Board of Directors

Dennis M. Bartels

Board Chair, Burning Man Project

Dennis Bartels is a science education and policy expert. From 2006 until 2016, Dennis was Executive Director of the Exploratorium, a world-renowned public learning laboratory exploring the world through science, art, and human perception located in San Francisco, California. During his tenure, he led a historic capital project and a $345 million capital campaign to relocate the Exploratorium to Piers 15/17 on San Francisco’s famed waterfront. He holds a PhD in Education Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University and BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work has received more than $28 million in grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other sources.

Dennis presently serves as Managing Director of the Endless Network, a constellation of enterprises using technology that scales improvements in learning and education, livelihood and health, especially in emerging economies or regions with persistent challenging circumstances. He also advises and speaks on several projects and topics of keen interest including education, informal learning, philanthropy, science and technology, oceans and museums. He is an avid Burner and a regular at the Mansonian Institute, where he nourishes his passion for participatory art.

Harley K. Dubois

Founding Board Member and Chief Culture Officer, Burning Man Project

A founding member of Black Rock City LLC, Harley K. Dubois has over 25 years of project management, art and city planning experience. As the City Manager of Black Rock City for over 10 years, Harley oversaw both the Playa Safety Council and Community Services departments, ensuring the citizens of BRC are happy and safe, including ingress, life on playa, and egress. She originated theme camp placement, the Greeters, Playa Info, and Burning Man Information Radio, and has kindled the development of all other Community Service teams. Harley also created and maintains a comprehensive training and self-development program for the Burning Man staff, fostering volunteerism and cross-departmental communication.

Harley was a founding member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), where she created and chaired the Grants to Artists committee and acted as the foundation's liaison with the Burning Man Project. She worked closely with the Executive Director and other staff members in conducting day-to-day operations. As Chief Transition Officer Harley was responsible for the merging of Black Rock City LLC, BRAF, and Burners Without Borders into the Burning Man Project. She helped to complete the merging of art related programs into a unified Burning Man Arts program. She is passionate about seeing volunteerism fully integrated into all BMP operations, and is continuing to integrate and develop BMP programs and infrastructure to support Burning Man’s role as a network node for our global expansion.

Harley has an extensive background in the visual and performing arts and serves as a director on the board of Illuminate, which rallies large groups of people together to create impossible works of public art. In 2016, Harley was named one of four Founding Board Members of the Nation of Makers independent nonprofit, whose mission is to provide more Americans access to the spaces, communities, and tools to make more and consume less. She has been a fitness director and a San Francisco fire fighter.

Fab 5 Freddy

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Hip-hop legend Fab 5 Freddy, born Fred Brathwaite, emerged in the late 1970s as a New York City graffiti artist who was one of the first to exhibit his paintings internationally. Along with friends and contemporaries Futura 2000, Keith Haring, Lee Quiñones and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Fab was a key player in New York’s 1980s downtown cultural scene and was instrumental in elevating graffiti into a disruptive movement that would eventually give birth to street art.

Born in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Fab entered pop culture courtesy of a name-check on New Wave group Blondie’s ‘80s pop hit, “Rapture.” In addition to his visual art, he co-produced, starred in and composed the music for the cult classic film, “Wild Style,” and went on to direct music videos for numerous hip-hop stars like Snoop, Nas, Queen Latifah and others.

From the late ‘80s into the mid-‘90s, he was the original host of “YO! MTV Raps,” the groundbreaking TV show that took hip-hop culture global. Today, he continues to make visual art and produce and direct projects for film and television. His most recent film is a feature length documentary he produced and directed for Netflix titled, “Grass is Greener.” The film examines the history of cannabis, music and criminal justice in America.

Mike Farrah

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Michael Farrah has worked in government and politics at the municipal, state and national levels for the last 20 years. Farrah has worked as an advisor to public officials including San Francisco Mayors Edwin Lee, Gavin Newsom, and Frank Jordan, San Francisco Supervisors Michela Alioto-Pier, Bill Maher, Angela Alioto, Annemarie Conroy, and Barbra Kaufman, and United States Congressman Tom Lantos.

