Bike Works Leadership

Bike Works staff is a diverse group of exceptional individuals. They bring years of experience in the nonprofit, social justice, environmental, and youth empowerment arenas and are dedicated to service toward young people, cycling, and building sustainable communities.


Deb Salls Executive Directordeb pic

A little bit about me
I grew up in Minneapolis and have lived in St Louis and Chicago and moved to Seattle for this position. I have a BA in Anthropology and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of MN, as well as a Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Washington University in St Louis. I have spent the past eighteen years in youth development work and nonprofit management.

Why I work at Bike Works
Helping young people to become better leaders, explore their communities and expand their world view has been a theme in my life and career. Bike Works innovatively elevates the bicycle to a tool for education and transformation, which inspires me. I am passionate about social justice for our communities, youth empowerment, leadership development, civic engagement, our environment and social innovation. I feel like Bike Works programs and staff embodies the very best of all these things in one wonderful organization that is positively impacting our community every day. I am excited to be part of this work.


Tina Bechler Program Directortina-new-2

A little bit about me
I grew up here in Seattle and spent my formative years pedaling the hills of our city on a series of used and recycled bikes. I went to Madrona, Meany, Garfield, and Roosevelt before heading to California to attend UC Santa Cruz where I received a BA in Sociology. After graduation I became a bike messenger in both San Francisco and Seattle, traveled extensively by bicycle throughout Europe/Mexico/Central America, attended the United Bicycle Institute to study bike repair, became trained as a Wilderness First Responder, and returned to school to study Outdoor Recreation Management & Education at Capilano University in Vancouver, B.C.

Why I work at Bike Works
I feel like all my paths have brought me to this work. Cycling has always been a personal passion and part of going back to school was finding a way to integrate my love of being outdoors and seeing the world by bicycle with the youth of Seattle. This is my dream job, and at the end of every day I get to feel that my work here gives back to the community, and that if I’m lucky I may make a difference in the lives of the participants here at Bike Works through a shared love of bicycles.

THE TEAM


Jasmine Bechlem Program CoordinatorStaff: Jasmine

A little bit about me
I bought my first bike for myself at age 14. I was busing tables after school at a Mexican restaurant in my hometown at the time and eventually got tired of walking to and from work. A bike seemed like a good alternative so I saved up what I could from a handful of paychecks and set myself up with a slick Schwinn cruiser.  As they say, the rest is history. Riding my bike gave me a new sense of independence and mobility. Suddenly I could get where I wanted to go, and fast! The only thing that limited me was my own physical endurance and know-how to repair a flat. Buying my own bike and learning how to maintain it taught me self-reliance, problem-solving, and gave me an enormous sense of pride in the value of my work. Looking back now, that was probably the wisest decision I made as a young adult. There hasn’t been a point in my life since that I haven’t relied on my bikes to get me where I need to go. From my brief stint as a messenger in college to mountain biking and polo misadventures, biking has taken me places and brought me friends I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Why I work at Bike Works
I work at Bike Works because like me, this organization is committed to sustainable community building and empowerment, social and racial equity, and environmental stewardship. I am consistently impressed by the level of care, cooperation, and enthusiasm shown by volunteers, students, and staff at Bike Works. These are guiding principles in my own life and I have to say I feel so fortunate to find myself in a community that reflects these same values. I’m excited to help build a future that every member of our community can participate and thrive in through the work we do at Bike Works. For me, working at Bike Works means helping my neighbors discover the same sense of self-resiliency and empowerment that I found as a teenager by biking to work and school. Biking not only liberates us from economic and physical hardship but also opens us to opportunity we may not have known we were looking for.


Mike Buendía Recycle & Reuse CoordinatorStaff: Mike

A little bit about me
I have been living in Seattle with my beloved wife and two cats since 2010, and I’m totally enamored by everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer. If I’m not on my bike, I’m probably enjoying the finer things in life: pizza, swimming, arts & crafts, music, hiking, and kicking it old school. I studied Humanities at the University of Central Florida, aspire to visit the Grand Canyon, and love the smell of tomato vines.

Why I work at Bike Works
In 1896, a reporter for Scientific America wrote of the bicycle: “As a social revolutionizer it has never had an equal. It has put the human race on wheels, and has thus changed many of the most ordinary processes of social life… All are on equal terms, all are happier than ever before, and the sufferers in pocket from this universal fraternity and good will may as well make up their minds to the new order of things for there will be no return to the old.” Bike Works sustains and advances the social revolution of the bicycle, and I am glad to be a part of it.


