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Event Coordinators

We are pleased to announce the creation of the Event Coordination group inside Lakes of Fire.  Event Coordinators (or ECs) will manage the day-to-day operations and execution of the event.  They are organized by focus areas – communications, administration, logistics, safety, and infrastructure.  

Who are the event coordinators?

With over 60 years of combined experience at Lakes of Fire, the ECs bring significant event operational and planning expertise to the community. They consist of current leads, former board members, and community organizers.  They were nominated by the current Leads group. 

Why the Change?

Lakes of Fire and its community have grown leaps and bounds since 2008.  This growth requires us to look to the future to determine how we grow and adapt as we continue to stretch the limits of our current space.  This change in leadership structure was proposed by a subsection of the team leads and voted on at last year’s Fall Retreat.  They recognized that to grow GLEA and Lakes of Fire, the organization would need to refocus the organizational management and separate the oversight of the day-to-day operations of the organization to the experienced team leads and allow the GLEA Board of Directors to refocus their efforts towards moving us into the future.  

What happened to the Board?

The Board will remain and grow with a refocused directive.  The GLEA Board will refocus its efforts on governance issues and our mission.  Without onsite event operations, the Board can focus on developing relationships within our Great Lakes community.  They can focus on building stronger partnerships, ensuring compliance with fiscal and legal regulations, and overseeing fundraising efforts to expand our reach.  With our mission to guide them, the Board will drive the future of GLEA, Lakes of Fire, and our Great Lakes community of burners. The ECs will remain in close partnership with the Board to ensure Lakes of Fire continues growing with our community. 

Meet your Event Coordinators:

Nuri “Raptor” Gocay

Raptor has been attending Lakes of Fire for more than a decade.  He has served three years on the board of directors and has been a ticketing lead for three events.  Outside of Lakes of Fire, he has served as Greeters Lead for KiwiBurn, Greeters and Sound Leads for Mosaic Experiment, and at Burning Man, volunteers with Gate Perimeter and Exodus and is a Black Rock City Ranger.  In his day job, he works in technology for an Australian-based startup. His favorite principle is participation. He lives in the Detroit Metro Area. 

Wes “Roadblock”

Wes has 11 years of production experience in Lakes of Fire Leadership as a Lead and on the Board of Directors. Sits on the Board Advisory Committee. Actively involved within the Burning Man Network. Works on the Regional Event Committee for the Burning Man Project. Green Dot and Ranger trained. Anticipating the growth and development of this new structural element developed to strengthen our Great Lakes community event, Lakes of Fire, and the long-term positive impact it will have.

Rio “Miss Rio” Watson

Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Miss Rio first attended Lakes of Fire in 2013. She volunteered with team Leave No Trace, focused on effigy burn site cleanup and post-event restoration, and continued that work for the next few years. She became an LNT lead in 2016. Driven by her passion for art, music, culture, and community-building, Miss Rio was an early supporter and facilitator of the Lakes of Fire POC Cookout. She always seeks collaboration opportunities to make LOF a more diverse and inclusive space. Beyond Lakes, Miss Rio is a social worker, homeless advocate, and non-profit leader. Her favorite principles are Immediacy, Civic Responsibility, and of course, Leaving No Trace! 

Chris “Fishfood” Schaerli

Chris, from Chicago, has been deeply involved in his community for nearly 15 years. His journey of contribution began with volunteer work at a Decomp in Chicago. Since then, Chris has taken on several roles, including that of a Ranger, Green Dot, Trainer, and volunteer for CORE projects at Burning Man. In Chicago, Chris played a role in the BURN Organization’s leadership team and helped co-found the Burn Burn camping event. His dedication extends to the Lakes of Fire event, where he has volunteered in various departments, such as with ESD, FAST, and Rangers. For nearly a decade, he has co-led the Lakes of Fire Rangers, focusing on ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all participants. Chris’s volunteering efforts are driven by a genuine desire to contribute to making Lakes of Fire an enjoyable and secure event for attendees, demonstrating his commitment to the community’s well-being.

Nici Dells

Nici was first introduced to the Burning Man community in the early 2000s and attended Lakes of Fire for the first time in 2010. She volunteered with ESD and found her family. In 2014, she stepped into leadership within ESD as a Medical co-lead, navigating crises with a coffee in one hand and a radio in the other. Over the last ten years, she has helped oversee the growth of the ESD Fire Department and the creation of the Crisis Intervention Team(CIT). She is extremely proud of the relationships she has cultivated over the years with the local emergency services and with the volunteers within ESD. In 2022, she began her search to transition out of ESD leadership and is excited to trade in her gloves for a clipboard as an Event Coordinator. She is local to the West Michigan area, and her favorite principle is Radical Self Reliance.

Cynthia “Foxy” Fox

Foxy has been to every Lakes of Fire since 2008.  She started as theme camp lead for the Firewater Lounge and stepped into her first leadership position at gate in 2013.  She served as the gate and ticketing lead for five years before moving to her current team at ArtHub and the Art Grants team.  She has also served on the organization’s finance team since 2018.  Beyond Lakes of Fire, Foxy is the operations director for a 42-person, legal-aid nonprofit in Chicago focused on housing issues.  She also serves as board president of the nonprofit Lincoln Square Pottery Studio Learning Center, focused on providing ceramic arts education.  

If you would like to contact the EC group, please contact them at ec@lakesoffire.org