house, and dinner parties. If she could eat one food for the rest of her life it would be Pho. If it was her last meal she would have a fried chicken dinner.  Her favorite book is Native Son especially as she got older and grew to understand it better. One of her favorite places to travel to is Mexico. It’s a big country with lots to explore. The cultures, climates , and foods are different. She also like Europe because there is a lot of history there. She believes working at RBAC can contribute a lot to her life and the work she does. RBAC is community focused and she has always been a person that wants to connect with her community. She is enjoying her time at RBAC.

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