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.
Jesús Aguirre joins Waterloo Greenway from the City of Seattle, where he has served as Superintendent of the Department of Parks and Recreation for almost six years. Aguirre brings more than 20 years of public service leadership experience in several major metropolitan jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.
After graduating from UT, Aguirre received a Master’s in Business Administration from Arizona State University. Prior to his work in Seattle, he served as director of the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, where he oversaw more than $115 million in facility design, construction, and redevelopment efforts in the nation’s capital. In addition, Aguirre has also worked in the education sector, starting off as a middle school science teacher, and ultimately serving as the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. Aguirre and his wife co-founded and ran a nonprofit K-8 dual-language charter school in Phoenix for 10 years. He serves on the boards of the National Recreation and Park Association and Children and Nature Network, and is a member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.
Melissa engages the community in interactive initiatives designed to spark a diverse and inclusive dialogue on Waterloo Greenway planning and programs. She guides our advocacy efforts at City Hall and leads communications at Waterloo Greenway. A first-generation Texan Latina, Melissa spent five years at Capital Metro and 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.
Stephanie Bergara is a native Austinite. She spent 10 years at the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department’s Music & Entertainment Division where she worked in artist and industry development. Her experience also includes serving as an Assistant Agent at boutique booking agency High Road Touring and Event Management at nationally acclaimed Public Relations Firm, Giant Noise.
A working musician herself with extensive experience in festival and event production, Stephanie has served in various roles at renowned festivals like Pachanga Latino Music Festival, Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza and Chingona Fest Texas, where she is currently the Talent Director. Stephanie attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and majored in Political Science.
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.
John assists with the day-to-day box office and ticketing operations for the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Prior to joining the Waterloo Greenway team, he was a marketing and booking intern for the former booking agency powerhouse, Margin Walker Presents. He also served as the Director of Topper Radio and Music Events Chair for the St. Edward’s University Programming Board, where he graduated with a BBA in Marketing.
Born and raised in Austin, Riley grew up traversing the city’s local ecosystems. As Planning Assistant, he tracks adjacent planning and design efforts to support collaboration across different organizations in Austin. Prior to joining Waterloo Greenway, Riley worked with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, and conducted research related to environmental injustice along the banks of the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas. Riley holds an MA in Applied Sociology from Northern Arizona University.
As Horticulture Supervisor at Waterloo Greenway, Adriane is responsible for managing and maintaining all the landscaping throughout the park. She comes to us from Austin Country Club where she was the Horticulturist for 8 years. With experience in many aspects of the landscape industry, from maintenance to nursery management, Adriane has a broad base of knowledge to help bring together the aesthetic and sustainability aspects of Waterloo Greenway. She holds a M.S. in Plant Sciences from the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Elyssa Howard implements and supports marketing plans for Waterloo Greenway programs and the Live Nation/C3 Presents concert series at the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Previously, she served as Marketing Coordinator for UT Austin’s Frank Erwin Center and the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, TX. Elyssa holds a B.S. in Business Marketing and Communications from Trinity University.
Grace Kerstetter manages the day-to-day box office and ticketing operations for the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Previously, she served as a Concerts Ticketing Manager at C3 Presents/Live Nation. Grace holds a B.A. in Global Studies with an emphasis in International Business from St. Edward’s University.
Garrett Long oversees all facility operations and maintenance at the Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park. Previously, he served as the Event Operations Manager for the Las Vegas Raiders and as Event Logistics Manager and Motorsport Operations Coordinator at Circuit of the Americas. Garrett holds a B.S. in Sport Management from Texas A&M University.
Donald designs and manages an astonishing array of public programs that are an open invitation for visitors to immerse themselves in Waterloo Greenway and each other. He honed the art of park-perfect gatherings as the event coordinator at Discovery Green, a 12-acre urban park in Houston, where he worked with hundreds of programming partners to present more than 700 public and private events a year. Donald holds a B.A. in communication and information sciences from The University of Alabama.
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.
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.
Marissa joined Waterloo Greenway after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin where she studied Sociology and Public Policy. During her time at UT, she enjoyed positions at the Texas Capitol, SXSW, and in research with the UT Center for Media Ethics. At Waterloo Greenway, Marissa organizes our Capital Campaign events, committee communications, and donor relations. With her experience and passion for writing, she also assists with our grant writing initiatives.
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.
With over 20 years in the Austin hospitality industry, Angela knows how to care for our clients and partners. And as Waterloo Greenway’s Events & Sponsorships Specialist, she also loves to plan an amazing event! With a platform to do both, she is thrilled to do so in a nonprofit setting that works to better our community. Angela has five children and lives in Round Rock with her husband, Sean, and all their animals (two dogs, two cats, and one fish). She loves traveling, Broadway shows, and Red Sox baseball.
Kevin plays a key role in creating and producing high-quality public programming at Waterloo Greenway. He comes from a rich history of producing creative cultural events in Austin for First Night Austin, the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division, and the Weird Homes Tour among other organizations. Kevin is a certified Project Management Professional and holds a BA in art history from the University of Texas at Austin.
As CFO, Renee Welsh strives to ensure financial sustainability for Waterloo Greenway. Renee started out in corporate finance, but found her career passion in the nonprofit industry. She previously served as Finance Director for Skillpoint Alliance, and has spent more than 5 years in the park space working for The Trail Conservancy as Controller, and previously at Waterloo Greenway as Finance Director. She served on the board of TreeFolks for 8 years, and is an avid volunteer at the Austin Animal Center. Renee holds a B.S. from Louisiana State University and an MBA from UT-Austin.
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.