Steve Gadingan Recycle & Reuse Coordinator

A little bit about meStaff: Steve
I am deeply grateful for my community and the magnificent geology of the Pacific Northwest. Over time, I have committed my life to preserve the health of the community and the health of the environment. I floated during most of my twenties, until I felt inspired to start swimming towards the nearest bike. After years of tooling in my shed, The Hub Community Bike Shop in Bellingham, WA reeled me in with lucrative bait…my first job as a bike mechanic. I immediately got hooked, I had the fever. I have been on two wheels since. That Bellingham fever spread to other passions: a B.S. in Community Health, three volunteer positions, and Squash (sport). Somehow I found myself swimming south and got caught as little fish in a huge marine ecosystem that is Seattle, WA. Now I continue to press forward, whether or not I am two tired.

 Why I work at Bike Works
This one time during Home Ec 101 in middle school, my teacher gave us a budgeting sheet. She told us to write out all of the expenses adults would have. While everyone in the class wrote in a car note with insurance and gas, my logic at the time blurted out “screw the car bills, I’ll take the bus or ride my bike.” This was about 10 years before I turned into a serious bike builder and advocate. A decade later, I feel that the bike is a very feasible and efficient vehicle to alleviate many of the world’s mental, social, and physical health problems. I feel very fortunate to be onboard. I feel happy when I work, one bike at a time.


Julie Harris Donor Relationships Manager

A little bit about meJulie Harris Bike Works Staff
I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, but moved to the PNW after college to do a one-year service term as an AmeriCorps VISTA. My service term ended, and I moved back home but I couldn’t shake the urge to return. Two years later, I convinced my boyfriend we needed a lifestyle change and to move with me to Seattle.

I have a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University, and in the fall of 2017, I will begin pursuing my MPA from the Evans School at the UW. In my free time, I enjoy music, cooking, hiking, biking and playing with my one-year old German Shepherd puppy, Indy.

Why I work at Bike Works
I found cycling as a hobby just a couple of years ago, but in that time, I have been able to see so many more incredible sites on my bike than I ever would have before. Bike Works encourages people to take themselves outside of their comfort zones and try new things, all the while strengthening our community and building a culture of sustainability. I’m excited to use my skills and raise money for such an amazing cause.


Staff: Nikki

Nikki McThewson Shop Assistant Manager

A little bit about me
I grew up outdoors and spent most of my time doing water sports until I moved to Seattle during high school. I soon was introduced to the biking culture and fell in love with the mobility, freedom, and identity that biking gave me.

Why I work at Bike Works
While obtaining my Environmental Studies degree through the UW, I had the opportunity to intern at Bike Works. I’ve now been a bike mechanic for 3 years and have learned everything I know about bicycles through Bike Works. I learned a little about social justice at Bike Works, too. Environmental justice and social justice are different versions of the same tune. I like being a part of the Bike Works’ team because our work helps address both. Biking fosters environmental stewardship and awareness. Bike works helps to create an inclusive bicycling community by making bicycling more accessible. I work at Bike Works to help in creating a bike shop culture where it’s easy to get involved.


Eugene PakEugene Pak Program Coordinator

A little bit about me
I was born and raised on the East coast but I never felt that I belonged. After graduating from The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina and traversing the world; I joined the Peace Corps and I fell in love with biking, it became an extension of myself. Cycling provided solace, community, and wanderlust. Ever since, a relationship with the bicycle has become a priority in my life. I moved to Seattle in 2016 to pursue work in outdoor education and here I stayed!

Why I work at Bike Works
I joined the Bike Works team because the outdoors, bikes, experiential education and youth are all of the things I am passionate about and that this place embodies. Bike Works mission gets me super stoked and having the opportunity to expand the minds and worlds of students brings me so much joy, something that I wished that I was able to have when I was younger. I feel responsible to be a mentor to the younger generation, helping them go above and beyond their own perceived capabilities.


Kellen Rack Shop Manager

Staff: Kellen

A little bit about me
I grew up on Vashon Island where we were lucky to have ample opportunity to run around in the woods, build tree forts, and ride our bicycles. I spent many years living in Bellingham, WA while I attended college and found The Hub, a small non-profit bike shop, and gamely began ripping my bicycle apart and trying to get it back together again. Many months, and volunteer hours, later I had developed a keen obsession with cycling and they had a new mechanic. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hiking and camping, long bike rides, cooking, playing drums, and the company of family and friends.

Why I work at Bike Works
I am drawn to Bike Works because of the shared commitment to community, social equity, justice, and education. Working as a mechanic means more to me than fixing bicycles- it means creating opportunity: for mobility, for employment, for confidence, for health, for leadership, for social interaction, and for joy. One of the joys of my job here is the chance I have to offer education and encouragement to riders of all stripes.