In 2004, Farrah traveled to the Black Rock Desert and experienced Burning Man for the first time. The immersion in community and the arts altered his life in ways that he never imagined possible; it fundamentally changed the way that he viewed government and its responsibility to the arts and changed his perceptions about how community could be built.

He has previously served on the Board of the Arab Culture and Community Center in San Francisco. He is married to Maya Draisin and lives in Manhattan, New York with his two sons.

Ping Fu

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Honored by Inc. Magazine as “The Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2005, Ping Fu co-founded Geomagic, a leading US software company which pioneers 3D technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed and manufactured around the world. From repairing vintage cars at Jay Leno’s garage to preserving US treasures and digitally recreating the Statue of Liberty, Geomagic enables design and production of one-of-a-kind products and services at a cost lower than that of mass production.

Geomagic was acquired by 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) in February 2013. Ping served an executive role as the Chief Entrepreneur Officer for over three years. At 3D Systems, Ping was responsible for corporate growth strategy and new market development, and entrepreneurial and innovation programs. Ping managed several business units with P&L responsibilities including software, entertainment, culinary, and product design and development.

Ping has received numerous awards for her leadership, including Outstanding American by Choice Award from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas, and Life Time Achievements award by Business Leader magazine.

Ping received a MS degree in Computer Science from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a BA degree in Computer Science from University of California San Diego. She studied Chinese literature at Suzhou University in China. Ping’s memoir published in 2013, “Bend, Not Break: Life in two worlds, is a New York Times best seller.

Matt Goldberg

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Matt Goldberg was named Senior Vice President of Global Market Development at QVC, Inc. in October 2013. With more than 20 years of experience in global business development, new market expansion, strategy and operations, Goldberg is responsible for driving QVC’s overall global market expansion for the nearly $9 billion multichannel retail organization. Previously, Matt served in a number of leadership positions in media and technology, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Lonely Planet Publications Pty. Ltd, where he focused on the transformation of the business and driving the geographic expansion into China, India, Brazil, and Russia. He also worked at Dow Jones & Company, where his various responsibilities included the chief operating role for The Wall Street Digital Network, including, MarketWatch, and All Things Digital. Mr. Goldberg held several positions at Bertelsmann, Inc. in New York, rising to Senior Director, U.S. Business Development. He previously served as Director of strategic planning for the Illinois Housing Development Authority in Chicago; as Campaign Officer for the Liberty Party of Australia; and as an Assistant to the Governor of Illinois.

Matt serves as an adviser and board member for a number of nonprofits, including The Conversation Media Group in Melbourne Australia, Cornell University Council in Ithaca, New York, and previously Winning Workplaces in Evanston, IL. Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in English from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in International Relations from The University of Melbourne, and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Matt has been attending Burning Man since 2003.

Marian Goodell

CEO, Burning Man Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

Marian Goodell is the first Chief Executive Officer of Burning Man Project, the nonprofit behind the world renowned Burning Man event, an ephemeral city that rises annually in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Thanks in part to Marian’s guidance and dedication, Burning Man has grown from the scrappy, anarchist gathering of a few thousand people she first attended in 1995 into a global cultural movement that sparks innovation in design, business, technology, education, and urban planning.

Marian is a keen connector and storyteller. She brings together people, ideas, and resources in creative and unexpected ways that move organizations and communities forward. Driven by her belief that we can do more together than we can do alone, Marian channels her love of people (and cats!) into everything she does.

Marian’s stewardship of Burning Man’s anti-consumerist, participatory and celebratory culture has set in on a seemingly unstoppable growth path. Burning Man communities and leaders are active in 37 countries and collectively produce more than 100 events annually. Today Black Rock City, Burning Man’s largest and most famous event, is home to 80,000 thinkers, makers, and creative problem-solvers who come together each year to build the world’s most imaginative, experimental city.

