BKB Management Team

Meet the leaders of our facilities.

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Max Brooks

Head Coach

Queensbridge

Max Brooks is a climber who has spent the last ten years traveling as much as possible. At Brooklyn Boulders, he encourages climbers of all levels to reach their potential and have fun. Max currently lives on the Upper East Side with his wonderful wife, who is a public schoolteacher in the South Bronx.

Mantra: Climb Now. Work Later.

Sal (Dave) Decelles

he / him / his

Area Route Setting Manager

West Loop

Sal moved to Chicago eight years ago, coming from Connecticut where he began climbing fourteen years ago. Sal took over as Route Setting Manager back in 2017 and has since become to regional setting manager for BKB’s West Loop location. Outside of gym setting, Sal has climbed all over the nation and in a few other countries, citing big wall climbing as his absolute truest passion.

Mantra: Everything always works out even when it’s not what you had hoped for.

Eric Sipos

he / they

Area Facilities Manager

West Loop

Eric Sipos is a lifelong juggling enthusiast, both literally and figuratively. At Brooklyn Boulders, Eric helps maintain the cleanliness and upkeep of the Chicago facilities so that all entrants may enjoy a comfortable and welcoming stay. He believes balance is the key to many things including rock climbing, slacklining, and his newfound passion for the electric unicycle (EUC).

Mantra: Student of Life

Paige Thompson

she / her / hers

Internal Sales Representative

West Loop

With a background in Recreation Management and a long history of running youth programs at different climbing gyms in Washington and Idaho, Paige landed at Brooklyn Boulders in 2020. Over the last 5 years, climbing has rooted itself in her life and fuels her passion for making it accessible to all, but especially the younger generations. She is the mom to 2-year-old Margo and partner of a medical school student.

Mantra: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Michael Scott

Mike Zimmerman

he / him / his

Area Facilities Manager

Queensbridge

Mike comes to the climbing industry by way of the live technical production world and could not be happier about coming into a climbing gym everyday for work. Also a long time member prior to being employed at BKB; Mike as spent many hours at BKB so he feels right at home. Mike is a also former technical director for Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil, and Dance Theater Workshop.

Mantra: “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter” – Yoda

Cecilia Wen

she / her / hers

Community Manager

West Loop

Cecilia is a Chicago native that has gone from scaling buildings to scaling walls. She left architecture for life in climbing. She is passionate about sharing her love for the sport and creating safe and welcoming environments for as many folks as possible. When she's not climbing, you can find her DIY-ing, making fresh batches of boba, or psyched about noodles, cider, tabletop/video games, and her cat, Saké.

Mantra: I got this!

Allison Nault

she / her / hers

Operations Manager

West Loop

Allison has called Chicago home for the last 10 years and BKB has been her community of choice since she became a West Loop member in 2017. She instantly fell in love with the sport of climbing and the amazing people where she is now working to welcome as many new climbers into the sport as possible. Allison recently got the chance to climb at Red Rocks in Las Vegas and is eagerly looking forward to her next climbing adventure.

Mantra: "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller

Rich Rodriguez

he / him / his

Youth Programs Manager

Queensbridge

Rich brings positive energy and a wealth of knowledge to Brooklyn Boulders’s youth programming. For years, he has worked in NYC public schools running programs for sports, violence prevention, and SEL. While new to climbing, Rich is no stranger to sports, competing under USA Boxing, and earning multiple medals in IBJJF and Grappling Industries. Rich also mentors teens through martial arts at his nonprofit, Harlem Free Fight Academy.

Mantra: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.” -Muhammad Ali

Nikki Bautista

she / her / hers

Operations Manager

Queensbridge

Nikki was a member at another NYC gym but came to BKB as a plus one for a party, where she made so many new friends that night that she just kept coming back to hang out and eventually started teaching yoga. Climbing still intimidated her so she signed up for Climb like a Girl and got infinitely more comfortable taking up space, wiping out, and getting back up to try again in front of a lot of people. She's hooked on this process on and off the wall.

Mantra: "Om gam ganapataye namaha." I chant this when inner or outer obstacles are holding me back to get to my true self and fully realize my potential. This Mantra is also used to balance and clear energy blockages.

Julia Cooley

she / her / hers

Youth Team Manager

West Loop

Julia Cooley spends her time at Brooklyn Boulders coaching and managing the Beasts teams. She loves that her job allows her to educate and support the next generation of Chicago climbers. In her free time, in addition to climbing Julia likes to read, write, and spend time with her friends.

Mantra: "I would always rather be happy than dignified."

Matías Lopez

he / him / his

Route Setting Manager

Queensbridge

Matías is a professional route setter serving as BKB’s Route Setting Manager bringing over six years of setting experience, USAC Level I certification, two years of teaching, and 20+ years of climbing. After studying ecotourism Mati worked in Patagonia combining his passion for climbing, conservation and mountaineering. Mati’s setting integrates his plethora of outdoor experience indoors focusing on the aesthetics as much as inspiring movement.

Mantra: Trust the process.