Welcome Class XXIII
Jasen moved to Arizona in 1987 from Washington State and has been living in Gilbert since 2002 with his wife Lori, who is a Gilbert native. He has served in the Arizona Army National Guard for over 20 years with numerous overseas deployments to Honduras, Germany and the Middle East. He enjoys serving the Gilbert community, the State of Arizona and Veteran’s causes and organizations. Jasen has been a committee member of Town of Gilbert’s Operation Welcome Home since 2011, joining after receiving the honor of being “Welcomed Home” after his last deployment. Operation Welcome Home continues to recognize Gilbert residents who have recently returned from overseas service. He is currently serving as a steering committee member with the Town of Gilbert and Department of Defense Commemorative Partnership Program. The program honors the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War by planning and conducting events through 2017 to recognize the Vietnam Veterans and their families’ service, valor, and sacrifice. Jasen is also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
In his limited spare time, Jasen enjoys the outdoors, being an avid mountain biker and working on classic muscle cars, especially older model Chevy’s. Being from Washington State, Jasen also loves good cup of coffee from Liberty Market and Bergie’s.
Born and raised in California, I moved to Gilbert, AZ a little over 10 years ago. I have been married to David (Class XXI) for 13 years and together we own and operate Meritum Bankcard. We are a private and locally run credit card processing company in Gilbert. I believe that it’s important to give back to your community and I enjoy getting involved with charities and fundraising opportunities. I love to travel, scrapbook and spend time with family and friends.
I was born in Elmhurst Illinois and grew up in North Aurora Illinois. I am the eldest of 4 kids – I have 2 brothers and one sister… I grew up playing baseball all summer and wanting to be the first-baseman for the Chicago Cubs!! My brother Brad and I spent several years collecting Beer-Cans when that was all the rage even though neither one of our parents drank beer at all. The collection became massive as we traded with friends and neighbors. I attended West-Aurora HS and ran track-&-Field – usually the 1/2-mile and some relays. I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BS degree in Computer Science.. Received 2 job offers to work either back at Texas Instruments in Dallas (where I had an internship the summer before) or Motorola in Schaumburg IL. Here for the first time in my life I had my first “fork-in-the-road’. I had a great time at TI the year before as they had hired 30+ interns from across the nation and we were all housed at the same apartment complex. But, eventually I decided to work for Motorola as they were closer to home and family, plus I figured it would never be quite as fun as most of the others I met were not returning either.. At the age of 25 I got married and had two kids Bryan Jr. and Holly. My 1st wife passed away leaving me to raise a 5 and 6 year-old by myself.. Four years later I met and married Kelley (with her 2 daughters Emilee and Leslee) and have been happy ever since.
My wife and I started our own Business in 2003 called “The Front” which specialized in Paintball and an Internet-Cafe. We also started a paintball ministry at Spring-of-Life church as an outreach to teenage boys. During this time we renamed our Business to Vanguard Paintball. The paintball ministry was pretty successful for a number of years but the economy and the expense of paintball started to cause a slide in the whole paintball industry. As that was starting to slide we decided to add Airsoft to our retail shop and sales started to pick-up. In 2009 Kelley and I had our ‘V8′ moment – WE SHOULD OPEN UP AN INDOOR AIRSOFT ARENA !!! Finally in August of 2010 we had moved into our current location with a full-service airsoft arena, pro-shop,tech-department and concessions area. Our current business VIP-Airsoft has now been in business for 4 years !!
Other things about me…I am a Chicago Cubs fan and also love my Miami Dolphins !! I love Sci-Fi movies especially if they involve a monster of some-sort – Godzilla has always been my favorite. Avid Star-Wars and LOTR fan as well !!
Rod Buchanan is the Parks and Recreation Director for the Town of Gilbert. Rod has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, specializing in Public Management, from CSU East Bay. His work experience includes over 37 years in the public sector and he has served in numerous positions in four separate agencies.
Rod also is a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional with the National Recreation and Parks Association and has a successful track record of community problem solving, delivering municipal projects, team building, staff development and completing planning documents. Mr. Buchanan lives in Gilbert and enjoys being an active member of the community. He loves to teach and has taught for the University of Phoenix, and is a rated instructor in many areas including snow skiing and windsurfing. He took up fly fishing 10 years ago, is a former president of a Flyfishing Club and took 3rd place in a well-known California fly fishing bass tournament 3 years ago. He is a pilot and has two has 2 published research papers dealing with emergency response to general aviation accidents.
Melissa is the Senior Marketing Manager of SanTan Village and Superstition Springs Center. She has been with Macerich (and formerly Westcor) for over 17 years. A graduate of Drake University with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication, Melissa is proud to be a “retired military brat” who enjoys traveling and is self-admittedly addicted to both Facebook and Pinterest. She has been married to Ryan, an elementary PE teacher, for nine years and is mom to Braden, 6, and Brianna, 5. Her parents relocated from the Midwest to retire in Gilbert. Melissa currently serves on the board for United Food Bank.
