BKB Management Team

Meet the leaders of our facilities.

Filter by location:

Karla Avila

she / her / hers

Youth Programs Manager

Lincoln Park

Karla is a book and outdoor lover whose is passionate about rock climbing and writing stories. She has a background in screenwriting, teaching English as a second language, and youth programming. At Brooklyn Boulders, her goal is to share her love for rock climbing with not only the community but also with the youth that walk in. A few fun facts is that she has a cat named Loki and she’s currently working on a novel on her own time.

Mantra: Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in the presence of fear.

Claire Bao

she / her / hers

General Manager

Lincoln Park

Claire Bao is self-starter with a background in fitness, marketing, and events. At Brooklyn Boulders, she creates experiences to welcome people of all backgrounds and abilities to the sport of climbing, which has been a part of her life for a decade. Claire and her fiancee are long time residents of Logan Square and dog moms to two black lab mixes, Bowie and Bella.

Mantra: Do what makes you uncomfortable, that’s how you grow.

Dan Braun

he / him / his

General Manager

Somerville

Dan Braun is an avid rock and ice climber, enjoys being outdoors with friends, and can’t get enough early morning surf sessions. He has worked in Somerville since our opening in 2013, and made some wonderful connections in our thriving community.

Mantra: It Goes!

Max Brooks

Head Coach

Gowanus + 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.

Miles Brooks

he / him / his

Area Route Setting Manager

Gowanus + Queensbridge

Miles is a born and raised New Yorker who’s never driven a car before. Miles found his passion for bouldering in his early 20’s and he can be found bouldering in the northeast all year round. At Brooklyn Boulders Miles helps to shape new climbers with his route setting and tries to pass along his love for climbing through it. Miles enjoys strong coffee, competitive games of basketball, laying down for an entire day, and anything 90’s.

Mantra: Try Harder

Sarah Bucknam

she / her / hers

BKBeasts National Program Manager

Somerville

Sarah grew up in New England and has been rock climbing here since 2001. She has competed at the national level in youth, collegiate, and open championships, and now works full time coaching and managing our BKBeasts program. When she’s not at work, Sarah can be found climbing outdoors anywhere from bouldering at Lincoln Woods to sport climbing at Rumney and even getting on some multi pitch in Cathedral.

Mantra: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

Meghan Gotsell

she / her / hers

Lead Community Advisor

Somerville

Meghan Gotsell came over to BKB Somerville after working for a few months at BKBX in Allston before the COVID-19 shutdown. Meghan is new to climbing but is not new to trying new challenges. Back in 2019, she ran her first marathon and is looking for suggestions for her next challenge. When Meghan is not working or crushing goals, you can find her at home painting or chilling with her rescue pup, Liberty.

Mantra: You haven’t failed until you stop trying.

Akeem Glover

he / him / his

General Manager

Queensbridge

Akeem enjoys random long walks through the energetic city, art, and street photography. Outside of climbing and fitness, Akeem appreciates spending quality time with family and loved ones. His mission here at BKB QB is to ensure the community and staff alike feel steadfast leadership, unwavering support, and the freedom to be as weird as they wish in a safe and inclusive space!

Mantra: “Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.” – Tony Robbins

Chris Lopez

he / him / his

Route Setting Manager

Somerville

Chris fell in love with climbing the instant he stepped into the gym. He soon thereafter started climbing outside and making weekend trips to his favorite area, the Red River Gorge. Equal parts boulderer and sport climber, Chris incorporates his passion for climbing in the routes that he creates for his community. When not setting or climbing, you may find Chris playing chess, listening to obscure jazz albums, or chillin’ with his pup.

Mantra: “When you gotta go, you gotta go.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm

Foxman McJ

she / her / hers

Head Setter

Somerville

Born and raised in Colorado, Foxman didn’t climb until moving to Boston for graduate school. She began setting while working as a studio musician, but pivoted to make climbing her career (she still gigs and teaches, but is pickier). Foxman is passionate about sharing her love of climbing with athletes of all abilities through her setting. She is the founder of IMPACT Bouldering Competition, and teaches routesetting clinics throughout the country.

