Our Team


Staff

Dr. Amber Epps, Executive Director
Dr. Amber Epps
(she/her)
Executive Director
Dr. Amber Epps brings twenty years of experience teaching at the college level. Outside of academia, Dr. Epps worked in community development, focusing on commercial district revitalization, workforce development, and youth education and employment. She is also a maker, artist, musician, mom, member of the #NotWhite Collective, and co-owner of Arts & Crafts: Botanica & Occult Shop.
Marvin Touré
(he/him)
Education Coordinator
Marvin is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Pittsburgh, PA. He has a BA in New Media Arts with a minor in Architecture from Southern Polytechnic State University (now KSU Marietta, Georgia) and an MFA in Fine Arts from The School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Eriko Hattori
(they/she)
Communciations Coordinator
Eriko is an artist, designer, and communications coordinator. They’ve done marketing and design work for Casey Droege Cultural Productions, The Art Supply Co., and Small Mall.


Instructors

Adam Nelson
Design & Wood Turning

Adam Nelson is the founder of Daggerfish Gear. He designs high quality handcrafted outdoor recreational products.
Cord Merrell
Fabrication & Woodworking

Cord Merrell is a multi-disciplinary maker with years of experience. He’s eager to share the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Karen Kocher
Blacksmithing & Metal

Karen Kocher is part blacksmith, part fabricator, and full-time artist. She makes warm, joyful pieces using a mix of traditional and makeshift tools.
Valerie Hildenbrand
Textiles & Lasers

Valerie Hildenbrand is the founder of Grove Avenue Design. She makes intricate art that combines traditional techniques with new technology.
Sarah Nielsen
Woodworking & Design

Sarah Nielsen is a Pittsburgh-based artist and co-founder of Tree Overboard. She makes warm, eclectic, works in wood from her shop in Lawrenceville.
Nathan Brooks
CNC Embroidery & Design

Nathan Brooks is the founder of Rebel Bred Clothing. He creates locally crafted streetwear enlaced with spirituality, culture and history.
Jeff Bearer
CNC Router, Electronics, 3D Printers & Lasers

Jeff is a hobbyist maker who primarily uses his skills to solve everyday problems, often creating functional parts using digital fabrication technologies. He has a passion for teaching and helping others learn new skills in digital fabrication.
Brian Rooker
Lasers

Brian is a long-time artist, designer, stitcher, and maker who loves to ply modern techniques and technologies to craft medieval and fantasy artistry. He’s the proprietor of Fortune’s Foundry, a handmade hobby & game accessories shop for tabletop gamers and medieval enthusiasts.
Lizzee Solomon
Lasers & Graphics

Lizzee is an artist, designer, and educator who fell in love with laser cutting 10 years ago. She is passionate about spreading the love to other artists and makers. Lizzee creates vibrant bold works using CNC technology, blending traditional and manufactured materials. She is also a commercial artist specializing in digital fabrication, sign making, and onsite mural painting.

Shop Techs

Matt Germaine
Shannon Bearer
Jeff Bearer
Kennedy Deen
Ori Golding
Morgan Swatrz
Karen Kocher
Valerie Hildenbrand
Reggie Raye


Amy Boots


Butler


Svi Roussanoff


Michael Gregory

Board of Directors

Joshua Rolon
Chairperson

Josh first was connected to Protohaven when he was the Main Street Manager in Wilkinsburg. Now he helps nonprofits access City of Pittsburgh grants as the Program Supervisor at the City of Pittsburgh’s Budget Office. He is a part-time grad student at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School and has a BS in Urban and Regional Planning from Cornell University.
Angelica Ciranni
Vice-Chairperson
 
Angelica is a building science expert and sustainability advocate. She is the Director of Sustainability at Advantus Engineers. She has a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
TJ Johnson
Treasurer
 
TJ is the Director of Programs at Community Forge, TJ has the pleasure of providing technical assistance to program participants, piloting workforce development programs, and youth afterschool programs. He oversees entrepreneurial coaching and a mentorship program for thirty small business owners and fifteen resource providers. 
TJ is also a skilled bookkeeper and has been building his business for over five years. He intends to continue to grow that business and assist scores of small businesses with their accounting needs.
Shannon Rugh
Secretary
 
Shannon is cofounder of Commonwealth Press, a screenprinting and design studio. She executes  financial strategy, manages  accounting procedures, manages human resources, and rings register in the brick and mortar retail location of Commonwealth Press. She has a Bachelor of Music Therapy from Shenandoah University and has completed certificates from Harvard Business School.
Jeff Greene
Director
 
Jeff has been a maker for over 50 years, and is the founder of Deep Greene Woodworks which produces architectural grade spalted maple. He is also the building manager for the Center for Civic Arts in Wilkinsburg.
Lizzee Solomon
Director

Lizzee is an artist, designer, and educator who fell in love with laser cutting 10 years ago. She is passionate about spreading the love to other artists and makers. Lizzee creates vibrant bold works using CNC technology, blending traditional and manufactured materials. She is also a commercial artist specializing in digital fabrication, sign making, and onsite mural painting.

Shannon Bearer
Director
 
Shannon is the Business Administrator for the Microsoft Pittsburgh Engineering office. She attended Polk State College for Business Administration, and has a background in operations management, finance, employee relations, compliance auditing, and cultivating small business growth opportunities. Prior to relocating to Pittsburgh in 2010, she served on the city’s Housing Authority Board and Planning and Zoning Board
Fran Flaherty
Director
 
Fran Flaherty is a Deaf artist, curator, and educator practicing in Pittsburgh, PA, USA and Rochester, NY, USA. As a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines, her work is centered in issues surrounding migrant family relations and assimilation, maternal feminism, & disability aesthetics that synthesizes traditional media and physical computing. Flaherty is the founder of Anthropology of Motherhood, an ongoing curation of artwork and design that engages in the complex visual, material, emotional, corporeal and lived experiences of motherhood, care-giving, parenting, nurturing and maternal labor. She is also the Director of Dyer Arts Center for the Advancement of Deaf Culture at RIT/NTID, serves on the Advisory Board of the Office of Public Art in Pittsburgh, and is a proud member of the #notwhite collective.
Sarah Nielsen
Director

Sarah Nielsen is a Pittsburgh-based artist and co-founder of Tree Overboard. She makes warm, eclectic, works in wood from her shop in Lawrenceville..