All board members of the Eco Village Project of Fresno are unpaid volunteers and longtime homeless advocates.
Architect Arthur Dyson – President
A native Californian, Arthur Dyson discovered early in life that his attraction to architecture didn’t come from what he saw and liked, but from what was missing. Many buildings he encountered lacked something critically important. When he came across a design that pleased, people usually said it looked like one by Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1953, someone gave Dyson a copy of House Beautiful magazine that illustrated Wright’s work. By age 18, Dyson managed to become a Taliesin Apprentice.
Once, while reviewing his work, Wright told Dyson that his style was “Goffian.” Dyson was later relieved to understand that Wright meant Bruce Goff, not some form of medieval architecture. With that casual comment, Wright directed Dyson toward the next phase of his apprenticeship. Following the death of Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959, Dyson sought out Goff and obtained a position with his office. With the creative compositional technique gained at Taliesin, Dyson applied Goff’s experimental, highly-creative style to his own designs. Along the way, Goff handed Dyson a catalog from an exhibition of work by Purcell & Elmslie, Architects. The publication noted that William Gray Purcell was living in Pasadena, CA at the time.
When Dyson returned to California in 1960, he visited with Purcell and eventually became his personal assistant & draftsman. Studying the records of Purcell’s firm and spending long hours in discussion about the practice of architecture, Dyson increased his training with an important, yet largely intangible ability to translate the active meanings of human relationships into his designs. By 1969, Dyson opened his own office in Fresno, CA, where he has operated his architectural practice ever since.
In 1999, Dyson became Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture (FLLWSA). He continued to maintain his office in California while traveling regularly to the Taliesin West campus in Arizona and the Taliesin campus in Wisconsin. Arthur Dyson is now Dean Emeritus of the FLLWSA.
Gerry Bill – Vice President & Treasurer
Gerry Bill is Professor Emeritus of Sociology & American Studies at Fresno City College. He is a board member of the Fresno Free College Foundation, Peace Fresno and the Fresno Center for Nonviolence. Additionally, he serves as co-chair of the Central California Criminal Justice Committee and is a longtime social justice activist in Fresno. In 2011, he helped establish the Eco Village Project of Fresno, where he currently serves as Vice President & Treasurer.
Dixie Salazar – Secretary
Dixie Salazar is an artist, writer and activist who has published 4 books of poetry and a novel. She has taught writing and art at both of the women’s prisons in Chowchilla (CCWF & VSP) and has taught writing at Corcoran State Prison. Previously, she taught a parenting class in the Fresno County Jail and art at Juvenile Hall. In 2009, after 16 years of teaching, she retired from the CSUF English Department. Aside from being Secretary at the Eco Village Project of Fresno, Dixie is currently involved with a homeless advocacy group and is a board member of Fresno Filmworks. In 2004, Dixie received a Horizon Award for Arts Education, while in 2008, she received a Power of Expression Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Nancy Waidtlow – Board Member &
Founder, Dakota EcoGarden
Nancy Waidtlow, a mother of 2 kids, is originally from Salinas, CA. She later attended Fresno State and is a retired elementary school teacher in Fresno. On her free time, Nancy enjoys folk music, tennis and helping social causes, including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the ACLU. As board member of the Eco Village Project of Fresno and founder of Fresno’s Dakota EcoGarden, her time is spent making this world a better place for her grandkids and community. The Dakota EcoGarden is Nancy’s way of providing dignity and hope to Fresno’s most vulnerable, the homeless.
Beverly Fitzpatrick – Board Member
Beverly Fitzpatrick, a retired teacher, has 5 kids and 14 grandchildren. After retirement, she became involved in peace and social justice work in Fresno, where she now serves as a homeless advocate and peace activist. In addition to Beverly’s current role as board member of the Eco Village Project of Fresno, she is Chair of the Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee, board member of the Community Alliance newspaper and member of the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee.
Mayuko Russell – Board Member
Soon after moving to Fresno in 2011, Mayuko served as volunteer for the Eco Village Project of Fresno and became a board member in 2014. She has a background in architecture & green building, a passion for urban development and a deep interest in the homeless community. Mayuko received her Master of Architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture and currently works for Architect Arthur Dyson.
Peter McDonald – Board Member
Peter is a lifelong activist who has worked as a librarian coast to coast throughout his long career, most recently as the Dean of Library Services, California State University, Fresno. Now retired, he works for social justice on many fronts.
Roland Geiger – Board Member
Roland is the customer relations and operations manager at Cypress Systems, Inc., a biotech company that pioneered and developed the natural food forms of minerals, which they have supplied to health supplement manufacturers globally since 1995. He believes sustainability is a partnership with nature, and that the long-term health of people and the planet depends upon businesses and individuals aligning with nature. Roland received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in organizational development and leadership from Fresno Pacific University. He has owned and managed four small businesses. Roland is a member of the board of directors for the International Green Industry Hall of Fame (IGIHOF), and is actively involved in community development through the Fresno-Madera Continuum of Care (FMCoC) and Wings Advocacy Fresno. Regarding the two aforementioned organizations, he’s currently working towards integrating their services into the Eco Village Project of Fresno’s platform.