People

Organizers

(RESIGNED) Michael Leung is the lead organizer of the proposed “Worker Cooperative Federal Credit Union” (unchartered). He has a B.S. in Engineering Physics (2000) from the University of California Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Physics (2006) from Princeton University. His physics research includes cosmology, accelerator, and particle physics experiments. Mike has since done theoretical work on the worker cooperative capital structure. He is also the founder of Abolish Human Rentals, which lays out principled arguments for a modern abolitionist movement. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Subscribers (Elects Initial Board of Directors)

The following people have agreed to serve as subscribers for the proposed credit union. The NCUA approved these people to serve as subscribers in May 2011.

Mark Fick is the Senior Loan/Program Officer with the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).  Mark’s work at CCLF is focused on lending to affordable housing, cooperatives and community based organizations. Additionally, Mark coordinates the CCLF technical assistance and training program to provide workshops, technical resources and referrals to community development projects with a specific focus on sustainable design and cooperative housing.

Mark has worked on a variety of grassroots community development and organizing campaigns over the past fifteen years. He serves as a board member of the Northside Community Federal Credit Union and was a co-founder of the Stone Soup Cooperative, a social justice housing cooperative in Chicago.  Mark also serves on the board of NASCO Development Services, a development assistance group serving student and community housing cooperatives across North America.  Before joining CCLF, he was the Associate Director of the Chicago Mutual Housing Network and the Technical Assistance Coordinator with Statewide Housing Action Coalition (now Housing Action Illinois).  Mark is a graduate of the Urban Developers Program at the University of Illinois Chicago.

(RESIGNED) Tim Huet is a founder of the Association of Arizmendi Cooperatives, an enterprise aimed at replicating successful worker cooperatives. The Association has launched in the San Francisco Bay Area five new bakery cooperatives. As part of the Association’s Development & Support Cooperative that helps launch new cooperatives and provides technical assistance to the established outlets, Tim participates in writing business plans; raising start-up capital; negotiating leases; and training workers in democratic business management. He also serves as in-house legal counsel.

During his five years as a worker-owner at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative – as Rainbow grew to be the West’s largest worker cooperative – Tim served in the following capacities: Conflict Resolution Team Coordinator, Personnel Procedures Specialist, and Facilitation Team Coordinator. He was one of the founders the Worker Ownership Fund and a member of the founding board of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives.  He has served multiple terms on the board of the Western Worker Cooperative Conference and currently serves on the boards of the California Center for Cooperative Development and the Democracy at Work Institute. He served on the Supervisory Committee of his local credit union, the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union.  He resides in a limited equity housing cooperative in Oakland, California.

(RESIGNED) Dave Karoly has been involved with Bay Area worker cooperatives, small business and credit unions for the last 20 years. He is a cofounder of and is currently a part-time staff person with the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC), the oldest and largest regional organization of democratic workplaces in the U.S. In addition, Dave cofounded and worked in a Berkeley printing cooperative, New Earth Press, from 1991 through 2000. He has also worked with the Association of Arizmendi Cooperatives in 2002-2003 providing bookkeeping support, training and financial analysis to the
Oakland and San Francisco Arizmendi bakeries. Moreover, he has done many workshops and presentations over the years and has helped organize several worker cooperative conferences, including the 2000 and 2001 Western Worker Cooperative Conferences (west coast regional conferences) and the 2004 and 2007 NoBAWC Bay Area worker cooperative conferences.

Melissa Hoover serves as the Executive Director of the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, the national membership organization for worker cooperatives, and is a founding director of the nonprofit Democracy at Work Institute, which provides technical assistance and information to organizations and individuals starting or expanding worker cooperatives. She also works with the Arizmendi Association’s development and support cooperative, helping start new cooperatives and providing training and ongoing support for existing Arizmendi cooperatives. Melissa has worked with worker cooperatives and small businesses to strengthen all aspects of financial management, with a focus on creating effective systems and trainings. In addition to several years’ experience on financial and management teams of Bay Area worker cooperatives, she has also provided consulting and cooperative development services to worker cooperatives for several years. She has been a featured speaker and trainer at regional and national conferences. She holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University with a research focus on cooperative movements.

Thomas Butler recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, and is currently traveling in the interest of personal and professional co-operative discovery and exploration. In high school Thomas helped start an unofficial cooking co-op.  This led him to the 21st St. College Houses Cooperative, where he lived while in school at UT. In addition to House level officer positions, he became heavily involved at the Board level of College Houses, serving as Chairman of the Membership Education and Marketing Committee, Corporate Treasurer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors.  Thomas currently sits on the Board of Directors of the North American Students of Co-operation (NASCO), where he Co-Chairs the Membership Engagement Committee.

