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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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
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.

Desiree Beardmore
Desiree Beardmore
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Desiree Beardmore
Uganda Bridge Corps Fellow

I’m a PhD student in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. I research risk for infrastructure construction projects in developing countries.

After earning my B.S in Nuclear Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology, I worked as a mechanical engineer designing multi-disciplinary systems, managing stakeholder interests, and supervising safety. I then went on to work as a field engineer for a general contractor.

I have served as a president, project manager, design team leader, or mentor for five Engineers Without Borders chapters over the past eight years. I have also served as a crew leader for Habitat for Humanity. This service is what inspired me to pursue a career in development.

I love hiking, weight lifting, swimming, painting, and attending metal concerts. To follow my latest adventures or see my CV visit:
desireebeardmore.com.

As any good native born Coloradan, I love the outdoors and the sunshine.
Christina Barstow
Christina Barstow
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Christina Barstow
Chief of Staff

I’m a program development and management enthusiast who believes rural infrastructure can provide a catalyst to economic empowerment. I’ve spent my career striving to use data driven research to design, implement and ultimately prove benefits of large scale international development programs. At Bridges, I’m excited to bring my passion and focus in using rigorous research-driven evidence to support the development of impact-based innovative financing solutions.

Over the last decade my work has focused on the research and implementation of appropriate technologies across a range of international development sectors including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, energy and infrastructure. After moving to Rwanda in 2011, I came on for a brief, but very rewarding time, as a Country Manager for Bridges to Prosperity where I established and built the Rwanda program. Having fallen in love with Rwanda’s rolling hills, I spent much of the next five years at DelAgua Health, where I led the in-country design and operations of a nation-wide campaign, distributing household water and energy products to almost half a million rural Rwandese. Most recently I received the Science and Technology Policy fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where I served as the Water Evaluation and Behavior Change Advisor at the US government funded foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). I earned a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado where I focused on the benefits of large scale program implementation in developing communities. I’ve very much enjoyed the diversity of perspectives I’ve been awarded across public, private, academic and government sectors, and look forward to the continued growth at B2P.

As any good native born Coloradan, I love the outdoors and the sunshine. On most weekends you can locate me in the mountains; hiking or rock climbing. But also a huge lover of the city of Denver where you can find me running around City Park or teaching at the yoga studio.

Claude Munyaneza
Claude Munyaneza
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Claude Munyaneza
Rwanda Program Engineer

I was born in Rubavu District, the Western Province of Rwanda, in 1990 and am the youngest of four children. I completed secondary school in 2009 at the Nyanza School of Science, where I studied physics, chemistry and mathematics. In 2014 I received my B.Sc degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology.

I first encountered Bridges to Prosperity as a senior when I attended a footbridge-building seminar at the University of Rwanda put on by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Germany. I proceeded to collaborate on the design and construction of a suspended footbridge with EWB and B2P in a rural area of Rwanda.

After graduating, I was hired on as an engineering intern with B2P to conduct a bridge needs assessment. I spent seven months visiting rural districts and villages throughout Rwanda and carried out thorough social and technical assessments of potential bridge sites. In January 2015, I was hired on full time as a Project Engineer.

When I am not out on site, I live in Kigali City with my sister’s family.

Teodoro Mamani Canaviri
Teodoro Mamani Canaviri
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Teodoro Mamani Canaviri
Bolivia Mason

I was born in Siquipampa, Province of Arque of the municipality of Tacopaya, one of the poorest regions of the Department of Cochabamba. I had experience as a mason in the city working on construction of houses, and currently work with Bridges to Prosperity in the construction of pedestrian bridges. I like to learn about new construction techniques and my desire is to be a bridge construction professional. I live with my wife Francisca in Cochabamba, and we just welcomed a baby girl, Aide, into our family.

Holly Bartelt
Holly Bartelt
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Holly Bartelt
Program Manager

Whether driving along a multi-span bridge of a congested interstate or walking across a suspended cable bridge over an impassable river, I believe that everyone deserves safe access. My passion for people, engineering, and sustainable infrastructure fuels me to provide safe and replicable bridge design as part of Bridges to Prosperity’s technical team.

