Meet the team

We are proud to have such dedicated staff and a visionary steering committee.

Staff

Michael Liang
Program Director
michaell@tacomachamber.org
253.682.1722

Michael Liang came to Spaceworks in 2018 after a ten-year career as a designer and creative leader with the National Park Service. He provides vision and support to the Spaceworks staff and clients, helping the organization grow and strengthen as a pillar of Tacoma’s creative community. Liang received a B.F.A. in art and design from the University of Michigan, a certificate in natural science illustration from the University of Washington, and is currently finishing his M.S.Ed. He is passionate about building community and tapping into the transformative power of the arts for social good.

Kiara Daniels, MPA
Community Relations Specialist
kiarad@tacomachamber.org
253.682.1741

Kiara Daniels is a graduate of Tacoma’s School of the Arts, Evergreen State College in Tacoma, and Evergreen State College in Olympia where she received her Masters in Public Administration. Upon graduation, she worked for the Northwest Leadership Foundation as an AmeriCorps member, the Peace Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, and as a community organizer. Her community service is exemplified by her recent tenure on the City of Tacoma’s Hilltop Engagement Committee.

Gabriel Brown
Artscapes Coordinator
253.682.1735

Gabriel Brown joined the Spaceworks team in 2013, and currently coordinates the Artscapes program. Brown is an Artist/Garbologist, Arts Administrator, and Shoe Cobbler from the Pacific Northwest. He earned a Master’s degree in Fine Art at WSU, and served two years in Americorps before moving to Tacoma in 2011.

Gwen Kohl
Incubator Coordinator
253.682.1740
Gwen facilitates training and support for small business owners and entrepreneurs with plans for long term creative/innovative businesses that benefit Tacoma’s community. Gwen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Science, with an emphasis in system behaviors, and is currently working towards her MBA. With a passion for innovation and endless curiosity about how things work, she has found that patience, flexibility, and support networks are imperative to entrepreneurial success. Gwen has been involved in many start-ups and owner-operator endeavors, and uses art to tell science, technology, engineering, and math stories through her company The STEAM Vent.

Steering Committee

Amy McBride                          Spaceworks Steering Committee Co-chair
Arts Administrator – City of Tacoma

Amy founded Spaceworks Tacoma in 2009 in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber. Working with the Tacoma Arts Commission, Amy currently manages three funding programs for arts organizations and artists, implements public art projects, develops collaborative programming, and formulates policy. Amy came to Tacoma in 1999 after coordinating the arts program for Bellevue College’s extension program. She has presented nationally on issues of public art, temporary art installations, and civic democracy through Americans for the Arts. She holds a BA from the University of Colorado-Boulder in French and Art History. Post-grad work includes a stint in the sculpture department at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington. She earned a Masters degree with a focus on Urban Arts from the University of Washington-Tacoma in 2010.

David Schroedel, AICP              Spaceworks Steering Committee Co-chair
Metropolitan Development Director, Business Improvement Area Manager, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

David provides oversight for a number of Chamber programs such as downtown Tacoma’s Business Improvement Area, Tacoma’s transportation management association Downtown On the Go, and Spaceworks Tacoma. Before joining the Chamber, David operated his own consulting firm, Schroedel Planning Services, where he worked with a variety of public and private clients on development and land use issues. David has also worked as a community planner and community forester in private, public, and non-profit organizations.

Ben Mauk
Real Estate Manager — University of Washington Tacoma

Ben works with the UW Tacoma Campus Planning and Real Estate team to transform UW Tacoma’s 80,000 square feet of retail space into a regional shopping and dining destination. Prior to moving to Tacoma in 2008, Ben earned an MPA from the University of North Carolina School of Government, focusing on identifying new ways to leverage higher education resources for community and economic development. He spent several years working with universities in Appalachia to build campus-community partnerships for job creation. This work resulted in a new business incubator in Tennessee, student-based research services for county economic developers on the North Carolina-Tennessee border, last-mile broadband to underserved areas in southwest Virginia, and other projects.

KC Bitterman 

KC brings a diverse set of interests and experience to Spaceworks. After dropping out of art school, and working in skilled trades including cabinetry and scientific glassblowing, she returned to college to get a BA from the University of Hawaii. Since that time she’s focused on working with artists, art spaces and facilities, and social service nonprofits to find the funding that sustains the mission and helps to make the world a more just, equitable, interesting, and beautiful place.

Ryan Spence

Ryan Spence is an entrepreneur, designer, and product developer. He has worked on a variety of projects in the Puget sound region, including being the lead designer and builder for Elevate Climbing Walls and relocating Elevate’s production facility to Tacoma from Seattle. He has designed indoor rock climbing facilities for multiple gyms including Climb Tacoma, The Climbing wall at The University of Puget Sound, The Island Rock Gym, and the Vertical World Gyms in Seattle and Redmond.

Ryan also advocates for public skateparks, participates in the city planning process, and curates The Flashback Scuba Museum. He is a published author and serves on the Board of the Historical Diving Society USA.

Ryan brings his background and experience in design, planning, business, and community development to the Spaceworks team.

JD Elquist

Retail Advocate — Downtown Tacoma Partnership 

 JD is a creative entrepreneur with 8 years’ experience owning and operating businesses in Downtown Tacoma. He has a history as an event producer, marketer, and promoter with a portfolio that includes fashion shows, pop-up markets, and networking events. He first was connected to Spaceworks as a client in 2011 through his men’s clothing store, Feather & Oar. He later went on to open vintage stores, salons, and barbershops. JD is passionate about cultivating relationships and building community through out-of-the-box ideas and collaboration. He is currently the Retail Advocate for the Downtown Tacoma Partnership.

Past Steering Committee Members

  • Kevin Grossman 
    Spaceworks Steering Committee 2013-2018
    President and Managing Broker –  Grossman Services, Inc. 
  • Alison Bryan
    Spaceworks Steering Committee 2015-2016
    Owner—The Modern Cottage Company & Spaceworks Alum
  • Katy Evans
    Spaceworks Steering Committee 2010-2015
    The Grand Cinema, Assistant Executive Director; Post Defiance, Managing Editor, Operations & Community Partnerships
  • Ben Ferguson
    Spaceworks Steering Committee 2010-2014
    Ferguson Architecture, Managing Principal