It takes a lot of extraordinary people to make Waterloo Greenway an extraordinary park.
They’re champions of gnarled tree roots and curious waterfowl. Advocates of grass blades tangled in hair and sun-warmed benches. Staunch supporters of hip-shaking and head-bobbing and stewards of happy little giggles and big oohs and ahhs. They love everything that Waterloo Greenway is and will become. And they’re working hard to make sure that you love your park just as much.
Waterloo Greenway demands an exceptional leader. After an extensive search in 2015, we chose Peter and he chose us. He brought with him a decade of experience with the High Line, a public park in New York City that’s a global model for next-generation public spaces. As former executive vice president of Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit that founded, funds, and oversees the High Line, he directed the physical development of the 1.5-mile park. He also played a central role in policy, advocacy, and operations. An architect by training, he previously led a series of master planning and design projects for universities and cultural institutions. He’s a graduate of Princeton University and the Yale School of Architecture.
Melissa engages the community in interactive initiatives designed to spark a diverse and inclusive dialogue on Waterloo Greenway planning and programs. She also guides our efforts at City Hall, where she developed strong relationships while leading Capital Metro’s strategic plan for the future of Central Texas transportation. A first-generation Texan Latina, Melissa was the transit organization’s first Spanish-speaking spokesperson. Melissa holds a B.J. in journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin.
Kim is transforming the visionary 11-acre construction project at Waterloo Park into an on-time, on-budget reality. Her passion for revitalizing natural and historical spaces saw her previously managing the construction and deferred maintenance program of the Alamo Complex. As a member of the Alamo Master Plan Management Committee, she guided adoption of a $450 million reimagining of the site and visitor experience. Kim earned an M.S. in historic preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“What do you want Waterloo Greenway to be?” That’s the critical question Meredith gives all of the Austin community an opportunity to answer through ongoing public programs, community engagement, and communications. She previously led communication and engagement efforts for “Imagine Austin,” the City of Austin’s plan for the future. She earned an M.A. in Latin American studies and an M.S. in community and regional planning from The University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a history of art and architecture degree from Rice University.
You can call Michelle project manager of the southern section of Waller Creek or an urban ecology and conservationist extraordinaire. Lucky for Waterloo Greenway, she’s both. Strengthening the delicate bond between parks and people was also her charge as an environmental designer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin (UT). A Sustainable SITES Initiative accredited professional, she earned a master’s in landscape architecture from the UT School of Architecture and a B.S. in environmental studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Emily keeps us from going up Waller Creek without the proverbial paddle by making sure our beautiful home base at Symphony Square runs flawlessly. This native Austinite came to us after working in the sustainable agriculture movement for over 10 years, most recently serving as president of the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association. She previously worked at the SIMS Foundation, where she was instrumental in the formation of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Emily holds a degree in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.
Homer amplifies the voice of Waterloo Greenway by sharing our organization’s efforts, successes, and needs through a variety of communication channels. Prior to joining our team, he was the social media manager and video editor at Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts in New Braunfels, TX. He also interned at the Texas Film Commission after graduating from Texas State University in 2014 with a B.A. in mass communication and electronic media.
Sherri, aka “the grant guru,” is the vital link between our organization and funding opportunities that align with the Waterloo Greenway mission and vision. She manages every step in the grant cycle, including crafting can’t-turn-down proposals, reporting, monitoring, and creating strong funder relationships. She came to us from Austin Habitat for Humanity, where she was Director of Grants and Contracts. Sherri holds a B.A.A.S in nonprofit studies from the University of North Texas.
Major gifts make a major difference to Waterloo Greenway — and it’s Evvie who ensures that we successfully identify, cultivate, and honor them. This long-time Austinite has worked as a professional fundraiser for local Austin nonprofits, such as El Buen Samaritano, KIPP Austin, and Foundation Communities. She also spent nine years at Public Strategies, where she managed strategic communications and outreach for nonprofit organizations and corporations. She began her career working for Vice President Al Gore in Washington, D.C. Evvie holds a B.A. in history from Vanderbilt University.
As Director of Park Operations at Waterloo Greenway, Martin is responsible for establishing and maintaining the daily upkeep standards for our marvelous destinations. Originally from Jamaica, Martin has spent the past 14 years leading operations at well-esteemed urban parks. He was manager of Bryant Park and then VP of Operations at the High Line in NYC before moving to Florida to head up operations for Miami-Dade County’s Parks Department. Martin holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College, CUNY.
The vast mountain of financial records and details that represent Waterloo Greenway’s progress are kept accurate and compliant by Sumner. She was formerly finance administrator for a nonprofit for seven years and held various financial analyst positions at Stratus Properties and Eastbridge Partners. She also underwrote acquisitions and built valuation models for real estate development at Hatfield Philips in Atlanta. Sumner holds a B.B.A in finance from Georgia State University.
Kelly empowers our CEO, board, and committees to focus on transformation instead of administration and coordination. Before becoming an indispensable part of our team, she was expanding our city’s trailheads of learning as a development assistant at The University of Texas Libraries. She was also an associate teacher at Success Academy Charter Schools in New York. Kelly holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communications from the University of South Carolina.
John is at the helm of Waterloo Greenway capital project, skillfully weaving together the efforts of the project managers, the City of Austin, and the design team. With roots in sustainable city planning and community engagement, he has provided forward-looking solutions to a vast array of project management, design, and programming challenges across his career. John earned an M.S. in community and regional planning from The University of Texas at Austin.
As COO of Waterloo Greenway, Erica Saenz plays a crucial role in building our organizational infrastructure and executing our strategic plan. Previously, she served as Associate VP for Assessment and Strategic Planning and Associate VP for Community and External Relations at The University of Texas at Austin. Board and service commitments include the Community Advancement Network, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, I Live Here I Give Here, The Hispanic Alliance, The Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Texas Exes Alumni Association. Erica holds a BA from UT-Austin and an MFA from UCLA.
Renee fuels the financial health of our organization with her extensive nonprofit budgeting, accounting, and financial management experience. She was previously finance director at Skillpoint Alliance, an Austin workforce education nonprofit. She has held various finance positions, including senior financial consultant at Dell, financial analyst at Torch Energy, and joint venture auditor and senior accountant at ExxonMobil. She holds an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.S. in finance from Louisiana State University.
Jon brings to life Waterloo Greenway for diverse audiences, with compelling visuals that make a powerful, action-driving impression. A long-time creative director and artist, he was a design and production lead at Big Medium, an Austin arts-based nonprofit. His deep involvement in our local and visual arts communities aligns with his passion for building a park that will offer so many people an abundance of cultural joy. He holds an A.A.S from the Art Institute of Colorado.