The Team

Interim Executive Director and General Manager
Eric Hess

A professional woodworker for last 10 years, focused on historic woodworking techniques. Works as a custom stair builder for Coyne Stairs, prior to that worked for i-Stairs Inc in Sacramento as an installer, as well as doing design, bidding and estimating.

"An avid maker; I've built a CNC Router, and am currently exploring the world of Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Active with multiple non-profits teaching history and running Living History programs across California."

Education Director
Rusty Hopewell

California born and raised, Rusty spent his youth growing up in Santa Cruz and Lake Tahoe. With nearly twenty years of living and working in the Bay Area, he has worked for a number of large and small school districts managing student wellness and sustainability programs. With an undergrad degree from UCSC in Biology/Botany, and a Masters degree in Nutrition, Rusty obviously likes to garden and cook. A farmer at heart, he looks forward to his Sierra foothills retirement farm and expanding his apiary into a hobby employment. 

Education Manager and Instructor
Sarah W. Kramer

Born in Santa Clara and raised in Sunnyvale, Sarah is a lifelong local through and through. Sarah's primary creative outlet is in textiles and historic garment construction, but has expanded into watercolors, digital design, succulent gardening, and laser-cutting with some dabbling in wood, metal, and other media. Her dual professional background in administrative support and instructional design are well-utilized in managing and improving the education and training programs at Maker Nexus. Sarah holds a Master's Degree in Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership Studies (POLS) from Stanford University and a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University.

Bookkeeper and Human Resources 
Carmen Almlie-Martinez

Growing up in Northern Minnesota, making was practical, necessary and key to survival. Carmen was one of the first girls to take algebra in her high school, but at that time and place girls were discouraged from pursuing STEM education. Moving to Los Angeles she worked for a wholesale art supplier while taking night classes in computer science, bookkeeping, and costume design at the Fashion Institute of LA. Nights were spent on costuming work for community theater and a small movie production company. After moving to San Jose she learned sculpting, metal smithing and lapidary, and volunteered with an art therapy program at the VA.

"I love making all kinds of things. My passion is jewelry arts: enameling, lost wax casting, metal fold forming, etc. I enjoy helping other people grow their making skills. Ask me to help you."

Consulting Maker and Instructor
Brad Martinson

Brad, a Minnesotan by birth, considers himself a Naturalized Californian having spent more than two-thirds of his life here. He earned a bachelors degree in Applied Math from UCSB, and worked for several bay area high-tech firms.  Bored of the Tech boom/bust cycle, he operated a pinball and video game route until one of the usual Silicon Valley “business cycles” persuaded him to move into facilities management, which introduced him to the Maker Community. Having spent the last many years working with Techshop and other Bay Area Makerspaces, he is delighted to be a part of Maker Nexus.  He currently runs the Innovation Laboratory for Carnegie-Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus. 

“I truly enjoy working with my hands.  Current passions are metal and wood and CNC machines, and instructing others in safe use of tools. We are all Makers; some of us just need a little help to start Making.”

The backbone of our organization
Our Staff

Alyssa VanZandt - Consulting Maker and Instructor

Fred Radford - Consulting Maker and Instructor

Haley Moore - Consulting Maker and Instructor

Gabriel Faber - Consulting  Maker and Instructor

Nicholas Smedes - Maker Consultant

Cedar Hopewell - Instructor Assistant

Aditi Periyannan - Consulting Maker

David Aguirre - Consulting Maker

The Board of Directors

Craig Colvin

A serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple companies over the years. His latest was The Sawdust Shop a maker space for woodworkers which he ran for 11 years. Also has an online business which sells a product he created at The Sawdust Shop. Prior companies included a dot-com startup, and numerous companies geared around portable handheld computers. Earned a BS in Electronic Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

"I love inventing new gadgets that solve my personal problems. I especially enjoy creating projects that utilize a mixture of disciplines during the construction, 3D printing, CNC routing, laser engraving, and electronics. I'm excited to help bring the Maker Nexus makerspace to fruition"

Cara Stoneburner
Vice President

Adjunct Professor at Foothill College and elementary teacher, currently at PAUSD Former curriculum developer for NASA and the SETI Institute. Earned a BA in Environmental Studies and Education and MA in Educational Research from University of California, Santa Cruz. Helped establish the makerspace at Foothill College’s Krause Center for Innovation, including writing the curriculum for many of the machines and providing training to members and students.


“I’m especially interested in seeing girls and women more engaged in making; it is empowering to make your own ideas come alive.”

Barbara Clemmensen

Retired from a career in systems analysis, technical architecture, and large-scale systems implementation, primarily for Federal and State government clients. Currently a coach/trainer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at the Fremont Family Resource Center. Earned a BS in Mathematics from the University of Tennessee and an MS in Operations Research from the George Washington University.

“I dove into machine embroidery in 2011 as a wonderful confluence of computers and textile crafts. More recently, I’ve been branching out into other areas of sewing and textiles. In the process, I’ve discovered that one of my primary drivers is learning new things. I look forward to all the new things I will learn at Maker Nexus.”

Jesse Johnson

Former strategic planner and operational analyst in the tech industry, including work at Google and Forrester Research. Current board member at Keys School, with diverse experience in non-profit management and consulting. Earned a MBA from Dartmouth and a BA in Mathematics and French from Amherst College. Jesse is also a past president of the Maker Nexus Board.

"I enjoy bringing together math, design, and art, and exploring maker projects with my kids, including laser cutting and running a tinkering club. I'm excited about the community-orientation of Maker Nexus, both in offering a chance for me to connect with other makers, and in making projects and classes more broadly accessible to local adults and youth."

Robert Smith
Board Member

Currently a machinist for an aerospace research company. Previously was a DC and instructor at TechShop. Wrote several classes; the most recent was the basic operation class for the ShopBot fourth axis rotary indexer. Attended Cal Poly, Pomona mechanical engineering program.

"I have a passion for helping people be creative and I am excited to see the rebirth of the maker community that made TS a special place."

Ed Yeh, P.E.
Board Member

Ed is a mechanical engineer specializing in mechanism design for entertainment and medical devices. Currently, he works in corporate sustainability where he leads a team for data, process, and strategy. He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and a Masters of Science in Business Analytics from Pepperdine. He is also a registered Professional Engineer, Certified AWS Weld Inspector with D17.1 Endorsement, and Certified ASNT ACCP Level 2 Inspector.


"I am passionate about spreading STEAM education outside of major tech hubs."

Dr. Abigail Joseph
Board Member

Innovation strategist with an extensive career as an educator in the California Bay Area as a teacher, coach, facilitator, curriculum designer, program developer, and speaker.  Currently the Middle School Director of Learning, Innovation, and Design at The Harker School in San Jose, CA. Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) Equity Fellow alum serving on the CSTA Board of Directors. Earned a B.S.E in computer science from Princeton University and an M.S./Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Santa Cruz.


"I am passionate about equity and access to all things STEAM to minoritized groups and helping professionals spark their creative confidence so that they can design home and professional lives filled with joy and purpose."

Eric Hess
Ex-Officio Member

Eric is our General Manager - Shop Operations. You can read his biography above. Eric is non-voting member of the board.

Open Positions
Board Member

The board is currently looking to expand by several members. The board meets monthly, and is active online via Slack and email. We are a working board where members are not only responsible for guiding the organization, but also for contributing at least 4 hours a month as a volunteer. If you are interested in joining us, please email Craig Colvin to open a conversation: