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WP Featured Member: Jessica Rhode

Last month we sat down with Carrie Beck who works at Southern Explorations arranging trips to Antarctica. For this month’s Works Progress Featured Member, we decided to explore the northern hemisphere- the Arctic to be precise. Member Jessica Rohde (pronounced row-dee) is the Web Manager and Project coordinator for the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC).

How long have you been doing this?

This is a real mammoth bone -- not a fossil or a replica! It's been preserved in ice for 12,000 years

This is a real mammoth bone — not a fossil or a replica! It’s been preserved in ice for 12,000 years.

About a year and a half.

Tell me more about what you do

I help scientists who study the Arctic communicate and collaborate across different scientific disciplines and also across the public and private sectors. For example, we have a collaboration team that focuses on the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas – those are off the North coast of Alaska. Normally they are covered with ice for a lot of the year. But the Arctic is warming very quickly — about twice as fast as the rest of the world. So there is less ice than before and this affects many aspects of the ecosystem – the circulation of the water, the animals and people who hunt for food on the ice, etc. In my work, I might connect a physical oceanographer from a government agency with a scientist they might not otherwise work with, like a social scientist from a non-profit in Alaska. They might work on a problem together like predicting how much sea ice there will be in a given season and how it might affect the community that uses that part of the ocean.

What are your favorite things about working for IARPC?

I can work from anywhere – so I travel a lot! I’ve just visited Fairbanks, Alaska last month and played around on a snowmobile. My next stop is the Galapagos where I can’t wait to swim with penguins at the equator!

The benefits are great, but the best part is the feeling of making a difference in the world. The Arctic is changing very fast, but I’m helping scientists team up to solve hard problems and accelerate the pace of Arctic research.

Who are your typical clients?

Scientists who work on all different types of Arctic research: such as social scientists studying indigenous communities, wildfire ecologists studying the effects of fire on plant and animal communities, marine scientists studying marine mammals, fish and seabirds, atmospheric chemists studying the different gases in the atmosphere.

How do you communicate with your clients?

I run webinars, almost one everyday. A lot of video conferencing, telephone calls. Endless emails. It’s not so bad, but I do love to get the chance to talk to people face to face. Conferences are like vacations for me.

How has a coworking space benefited you?

I like feeling more focused when I’m here and not having the distractions of being in my home. I really like getting to meet people and all the social events you guys do. Especially Whiskey Progress!

Spartan Race, WA 2015

What do you like to do on your time off?

Trail running, cross-country skiing, travel, trying new extreme sports and wandering around looking for adventures. Oh, and I save the polar bears. 😉

 Favorite place to eat in Seattle?

Oh gosh. I’m a vegan so it’s really hard… Araya’s Thai food. There is one in the U-district and Capitol Hill and it’s all vegan but you wouldn’t know that because it’s AMAZING. Their avocado curry is the bomb.

What do you like to listen to?

*laughs* Well, usually I listen to really crappy catchy pop music. Sometimes when I’m feeling more sophisticated I’ll listed to KEXP or I listen to a lot of science and travel pod casts. 


Too much fun on a snowmobile in Fairbanks, Alaska on her previous trip.

Favorite WP event so far?

I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. They’re all good but I really like Spaceteam Fridays.

Thank you, Jessica, for letting us get to know you more! It is with bittersweet feelings to announce Jessica will be moving to Washington, D.C. after her trip to Ecuador. The Works Progress team and members are excited for all of Jessica’s upcoming adventures but are sad to see her go! Follow her travel adventures on Instagram @RockyRohde

Best of luck on all your future endeavors! Be sure to visit us when you can 🙂


WP Featured Member

Carrie taking a break from shredding the slopes of Antarctica and enjoying the gorgeous view.

Late last summer, Works Progress was fortunate to sign Carrie Beck to be one of our dedicated desk members. For the last 5 and a half years, Carrie has worked as a Sales and Operations specialist for Southern Explorations. In November, she went on her second trip to Antarctica. We caught up with Carrie upon her return to learn more.

