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Peter Mullan

Chief Executive Officer

Peter Mullan is the Chief Executive Officer of Waller Creek Conservancy (WCC), a position he accepted in January 2015 after an extensive nationwide search. Prior to his role with WCC, he served as Executive Vice President of Friends of the High Line (FHL), from 2004-2014. FHL is the not-for-profit organization responsible for envisioning, creating and maintaining the High Line—-a public park in New York City—-in partnership with the City of New York, and for engaging the local community through education and programming.

Since its opening in 2009, the High Line has become one of the City’s most popular and beloved public spaces, welcoming more than 4.5 million visitors per year. The High Line has also been a catalyst for the economic development of the surrounding neighborhood and has become a global model for innovative urban planning, adaptive re-use, and public open space design, largely due to the successful work of FHL. Mullan was responsible for all aspects of the physical development of the High Line, including planning, design, construction, and collaboration with the City of New York.

Additionally, he played a central role in the policy and advocacy efforts for the project on behalf of the organization. He was responsible for working with the City to create the operational structure for Friends of the High Line’s ongoing maintenance and management of the High Line on behalf of the City. Mullan also led the community-based effort to preserve and redevelop the third and final section of the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards, which opened to the public in September 2014.

An architect by training, from 1997 to 2004, Peter was a designer at Polshek Partnership Architects (now Ennead Architects), where he led a series of master planning and design projects for universities and cultural institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery and Arts Area Master Plan, and the University of North Carolina Arts Common.

Peter is a graduate of Princeton University and the Yale School of Architecture, where he was the recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi medal for Leadership.

Bryan Z. Rubio

Chief Development Officer

Prior to joining Waller Creek Conservancy, Bryan was the CEO of Rubio&Co. Fundraising Consultants, assisting local nonprofits achieve success by assisting with everything from strategic planning and coaching to direct fundraising and grant writing.

Prior to opening his own company, Bryan served as a Senior Director of Development at Breakthrough Austin and the Seton Family of Hospitals. With more than fifteen years of fundraising and nonprofit management experience and having raised more than $18 Million, his ability is only matched by his desire to help nonprofits achieve fundraising success.

Bryan is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and holds a Masters in Business Administration from St. Edward’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

In his spare time he enjoys cartooning, playing guitar, volunteering, and performing really bad magic tricks for his two children.

Donald Miller

Programming & Events Manager

Donald joined the Waller Creek Conservancy after working with hundreds of programming partners to present over 700 public and private events annually as the Event Coordinator at Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Donald arrived in Austin in 2012 and began working with various arts, education, and entertainment organizations including the Austin Film Society, Texas Film Awards, South by Southwest Film Festival, Cherrywood Art Fair, and CHULA League.

Donald graduated with a Bachelors of Arts Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. While studying in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Donald worked for the City of Tuscaloosa Arts & Entertainment Department to help open three municipal facilities including a 15-acre 7,400 seat capacity amphitheater, a 5,600 square foot mixed use public/private waterfront event space, and the Mildred Westervelt Transportation Museum.

Emily Erickson

Office Administrator

Emily serves as Waller Creek Conservancy’s Office Administrator, managing our new space at Symphony Square and spearheading staff activities.

Emily graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Spanish. She studied in Costa Rica and later worked in the study abroad field, further fueling her love of travel. While at the SIMS Foundation, Emily helped Austin musicians and their families access mental health services, and she was instrumental in the formation and launch of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.

For the past decade Emily has worked in the sustainable agriculture movement in community relations, non-profit management, business development, and event planning, working with non-profits and various organic farms along the way. Emily served as President of the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (TOFGA) from 2016-2018 and as Chair of the Austin Community College Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee from 2013-2018.

Emily is a native Austinite and can often be found gardening, hiking, or two-stepping around town.

Evelyn Nazro

Director of Development

Evelyn “Evvie” Nazro is the Director of Development of Waller Creek Conservancy. A longtime Austinite with deep roots in the community, Evvie has worked as a volunteer and professional fundraiser for several local nonprofit organizations, including El Buen Samaritano, KIPP Austin and Foundation Communities.

Prior to moving into the non-profit sector, Evvie spent nine years at Public Strategies, Inc. where she managed strategic communications and outreach for a broad range of corporations and nonprofit organizations.

Her career began in Washington, D.C. where she worked for Vice President Al Gore. Evvie received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Vanderbilt University.

Homer Gonzalez

Communications Coordinator

Homer Gonzalez is proud to join the team at Waller Creek Conservancy as Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Homer served as the Social Media Manager and Video Editor at Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts in New Braunfels, Texas. After graduating from Texas State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication–Electronic Media, he interned at the Texas Film Commission and worked on several movies and television shows that were filming in the Austin area at the time.

