Our cross national team is driven by a commitment to directness, transparency, and hard work - balanced with teamwork, humor and the desire to do good work.

A note from Avery

Our team at Bridges to Prosperity shows up to work every day committed to providing safe access to the world’s rural last mile. We are driven by the belief that isolation is a root cause of poverty, and connection is the key first step to helping communities to thrive. Each and every member of our global team shares a deep commitment to our partner communities and our shared vision powers us forward.

I consider myself singularly lucky to lead such a stellar team – we act with integrity, believe in equality and collaborate to ensure quality and impact are optimized. When our founder, Ken Frantz, built our first footbridge in 2001, he drew on the knowledge and support of his friends and family and the expertise of local partners. That tradition continues today, more than fifteen years later. Each new team member lends their own unique expertise and enthusiasm to achieving our mission. Together, we're changing the world.

Avery Bang

President & CEO
Since joining B2P as a volunteer in 2006, I’ve worked alongside a growing team of leaders and game changers who, in partnership with isolated communities around the world, provide safe year-round access to education, healthcare, and markets through pedestrian bridge-building. Together, we’re connecting the rural last mile.

Meet the Team

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Abbie Noriega
Abbie Noriega
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Abbie Noriega
Director of Evaluation

I believe that all people should have access to education, employment, and basic healthcare, and that bridges have the power to provide that access to thousands of isolated communities throughout the world. As Director of Evaluation, I work to understand the impacts that our projects have in communities around the world.

Born in Colorado and raised in Florida, I’ve always been passionate about fundraising for the causes near to my heart, hosting events through my home, university, and volunteer positions, and ultimately working in development and communications in the Denver nonprofit world for several years before joining Bridges to Prosperity in 2014. I live in Denver with her husband, son and a house full of pets, and when I’m not working with the incredible B2P family of staff, volunteers, and partners to build access through bridges, I spend my time in the kitchen, the garden, or the mountains.

Abel Perez
Abel Perez
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Abel Perez
Panama Program Engineer

I’m a 26 year old electrical engineer from Venezuela, I’ve been living in Panama for 2 years and found out about B2P through some friends. Ever since I heard about the organization I was curious, but it was until recently that I gathered the courage to come out of my comfort zone and apply.

I was motivated to join so I could be a part of an international team willing to work for communities that need this kind of support more than the rest. Ever since I moved to Panama, I’ve listened to stories and news reports about rivers being too dangerous for communities to cross on a daily basis, so I was aware of the importance of B2P’s mission.

I consider myself a very driven person, once I put my mind on something it’s all I can think about until I get it done. I’m outgoing and like to work out in the gym or outdoors. I also like nerdy and geeky stuff, I play a lot of video games and read comics and books, I love to watch a lot of movies and TV, I prefer sci-fi and fantasy themed stories.

I’m excited to meet the communities and to work with them through the experience of building the bridges, also to be familiar with the process and day to day work of the organization. Everyone has been very kind and helpful so I believe it will be an awesome experience.

Alan Kreisa
Alan Kreisa
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Alan Kreisa
Director of Engineering

Before joining Bridges to Prosperity, I gained more than ten years of bridge related experience including inspection, design, and construction engineering primarily on major highway and light rail structures. My love of bridges and a desire to fulfill a greater purpose led me to this organization in 2015, where I have since served as the Director of Engineering.

I currently oversee all bridge design and technical development, quality control documents, and bridge inspections. I also support and train our Program Engineers and Bridge Corps Fellows in their roles in each program country. I am responsible for more than 100 footbridges serving communities around the world.

Originally from Virginia, I now live in northern California with my lovely wife and family. An outdoor and adventure enthusiast, I enjoy getting out and experiencing all the rivers, lakes, mountains, and trails this area has to offer.

Alex McNeill
Alex McNeill
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Alex McNeill
Program Manager

I was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia and lived in Sydney prior to moving to Nicaragua to join B2P as a Bridge Corps Fellow. From the time I turned 18 I’ve had a passion for traveling and exploring different cultures, and will jump at the opportunity to broaden these experiences. Between trips, I attended the University of Queensland and completed a year overseas exchange to Purdue University in Indiana, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering. I worked for three years in the engineering and construction industry prior making the decision to steer my career towards another one my passions, community development. I was involved with Red Cross Youth Outreach and Engineers Without Borders in Australia, bolstering my passion for development, before joining B2P as a Bridge Corps Fellow, and ultimately the Nicaragua Program Manager.

Alissa Smith
Alissa Smith
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Alissa Smith
Director of Business Development

I’m a storyteller, both by passion and by trade. I believe deeply in B2P’s commitment to linking isolated communities with the most elemental resources to combat poverty, and I’m jazzed to come to work everyday and tell the stories of the people and communities the organization partners with.