(RESIGNED) Newell Lessel is president of the ICA-group.  With a background in domestic and international economic development, Mr. Lessell has over 15 years of for-profit and not-for-profit management experience. While at ICA he has founded several social purpose ventures, developed the business plans for each of ICA’s first three staffing companies, and helped raise over 3 million dollars of capital for social purpose ventures.  He is the founding director of the national Alternative Staffing Alliance, which ICA manages. Prior to joining ICA, he worked as a management consultant in Central Europe.  Mr. Lessell has also designed and taught courses on entrepreneurship and financial analysis. He has a MBA from the Yale School of Management and a B.A. from Amherst College.

Steven Yarak is the Business Team Leader at Black Star Co-op, the world’s first co-operatively owned brewpub. A multi-stakeholder co-operative with 17 worker-owners and more than 2,600 consumer-owners, Black Star Co-op was founded in 2006 and opened for business in 2010. While a love of craft beer provided the initial force behind the enterprise, Steven’s passion for the co-operative movement and building a vibrant co-operative economy has become his primary motivation. To this end, Steven participates in the Austin Co-op Think Tank, has served as a regional Director on the Board of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, and worked with the Filene Research Institute’s i3 program to try and increase business lending from credit unions to small co-ops.

Advisory Board

(RESIGNED) David Ellerman works in the fields of economics and political economy, social theory and philosophy, and in mathematics. His undergraduate degree was in philosophy at M.I.T. (’65), and he has Masters degrees in Philosophy of Science (’67) and in Economics (’68), and a doctorate in Mathematics (’71) all from Boston University. He has been in and out of teaching in economics, mathematics, accounting, computer science, and operations research departments in various universities (1970-90), founded and managed a consulting firm in East Europe (1990-2), and worked in the World Bank from 1992 to 2003 where he was an economic advisor to the Chief Economist (Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern). Now he is a visiting scholar at the University of California in Riverside. Of particular relevance to worker cooperatives is his work on property theory, worker ownership, economic democracy, and democratic theory.

Christopher Mackin is the founder and President of Ownership Associates. He has worked professionally in the field of employee ownership for twenty-eight years. Chris is a frequent speaker in both the United States and Europe to groups interested in issues of corporate governance and organizational change and is also a regular contributor to newspapers and periodicals on the topic of employee ownership. After graduating from Georgetown University in 1974, Chris served as a Sidney Harman Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University from 1978 to 1980 researching leading models of American industrial relations. He later completed a Doctorate in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His Doctoral thesis was entitled The Social Psychology of Ownership. In addition to his work in the field of employee ownership, Chris is active in the field of ethical commerce and with efforts to promote alternatives to sweatshop working conditions.

Other Organizers

The following people have contributed to our organizing efforts in various capacities.

Brent Emerson is a founding worker-owner at Electric Embers Cooperative and a worker cooperative activist. He served on NoBAWC‘s first Board (2006) and is a member of the advisory board of the Worker Ownership Fund. Brent previously worked as a technology consultant to progressive nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay area and was a founding member of the tech underground. He graduated from Brown University in 1998 with a B.A. in Philosophy (Logic & Philosophy of Science) and Mathematics, and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Kasper Koczab has been a part-time staffer for the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) since June 2007 and is the founder of a small collective developing “neighborhood pride” posters that promote strong local economies and vibrant well-informed communities. His passion for co-ops began with his involvement in the Berkeley Free Clinic, a volunteer-run collective of lay healthcare providers, where he volunteered as medic and phlebotomist for seven years. He’s since turned his focus to co-op development and in 2009 had the privilege of working as Storewide Steering Committee Secretary at San Francisco’s Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. Kasper is now focused on building NoBAWC’s capacity to deliver products and services to its members, coop start-ups, and the general public. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Anthropology and previously worked as a product manager for an international housewares company and as a development associate for a nonprofit working to create sustainable foodshed policies for the greater Bay Area. In his free time he organizes
spectacular fundraising events for his favorite community organizations and grassroots projects.

Dan Kluger is a cooperative accountant.

Lisa Stolarski is a founding member of Jane Street Housekeeping and is on the board of East End Food Coop. She is doing coop administration and development work through Keystone Development Center. Lisa was the coordinator for a study-group manual called A Discussion Course on Cooperatives which covers many coop industries, perspectives and types of coops. She studied Philosophy and Critical Theory and currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Brendan Martin works with the The Working World a fund that supports worker cooperatives in Argentina.

Chris Michael attended Columbia University for the study of Physics and Political Philosophy. Upon receipt of his baccalaureate, Michael lectured in Mathematics at Wadleigh Secondary School. He later relocated to Berlin in the capacity of a Translator and Copywriter, adapting international corporate campaigns for clients such as BMW, Mercedes and Nescafé. He is currently pursuing a JD/PhD (Politics) at the City University of New York.

Ridwan Schleicher is a member of the Cheese Board in Berkeley CA.

Ajowa Ifateyo works with Grassroots Economics Organizing a bimonthly newsletter that reports on worker cooperatives and community-based economies in the U.S. and world wide, and their development through local cooperative action. She is involved with grassroots organizing to build and finance worker-owned, democratically run, community based, ecologically sustainable enterprises.

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