I grew up in Huntingburg, Indiana and attended college at the University of Southern Indiana, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. In addition to my demanding course work at USI, I competed in cross country and track.

For three years before joining Bridges to Prosperity, I worked as a bridge engineer at HNTB, Indianapolis. During this time, I actively volunteered with Engineers Without Borders. As an EWB volunteer, I helped replace a footbridge in western Kenya, which inspired my drive to reach more lives, move to Colorado, and join the team.

I started my career at B2P as a Staff Engineer, producing individualized bridge designs for unique and challenging sites, and standardized designs that were widely implemented. I moved into the role of Programs Manager in 2016, leading the development of structures and support for our growing global team. Throughout my work, I strive to continually provide Bridges to Prosperity with collaborative and innovative ideas.

When I’m not working on bridges, I’m enjoying the Colorado outdoors to a soundtrack of great music.

Erica Brandt
Erica Brandt
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Erica Brandt
Uganda Program Manager

Though I had originally planned to work with B2P for only 6 months as a Haiti Bridge Corps Fellow, I was inspired to stay on longer by the resilience of my neighbors in Haiti. Living there, I saw how their daily lives and their plans for the future were often tied to the wide, flooding river – which could be a source of life for the farming community but also a major barrier. The community pulled together to build that bridge; the celebration upon the completion was one I’ll never forget.

As the Uganda Program Manager, I’m most excited about building a strong team and building lasting partnerships with the local government. I’m proud to be able to work on projects which bolster social justice, empower communities, and bring attention to regions that can sometimes be neglected due to difficult access.

Before I joined the team, I graduated with honors from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, a master’s degree in Civil Engineering, and a certificate in Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC). I also spent time working on a USAID water and sanitation project in Zambia, designing drinking water infrastructure projects with Denver Water, volunteering with Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in India, and traveling in East Africa and South Asia. In my free time you can find me practicing yoga, reading, or exploring the beauty of Uganda.

Daniel Gonzalez
Daniel Gonzalez
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Daniel Gonzalez
Panama B2P Mason

I’m a high school graduate and have a lot of experience with masonry, electricity and plumbing. Before working with B2P, I worked as a mason building houses.

I’ve been working with B2P for over three years, and have loved the experience. I have learned a lot and visited so many places, I view my work as important for the future of the communities.

Esteban Alberto Molina Icabalceta
Esteban Alberto Molina Icabalceta
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Esteban Alberto Molina Icabalceta
Nicaragua Program Engineer

I’m a civil engineer who was born and raised in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. I have lived there for over 30 years, where I work to help solve challenges that face the people of Nicaragua.

My career has been focused on projects like road improvement, construction of pavements with cobblestones in rural communities, construction of schools in rural areas with non-governmental organizations, and private housing construction. In the past seven years, I have gained great experience and knowledge in the field.

I’ve enjoyed working with Bridges to Prosperity, where I get to provide safe access to many communities. I have gotten great experience working in the field, and enjoy the logistics and design aspect of my role. Beyond it all, I love seeing how groups of foreigners and groups of local people who do not speak the same language, can come together to finish a bridge. The two groups share happiness on bridge inauguration day, where the community celebrates the security that safe access provides for their families. I’m very happy be part of the B2P family.

Carlos Hernandez
Carlos Hernandez
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Carlos Hernandez
Nicaragua Foreman

I was born in San Dionisio, Matagalpa, where I currently live with my wife and three children. I have worked in construction for 17 years and worked as a mason on the Corozo and Zarzal bridge builds with Bridges to Prosperity.

Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson
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Brandon Johnson
VP of Operations

I believe in responsible, sustainable development work and incorporate this into my efforts to provide safe access to communities. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and a master’s from Oregon State University in Civil Engineering, I worked in the bridge design industry in Denver for two years before leaving my design position to begin my adventure with Bridges to Prosperity as an intern in Nicaragua.

With Bridges to Prosperity, I’ve served as both the Nicaragua Program Manager and the interim Rwanda Program Manager, and currently I serve as the VP of Operations. Using my technical and development experience, I support our operational staff and bridge building efforts around the globe.

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