Mantra: Imperfection is Perfection

Tristan Murphy

they / he / she

Youth Programs Manager + BKBeasts Coach

Somerville

Tristan Murphy is a jack of all trades that has wandered from field to field to synthesize them all in the climbing community. Having done engineering, geology, history, and education, now they teach and coach youth programs at BKB while working behind the scenes to improve and organize education at the gym. In their spare time Tristan is an avid cook that likes to experiment while carrying on the Cuban culinary tradition.

Mantra: All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost.

Luke Patterson

he / him / his

Facilities Manager

Somerville

When Luke’s passion for fitness found rock climbing his career shifted from computer science to figuring out how to spend as much time as possible in and around the climbing community. He believes that fitness and movement are key to improving mental and physical well being and is passionate about introducing people of all backgrounds to active lifestyles and the benefits of climbing.

Mantra: The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

Mike Podrazik

he / him / his

General Manager

West Loop

Mike Podrazik is a life long Chicagoan who left the corporate finance world behind five years ago to chase a dream of actually loving what he does. Mike is a walking music encyclopedia, but ironically does not like LCD Soundsystem despite the shirt he’s wearing in the photo. Mike enjoys being around nice people and is delighted to work and congregate with so many of them at BKB.

Mantra: “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” – John Lennon

Jo Rosenberger

she / her / hers

General Manager

Eckington

Having spent time in all parts of the U.S., Jo finds her solace in the great outdoors, enjoying hiking with her daughter and husband. Pinnacles National Park in CA is their favorite place to visit! Having a background in finance, sales, and marketing she is thrilled to represent the BKB culture in the newly developed Eckington, DC facility.

Mantra: Jo tattooed “Control Your Destiny” on her arm 20 years ago and has been living that mindset ever since.

Dustin Rothbart

he / him / his

Assistant General Manager

Somerville

Dustin once walked 500 miles while listening to The Proclaimers greatest hits on repeat. He is an avid outdoorsman and brings a decade long background in community wellness and recreation to Brooklyn Boulders. When not at work, Dustin is out on adventure with his wife, son, and Goldendoodle, Moose!

Mantra: Get your mind right, and your Chili hot!

Nina Roy

she / her / hers

Youth Programs Manager

Gowanus

Nina is a Chicago native turned Brooklyn transplant of the past 4 years. With a background in acting, directing, and writing, Nina has had a myriad of strange survival jobs, but Brooklyn Boulders is the one that stuck. She realized quickly how much she loved to teach kids and how climbing is an excellent tool for building resilience. She currently lives in Flatbush with her partner of 8 years, 50+ plants, and their two fluffy kitties.

Mantra: The day you plant the seed is not the day you’ll eat the fruit.

Daniel Rudolph

he / him / his

Assistant Regional General Manager

Lincoln Park + West Loop

Daniel Rudolph is dedicated to the sport of climbing and loves sharing his passion with climbers new and old. Before working in the climbing gym industry, Daniel was a high school English teacher in Boston and then Chicago. Nowadays, when he’s not climbing, or clacking away at a keyboard in the back office, he writes, cooks (99% vegetarian) and rides his bike places.

Mantra: “A voice cannot carry the tongue and the lips that give it wings. Alone must it seek the ether.” – Khalil Gibran

Sal (Dave) Decelles

he / him / his

Area Route Setting Manager

Lincoln Park + 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 both BKB’s West Loop and Lincoln Park locations. 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

Lincoln Park + 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

Erik Sandvik

he / him / his

Lead Community Advisor

Lincoln Park

Erik is one of Bkb’s Lead Community Advisors and likes to party! Normally fueled by tons of coffee and sick guitar riffs, you can find him bouldering at Lincoln Park. When he isn’t pulling on plastic, he also enjoys climbing outside, riding bikes, yoga, lifting weights, journaling, camping, hiking, getting tattoos, petting doggos, puppos, good bois, and stage diving at your local metal show.