My name is Jasmine Christine Castillo. I am 40 years old and born in Phoenix, Arizona. After spending most my of childhood in Southern California I moved back to Phoenix, Arizona in 1989 where I now reside with my husband, 5 children and granddaughter.
I graduated in 1995 from Pima Medical Institute with my medical assistant diploma. I have been a medical assistant and cardiovascular technician for 16 years and now I am currently in the process of achieving my assosiates degree in medical management. I am now a successful office manager for a cardiology group, Lifetime Heart and Vascular in Gilbert, AZ.
I take pride in caring for patients and leading my staff while encouraging them to be successful and passionate about their careers in the medical field. When not working, my time is spent performing photography for families and special events, having fun with my family, donating my time and talents to the community within my church at New Creation and cheering on my kids in sports.
I am Linda Chafey, owner and broker of Southwest Image Realty. I have lived in Arizona since 1991 and in Gilbert since 1996. My husband Rick, four children and I reside in Allen Ranch. Our oldest son will be attending Chandler-Gilbert Community college in the fall, our two middle boys attended Campo Verde High School, and our daughter attends South Valley Jr. High. We all enjoy the local restaurants, entertainment, activities and shopping that our community has to offer. I have been in Real Estate since 2010. As a former school teacher in Gilbert and Chandler I understand the importance of selecting the right neighborhood and community where your family can grow. I enjoy my community and I am proud to raise my family in Gilbert.
Ralph is a native of the Boston area. He moved to Arizona in 1989 with his wife, Suzanne. They have three children. Ralph has earned a BS is Pharmacy, a BS in Computer Science, and an MBA from Arizona State University. He is also a certified project manager. With 25 years of experience in the information technology industry, Ralph is currently Director of Information Technology for the water arm of the Salt River Project. When not working, Ralph enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, hunting, and spending time at his cabin in Happy Jack.
John Christiansen moved from the Twin Cities, Minnesota to Philadelphia as a teenager and eventually graduated from Penn State. Then he spent 6 years in the Army including a 3 year tour in West Germany. He met his late wife, Theresa, in Germany where she was stationed as a nurse. They and their two boys moved from Philadelphia to her hometown of Mesa, Arizona in 1985. After 20 years in North Phoenix working in several large corporate IT jobs, John and family moved to Gilbert in 2006 so Theresa could be near her family while she battled cancer. Her passing marked a change in John’s life. He switched careers, learning the life insurance, investments, and financial planning business with a Tempe-based team of professionals. John also owns rental property in Gilbert. He and his new wife, Deb (also a widow), live in the Lindsay Ranch community in Gilbert.
Grew up in Tucson. Yes, a rare native Arizonan. Became a two time Arizona state wrestling champion (1983-1984). Attended University of Arizona and Pima Community College for Public Administration and Criminal justice Studies. Graduated from Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1985. Joined the Campus Police then became a Deputy Sheriff for Pima County. 1996 joined the Mesa Police Department. Worked numerous assignments including positions of Detective, SRO and Supervisor. I ran as President a police union of 500 local members, Vice-President of 19.000 member state chapter, and regional Vice President for Arizona and New Mexico for an organization of 250,000 Officers. Attended numerous Executive and leadership training programs at Michigan State University and Harvard University. Participated in the Executive session at Harvard University held by the US Department of Justice 2010. Facilitated a myriad of changes to Arizona state laws and police policy to improve the police profession, working conditions, and ensure justice for all. Graduated Mesa Leadership Training by Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Retired from law enforcement after over 27 years public service. Became Managing Partner for Vintage American Barbershops. Being professional begins with looking professional. Visit us and look your best. VAbarbers.com
Bridget was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her family moved here in the mid 1980’s. Bridget attended Arizona State University, receiving her bachelor in Liberal Arts and Sciences, she then attended Northern Arizona State University and graduated with a Master’s in Education.
She moved to Gilbert in 2011 with her husband Keith, daughter Keegan (6), and son Connor(4). She works for Dignity Health Foundation – East Valley. She loves connecting with people. When she is not at the office she enjoys volunteering for her daughter’s 1st grade class and her son’s preschool class. Traveling with her amazing husband and family is a close second in what she loves to do with her time off!
Jason Harris is a transportation professional with over 15 years of public sector experience, working in the areas of planning, design, construction, and maintenance of public works and public facilities. Currently, he works for the Town of Gilbert and administers contracts in support of the Public Works Department, which includes water, wastewater, streets, and environmental services. Since being hired by the Town in 2013, Jason has helped the Town avoid $4,000,000 in operational expenses over the next ten years as a direct result of his ability to collaborate with adjacent cities on leveraging regional buying power to obtain lower pricing for goods and services. Jason is grateful to have earned degrees in Civil Engineering and Business Administration from Arizona State University and to apply this knowledge to the Gilbert community, where he lives, works, and plays.