Tell us more about Southern Explorations and what you do

Southern Explorations is independently owned and was started about ten years ago. Our founder used to be a guide in South America so he has created a lot of personal relationships there. As for me, I do a lot of sales and customer service. I currently focus on arranging tours to  Patagonia and Antarctica. I’ve also arranged trips to the Galapagos and Peru in the past. The Galapagos Islands account for about 40% of my company’s sales.  Once people are booked, I handle  arrangements for hotels, transfers, guides, flights-just putting together the whole package. Primarily we do small groups and we arrange a lot of private custom tours. It’s all very tailored to what the guests want.

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

Oh definitely the travel, which is once a year. I wish it was more but all the trips are amazing. I’ve gone to Antarctica twice, the Galapagos three times, Patagonia a couple times, and Machu Picchu. The Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island were part of my first cruise to Antarctica and both of those destinations were incredible. I’ve always been passionate about travel.

Who are your typical clients?

 Our trips are fairly high end so we tend to get baby boomers and retirees, although I’ve noticed a trend of younger clientele here and there. Mostly people in their 50’s  and 60’s though, sometimes families with teenagers.

How do you communicate with your clients?

Primarily through email and phone. Some people are phone talkers, which is good since talking on the phone allows for much better communication. Depends on the situation, I guess.

Carrie at Waterboat Point

What are the trips like?

For my very first trip with the company, I traveled to Peru, and Ecuador where I visited the Amazon, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. The purpose of the trip was to get to know the place well- know what experience you’re trying to sell. Do some hotel inspections, get an idea of what they’re like, that type of thing. You have a guide, mostly a personal guide. During these trips, we usually travel individually but once in a while you can bring a spouse, a parent, someone like that. Trips are typically 2-3 weeks long. It’s really important to have personal experience of the destinations we sell. It helps build trust with our passengers and gives them confidence that we know what we’re talking about and will provide a top-notch travel experience.

Where were you before coworking at Works Progress?

We had an office in Seattle previously, but now most of us work remotely. I like the office setting and am really enjoying Works Progress

How has a coworking space benefited you?

It’s nice to have social interactions. At home, it’s tempting to never get out of pajamas, never talk to anybody- it’s just not good for your mental health. I like the group events we have here at Works Progress. I’ve made friends- I just went out to lunch with Jessica the other day. Then there’s networking opportunities. Don’t understand something about insurance? Oh, I can go ask Cindy! Things like that.

What do you like to do on your time off?

Travel, of course.  I also love to be active and get outdoors. Snowboarding and cycling are my two primary passions right now. Or I can be totally lazy and just stream Netflix or read a novel.

Alright. Now we’re getting to the tough questions… favorite place to eat in Seattle?

Oh man, that is a tough question! Well here in Greenwood, Naked City Brewing is great for beer and food. In West Seattle, there’s this excellent sushi place called Mashiko. I  am also obsessed with Coyle’s Bake Shop. I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but their lattes are really good, and every baked good I’ve ever eaten there has been divine.

What do you like to listen to?

Florence and the Machine, Of Monsters and Men, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day… I guess alternative, classic rock, and indie rock?

Thank you, Carrie, for sitting down with us to be our very first WP Featured Member! You can catch Carrie drinking some yummy tea at her desk by the “I Want to Believe”/Tardis poster.  Be careful- we hear from fellow coworking members that listening in on some of her calls may result in you wanting to pack up and head south to chill with some penguins!

Shapeshifting the Frozen Continent:

“I stood on the deck of the Akademik Ioffe, a small ship dedicated to tourism and research in the polar regions, watching a crane lower a zodiac from the ship toward the icy water. Inside the zodiac was our driver, along with an enormous bag of our equipment–ski and snowboard boots, ski poles, ice axes, etc, as well as a couple bundles of skis and snowboards lashed together with nylon straps. I was all “rugged up” as our British expedition leader would say, and felt a bit like the Michelin Man with a transceiver under my jacket and a climbing harness squeezed over my snowboard pants…”

Click here to read more about Carrie’s latest trip to Antarctica!




Meet Michelle!

michelle mazur

Dr. Michelle Mazur is a Speech Designer and Idea Architect which, in her own words, is “a fancy way of saying that I help super smart people (like you) get their ideas out their heads and communicated to the people who need to hear them most.”

If you ever struggled with how to end a presentation, Michelle created a free tool that walks you through how to create the final thought of your speech.