When he’s not at Waller Creek, Homer enjoys playing his guitar, practicing photography and video editing, jogging with his Jack-Russell Terrier mix, Po, and catching shows all over Austin.

John Rigdon

Director of Planning and Design

John was educated as a city planner and has worked in project management, design, programming, and public engagement both academically and professionally. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and minors in History and City and Regional Planning. Following graduation, he pursued a passion for music by working with internet startup ReverbNation. While at ReverbNation, John helped develop customer support protocol, site user experience, and managed numerous artist promotion programs.

After hearing great things about Austin, John moved here sight-unseen to continue his education at the University of Texas. He graduated as a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning. While at UT John focused his studies on sustainability and community engagement strategies. He spent a summer in Mexico working on a sustainable community agriculture project with an interdisciplinary team from the US and Latin America. This work earned his UT team the School of Architecture’s Community Practice Award for outstanding work with design and public engagement. The project continues today in the State of Mexico and has expanded from a local community plan to a sustainability plan for the entire local watershed.

In his free time, John takes full advantage of Austin’s beautiful weather. He continues a lifelong passion for tennis and basketball and is slowly developing his golf game. He can also frequently be found camping or swimming at one of central Texas’ many fantastic parks.

Kelly Pierce

Executive Assistant and Board Liaison

Executive Assistant and Board Liaison, Kelly Pierce came to Austin looking for greener pastures after leaving the Big Apple in August 2016. Before joining Waller Creek, she worked at the University of Texas Libraries as Development Assistant. In NYC, she was an Associate Teacher at Success Academy and before that worked in the creative department at Madeline Weinrib’s design showroom. Kelly graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina, with a minor in Graphic Design.

Kelly has dedicated herself to a variety of volunteerships. In New York she formed and led Girl Scout Troop 3132 and also helped at Gallop NYC—a therapeutic equestrian organization for people with disabilities. When she is not working at Waller Creek Conservancy, she can be found cycling around town on a tandem bike with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired or playing with her favorite four-legged pal, Noah.

Kim Barker

Capital Projects Manager

Kim Barker is the Capital Projects Manager at Waller Creek Conservancy where she helps make the incredible vision and plans for Waller Creek a built reality.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, Kim managed the construction and deferred maintenance program at the historic Alamo Complex for the Texas General Land Office.  There she also oversaw the successful adoption of the $450 million Alamo Master Plan to reimagine the site and visitor experience as a member of its Management Committee.  Prior to that, Kim was the Facilities Manager & Project Reviewer for the Texas Historical Commission where she reviewed projects impacting Texas’ historic resources for compliance with state and federal law, Project Coordinator in the Preservation Studies Program at the College of Architecture & Landscape Architecture at The University of Arizona where she wrote Historic Structure Reports for Grand Canyon National Park, and Museum Technician for the National Park Service at Bryce Canyon National Park.  Kim has a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kim enjoys being outside on a trail or in the water, remodeling her 70-year-old house, gardening, stand-up comedy, traveling to historic places and great new spaces, and the company of old and new friends.

Lisa Hale

Annual Giving Manager

Lisa serves as Annual Giving Manager at Waller Creek.  She is thrilled to continue her passion of helping others and making a difference in her community.  Born and raised in Austin, she began working at The Seton Fund raising funds, through personal solicitations and special events, for those in the community who were unable to afford healthcare. She has worked at Children’s Medical Center Foundation fundraising for Dell Children’s Medical Center.  There she led the Employee Giving Campaign, coordinated multiple donor events and developed a Stewardship Program.  From there, Lisa worked in the Development Department at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy where she spent her time collaborating closely with both parents and students.  While there she developed and implemented an Annual Appeal process, raised funds through grant writing, assisted with the Capital Campaign and created an Annual Appeal Wall further thanking all donors.  

In an organic transition to continue helping others, Lisa shifted her focus to empowering women. In 2016 she joined Women Rising, a production company that creates content and experiences to empower women and girls. There she worked as Associate Producer on film projects such as Tightly Wound and ProtectHer.

In her spare time Lisa enjoys spending time with her family at their farm, being outdoors and staying active.

Melissa Ayala

Community Engagement and Government Relations Manager

Melissa serves as the Community Engagement Manager for Waller Creek Conservancy. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Melissa led communications efforts at Capital Metro more than five years. During her time at the transit agency, she oversaw the development of Connections 2025, a strategic plan for the future of Central Texas transportation. The plan has been endorsed by many Austin community partners, serving as the roadmap for more frequent and reliable transit service. As a first-generation Texan Latina, Melissa also championed bilingual communications and meaningful outreach to Austin’s Hispanic/Latino community, and served as Capital Metro’s first Spanish-speaking spokesperson.