In 2003, Jason married Angie, whom he has known since the 4th grade (but never dated), and they moved to Gilbert to raise a family. They are blessed with two children, Bailey (8) and Brennen (6), who keep them busy in this vibrant, family-oriented community. When not attending the kids’ soccer games or swimming, Jason enjoys working on projects around the house and in his community. He loves growing fruits and vegetables, landscaping, hiking, camping, roller blading, watching movies, and discovering new critters with the kids in the ‘desert oasis’ he calls his backyard.
Dustin Holindrake is a top producing real estate agent with Solutions Real Estate in Gilbert, he focuses his marketing and networking efforts to north Gilbert especially and is working adamantly to bring attention and add value to north Gilbert and his newly created “Burk District”.
He is also the CEO of Open House Helpers which helps real estate agents set up open houses for their listings. The company is the first of its kind and growing rapidly while raising the standards of properly marketing a home.
Dustin is a family man, happily married to his amazing wife Stacy and father to 3 beautiful children; Grady 9, Logan 8 and Ashley 1.
Brian Johns, RA is the principal architect and owner of a firm that has been established in Mesa, Arizona since 1959 and recently relocated to Gilbert’s Heritage District in 2013. He has over 19 years of experience in his professional field.
Brian’s specialties include client relations in Architecture and Project Management with focus on educational, religious, municipal, veterinarian and automotive related markets in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and throughout the State of Arizona. He has been involved in all aspects of architectural practice, from schematic design through construction administration. Brian’s grasp of projects in their entirety allows him to manage his personnel, projects and drafting room in an orderly, well thought out manner.
Brian and his wife Tracie have enjoyed living in Gilbert since 1997 and are raising their 3 children within the Gilbert Public School system. “My commitment to the Town of Gilbert goes beyond the drawing board.”
Eric has lived in Gilbert for nearly 20 years. He attended Baylor University and received his BBA. It was here where he met his incredible wife – Velvet. After receiving his Masters Degree from University of Texas in Arlington, he moved to Velvet’s home state of Arizona. Eric enjoyed rewarding careers in both information technology and real estate. However, in 2006 Eric answered the call of full-time ministry and is now the Senior Pastor of Evident Life Church in Gilbert. In addition to his leadership in the local church, he is also involved in planting churches in Ghana, Africa. Eric and Velvet have been married for 23 years and are blessed with one daughter and three sons.
As an artist, entrepreneur and educator, I tell stories. I love and appreciate the power that a well told story can have in creating inspiration for action. As a photographer, I look to capture and tell the stories of individuals and relationships for the purpose of commemorating who people and businesses are in the world and the connections that they have to each other. I believe photography is an extraordinary way to chronicle the possibility and the resilience that is the human spirit. Before becoming a professional photographer, I taught in the Asian Pacific American Studies Program as well as in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. I am a proud parent to 2 amazing kids, Adele & Elise, and the lucky partner to William Johns. I was born in Arizona and raised in a military family. I went to William and Mary for my undergrad in Williamsburg, Virginia and now consider the Valley of the Sun my beloved home.
Gardenia Lamadrid is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and a Barrett Honors College student earning a bachelor in Broadcast Journalism and a master in Mass Communication. Gardenia has been recognized with regional and national journalism awards in radio, TV features, hard news reporting and documentary production, including a Hearst regional Emmy award. As a digital journalist for the Town of Gilbert, Gardenia collaborates with the Gilbert Digital team and produces short and long-form multi-media stories, which are viewed on Gilbert’s public access Channel 11, their social media platforms and various media outlets.
Alan Mafara has been working as a veterinarian since 1993 when he graduated from the University of Zimbabwe. He immigrated to the United States in 2002 and became a citizen on Feb 25, 2011. In May 2013 Alan purchased East Valley Animal Hospital (www.eastvalleyanimal.com) in Gilbert and then in January 2014 purchased Anasazi Animal Clinic(www.anasazivet.com) also in Gilbert.
Alan shares his home with his wife Sharon, their son, daughter and a Boxer-mix named girlfriend. In his spare time Alan enjoys watching local sport teams especially Cardinals football, Suns basketball and Diamondbacks baseball. When weather and time permit he has been able to put in a round or two of golf a year
I am originally from Canada and moved to Phoenix in 1994. I have been married to my wife Michelle for 13 years and we have two kids; Brian (11) and Ashley (9). I went to school at the Mayo School of Health Related Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota and graduated with a degree in Radiography. I have been with Dignity Health for the last 15 years, most recently with Mercy Gilbert Medical Center for the last 5 years. I am currently the Lead CT and MRI technologist charged with the day to day operations of both departments. I look forward to the next year of learning and continuing to serve the Gilbert community.
