Our Team

Daniel Williams

President and CEO
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Daniel Williams joined WMCAT in 2015 after serving as principal of Grand Rapids University Prep Academy for seven years. A leader in urban education and facilitator in design thinking, Daniel works to advance equity in education and workforce development. He is a member of the Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative, Co-Chair of the 4th-12th Work Group with KConnect, member of a National Equity Project cohort, Diversity Council for Varnum, and as a board member with Partners for a Racism Free Community. Daniel also serves on the Grand Rapids Downtown Improvement Board, the board for the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, and the Leadership Council of the ELO Network for out-of-school time providers. He was honored in 2017 with the Phyllis Scott Activist Award as part of the Giants Awards with Grand Rapids Community College Bob and Alecia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion. Daniel has a Doctorate in Education for Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University, Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University, and Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from University of Iowa.

Louise “Punky” Edison

Development Director
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Louise “Punky” Edison joined our team in 2011, bringing with her 10 years of experience as a fund development professional. She has been involved with numerous non-profits in Grand Rapids spanning the arts, education, cancer support, substance abuse and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Michigan. In the community, Punky is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan Chapter, Women in Development and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

Amy Knape

Development + Communications Director
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Amy Knape has been with WMCAT since 2011. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) who has worked in print media, association management and nonprofit fundraising. Amy has a strong background in written communications, particularly in grant preparation and donor relations. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Journalism. In the community, Amy is a member of the Junior League of Grand Rapids, where she served as president in 2006-07. She is also a former board member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – West Michigan Chapter.

Tracy VanderHeide

Finance Director
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Tracy joined WMCAT in 2015 after working with us for years as an outside accounting professional. A graduate of Calvin College with a Bachelor of Science in Public Accountancy, Tracy obtained her CPA in 2008. She has worked in public accounting and as an accounting manager specializing in nonprofit and small business accounting. Most recently she was a manager in the specialized accounting services department at Hungerford Nichols.

Jamon Alexander

Program Director
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Jamon joined WMCAT in 2015 as a program director overseeing the WMCAT Adult Career Training Program. A passionate nonprofit professional, Jamon has led fundraising and volunteer efforts at the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, Spectrum Health Foundation and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Heart of West Michigan United Way. He is a community advocate and activist, volunteering his time as a youth basketball coach and board member for the Grand Rapids Urban League. In 2014 he was given the Community Advocate Award by Grand Rapids Young Professionals; and in 2013 he was named one of 40 Under 40 by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Jamon earned his Bachelor degree in Public and Nonprofit Administration from Grand Valley State University, who named him Young Alumni of the Year in 2012.

Trudy Ngo-Brown

Program Director
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Trudy is director of the Teen Arts + Tech Program and joined WMCAT in 2015 with 15 years of combined experience in education as a classroom teacher and teacher educator.  Trudy came to the team after seven years with Kent Intermediate School District as an Education Consultant in the areas of career and workforce readiness and English language learner development.  She has also taught in Kentwood Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, and in Japan. Trudy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Texas and her Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Leanne Rhoads

Program Director
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Leanne has been with the WMCAT team since 2006. She is currently program director overseeing two-generation programming and services for our students and their families. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College with a major in French Education and minors in Music and Youth Ministries. Leanne is driven in her work to empower the youth of our city by merging mentorship, creativity, beauty, and hope in order to create a safe space in which our students can feel comfortable learning and growing. She is active with the Extended Learning Opportunities Network, serving on the Quality Committee.

Adam Weiler

Program Director
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Adam joined WMCAT in 2015 as a program director for social enterprise. Adam founded Ambrose, a social-screenprinting studio, in 2008 as a way to engage creative teens in Holland, MI. Adam and his team grew the program to include a production studio, retail space, product line, and collaborative design studio that provided services to more than 400 teens a year. He previously taught in the Printing and Graphic Arts department of Careerline Tech Center in Holland. Adam holds a bachelors degree in visual arts and mathematics from Central College in Pella, IA, and a masters degree in design from Kendall College. He is currently apprenticing to be a design thinking coach with Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

Kirk Eklund

Program Manager
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Kirk is the manager of our social enterprise programs. He joined WMCAT in 2012 and has more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. He uses his passion and experience in Human Centered Design (HCD) to support our programming as we seek to affect change in education, community development and equity. Kirk received his Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University in Public and Non-Profit Management. Along with his work at WMCAT, he is a member of the Data + Quality Committee at HQ (a runaway and homeless youth drop-in center), teaches an adult class turning HCD towards personal growth, and is an Executive Coach with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University.