Josh Sachs Lead Mechanic

Josh Sachs Bike Works Staff

A little bit about me
I was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. As a kid, my parents would take me for bicycle rides through Maryland, Virginia, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Hampshire. In high school I joined a team and started racing. I never was a successful racer, but riding in a competitive setting grew my interest in becoming a mechanic. I found a non-profit community bike shop that agreed to train me to work on bikes as a volunteer. One bike shop job led to another, and it became my career.

Why I work at Bike Works
When I moved to Seattle I had a good look at a thriving bike scene. Of all the shops I saw, Bike Works seemed familiar to me. Meeting with the staff reminded me of the good people I learned from at my very first volunteer position. Bike Works gave me a passion to use what I’ve learned to support the community. Now I can help pass on my skills to those who wish to learn.


Seth Short Recycle & Reuse Coordinator

A little bit about me
I was born in rural Kentucky and attended college at Western Kentucky University to study sustainability and planning. After graduating I lived in Boston, MA briefly and interned with the Boston Cyclists Union and worked at the Hubway bike share. In 2013 I moved back to Kentucky to live in Louisville where I worked at a TV station part time and helped start a bicycle co-op. Through my whole life I’d never been further west than Fargo, ND but jumped at the opportunity to move to the pacific northwest to be at Bike Works. In my free time I like to make music, art, and write. I also like to play soccer and climb at the local bouldering gym. There is a lot for me to learn and explore in this region and I’m looking forward to experiencing it all.

Why I work at Bike Works
When I moved to college I started biking as a fun method of transportation as well as exercise but I quickly fell in love with the many financial, social, and environmental benefits that cycling provided. Learning to fix my bike made me feel empowered and organizing group rides made me feel like part of a fun and diverse community. All of my experiences since I became a bicycle “life-stylist” have led me to this position at Bike Works where I hope to both share my knowledge and continue learning myself.


Mo Tilmo Program Assistant

A little bit about me
I was born in Ethiopia and was raised in St. Paul, MN. I recently moved to Seattle to look for new challenges. I’ve been floored by my experiences here in the Pacific Northwest. I am currently studying at Seattle Central College to become a photojournalist. Some things that I do outside of biking are being outdoors, playing competitive Ultimate Frisbee, watching European soccer and spending my free time listening to music.

Why I work at Bike Works
Biking has always been apart of my life for as long as I can remember and it gives me this sense of freedom and independence that I yearn for and I want those same feelings shared with any and every one. That starts out with a sense of community and belonging and that’s what Bike Works is all about. I am so lucky and thrilled to be working for an organization that is committed to building a sustainable community and believes in the power of biking.


Selina Urena Development Coordinator IMG_0860

A little bit about me
I am from a little town in Oregon that serves as a hub for bike touring along the Pacific coast. While I grew up watching cyclists come and go, I did not get my own bike until after college. But once I had the taste of that special freedom only a bicycle can bring, I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything.  I went back to tech school to become a bicycle mechanic and have been using that power to bring the joy of cycling to my community ever since.

I could write a book on how to be the worst cyclist ever: tales of wet, rainy train tracks, encounters with semi trucks on sidewalks, constantly forgetting commuter essentials, and putting all my heavy groceries in one pannier (bad idea when clipping in). But somehow, I just laugh it off and keep on pedaling toward my next adventure- and mishap.

Why I work at Bike Works
When I moved to Seattle, I immediately fell in love with Bike Works (who wouldn’t?!). Bike Works stands for everything that I believe in: youth empowerment, leadership development, sustainable communities, and creating equal opportunity. I truly believe that the bicycle can be a vehicle for change. I couldn’t be happier to come to work every day and be surrounded by people that feel that way too.


Shawna Williams Program Manager

A little bit about me
Growing up in a military family, the concept of “home” always seemed a bit elusive and impermanent. It wasn’t until we settled down in the Puget Sound that the word became meaningful. For the past 13 years, biking has allowed me to explore the incredible sights, smells and sounds of the first place I’ve felt a sense of true belonging. On any given day I can be found riding my bike around Seattle, tutoring a group of 4th and 5th graders on the finer points of reading and puns, eating my weight in pasta or hunkering down with a good read. My obsessions include anything ginger flavored, documentaries, and sloths.

Why I work at Bike Works
Working as a bicycle mechanic with a background in community development, I can see the ways in which bikes are a tool for social change. I am also aware that the industry has largely excluded the people who could benefit from bicycles the most. Bike Works continually impresses me with its determination to foster a more creative bicycle story. The commitment to social justice, inclusivity, reducing waste and promoting community leadership inspires me to think about bikes and people in ever changing ways. I am uninterested in being part of something that promotes a single narrative; I want to help create a story that is filled with diverse characters and new scenery.