I came to B2P from a background in nonprofit development work for large-scale organizations working in the education space. I most recently served as Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager for City Year Denver. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Pepperdine University, a Masters of Humanities degree in Philosophy of Language and Ethics from the University of Chicago, and a Certificate in Publishing from New York University. In my time between the pursuit of my degrees, I served as a Fulbright Scholar in Denizli, Turkey, where I facilitated cultural exchange as a university guest professor and as a volunteer in primary school classrooms in research for a series of children’s books.

I’m a proud native of Denver, I grew up in Littleton, and in my time outside of my professional pursuits, I build and drag race cars. I’m a published author, an AmeriCorps alum, and a member of the board of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.

Ann Cannella
Ann Cannella
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Ann Cannella
Chief Financial Officer

I’m passionate about improving the human condition. I believe that safe access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity is essential and should be made available to all. Inspired by the simplicity of bridges providing this much needed access, I joined Bridges to Prosperity.

A graduate of the University of Missouri and a certified public accountant, I have spent more than 25 years serving the missions of public and private organizations primarily in the service industry. My expertise in project accounting, financial planning, cost analysis, and budgeting are instrumental to our growth and success.

Born and raised in Missouri, I’ve called Denver home for many years, along with my husband and two daughters. Together, we enjoy all that Colorado’s beautiful mountains have to offer. When I’m not number crunching for B2P, you’ll find me enjoying yoga, hiking, reading and just hanging with my girls.

Annie Kennedy
Annie Kennedy
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Annie Kennedy
Marketing & Communications Manager

I was drawn to Bridges to Prosperity following a year of travel through Southeast Asia, Canada, and the United States. During my travels, I quickly realized I needed to pair my love for marketing with my passion for people upon return to work. When I learned more about the deep empowerment that comes with access and met the team in Denver, I knew B2P was a perfect fit.

I graduated from Loyola Marymount University, where I developed a keen interest in the psychology behind human connection, and particularly interpersonal communication. Through that, came marketing.

The medley of analytics, psychology, and creativity is what I love about marketing. I’m passionate about running creative campaigns that evoke emotion, while meeting data-driven performance indicators.

A Northern California native, I’m excited to call Denver home. Outside the office, you can find me exploring Denver’s craft beer scene, skiing, and hiking with my pup, Goomba.

Arnold Bugingo
Arnold Bugingo
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Arnold Bugingo
Uganda Bridge Corps Fellow

I’m an Engineering Trainee and since June 2016 through to December 2017, have volunteered with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Uganda Chapter, handling registration and event organization for the SPE events and Distinguished Lectures. Consequently, I got a contract with the SPE for 3 months on temporary employment from September – November, 2017 as a Manual/Curriculum writer on a Renewable Energy Project; Energy-4 U – a project focused on teaching Primary School pupils (8 – 11 year olds) practical ways to use renewable energy sources (Solar, Wind, Hydro and Biomass) with materials that are readily available and easy to find in and around their places of abode.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Geoscience and Production from Makerere University, Kampala Uganda where I graduated in February 2017. I also hold a Diploma in French – Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française B1 (DELF B1) from the French Ministry of Education through Alliance Française Kampala with which I started up a French Language Tutoring Company in July 2017; Premier Français, where I tutor people in the language as well as doing translation on a professional level.

During my time in high school, I was a student leader, a position I also took on at university in the capacity of Class Representative throughout the four years of the course. As such, I have exceptional leadership qualities and good writing skills, having been Editor in Chief of the Secret Treasure Magazine, 2014/15 at Makerere University – an annual publication that served to keep the students abreast with the dynamics, news and current affairs concerning the Oil and Gas Industry in Uganda.

When I’m not doing work-related assignments, I write poems and also write on matters in the society, I have a heightened inclination to psychology and philosophy, I love to read many books on these subjects. I enjoy playing soccer and interacting with others. I’m currently living in Kampala, Uganda.

Avery Bang
Avery Bang
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Avery Bang
President & CEO

I believe that every person has a right to safe access – and the innovative, scalable approach B2P embraces is built to act on that belief. Since joining B2P as a volunteer in 2006, I’ve worked alongside a growing team of leaders and game changers who, in partnership with isolated communities around the world, provide safe year-round access to education, healthcare, and markets through pedestrian bridge-building. Together, we’re connecting the rural last mile.

My passion for engineering began early – I was a passionate fan of legos as a kid (still am, as a matter of fact). I pursued a BSc. degree in Civil Engineering and a BA in Studio Art at the University of Iowa, and later completed a graduate degree in Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. My graduate research was conducted with National Academy of Engineering member Bernard Amadei, and considered locally-appropriate geotechnical survey and pedestrian bridge design for rural applications. I have taught Cable-Supported Pedestrian Bridge Design at the University of Colorado in the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities, and in 2016, took a sabbatical to complete an MBA at Säid Business School at the University of Oxford, where I served as the Managing Director for the Oxford Seed Fund. In this role, I selected and managed a team of 10 fellow MBAs to oversee deal flow, due diligence, and term negotiation for high growth Oxford-led startups, while also being responsible for screening applicants of the Skoll Venture Awards.