A sought-after public speaker, Marian has captivated audiences around the world. From Tokyo to Bucharest and Sydney to Lisbon, Marian’s message of connectivity and authenticity has inspired people to be their best selves. A graduate in creative writing from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, Marian also holds an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She serves on the boards and as an advisor for several organizations including Black Rock Labs, Make:Art:Work, and Kift, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Terry Gross

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Terry has engaged in significant complex litigation on behalf of private clients and civil liberties organizations for over 25 years. He has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer from that recognition’s inception. He has an extensive focus on the changing face of copyright, trademark, and media law in the digital age and in matters of intellectual property. Terry has negotiated, advised and litigated numerous trademark, copyright and privacy matters on its behalf, including a successful defense of a lawsuit challenging the event’s major trademarks. Terry also represents authors, artists, performers and their agents in negotiating contracts for publication, performance, and sale of motion picture and television rights.

Mercedes Martinez

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Mercedes Martinez followed a career as a teacher and performer with work in film production. She has combined the most challenging aspects of all three in her latest vocation, parenting. She currently also serves on the boards of Undergrad Prep, Homeboy Industries and Seven Arrows Elementary School.

Mercedes is a longtime Burner and parent of Burners. Her involvement in the mission of Burning Man beyond Black Rock City goes back to the 2005 Burn and the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts that led to the founding of Burners Without Borders. Her philosophy of Burning Man is that the difficulty is a vital element of the culture. We embrace difficulty, so we can learn and grow from it, and feel the pleasure of overcoming it.

Josette Melchor

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Josette Melchor is the Global Placemaking Lead at Google. She is also the Founder of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and the former Head of Cultural Programming for the future cities initiative at WeWork. In 2008, she led the effort to incorporate Gray Area into a 501(c)3 nonprofit, enacting her pioneering vision of a living creative hub for the integrated practice of art and technology, a uniquely San Franciscan institution globally recognized for its forward-looking programming around creative coding education and cultural incubation. Melchor’s background as a queer, third-generation Mexican-American has grounded her deep commitment to safeguarding diverse communities. In collaboration with the City of San Francisco, she created the first Urban Prototyping Festival in 2012, creating a platform for citizens to address civic issues through public activations, which has since been scaled worldwide. In 2016, Melchor instigated the first exhibition that paired artificial neural networks with artists, which helped establish the Artists and Machine Intelligence program at Google, ushering in a new movement in Artificial Intelligence assisted artwork. She most recently spearheaded the development of Gray Area’s Knight Foundation-supported Experiential Space Research Lab, developing sustainable models for artists to work within the quickly evolving format of immersive experiences.

Born and raised in the desert of Coachella Valley, Burning Man immediately felt like home, bringing together her native environment with her passion for art, technology, and civic involvement.

Michael Mikel a.k.a. “Danger Ranger”

Co-Founder, Burning Man Founding Board Member, Burning Man Project

An avid futurist with an interest in technology and social communities, Michael Mikel joined Burning Man in 1988 and initialized much of Burning Man’s progress over the years. In 1992 he drove the first art car to Burning Man, founded the Black Rock Rangers, and edited the first on-site newspaper. In 1995, he developed the logo design which has become the symbol of the Burning Man community. In 1997, he launched containerized storage and transport for the Burning Man festival with the acquisition of the first shipping container. In 2001 he visited Regional communities across the US during his Tour of America as an ambassador for Burning Man. In 2008, he managed the development of Burning Man’s presence in the virtual world of Second Life.

He has also been involved with many San Francisco social, cultural and technology institutions. He was a founding member of San Francisco’s Cacophony Society, and also a crew member of the machine performance group, Survival Research Labs. During the 1970′s his Silicon Valley career began in the early days of the personal computer as an electro-mechanical systems engineer for Fairchild Semiconductor. During the early 1980s he was a consultant to Caltrans, doing research on intelligent freeway systems in Los Angeles. Branching into automated systems in the mid-1980s, he developed the first robotic assembly line for Apple Computer’s Fremont plant in 1986. In 1988 he was a co-founder of Jasmine Technology, the first technology company to be located within San Francisco’s city limits. As a content contributor and social catalyst, he was influential to many local technology startups, including Wired, Laughing Squid, Boing Boing and the Internet Archive.

