Watch here for more information on our speakers as it becomes available.
Bryan Bowen is an architect dedicated to the design of buildings and neighborhoods that explore how we may live more lightly upon our earth in beautiful and healthy environments. Bryan’s niche is cohousing, though his work includes single-family homes, affordable housing, mixed-use neighborhoods, and vibrant community gathering places. His design work includes Germantown Commons, Silver Sage Village, Lyons Valley Village, 30+Pearl, and Wild Sage Cohousing where he has lived with his family for 15 years. Bryan is currently a member of the City of Boulder Planning Board and plays a role on the Design Advisory Board and Housing Advisory Board.
Laura Fitch is a founding principal of Fitch Architecture & Community Design in Amherst, Massachusetts and a 24-year resident of Pioneer Valley Cohousing. Fitch specializes in energy-efficient building design for homes, commercial properties, and smart growth communities. She has worked on programming, schematic design, and/or full architectural services on over thirty cohousing communities across North America for which the firm has received numerous awards. In 2006, Fitch was given the Boston Architectural College’s “Distinguished Alumni Award”, stating “because of you, Laura, many people have found more neighborly and sustainable ways to live. Through your work, our world is a better place”.
Lydia Thrasher is a single mom who lives with her teenage son Nathan and cat Fluffy in Revere MA. By day she’s a data analyst at an insurance company. In her off hours, Lydia is a diehard Detroit Tigers fan, loves music, and is currently spending quarantine learning to play the fiddle and mandolin. Lydia has been a member of Bay State Commons for 4 years, and chair of the social committee for the past 2 years. She is still constantly amazed that an introvert like her was left in charge of social events.
Lyons Witten is a 24-year resident, chairman of the Buildings Grounds Circle and a member of the Finance Circle of Pioneer Valley Cohousing (Amherst, MA). From fascinating meal sign-up sheets to complicated replacement reserve spreadsheets, he has helped run a tight ship through the quagmire of cohousing!
Mac is a native of Minnesota. Although he loves his home state, he was happy to trade mosquitos for mountains and now can’t imagine living anywhere other than Colorado.
Family, nature, and community are central in his life. When those converge, life is especially good — such as in whitewater rafting, skiing, camping, Ultimate frisbee, tennis, hiking, and all the other outdoor pursuits that are a normal part of the Colorado lifestyle.
Professionally, in the 80’s, Mac was a CPA in San Francisco before returning to Minnesota to run the family’s photo processing business. In the 90’s, he was a founder and project manager during the development of Heartwood Cohousing. He has now returned to his project manager role for Heartwood as they develop their second phase of homes.
Mike is an architect with a passion for design and resilient communities. His work responds to the complexity of the design and development process, and in the studio Mike provides thoughtful leadership for high-performance buildings and neighborhoods. Mike founded Schemata Workshop in 2004 with architect-partner and spouse, Grace H. Kim, with a focus on empowering communities. The Capitol Hill – Seattle cohousing community he calls home is centrally located in one of the first neighborhoods in North America to be certified under the comprehensive Ecodistricts Protocol.
Scott Drennan is Canadian but spent many years living in California. He returned to Nova Scotia last month to help develop Treehouse Village Ecohousing (Bridgewater, NS). While in California he was an active member of the “maker” movement and a member at several maker spaces.
Professionally, he’s an engineer and product manager, but he prefers to be building things or outdoors in nature: biking, hiking, skiing…
He currently leads the Treehouse Village Development Circle and is also keeping busy creating a mini-maker-space in the garage of his temporary home in Bridgewater until Treehouse Village is ready for move-in.
Sheila Hoffman & Spencer Beard have had “founder’s energy” for decades, having founded and led the local chapter of EarthSave International in the ‘90s as well as founding the Evergreen Tandem Club in 2001 and of course being part of founding Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Sheila develops WordPress websites and was co-chair of the National Cohousing Conference in Portland in 2019. Spencer is a retired elementary school teacher. At 70 & 68 respectively, they are the elders in CHUC.
Vlad Barash is a researcher, writer and gamer who lives in Somerville, MA with his partner and their tiny dog Lando. In his “day job,” Vlad is a computational sociologist who studies how large groups of people use social media. Vlad was one of the founding members of Bay State Commons, and is regularly between impressed and astounded at how far we’ve come. In the last seven years, Vlad has done everything from help design Bay State Commons’ by-laws to answer trivia questions (badly) at fundraisers to raise visibility for our community. He is very excited to share some of his experiences with new communities as his own cohousing adventure moves towards construction and move-in!