Kristine Niemeier has lived in Gilbert since 2001. She attended Arizona State University and has a degree in Marketing. She has worked at Salt River Project since 1995 and is currently a Planning Analyst within the Customer Billing Department. Besides Arizona, she has also lived in Washington and New Mexico. She loves spending time with her family and traveling.
I am really excited to be a part of Gilbert leadership! I grew up in Gilbert, graduated from Gilbert High school in 2003, spent eleven years working for Gilbert Public Schools, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Work through Arizona State. I am currently working on a dual Master’s Degree Program in the area of Social Work and Public Administration also though Arizona State. I have recently started a new challenge of being employed by the Department of Child Safety.
A fifth generation Arizonan from Mesa, Rich’s family has strong ties to agricultural production and he grew up working on farms and cattle ranches. He married the light of his life, Nancy Bevell in 1973. In 1974 he hung up his spurs to pursue a degree in Agricultural Engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. After graduation he spent 30 years working as an engineering and environmental consultant to utilities, municipalities and corporations for a wide range of water related projects including wastewater reuse, groundwater recharge, treatment wetlands and hazardous waste cleanup. In 2011 he came to work for his son, Dallan, as the Client Relations Manager for JB Water providing plumbing and water treatment services to homes and businesses. He enjoys the opportunities and challenges associated with small business and is pleased to be a part of a company that is maintaining the core values established by its founder, John Bevell.
Rich & Nancy, have four children and sixteen lovely grandchildren all living in Arizona. During 2010 Rich & Nancy volunteered their time to serve as Church Agricultural Service Missionaries on a 300,000 acre cattle ranch located in east-central Florida. Rich used his engineering skills to support water related projects while Nancy gave bus tours and helped with the landscaping. It was a wonderful experience and they look forward to future opportunities to serve together as a couple.
I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo with a bachelor’s degree in Business. My family relocated to Arizona in 2000. After spending 26 years in management in the transportation and logistics industry, I made the decision to strike out on my own by purchasing a Speedpro Imaging franchise. At the end of 2012 I opened Speedpro Imaging Mesa-Gilbert, located in North-West Gilbert. Speedpro Imaging is the leader in custom wide format digital printing, specializing in extreme-resolution printed graphics. I am an active member of the Gilbert Small Business Council. My wife, Mary-Jane and I have been married for over 30 years. We have one daughter, Kristen, who attends NAU in Flagstaff. In my spare time I enjoy day tripping with Mary-Jane on our motorcycle, cooking, and watching sports.
Dustin Schaffer moved to Arizona from Upstate New York in 2003. He attended Arizona State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Dustin pursed a career in healthcare and has been in Long Term Care Industry for the last 6 years. He has worked as the Admissions and Marketing Director for a CCRC, Skilled Nursing Facility and most recently a Sub-Acute Rehab Center. Since April 13’ Dustin has been the Marketing Director for Wellsprings of Gilbert. A caregiver at heart, Dustin feels saying goodbye to Guests as they walk out in better health is very rewarding. He is currently involved with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce as well as the Arizona Geriatric Society.
Dustin enjoys spending his off time playing basketball, lifting weights, hiking and snowboarding. He recently completed the P.F Chang’s Marathon, a long time goal of his. He does not plan on running anymore long distance races.
Randall grew up in Ohio and entered the U.S. Air Force when he graduated from high school. In the military, he was a member of the military working dog section and performed duties with the U.S. Customs. When he was discharged, he joined the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and has been there for more than 28 years. He has served in a variety of areas to include civil process, pawnshop investigations, general investigation, hostage negotiator as well as firearms instructor. He is currently completing his degree in Business Administration. He is married to Lisa and they have five children and twelve (yes 12!) grandchildren.
Graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Marketing with an emphasis in business to business marketing. I have worked in the non-profit sector for over 8 years starting with Community Services of Arizona and am now employed with Chandler Christian Community Center. Prior to the non-profit world, I worked in property management for 12 years. I have been a Valley resident for 25 years and have lived in Gilbert for 4 years. I enjoy the outdoors, movies, and music.
Heather Bernacki Wilkey has been working as the Town of Gilbert’s Intergovernmental Relations Assistant since 2013 and is responsible for representing the Town’s legislative and policy interests at all levels of government. Prior to working for the Town, Heather served as the Director of Government Affairs for Dorn Policy Group representing a wide array of clients including chambers of commerce, businesses and associations at the State Legislature. Heather is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Dance. She has lived in Gilbert since 2009 and just purchased her second home in the Town with her husband, Matthew. On the weekends, she frequently can be found enjoying one of her favorite Gilbert spots including Liberty Market, Postino’s or the shops at San Tan Village.