Burning Man's Senior Staff is an advisory body that gathers, discusses, and disseminates operational and administrative information between the managers, management teams, Burning Man committees, staff, and community. The Senior Staff make recommendations to the Executive Committee and the Black Rock City Operations Team on subjects that have an impact on multiple areas of the organization. We focus on creating common understanding of the organization's standards, values, policies and processes. We are a body of mutual support and through our collaborative efforts we discover new ways to sustain and grow the event.
Beth first heard the siren call of the playa in 1997, and attended her first event in 2002. Having heard about "free-spirited people doing art in the desert", she was intrigued and wanted to learn more. She had a wonderful time, and vowed to be back. Little did she know Burning Man would become a full time focus.
After enjoying the wonders of the Floating World, Beth moved to London for a couple of years to pursue a degree in art history. But the siren call still echoed, and Beth quickly found a way to incorporate Burning Man's ground breaking art efforts into her studies. Her master's thesis was on how Burning Man is creating new artists and a new museum space. While in London, she began doing some work for the art department, supporting Crimson Rose, and returned to the States for the summer to do work in the office. Working in the art department gave Beth the chance to leverage her years of marketing and project management experience while also pursuing her passion for art.
Wrangling artists and volunteers has now become a primary focus for Beth well, secondary to her son and one that gives her excitement each day to see what crazy, beautiful, eccentric, out of this world ideas people want to bring to the playa.
Duane Hoover (aka Big Bear) serves as the Team Manager for the LEAL Team. This group, charged with the role of being Burning Man's primary Law Enforcement and Agency Liaison, affords an opportunity for Duane to apply his experience as an organizational consultant and Professor of Management. This experience, combined with five years in the role of Ranger Director (Rangering since 1997), has allowed Duane to not only become familiar with many of the primary Law Enforcement and Agency personnel, but also to develop positive, long term working relationships with them.
As a member of the Burning Man Senior Staff, Duane directs his efforts towards assisting Burning Man in reaching its various goals, as well as acting as an interface between Burning Man and those various entities that have regulatory responsibility over our beloved annual gathering. When asked what his experience is like on playa, he says "It is a non stop process involving riding the edge of chaos, done under often frustrating conditions, using a set of tools and a time frame ill suited to the purpose." Duane also reports that he gets to go to a lot of meetings on the playa, a place he first approached in 1996 as a break to get away from meetings. On this topic, the quote is "But going to meetings on behalf of Burning Man and the citizens of Black Rock City is not burdensome work in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, it is an act reflecting both a love of the Burning Man community of kindred spirits and a devotion to what Burning Man has become and will evolve to be. Facilitating successful and desirable outcomes in that context is so joyous that doing it does not feel like 'work' at all."
Duane, over the years, has been a college professor, owned a beer distributorship, managed his consulting company, formed his own auto race team, owned and managed radio stations, and even acted as a Morning Show air personality. He spends what spare time he has reading Burning Man e-mails, and working on a book on motivation, leadership, and management.
Playground came to Burning Man in 1995. From San Francisco, she drove what seemed like all night, sleeping on the side of the road, to wake up and continue driving to see the desert in the beautiful morning light. Now the drive is no big deal (and seems WAY shorter) and she drives it many times a year for DPW work weekends and the production of the Burning Man event.
Playground has the ability to make order out of disorder and find the clarity in the chaos. This aids in the juggling of human resources/volunteerism, resource management and scheduling that helps make DPW tick. Playground has held at a wide range of jobs from OddzOn (home to the Koosh Ball and the Vortex Football) to a medical research facility to house painting. Her hobbies include reading, watching movies, problem solving and ceramics.
Kate was unwittingly lured onto the playa in 2001 as a medical provider having no idea whatsoever what she was getting into. Asked to act as a medical care provider, she was picked up at the Reno airport and delivered to the playa by a stranger named Grog and the next morning awoke to tutus and fur, blinky art cars tootling by, and a hand-delivered espresso/fresh oatmeal combo breakfast. That blind date with the playa immediately turned into a rapturous love affair with the event and she now acts as Medical Branch Chief and the Deputy Chief of Emergency Operations.
Kate is a nurse holding a masters degree in Clinical Leadership and has an extensive background in the Emergency Medicine and Clinical Informatics specialties. She lives with her family on a five acre piece of heaven atop the coastal range north of San Francisco , building things while daydreaming the next project, and planting, harvesting, and indulging in a spectacular organic garden. When she’s not reprimanding the deer and gophers following their regular pillaging forays, she enjoys all things outdoors, especially if there are endorphins, swimming holes, solitude, and kick ass scenery involved.
After years of listening to people talk about this thing called "Burning Man" and wondering what all the fuss was about, Kristy finally made the trek to the Black Rock Desert in 2003 and was immediately awestruck by the larger than life scale of the event and the swiftness with which the playa destroyed her shade structure. A trained sociologist who is eternally fascinated by the 'why' and 'how' of things, Kristy began volunteering in 2005 in order to figure out how this crazy gathering in the desert comes to be every year. Still able to picture that very first person she encountered after turning off the highway, she knew without question that Gate was where she wanted to be to be that first person to welcome others.
