Changes to Black Rock City’s Leadership

Exciting changes are afoot in the world of Black Rock City infrastructure. Three longtime community members have new roles in the organization and we’re pleased to share the news with you. First off, Erin “Playground” MacCool is stepping up to a new role as Associate Director of Event Operations.

Playground is usually smiling, no matter how tense things get
Photo by John Curley

Playground first came to the playa in ’95 and started volunteering with the Department of Public Works in 1999, surveying the city and erecting the trash fence. In 2003 she became a full-time employee and served as DPW’s labor coordinator. She was a founding member of the DPW Council when it formed in 2004, and has been DPW Manager since 2008.

As Associate Director of Event Operations, Playground will oversee a portion of Black Rock City’s operations and staff, including BRC Outside Services, Burner Express, Café & Ice as well as other departments. She brings with with her more than a decade of spreadsheet wrangling experience and a special love of numbers to our business operations. She will be working directly with the Event Operations Director Charlie Dolman on strategic planning and budgeting for Black Rock City and for the nonprofit Burning Man Project.

So, now that Playground has moved on to her new position, who will be leading the brood of dedicated, hardworking (and equally hard playing) folk we’ve come to know and love as DPW?

Photo by John Curley
Photo by John Curley

ChAos, a Burner since 1999 and a member of the Department of Public Works since 2007, is the new DPW Manager.

ChAos first got involved with Burning Man in ’05, when he spent extensive time in Biloxi and Pearlington after Hurricane Katrina during the inception of what became Burners Without Borders. He served as DPW’s equipment dispatcher on playa from 2007 through 2010 before stepping up as DPW Heavy Equipment & Transportation Manager, overseeing all machinery and trucking operations in the city. If there’s a big piece of art rising up from the playa, ChAos and his team helped make it happen.

As the person who oversaw DPW from 2003 to 2012 when Charlie Dolman came on board, these changes are near and dear to my heart. Both Playground and ChAos are supremely intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated individuals. I’m proud of them both for reaching new heights of leadership and I’m deeply grateful for their ongoing gifts that help BRC become a reality each year.

jeremy-crandell-tania-seabock
Photo by Tania Seabock

And over in the world of interactive, collaborative art, we’re pleased to announce Jeremy Crandell has joined the Art & Civic Engagement team as Co-Captain of the Central Arts Team. Jeremy owns a collaborative workspace for artists, fabricators and entrepreneurs in West Oakland, has worked with The Crucible since 2000 and has been a member of the Crucible board of directors since 2005.

He was previously involved with the BRC Art Department for 10 years and was also a member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Advisory Council. He’s also been involved in the Five Ton Crane arts collective that has produced well-loved pieces including the Steampunk Treehouse, the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, and Storied Haven, and we’re so pleased he’s joined the fold.

Each of these exciting changes promise to help Black Rock City 2016 purr like never before. Congrats to Playground, ChAos, and Jeremy.


Top photo by Karen Kuehn

About the author: Marian Goodell

Marian serves as Burning Man Project’s first Chief Executive Officer. She first attended Burning Man in 1995, met Larry and the other organizers in the fall of 1996, and in 1997 helped found the contemporary Burning Man organization. In previous roles, she was the Director of Business and Communications, briefly oversaw the Black Rock City Department of Public Works, and steered the development of the Burning Man Regional Network, which is now on six continents, with more than 300 representatives in 37 countries. Marian is currently leading the organization’s efforts to facilitate and extend the Burning Man ethos globally.

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