As exciting and inspiring as my time across the pond was, I’m excited to be back with the B2P team and in the state I love. When I’m not mulling over the next exciting step for the organization, I’m usually enjoying a good brew in the Colorado sunshine, rock climbing, or tackling my newest home renovation project.

Where you’ve seen Avery:

Speaking at…

TEDWomen 2018
TEDx Boulder
ASBI Annual Convention
USGBC’s Greenbuild Nation
International Footbridge Conference
IABSE International Conference
CURT Annual Convention
SEAOI’s Midwest Bridge Conference
D80 Conference at Michigan Technical University
ENR’s Women in Construction
International Bridge Conference
ASCE’s International Conference
Engineering for Change (E4C)
Engineers Without Borders – USA (EWB) International Conference

Writing for…

Acumen’s blog
Engineering News Records’s Future Tech blog
ASCE’s Structure Magazine (guest editorialist)

Being honored as…

ENR’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2012
ENR Mountain Region’s Top 20 Under 40 list in 2013
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Fresh Faces in 2011
Distinguished Young Alumni of The University of Iowa
Recent Alumni Award winner at The University of Colorado at Boulder
Clarkson University honorary PhD in 2014

Serving as a board member for…

Helvetas USA
Posner Center for International Development
The University of Iowa Department of Civil Engineering
CauseLabs Digital Solutions for Social Change B-Corp
Barret Wellemeyer
Barret Wellemeyer
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Barret Wellemeyer
Bolivia Program Manager

I envision a world where the seemingly simple problems, especially safe access, are solved in a manner that empowers communities to improve their quality of life. My love affair with Latin America, and specifically Andean culture, began during projects in Ecuador with my university chapter of Engineers Without Borders and was deepened through studies in Argentina and backpacking across South America.

As the Bolivian Program Manager, I encounter unique opportunities to facilitate community led bridge projects that rely heavily on municipal and departmental governments. On Sundays, I immerse myself in local community life by playing games of fútbol (soccer).

I’m from Kansas and attribute my resilience to my loving parents and four older siblings. The Flint Hills lured me to Kansas State University where I received my B.Sc. in civil engineering with honors. I run to compensate for my love of craft beer and red wine, start many books, and enjoy serious conversation accompanied by a light-roast.

Bob Fan
Bob Fan
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Bob Fan
VP of Growth

After spending much of my 25-year career as a business and marketing executive doing work that has social impact as a secondary benefit, I’m thrilled to have joined Bridges to Prosperity to bring social impact to the forefront of what I do. I’m excited to combine my passion about poverty alleviation with my business experience to help B2P exponentially scale our impact.

My passion for working with people in low-resource settings comes from projects with small-scale coffee farmers in Nicaragua and Peru through Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Fair Trade Organic coffee program, work with Medtronic to increase access to essential abdominal surgery in Tanzania and personal travel to places like Nepal and Cambodia.

After growing up in rural Minnesota, I moved to California, where I earned a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, as well as an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. My work experience has spanned medical device, non-profit, specialty coffee—an eclectic mix of industries with a common thread of serving a greater good. In these roles I’ve enjoyed articulating vision, setting strategy, developing high performance cross-cultural teams, deploying business processes, and managing P&L.

After many recent moves, my family is happy to be back in Colorado and call it home (though we’re always eager to visit Shanghai and reminisce about our 2 years there). Together with my spouse and two kids, we enjoy any outdoor adventure in any season—hiking, camping, mountaineering, biking, and even dogsledding. On the indoor front, we enjoy playing stringed instruments and all sharing the couch watching Master Chef Junior.

Boss Watsaba
Boss Watsaba
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Boss Watsaba
Uganda Foreman

I delight in the use of available resources integrated with engineering skills to improve livelihoods of individuals and societies in the surrounding and across borders.

Having graduated with a National Diploma in Building and Civil engineering from Uganda Technical College – Elgon, I joined Mount Elgon Labour Based Training Centre (MELTC), a capacity building agency under Ministry of Works and Transport – Uganda where I received an on-job apprenticeship in technical fields such as Labour based road construction, low cost road surfacing, construction of Arch bridges, and quality control in all the above works

I joined B2P in August 2017 as Project Foreperson after I was forwarded by the Principal Engineer at MELTC to join Bridges to Prosperity in 2017. I have since started construction of suspended pedestrian cable bridges.

I spend my free time reading inspirational books and speaking to the youth.

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