Principals

Thomas Wong

Thomas Wong is an Oakland-based mixed-media artist and award-winning graphic designer whose large-scale work was recently featured at the entrances of both the Alameda County Government and Oakland Museum buildings.  He is a recurring featured artist at the Oakland Museum, and has been showcased at Yerba Buena Center For The Arts and Yoshi’s Jazz Heritage Center.  

Thomas’ graphic and interactive design work has been inducted into the permanent historical archives of the Smithsonian Institute and the American Museum of History.   As a graphic designer he has supported dozens of Bay-Area social justice and community organizations for over 15 years.

Recently Thomas has served as Executive Director of the Laurel Business District Association, where he directed the creation and installation of over 25 pieces of large-scale public artwork and directed over 80 large-scale public events and community-building efforts.  This resulted in a “Best of the East Bay” award for the district in 2012.  

A lifelong cultural arts advocate and educator, Thomas has taught hundreds of students in grades K-12 in visual arts and technology programs.  He currently coordinates a number of public art projects and community-building initiatives throughout Oakland. He is a 15 year member of the EastSide Arts Alliance and Cultural Center, where he works closely with community members to produce grassroots-driven public artwork and cultural events in underserved neighborhoods.

Ken Ikeda

A former public media CEO and nonprofit Executive Director, organizations under Ken’s direction have secured $150m+ in private equity investment and philanthropic support; managed an $8.5m loan fund; worked with Sundace, MOMA, Merce Cunningham, HUD, NEA, PBS, NPR, NSF and DOL; negotiated over $300m in mergers and acquisitions that grew public radio’s audience reach by 65 million+ listeners; consulted with over 250 public broadcasting station GM’s and University Trustees; oversaw the country’s first 10 GB municipal fiber optic networked NGO; co-authored the National Public Lightpath white paper on the future of public broadband adopted by NPR, PBS and theCorporation for Public Broadcasting; trained over 20,000 incumbent digital media employees for companies as diverse as Pandora, Pixar and Wells Fargo; and recognized by the MacArthur Foundation's "genius award" for organizations (bavc.org), now titled the Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In 2001, he launched a youth media program from within Oakland Unified’s McClymonds High School that grew to serve 46 middle and high school programs across the Bay Area, partner with universities for college credits, technical certifications and creative pathways for continued education and professional development. He is a founder of the youth record label, Bay Unity Music Project, and has extensive policy, research and data management expertise through work with the NYC Department of Homeless Services, NYU’s Institute for Education and Social Policy and Stanford University’s John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Most recently, he was co-architect and originator of the public media news sharing platform, ChannelX and the music video streaming collective, VuHaus.  Ken's Board service includes: Youth SpeaksGreater Public, The Working Group, Center for Asian American MediaNew Art Trust, and National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture

Danny Beesley

Danny is the principal founder of Idea Builder Labs. This company initially grew from an increase in demand from industry for hands-on skilled workers proficient in advanced manufacturing, digital fabrication, or science and engineering. He brings a decade of experience in the fields of construction, technology, and education with a focus on digital fabrication and advanced manufacturing. Danny has worked with a variety of clients and organizations, which include colleges, elementary, middle and high schools, school districts, community-based organizations, private businesses and even sovereign governments. Coming from a long line of builders, he brings his unique background in construction and technology to formal education settings. He has expertise in the following areas: strategic planning, project management, community building, lab design, curriculum development, educator training, public speaking, sustainable design as well as numerous 3D modeling programs. Danny also belongs to numerous committees and boards including the Oakland Makers Core Group Managing Committee and is a founding member of the Digital Fabrication Network.

Ofiu and Ivotia Fihaki

Ofiu and Ivotia are longtime family residents of the San Antonio, Oakland neighborhood that Civic Design Studio is located.  Together they bring decades of trade craftsmanship and artistry in large-scale public street art and event production throughout Oakland, most notably Chinatown, Laurel and East Oakland Districts.   Ofiu has 35 years of experience with various trades: cement-laying, construction, roofing and carpentry, as well as a decade of experience in installing large-scale public art exhibits. 

Advisors

Patricia Ong

Master Builder and Youth Educator

Exploratorium

Tim Ridolfi
Master Craftsman   Brightwood Builders

Dennis Quirin
President, Neighborhood Funders Group