In 2007 she took on the task of helping to organize people and things in the department (read: making lots of spreadsheets). She soon became the Volunteer Coordinator and her role has evolved organically every year since then. She is now the Department Manager, which basically means she spends a lot of time trying to make sense out of chaos.
Kristy's non-Burning Man endeavors include working as a project manager in non-profit social science research, traveling with the other freaks in her volunteer-run circus, and figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up. She is passionately curious, can out-question you to death, and is at optimum performance when she has one too many things to do, which is most of the time.
Marcia grew up on a defunct dairy farm in Massachusetts, luring neighborhood kids into her dirt-floored cellar for Halloween parties where the cobwebs and creepy-crawlies were *not* props. She worked summers in Pilgrim garb at Plymouth Plantation, and attended her first day of elementary school dressed as a fairy princess.
She escaped the confines of colonial thinking after college and landed in the Bay Area, where she worked in advertising and created large-scale fabric installations for corporate events. In 1984, Marcia co-founded Climate Theater, perhaps best known for the Solo Mio Festival, which introduced solo performance as a legitimate art form, and which received many awards, including the prestigious NEA Advancement Award.
While producing thematic, art-filled costume events such as GlasHaus, Bunny Jam, Anon Salon, and Sea of Dreams have kept her busy over the last 25 years, she still found time to open the seminal Icon Byte Bar and Grill ('94 - '95), lauded with a color spread in the New York Times for being the first internet restaurant – though she mostly just enjoyed creating the recycled-technology decor.
Marcia's first burn was in 1994, and she began volunteering for the Man in 1996. Marcia currently manages both the Center Camp Cafe and Arctica (Ice) departments. Off-playa, Marcia is the Events Coordinator for Burning Man's Special Events Team, which produces the annual Decompression street celebration.
In 1997 Matt Morgan (aka HazMatt) graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a prestigious and eminently employable degree in English. Soon after, he was willing to take anything that came along that would pay the bills. He answered one of those ads that asked, "Do you want to surf the web and get paid for it?" And who wouldn't! So, he ended up weaseling his way into an Austin dot com and enjoyed the collateral profit that came from working at a company that epitomized the flagrant spending of the boom.
Then in 2000 he came to Burning Man, had an amazing experience and decided he wanted to live like he was on the Playa all the time. Luckily, in the early part of 2001 Matt was laid off. This freed him to do things like not work and to make plans to ride a bike out to Nevada and sign on with the Black Rock City Department of Public Works. He did actually ride from Reno to Gerlach that summer and, due in large part to really bad planning, the ride was astoundingly difficult and dangerous.
Matt enjoyed several weeks working out doors at a wide variety of tasks, almost none of which he was qualified for but which he attempted enthusiastically. At that time there was a need for another person in the Gerlach office to help the Purchasing department and having only recently escaped the data mines, it made sense that he help out where he was must useful. In 2002 HazMatt moved to San Francisco and began working.
Four years later, as the DPW Business Superintendent, Matt manages the Purchasing department which handles procurement for DPW and other departments as needed. He is also part of the DPW Council, the group that manages the overall operations of the Department of Public Works. As a member of senior staff, Matt broadly represents DPW Management with a focus on the Purchasing department.
Moebius (along with C-Load and Spider) is responsible for the management of Perimeter, Gate, and Exodus. His first Burning Man was in 1995, when drawn by a Cacophony society newsletter he headed out into the unknown (armed with only shiskebabs for sustenance). The next year, Moebius returned, unveiling the 'Frequency Publica' public access radio station. Starting in 1997 Moebius worked with the rangers, forming (with Hail Mary) the 'Burn Activity Team' or BATS, responsible for perimeter security for fire events.
At some point in the dark of a night in 1997, 'The Perimeter' called, urging Moebius to head to the verge of Black Rock City to experience the event from another angle. Moebius continued his activities with the BATS for a time, but eventually became the full time manager of 'Perimeter' taking it from a part-time (albeit effective) operation to a 24x7 department with upwards of 100 staff.
After 13 years, Moebius continues to return, drawn by the friendship and energy of the amazing Burning Man staff.
Susan Bernosky, aka Sweetthang, was born in Columbus, Ohio, but doesn’t consider that home. Five states, one natural disaster and seven siblings later, she finally landed in Gretna, LA where she prefers to claim her roots. Eventually abandoning her brothers, sisters, parents and high school at 17, she joined a cult, became a vegetarian and had a baby in California. Over the next 20 years, in addition to preparing for the end of the world, she raised three children and honed her skills as a recording studio grunt, pharmacy clerk, motorcyclist, and insurance salesman. She learned two lessons from these experiences: using intuition is not cheating, and there is no limit to what one can accomplish.
