Jack London Improvement District Leadership
Carlos Paz Rivera
Operations Manager, Ambassador Team
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Saied Karamooz- Property Owner
Saied joined the Jack London Board of Directors in April 2015. Currently, Saied and his wife, Vida, own and operate Blue Beautifly, LLC, a natural, botanical, and organic skin care line of products based in West Oakland. In addition, they own and manage commercial properties throughout Oakland. Prior to operating their Oakland-based business ventures, Saied served as the SVP of Professional Services at CallidusCloud, a global enterprise software and software-as-a-service company, best known for its cloud-based solutions for sales effectiveness and sales performance management software and services. Saied's career began at Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing company, and had worked his way up to Partner by 2003. Saied obtained his BS in Computer Science, MBA, and MS in Information Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University.
Sara May- Representative of Property Owner
Sara May is an Oakland Resident, California native and alumnus of San Francisco State University. In August she joined the board of the Downtown Oakland Association. Sara is currently Director of Operations at Metrovation, an Oakland-based specialty real estate company that conceptualizes, creates, markets and manages unique properties that bring new possibilities and new life to places. Metrovation creates compelling, energetic properties that stimulate growth while remaining true to the character of the communities in which they are located. Metrovation develops, owns, and manages six commercial properties located throughout the District totaling approximately 200,000 square feet, including majority ownership of the residential condo project at 200 Second Street. Metrovation has been a major property owner/operator in the District since the early 1980s.
Vivian Kahn- Business Owner and Property Owner
Vivian Kahn, FAICP, is a 40+ year resident of Oakland who has lived in the Phoenix Lofts at far-western end of the District for more than three years. She is an Associate Principal with Dyett & Bhatia, city and regional planning consultants, in San Francisco and is also a partner with her husband Larry Mortimer, AIA, in Kahn/Mortimer/Associates, a planning and architecture consulting firm based in Oakland. Vivian’s long involvement in Bay Area and Oakland civic activities includes serving on the Boards of the Greenbelt Alliance, Jubilee West, West Oakland Housing Corporation, and Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity and as president of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club. Vivian, Larry, and their bully dog Hennessy particularly enjoy Jack London’s many great drinking and dining spots including Bocanova, Heinhold’s, The Fat Lady, Urban Legend, Campovida and Venga Paella.
Michael Carilli- Property Owner
Michael is managing partner of Oakland America Company and owner of 101 Broadway, the historic Overland House currently used as a mixed-use building housing over 100 coworkers in Jack London District. Michael brings decades of experience in architecture, urban planning, construction, and project management. A San Francisco native and lifelong Bay Area resident, Mr. Carilli is the founder of the Michael Carilli Design Group, an integrated planning, design, engineering and project management firm working throughout California since 1987. In 2004, Mr. Carilli was recruited by the City of Walnut Creek, California to serve on its Master Planning Committee in planning the city’s highly successful downtown shopping district. In 1987, Salt Lake City Mayor Palmer Depaulis personally recruited Mr. Carilli to lead its Future Design of the Salt Lake City project. In 1980, Mr. Carilli provided master planning and restaurant design services for San Francisco’s famous Pier 39 entertainment complex. Previously Mr. Carilli worked as a planner/designer at I.M. Pei New York. Mr. Carilli’s work has been featured in national publications including Money Magazine Mr. Carilli was a Traveling Fellow at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen and holds BS and MS Degrees in Architecture from the University of Utah. Beyond simply renewing individual buildings, Michael's work focuses on cultivating dynamic, self-reinforcing business hubs, often by investing in multiple properties and businesses in closely contiguous areas.
Paul Thyssen- Property Owner
Paul Thyssen has lived in Oakland since 2007 and the Jack London District since 2010. Paul is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Gallery Systems, Inc., a company that specializes in developing database software solutions for museums, private and corporate collectors, artists, foundations, universities, governments and other international cultural institutions. Paul has his BS in Mechanical and Network Engineering and has been instrumental in obtaining some of the most prestigious museums and cultural institutions as clients for his company. Paul is active in The Ellington Community Association and was previously Vice-President of the Board of Directors. Paul previously served on the Jack London District Association Board of Directors, where he was Co-Chair of the Land Use and Transportation Committee. Paul and his partner enjoy walks along the Jack London waterfront, the Farmer’s Market and the growing dining and entertainment scene in the district.
Erin Coburn- Business Owner
Tim Engler- Property Owner
Sam Nassif- Property Owner and Business Owner
Sam is a hospitality veteran who spent 22 years with the Hilton Hotels Corporation. He came to Oakland in 1987 as General Manager for the Hilton Oakland Airport. In 1991, he left Hilton to pursue an independent hospitality career. He joined the Waterfront Plaza Hotel in 1993 as General Manager and became a partner shortly after. In 1997, he founded Creative Hospitality Corporation, a hospitality consulting firm, and took the management contract for the Waterfront Plaza Hotel, the historic Hotel Durant in Berkeley, and the Park Plaza Hotel at the Oakland Airport. The hotels were successfully sold in the last few years prior to the economic recession. Sam is presently the General Managing Partner for the Inn at Jack London Square, a boutique hotel in Jack London. Sam’s other community involvement includes serving on the board of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board for Cal State East Bay’s hospitality program, and as a founding board member of Visit Oakland.
