Originally from Ohio, Kate came to the Pacific Northwest in 2001 and immediately knew this is where she belonged. She spent a decade in Seattle following a winding path that led her through the fields of social work, banking, care-giving, and specialty coffee. After moving to Bellingham in 2012, Kate returned to her social work roots and began working with Northwest Youth Services, eventually helping design and implement the Homeless Outreach Team at the Opportunity Council. Kate is known for collaboration, deep listening, and a drive to breathe new life into systems. She is excited to serve ReUse Works, an organization focused on creating space for individuals through the job-training program and minimizing the impact of waste on our planet.
Kate StragisProgram Manager
Originally from eastern Washington, Kate moved to Florida for college and then to Puerto Rico before settling down in Bellingham in 2011. Before joining the staff at Ragfinery, Kate spent 8 years providing direct service at various non-profits, primarily with people experiencing homelessness. She has seen and experienced firsthand how much art, support and inclusion can positively impact people and communities. Kate loves to build, fix, paint and sew while she’s at work and at home. When she’s not at Ragfinery she can be found enjoying time with her family or around town with friends. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather SmallAssistant Manager
Heather has been moving to and from Bellingham since 2001, and she’s delighted to discover she has grown roots here at last! Originally from upstate New York, she’s experienced in many fields, including school administration, cabinetry, homestead farming, and her favorite – energy healing massage. For her, working with the warm-hearted and smiling crew at Ragfinery is joyful participation in improving the well-being of individuals, communities, and the planet. When she’s not at this job, she might be found playing in her garden or roaming the woods.
Linda SutherBusiness Manager
Linda came to ReUse Works in the fall of 2017. A retired aerospace executive, she found ReUse Works to be the right environment to take advantage of her business skills as well as a place to grow. Linda holds a Certification in Quickbooks Accounting, a Bachelor of Science Degree and is both a Certified Purchasing and Inventory Control Manager (CPIM) and Lean Manufacturing Administrator. Her favorite things about her job include helping people while helping to save the environment. It’s a brilliant idea and very satisfying to be able to play a part. She also loves that it is both a production and retail environment. In her free time Linda plays guitar, flute, sews, snow skis and volunteers for the Mount Baker Volunteer Ski Patrol in fund raising and business systems support.
Caroline started volunteering at Ragfinery to incorporate her passion for the environment and textiles and has since transformed into a staff member. Caroline learned to knit over ten years ago when her grandmother bought her yarn at a garage sale and challenged her to teach herself to knit. She’s been an avid knitter ever since and can often be seen knitting while walking around town. Caroline is a WWU graduate with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.
Shania ZieberTextile Associate
Shania was born in Mount Vernon, WA, but has been living in Bellingham most of her life. For some time, she was looking for a place that she truly fit in. Following this adventurous path, she found herself in a few programs that helped her land a permanent position at Ragfinery. Since finding this place, she truly feels like she’s made a difference, not only with making the planet cleaner, but by leaving her mark on Ragfinery itself where she feels appreciated and loved. Shania loves crafts, cats, and anything new that she can teach herself!
Suzanne CarneyTextile Associate
Suzanne came to be a Ragfinery employee by way of learning to knit from a co-worker in Tennessee. Knitting opened the larger world of fabric crafting to her, and her enthusiasm for making things has only continued to grow. She has experience in both non-profit work and fabric retail through various library jobs and a two year stint at a large commercial fabric retailer. For Suzanne, it is always a joy to help someone find just the right material for their project. She also enjoys teaching a wide variety of crafts and skills. When’s she not on the job, Suzanne can be found knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking and decorating cakes, reading, or hiking throughout the amazing landscape of the PNW.
Kass UlmerTextile Associate
Kass taught herself to knit, weave, and crochet after reading a series of folktales that focused on clothmaking. She is currently a geology graduate student at Western Washington University. Her life goals are to find a way to merge geology, forensic science, and knitting and to get through all the yarn in her stash. She also wants to adopt an old, grumpy cat.
Hannah PratherAmeriCorps VISTA for ReUse Works
Hannah is an AmeriCorps VISTA at Ragfinery, through our parent organization ReUse Works, which means her role is to build capacity for our many programs. She holds an Environmental Studies degree from WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment. Hannah wanted to serve at Ragfinery because of the way it melds her environmental values with her social justice priorities, both of which guide the way she lives her life. Besides that, she loves to cook and talk about food, summer camping, winter hiking, and is picking up knitting.