 

Juan García

Print Shop Manager
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Juan joined WMCAT in January of 2018 as the print shop manager for Ambrose, our commercial screen printing social enterprise. Before joining WMCAT Juan operated his own business, Illmatik Industries, with a vision of working at the crossroads of community development and the marketplace. Juan is a certified jack-of-all-trades with vocational history including multiple worship pastor positions, journeyman and foreman positions as a union carpenter, web designer, and a stint as a chef. Originally from Los Angeles, Juan loves Michigan winters and is glad to call The Mitten his home.

Jenny Griffin

Development + Communications Manager
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Jenny Griffin joined WMCAT in 2018 as Development and Communications Manager. With 14 years of communications experience from nonprofit, agency, and corporate roles, she has a strong background in public relations both locally and globally. Jenny has a passion for collaboration in the West Michigan community and serves as a board member and the marketing chair for Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. She has also served as a board member and president of West Michigan Public Relations Society of America. Jenny has her Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University in Advertising and Public Relations.

Megan Lorenz

Development Associate
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Megan joined WMCAT in 2017 as Development Associate, after working as the Partnerships & Fund Development Manager at The Other Way Ministries. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University, where she majored in Public and Nonprofit Administration, with an emphasis in Community Development. Outside of her work in fundraising, volunteer management, and donor communications, Megan has experience working with youth as a former Residential Crisis Counselor with The Bridge of Arbor Circle and a volunteer with Young Life. Megan is a 2016 graduate of the Center for Community Leadership’s Emerging Leaders program through the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

Carolina Lopez-Ruiz

Program Coordinator
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Carolina works as a program coordinator for our Teen Arts + Tech Program. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography from Kendall College of Art and Design. She started with WMCAT by volunteering with the youth program in 2008 and was hired as an instructor in 2009. She also works as a professional event photographer.

Katie Hunter

Program Coordinator
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Katie joined WMCAT in 2015, after working abroad as a publishing assistant and site coordinator for a culinary retreat. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Kalamazoo College, where she majored in Fine Art and studied Philosophy and Critical Theory. Much of her career has been project based, including several accomplished with the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL) at Kalamazoo College. She is brand new to the city of Grand Rapids and excited to be working in the community.”

 

Jason Kreska

Administrative and Technology Coordinator
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Jason joined WMCAT in 2015 to design and deliver a seamless experience for everyone who walks through our front doors.  Jason has experience in service delivery with the catering company that provided the team at Google Freemont in Seattle a full scale smorgasbord onsite daily. He also worked at Cornish College, leading a team on campus where he designed professional development experiences, social media marketing and logistics.  He is an active outdoorsman who loves hiking through mountains and up trails when he is not at WMCAT.

Gen-Dairec Buchanan

Lead Production Manager
Gen-Dairec was one of our first apprentices at Ambrose and is now our lead production manager, overseeing screen printing production. A 2015 graduate of Grand Rapids Public Schools, Gen-Dairec started attending WMCAT his sophomore year of high school, studying illustration and working on several public art projects. In addition to excelling at screen printing, Gen-Dairec would love to to be a professional cartoonist and comic book illustrator, in part because of his love for Japanese animation.

Megan Crouch

Graphic Designer

Megan, one of our first apprentices at Ambrose, is a graphic designer for our screen printing business. She started attending WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech Program in 2009. During her time spent here she took a range of classes, including print making, illustration, toy making, and product design. Megan, a 2014 graduate of Grand Rapids Montessori, is attending Kendall College of Art and Design pursuing a career in Graphic Design. In her spare time she enjoys jewelry making, drawing, and crafting to movie marathons.