Peter Gertler- Property Owner
Peter is a native of San Francisco, resident of Oakland for the past 25 years, and resident Jack London since the summer of 2013. His twin son and daughter are products of the Oakland schools. Peter is also a Cal graduate and has a MA in City and Regional Planning and MS in Transportation Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Peter’s 30 year professional career has been in the development and execution of major transportation infrastructure projects around the world primarily including major rail and airport projects. Prior to his current position, Peter was the Manager of Extension Planning for BART and has held several senior management positions at international multi-disciplinary engineering firms. Currently he is the Director of Strategic Infrastructure for Global Consulting Services at Autodesk, Inc. If Peter is not on a plane traveling to some corner of the globe, you can find him running the streets and trails of Oakland, or kayaking in the Oakland Estuary. Peter is a Board Member of Run for a Better Oakland (RBO) a non-profit organization dedicated to teach k-12 Oakland Students (primarily from disadvantaged households) healthy lifestyles through running.
Jennifer Koidal- Representative of Property Owner
Jenni joined the Jack London Improvement District Board of Directors in April 2015. As the General Manager of Jack London Square with CIM Group, Jenni oversees the management, marketing, accounting, engineering, janitorial, security and landscaping departments for more than 15 square blocks of mixed use commercial real estate and common area for Ellis Partners and the Port of Oakland. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, Jenni spent over 9 years with Sunset Development Company as a Senior Property Manager at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, an office park boasting over 600 thriving companies in more than 30 industries. In this role she acted as Portfolio Manager for over a million square feet of Class A office space, and oversaw all operations as well as capital and tenant improvements.
Bill Stotler- Property Owner
Bill worked as CEO and Director of Marketing and Business Development for FME Architecture + Design for 12 years. He is on the Board of SPUR, serving as Chair of the Individual Membership Committee, Chair of the Building Rental Committee, on the Silver SPUR luncheon Committee, Business Membership Committee and committees investigating SPUR’s opening an office in Oakland. Bill also serves on City of Hope’s Northern California Real Estate Fundraising Council, most recently as Event Day Chair. Prior to FME, Bill worked as VP of Events and Development for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, General Manager of SkyDeck at the Embarcadero Center, VP of Sales for the Red and White Fleet, Director of Sales at Marine World Africa USA and Director of Sales at Golden Gate Fields and Cal Expo Racing Associations. Bill owns a condo and lives in the Jack London District of Oakland.
Board Member Emeritus
Gary Knecht - Property Owner
Gary Knecht is a founding member of the Steering Committee which formed the Jack London Improvement District. He is a retired historic preservation planner and designer. From 1982 to 1999 he worked in the City of Oakland's historic preservation program. For 15 of those years Knecht coordinated the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey, an ongoing study of architecturally and historically important buildings and districts. From 1981 to 2005 he owned his own historic preservation consulting firm, Knecht & Knecht. He helped found and served as a director of the Jack London District Association, Oakland Fund for the Arts, South of the Nimitz Improvement Council, Friends of Terra Cotta, and Oakland Heritage Alliance. His public service includes terms on the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission and the Alameda Historical Advisory Commission. Knecht was a founding member of the Artists' Legacy Foundation in 2000.
Meredith Melville - Business Owner
Meredith is co-owner of Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House and Bocanova, two acclaimed mainstay restaurants of Jack London Square. She brings extensive professional experience in the operation and management of major restaurants. Meredith brings years of experience in event production, the booking and management of world-class jazz and blues artists, as well as production of landmark music festivals, most notably the Russian River Blues & Jazz Festivals at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, CA. Other professional experience includes language education as the Director of Studies at Language Studies International in Berkeley, CA for 9 years. Meredith is a seasoned traveler, and once rode an impressive 5,000 miles on bicycle across Europe.
Barry Pilger- Business Owner
Barry is a refugee from the Nebraska panhandle who made Oakland his chosen home 40 years ago. He's a real estate broker and general contractor and represents buyers and sellers of Oakland and Bay Area residential real estate with his Jack London based real estate firm Stafford Real Estate. Over the years he has served on numerous non-profit boards including the Merola Opera Program, the World Affairs Council of Northern California and the North Hills Community Association. He has been appointed by elected Oakland officials to several boards and commission and currently serves on Oakland's Business Tax Appeals Board. He served as an appointed member of the technical advisory committee to the residential zoning update effort. He's an instrument rated private pilot, seems to always be building something and is a self-styled expert on home video surveillance and Windows computers. He has been married to third generation Californian Catherine Moss for 38 years. They have a German Shepherd named Freia and Siamese cats called Cherubino and Tamino. When not working together at Stafford Real Estate they are usually listening to opera.