Mantra: Scared Money Don’t Make Money

Paige Thompson

she / her / hers

Youth Programs Manager

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

Quinn Ventura

she / her / hers

General Manager

Gowanus

Quinn began her fitness journey when she used to do Barbie Workouts on VHS. She is a certified Yoga Teacher and Reiki Practitioner. She climbed for the first time in 2015 at Brooklyn Boulders Gowanus to discover a type of fitness that worked her body and mind just like yoga. At Brooklyn Boulders Quinn strives to create a welcoming environment to all and to help bring that same mind body connection that made her fall in love with the sport.

Mantra: “I’m baby stepping, I’m doing the work, I’m not a slacker” – Bob Wiley

Mike Zimmerman

he / him / his

Area Facilities Manager

Gowanus + 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

Keith Furtick

he / him / his

Community Manager

Gowanus + Queensbridge

Keith Furtick joins Brooklyn Boulders from a career in Public Relations & Marketing for clients including Dell, Barnes & Noble, Travelers Insurance, and more. He prides himself on building community and previously worked for the largest running performance arts venue in lower Manhattan Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Be sure to say hey to Keith at the upcoming BKB events!

Mantra: “Don't let yesterday take up too much of today.” – Will Rogers

Nicholas Cutro

he / him / his

Regional Assistant General Manager

Gowanus + Queensbridge

Nick is somewhat of a musician, a little bit of a cook, a student of bicycle mechanics, and a bona fide dirt bag. You can find him chatting his way through the BKB community or looking for a catch out at the crag. In either scenario, he'd certainly like to hear all about whatever your projecting!

Mantra: We don't know everything, we don't know anything.

Daniel Book

he / him / his

Lead Community Advisor

Eckington

Since graduating from West Virginia University, Dan has worked hard to promote a culture of sustainability and community at work and with his friends. In the past, he's worked with electric vehicles and solar systems here in DC and is PUMPED to help build an awesome climbing community. In his free time he loves camping, mountain biking, hiking, playing lacrosse and getting competitive in game of Catan!

Mantra: We're going to get it done, and have fun the whooole time!

Matt Ratajczak

he / him / his

Route Setting Manager

Eckington

Matt Ratajczak is a rock climber with a background in coaching, athletics, and environmental science. He has been a routesetter and coach since 2009 and has set for multiple youth and pro level competitions. At BKB, Matt strives to create memorable experiences on the walls for people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. Outside of his professional climbing career, he likes to spend time with his partner, their two daughters, and their dog.

Mantra: Be like water.

Heidi Bloom

she / her / hers

Youth Programs Manager

Eckington

Heidi Bloom has worked with youth around the world for nearly 15 years. At Brooklyn Boulders in Washington, DC, she will have the opportunity to share her love for the sport of climbing with youth from diverse backgrounds and abilities. When Heidi is not at BKB, you will find her wandering in the mountains, and learning how to brew the perfect cup of coffee.

Mantra: Learn the rules first so know how to properly break them.

Nick Miller

he / him / his

Facilities Manager

Eckington

Nick first stepped into a climbing gym in 2014 while attending the University of Utah and hasn’t looked back. He left his corporate supply chain career to follow his passion for the outdoor industry and has worked for Outward Bound and Arc’teryx. He comes to Brooklyn Boulders with a passion for connecting people to outdoor experiences. If he’s not at the gym, you can find Nick biking, thrift shopping, or eating crabs in his hometown of Annapolis.

Mantra: Don't sweat the petty, pet the sweaty

Steven Milano

he / him / his

BKBeasts Head Coach

Eckington

Steven is passionate about rock climbing and anything nerdy. At Brooklyn Boulders, he hopes to pass his passion down to the next generation, fostering a community of empathy and openness. He loves to research diverse methods of training and coaching to better help each climber. Using his background in design, he also sets fun and unique problems. When he’s not at the gym climbing you can find him bouldering just about anywhere or playing games.

Mantra: Put in the work

Emily Guth

she / her / hers

Youth Programs Manager

Queensbridge

Emily is a lifelong dancer with a passion for all things movement! She fell in love with climbing recently, but jumped in with both feet. When she’s not at BKB, she can be found reading, leading free fitness at November Project NYC, or at her favorite Queens ice cream shops.

Mantra: Love what you have, and you’ll have more love.

Cecilia Wen

she / her / hers

Community Manager

Lincoln Park + 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!