When I first met Deb Salls, it was an office crammed full of desks and staff members in the top floor (maybe attic?) of the iconic yellow Bike Works house in Columbia City. There was hardly an inch of open space up there. One floor down, the organization packed a full schedule of after-school programs into a single classroom space. One floor further down, a bustling community bike shop was squeezed into a tiny storefront. They had to hang the bikes they had for sale upside-down from the ceiling.
Salls has overseen big growth and changes at BikeWorks since then. Under her leadership, the organization finally burst out of that yellow house and into a nearby building with warehouse space for their bike reuse work, classrooms for their programs and office space for their staff. The yellow house is now dedicated to the community bike shop, which now has space to put bike on the floor. And they have continued expanding their programming and reaching more people.
So it’s bittersweet to hear that Salls will be leaving Bike Works to head back to Minnesota to be Executive Director of Social Venture Partners MN. It sounds like a good move for her, and Seattle Bike Blog wishes her the best. We’ll miss you, Deb! Thanks for all you’ve done for our city.
Ed Ewing, the founder of Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Program and Bike Works’ current Deputy Director, will take over as Interim Executive Director before moving into the permanent Executive Director role, according to Board Chair Marcos Franco in a blog post:
I am confident with Ed at the helm, a brilliant staff behind him, a dedicated board, and a passionate network of supporters, we are heading in the right direction. Deb’s last day will be January 5th, and we will finalize Ed’s transition from Interim Executive Director to Executive Director by the end of that month.
Ewing is a great leader, and I can’t wait to see what he does with the Executive Director role in a local bike organization. And he’ll have some time to get situated before pandemic restrictions (hopefully) lift in 2021 and Bike Works can bring their programming back to full speed. That’s going to be a lot of work, I’m sure.