In 1997, the same year she started her now-thriving insurance business from scratch, Sweetthang was gifted a ticket to Burning Man. She admits to being a spectator for a mere 1˝ days. The next year she returned as a volunteer for the Greeters, for whom she was project manager from 1999 to 2004. After a year off she returned as a member of the Placement Team and then accepted her current position of Placement Project Manager in 2008. As the Placement Project Manager, Sweetthang is responsible for the care and feeding of a team responsible for Registered Theme Camp Placement on playa and the year-round communication and planning required to accomplish this task. They also manage additional placement needs prior to the opening of the event for the volunteers, staff and artists that create their home in Black Rock City.
She thinks her Gemini nature and life lessons account for her ability to play and succeed in two totally different sandboxes. She attributes her success in life to three rules: love your family, take care of your body and live true to yourself.
Terry Schoop graduated from the San Jose State University with a degree in Graphic Design. Rejecting the notion of pursuing a career in advertising, Terry obtained training in computer graphics working for business graphics vendors first in his native east bay, and then the silicon valley. Shortly thereafter he found himself serving the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, where as a vendor since 1987, he has been bringing graphic 'order from the chaos' of medical research theory and data.
His second year on the playa, Terry joined the Burning Man Lamp Lighters in 1999, and moved from Luminary, to Volunteer Coordinator, to Council Member, then to Project Manager in 2004. Along the way he designed LL posters, t-shirts, and necklace charms, built Greeter booths at the Ranch, and worked just a little on playa art installations, including 2001's Spinnin' Anemone Carousel, and several of the Temple Crew projects.
At the conclusion of 2004, Terry resigned from Lamp Lighter leadership, only to accept a new senior staff position, overseeing the management of nine of Black Rock City's Community Service Departments: Airport, Earth Guardians, Greeters, Lamp Lighters, Placement, Playa Info, Recycle Camp, Shuttle Bus, and the Volunteer Resource Team.
The Coyote or Tony Perez has been coming to the Northern Nevada desert from San Francisco to work on Burning Man since 1996 and embraced the project by setting the spires on the promenade. Coming from a background of music, entertainment, and the night side, it was easy for him to take to the expressive nature of the event and after six years, he's now the Site Manager and a Sr. Staff Consultant. This job encompasses the building and striking of Black Rock City and the management of the crews there in, and puts him out on site in the field doing the actual hands on work with his crew for a nine-week duration. During the rest of the year he sings and plays the saxophone in his own band called "Second Hand Smoke" and does some casual bartending in a neighborhood bar in San Francisco. Though his roots are in the city, the call of the high desert brings him back every year as well as the satisfaction of bringing the magnificence of Black Rock City to fruition... unless the surf's up.
Wally first came to Burning Man in 1997 with a group of friends who had been going for a couple years and couldn't stop talking about it. The event left quite an impression, and he has been throwing more and more of his life into it and the Burner community ever since.
Having participated in community service most of his life from serving food to the homeless on Christmas Day as a youth, to years spent volunteering on a crisis hotline as a young adult, and recently sitting on the Board of non-profit after-school arts program for at-risk youth, Mariposa's Art it naturally followed that he would volunteer with Burning Man. He has been involved in many aspects of the Burning Man project over the years, including managing the Exodus team, sitting on the Rangers management team, and managing the Department of Mutant Vehicles. In 2009, Wally took over management of the Playa Safety Council.
Wally has a degree in Business Management with a focus on small business and entrepreneurship. He also has a degree in Culinary Arts. Passionate about food and cooking, he spent most of his life cooking before moving on to other endeavors. He still loves to cook whenever possible. He also runs a security business that provides services for burner type events around the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
In 2000, Wilfredo Sánchez was asked by a college buddy if he was interested in going to Burning Man. With a big product launch happening that week, he decided to go for the first half of the event. That wasn't enough; he returned to work, let everyone know he was taking the rest of the week off as well, and hasn't missed a day of the festival since. He now camps annually with a group of people that he loves dearly, most of whom he met at the event.
In order to help him meet more people in Black Rock City, he volunteered for Playa Info and the Black Rock Rangers (call sign: Tool) in 2001. He was a shift manager at Playa Info for a few years and had a brief but intense stint with the Greeters, but found his home with the Rangers, where he became a shift lead, then part of the Ranger leadership and eventually a member of the Ranger Council and Senior Staff. Tool is now one of three Ranger Operations Managers, who oversee the overall activities of Rangers "in the field." His real claim to fame, however, is meeting and marrying the cutest Ranger of them all: Answergirl.
Wilfredo is a software engineering manager by trade and a private pilot who has made numerous flights to the Black Rock Desert.
Rebecca has been Burning Man's head of Ticketing since 2007. She first attended Burning Man in 1999 and began working with the organization as a volunteer in 2001 with the Center Camp Café. Seeing firsthand the need to foster community and create organization to support the 500+ volunteer base of the Café, she pioneered the role of Volunteer Community Manager. She continues to focus on ticketing strategies that support community, as well as facilitating critical communications to the Burning Man community through producing the annual printed Survival Guide and WhatWhereWhen handbook of participant events. Prior to her experience with Burning Man, Rebecca has been an artist, worked in branding and creative direction, business innovation strategy, and finance. When not working on Burning Man projects, she is happily raising two young Burners in her native San Francisco.
(Last update: 2013)