We’re excited to kick off a series of posts introducing some new faces on the Epicenter board!
Bryan Buenacosa-Brooks is an creative strategist, architect, and wildlife and lands advocate living in Portland, OR. Below is a brief interview with Bryan about his background, work, and involvement with Epicenter.
Epicenter: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Bryan: I went to school for architecture; in high school I thought I’d become a famous architect, but school quickly put me in my place. Even so, architecture defined my focus and passions for a long time. I taught architecture studios for first year design students for a couple of years before I moved to Green River and joined Epicenter for two eventful years. There I collaborated on some really memorable projects, like This Is Green River, HDTS: Epicenter, A Call to Place and the Green River downtown plan. I also helped the City with its tourism strategy and branding, which is when I first interacted with HUB Collective, the design and strategy agency in Portland, OR, where I now work as a Creative Strategist. I still get to work with municipalities in rural Utah; HUB has developed tourism brands and strategies for six Utah counties now through the Utah Office of Tourism’s efforts to promote the benefits of responsible tourism beyond the national parks.
E: What’s your connection to rural Utah? Green River specifically?
B: I grew up in the South and moved to the West Coast for grad school in Seattle. So the middle of the country remained a largely unknown mass of mountains and plains. After school, I failed to find interesting work, until I saw Epicenter’s call for summer interns. My journey to Green River and the larger landscape of the Mountain West began with those first three months at Epicenter.
E: Where are you from and where do you now live?
B: I grew up in Kinston, North Carolina, a small city of about 25,000 in the heart of the cotton-corn-tobacco country of the Coastal Plain. It’s about an hour from the coast. Flat land. (Pine) trees everywhere. Humidity. Sweet tea. Ocean waters warmed by the Gulf Stream. Today I live in Portland, Oregon, a big city, about an hour from the coast. Hilly land. (Fir) trees everywhere. Rain and clouds. Big mountains. Cold, rocky shoreline.
E: What made you want to join the Board of Directors at Epicenter?
B: Something about Green River and Epicenter stays with you if you’ve lived and worked there for even a little while. I missed the community, work, and desert a lot when I moved to Portland, and serving on the board is a very immediate way I can remain involved and connected to Green River and the work, even if I don’t visit more than once a year. I feel my time working at Epicenter also gives me an inside knowledge of many everyday challenges and opportunities that can make me a better board member.
E: Do you have a favorite animal, plant, and/or mineral?
B: When I think of Green River and the surrounding desert, I think of juniper, cryptobiotic soil, and sandstone.