She spoke recently with Nearby Registry,  a gift registry service for shopping local, about her experience as a coworker.

Q: What made you decide to try coworking at Works Progress?

 A: I know many people go to a coworking space to be more productive, but I’m plenty productive at home. My problem is turning it off, so coworking gives me that work/life separation that you don’t get from being at home. Plus, I needed to get out of my house and interact with people. My fiance would come home from work and ask me about my day – and I’d regale him with stories about the cats. I needed more social interaction.

Q: What are the top 3 fun/inspirational/helpful things that have happened during your time at WP?

A: (1) Playing Spaceteam on Friday is a blast (2) having someone to bounce ideas off of, and (3) the office dog, Bailey, (right) is the cutest office greeter in the whole wide world. bailey sliderWalking into that space and being greeted by a friendly pup makes me feel instantly happy.

 Q: What would you say to someone who isn’t sure coworking is worth the investment?

 A: As an entrepreneur, having somewhere to go and meet clients made my business feel more like a real business. It’s worth the investment to feel like you are showing up bigger in your business.

Q: Anything else?

A: I think a coworking space membership would be a great gift. (We couldn’t agree more! Check us out on Nearby Registry.)

Read Nearby Registry’s original blog entry here and read our blog post about Nearby, in which we recommend three other Greenwood-based women-owned businesses to check out during the holidays!

Meet Michael Roufa

Roufa Enterprises, Inc.Mike-Roufa-150x150

Mike is a dedicated software consultant and coworking space member. He has been a member at Maple Leaf, Indie Ballard, and most recently with Works Progress.

We asked Mike a few questions about running your own business and coworking:

How long have you been a software engineer?

I started out in the first boom years of the web back in the late 90’s, and it was a thrilling time to be an engineer. Never before could somebody write software that could so easily be run on millions of people’s computers around the world.

When did you decide to branch out on your own?

Working under the advertising model, I realized there was a dearth of people who had in-depth engineering and architecture skills and could communicate effectively with creative types and clients alike. Good agencies are well-staffed with brilliant designers and creative types, but sometimes their ideas are too big of a stretch for the types of programmers they hire. It’s a good fit for freelancing, and can lead to some really interesting projects that would never come up working for a big company.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in programming?

Stand on the shoulders of giants! Find an environment where you can work with other great programmers to start, use and participate in open source projects, open your code up to observation and suggestions from others.

Are you from Seattle?

No, I grew up in Lancaster, PA, not far from Amish country.

Why did you start coworking? Once my second child was able to run around the house and wreak havoc in league with the first, I knew my days of working from home were numbered.

What is the best thing you’ve found about coworking? It’s great to be able to make connections with other independent workers. People who work in coworking spaces are passionate about their careers and are clearly successful enough to afford an office, so they can become great contacts. Plus, they have chosen to work in a space with other like-minded people, so there’s never an unfriendly face.

What is the one thing you wish you could change about coworking?

The one downside is that you are not working with people from your own company, which means that you have to be very cautious about what calls you take and where in order to protect any proprietary information.

What advice would you give someone just starting in a new coworking office?

Don’t wait for others to make your community for you!

Learn more about Mike’s work at

Eric: Philanthropic Punk & Proud Papa

Introducing, Eric Bruckbauer! Eric will gladly help you with anything you need at WP when owners Marnee and Jessie are away.

Eric is the proud papa of 4 month old Ari Orion, who almost has his second tooth. While he’s at Works Progress, Eric is the Development Director for Community Homes, which provides housing and support for adults with developmental disabilities. When not here, he’s the Grant Writer at Parent Trust for Washington Children, which provides statewide support for children and families. He also teaches their Conscious Fathering class, where he demonstrates his Olympic-level swaddling and baby-burping abilities.

In his spare time, Eric plays guitar for comedy punk band Warning: Danger! He also hilariously portrayed a stoner interrogated by a cop on the local tv show The 206. Click here to watch.

Eric and Jessie met in 2008 when Eric started dating his now wife, Hannah, Jessie’s former coworker at the Greenwood Mud Bay natural pet food store. Now Jessie, Eric, and family live next door to each other on Phinney Ridge. Unlike everyone else at Works Progress, Eric is actually from Seattle.

Thanks, Eric, for joining our community!