Melissa studied Journalism and Spanish at The University of Texas at Austin, spending a summer in Santander, Spain. She is active in the community, serving on the board of the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin, a mentor for the Women Communicators of Austin, and graduate of the Hispanic Austin Leadership and Leadership Austin Emerge programs. In her free time, Melissa enjoys running, yoga, UT football, and tacos.

Meredith Bossin

Director of Engagement

Meredith joined the Waller Creek Conservancy after leading communications and engagement efforts for Imagine Austin, the City of Austin’s comprehensive plan. The plan received numerous recognitions for outreach and marketing from organizations including the National Association of Government Communicators and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. She has also worked for Austin-based economic development consulting firm, AngelouEconomics, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

An avid traveler, Meredith visited countries across Latin America and the Caribbean during her time as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and a Master of Science in Community & Regional Planning. Meredith researched international development with a focus on the role of gender in economic development; her master’s thesis was awarded “Outstanding Thesis in Latin American Studies.” She graduated cum laude from Rice University with a degree in the History of Art & Architecture.

In her free time, Meredith takes full advantage of Austin’s live music scene, goes swimming at Barton Springs as much as possible and practices yoga. She also mentors through Austin Partners in Education and volunteers for Rice University as an alumni giving co-chair.

Michelle Bright

Capital Projects Manager

Michelle Bright is a Capital Projects Manager at Waller Creek Conservancy where she helps make the incredible vision and plans for a chain of urban parks along a restored Waller Creek a reality. She is a Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) accredited professional and has a deep passion for urban ecology and conservation.

Prior to joining the WCC team, Michelle was an Environmental Designer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin for five years. She was part of the Department of Ecological Research & Design and managed multiple landscape related projects around Texas from early schematic design to installation. Some of these projects include: the UT Landscape Master Plan, Bluestem Park in Fortworth, the Chinati Foundation Master Plan, the UT Health Transformation Building green roof, and the UT Living Wall pilot project. In addition to leading consulting projects, Michelle is experienced in GIS, field mapping, plant and ecological field surveys and writing ecological reports and inventories. Her previous experience with ecology and the environmental profession stems from over five years of work as an environmental consultant, field ecologist and environmental lab technician on the east coast.

In 2013 Michelle graduated at the top of her class with a Master Degree in Landscape Architecture from the UT School of Architecture, where she currently serves as a guest reviewer. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Michelle enjoys being outside whenever possible. She can be found canoeing, biking, running, swimming, and observing flora + fauna around Austin and beyond.

Renee Welsh

Director of Finance

Prior to joining Waller Creek Conservancy, Renee was Finance Director at Skillpoint Alliance, a workforce education non-profit, for 2 1/2 years. Renee has held various finance positions including Senior Financial Consultant at Dell, Inc; Financial Analyst at Torch Energy; Joint Venture Auditor and Senior Accountant at ExxonMobil. Renee has also been a small business owner and volunteers regularly on the board of TreeFolks, a central Texas non-profit. Originally from Louisiana, Renee earned a Masters in Business Administration from UT-Austin and a BS in Finance from Louisiana State University.

Renee considers herself an “honorary” Texan, having lived in the state for over 20 years. She loves the outdoors, and can often be found enjoying the lakes or one of central Texas’ many wonderful parks with her family.

Sherri Goodman

Grants Manager

Sherri Goodman is the Grants Manager at Waller Creek Conservancy.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, Sherri served as the Director of Grants & Contracts at Austin Habitat for Humanity. At Austin Habitat for Humanity, Sherri was responsible for overseeing all grant research, application, implementation, tracking, reporting, and compliance to support three core programs, in addition to managing land development contracts. While passionate about grants, Sherri has also done volunteer and contract resource development to assist other nonprofits with events and organizational planning. Sherri earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences in Nonprofit Studies from the University of North Texas.

Sherri is thrilled to be part of the Waller Creek Conservancy team, as Austin’s parks and green space are a major contributor to her quality of life. In her free time, Sherri enjoys exploring Austin, volunteering, watching documentaries, and taking way too many pictures of her dogs.

Sumner Pickering

Staff Accountant

Sumner Pickering is the Staff Accountant for Waller Creek Conservancy.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, Sumner was a Finance Administrator for a non-profit for 7 years, doing accounting work and bookkeeping. She has held various financial analyst positions at Stratus Properties, Eastbridge Partners and Hatfield Philips in Atlanta, GA, where she underwrote acquisitions and built valuation models for real estate development. Sumner earned a BBA in Finance from Georgia State University.

Sumner has lived in Austin for over 20 years and enjoys live music and spending time outdoors including hiking the Greenbelt and relaxing at Zilker Park.