He has contributed printed and written material to the Cacophony Society archive in the San Francisco Main Library, and also to the Burning Man archive in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley. Within the Burning Man community, he is best known by his playa persona: Danger Ranger.

Farhad Mohit

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Farhad is an entrepreneur, currently working on The Good Party, a nonprofit, open source mobile app and platform with a plan to disrupt the corruption of both major U.S. political parties with a good alternative that isn’t beholden to money and doesn’t waste a single vote. Previously, Farhad was co-founder and CEO of Flipagram, a popular short-form music-video app that was acquired by ByteDance/TikTok in 2017. Prior to that, Farhad co-founded Shopzilla, one of the largest shopping search engines in the world; and, even earlier,, a top 50 worldwide site that pioneered online customer ratings at the dawn of e-commerce.

Farhad’s experience with Burning Man dates back to 2005, when he thought he was going to a rave in the desert, only to find himself truly at Home in the magical dust of the playa. He has since contributed art to the community, volunteered at Arctica, greeted at the gate, served coffee at Center Camp, and done dishes at Fly Ranch. Throughout, he has been lead organizer at camp YOUniversal, introducing hundreds of Burners each year to Persian hospitality, culture and cuisine. Farhad got married to fellow board member Nushin Sabet at Burning Man in 2009 and is happy to report that all three of their kids — Noor, Alaan, and Sama — became Burners as soon as they could walk.

Beyond work, Farhad is a TED Catalyst/Patron and is co-founder and Vice Chairman of Farhang Foundation, an Iranian arts and cultural nonprofit which gifted the Freedom Sculpture to the city of Los Angeles on Independence Day 2017.

Farhad holds an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurial Management from the Wharton School and a Double B.S. in Mathematics/Applied Science and Economics with a specialization in Computing from UCLA.

Kay Morrison

Board Member, Burning Man Project and Meta Regional Committee Member

Based in Seattle, Kay Morrison has been honing her skills in community business development since 2000, which was also the first year she ventured into the Black Rock Desert. In that time she has worked with the likes of: the Seattle and National offices of NPower, a nonprofit organization that brings information technology services to nonprofits; Capitol Hill Arts Center, a multidisciplinary art and community center; and Shunpike, a nonprofit fiscal sponsorship organization for small to mid-range arts businesses. In 2005 she helped found Ignition Northwest, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to fuel community through participatory arts, events, and education. She has been supporting the Burning Man Regional Network for many years in her role as a Co-Regional Contact for Seattle, and also as a member of the Meta Regional Committee. When not helping start or maintain businesses Kay can be found in the workshop with the Iron Monkeys, a blacksmithing collective that builds stuff out of steel and then sets it on fire. The Iron Monkeys have displayed their art in Black Rock City, Reno, Seattle, and at many local Burner events.

Jennifer Raiser

Treasurer and Board Member, Burning Man Project

Jennifer is Treasurer of the Burning Man Project and serves on the Senior Executive Committee of the Board. Jennifer is also a journalist, covering the people and places of San Francisco for her website,, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post. She is the bestselling author of, Burning Man: Art on Fire (2014) from Race Point Press, and is currently writing numerous other books.

Jennifer also works with her family business on strategic planning and commercial real estate investment. Previously, Jennifer was CEO of Raiser Senior Services, a full-service provider of luxury retirement in the Bay Area, combining health care, dining, and long-term care. She is the co-author of Designing Retirement Communities for the Future. Her experience includes marketing with Procter & Gamble and BBDO/Omnicom Advertising, and management consulting with Fortune 500 corporations. A longtime non-profit volunteer, Jennifer has served as a Director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Peninsula Community Foundation, the Junior Statesmen Foundation, Community Gatepath, and the Coyote Point Museum. Jennifer received a BA in English Literature and MBA from Harvard University. She resides in San Francisco with her English professor husband, two college-age teenagers, three flat-coated Retrievers, and a basement filled with costumes. Known on the Playa as CocoCabana, she is a Black Rock Ranger and decade-long Burner who is happiest riding on her mutant vehicle, The Kazbus, or nesting in her eponymous leopard-upholstered 1968 Airstream.

Will Roger

Co-Founder, Burning Man Founding Board Member and Board Chairman Emeritus, Burning Man Project

Will Roger discovered Burning Man in 1994, through his life partner Crimson Rose. Together and with several others, they co-founded Black Rock City, LLC, which has overseen the Burning Man event for nearly twenty years. Will founded and managed the Black Rock City Department of Public Works — a team of several hundred people responsible for the pre-event and post-event construction logistics and production. He is a founding board member of Burning Man Project, and is the Vice-President of Friends of the Black Rock/High Rock. Will is heavily involved in conservation efforts of the Black Rock Desert, which is the United State’s largest National Conservation Area, and which is home to the Burning Man event. He served as Chairman of the Sierra Front – North Western Great Basin – Resource Advisory Council (RAC), and is currently a member of the RAC NCA Subgroup.

Will is also an accomplished photographer, and worked nearly 20 years at the Rochester Institute of Technology as a photo chemist, administrator, associate professor, and Assistant Director.

Crimson Rose

Founding Board Member and Secretary, Burning Man Project

As one of the Co-founders of Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burning Man Project, Crimson Rose’s life passion and work have focused on the arts and artistic expression.

She began participating in the Burning Man event in 1991, and developed the organization’s Art Department, including the infrastructure, financial and other support services that make possible the large-scale participatory art works that Burning Man is renowned for.

With Crimson’s guidance, Burning Man serves as an inspirational limitless canvas, the works of which now find public placement in cities around the world and serve as catalytic sparks for community collaboration.

Nushin Sabet

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Nushin sees herself most authentically as a creative being and nurturing mother to three little burners. She is also an artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Nushin is co-founder and creative director of Anar Center, a Persian language and cultural center in Los Angeles, where she creates workshops for kids and adults seeking to learn about Iranian culture.

As a hands-on philanthropist, Nushin volunteers in a variety of organizations that educate, serve and empower underprivileged women and children. She’s also a big advocate of natural home-birth and has contributed to several media projects on the subject.

In a prior life, Nushin founded Mortganizer, a start-up that helped thousands of mortgage professionals become more organized and efficient at their job. She bootstrapped Mortganizer into a profitable business, before deciding to give it up to follow her heart, returning back to school in her thirties to earn a degree in Fine Art.

Burning Man played a pivotal role in Nushin’s creative rebirth. Her first visit to the playa in 2007 left her transformed, connecting her to her inner child and to a shared communal creative experience that made her feel fully alive. She realized that, for her, bliss is infusing connection, community and creativity into her daily life.

Nushin holds B.A. in Mass Communications from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.F.A. in Fine Art from CalArts.

Leo Villareal

Board Member, Burning Man Project

Leo Villareal’s light sculpture and installations have been presented at museums in the United States and around the world. In 2010, the San Jose Museum presented a traveling survey exhibition and monograph of the artist’s work. Villareal has created many large scale, site-specific installations with renowned architects such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and in architecturally significant buildings like I. M. Peis East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Villarealʼs work is part of the permanent collection of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. He has been commissioned by both Federal and State agencies to create public works for such sites as a courthouse in El Paso, Texas and a New York City subway station.

Villareal attended Yale University where he studied installation sculpture and went on to receive his Masters Degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. From 1994-1996 Villareal served as a member of the research staff at Interval Research, a private think tank in Palo Alto, CA founded by Paul Allen. Villareal has attended Burning Man every year since 1994 and is a founder of Disorient. He currently lives in New York with his wife, Yvonne Force Villareal and their two children, Cuatro and Lux.