Food Drive

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We are excited to support Food Gatherers throughout the month of November. Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. Food security is a major issue facing over 50,000 residents of Washtenaw County. 

Food Gatherers serves 150 non-profit agencies and programs providing direct food assistance in the form of hot meals, nutritious snacks or emergency groceries to low-income adults, seniors and children in Washtenaw County.

Food Gatherers provides their agency partners with:

-       Mostly free (70%) and low cost food

-       Capacity building grants

-       Training to register eligible clients for federal and state benefit programs 

-       Customized food safety training by licensed food safety professionals on our staff

Food Gatherers provides direct service through their Community Kitchen and Job Training Program:

-       1,500 volunteers prepare and serve 100,000 meals to people in need each year

-       Students of the Job Training and Internship programs are chosen from at-risk youth (ages 16-20). They gain basic training in the culinary arts, and work to develop work ethics and life skills

Please bring a non-perishable food donation the next time you visit GoWork or head to our donation campaign page and make a tax-deductible donation to help keep the wheels in motion against fighting food insecurity in Washtenaw County: foodgatherers.org/gowork.

Your donations will help the 1 in 7 Washtenaw County residents that struggle with access to enough food for an active, healthy life. A $50 donation provides a family of five with food for 5 to 10 days. Visit foodgatherers.org to learn more.

Meet the Founders: Kyle Thibaut

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Kyle Thibaut

Co-Founder, Head of Technology

Kyle Thibaut is responsible for all technology at GoWork from online marketing to the customer experience.

As a Michigan native, Kyle spent most of his childhood surfing the internet from the family computer. His penchant for all things digital quickly grew from his abilities to quickly learn and navigate new technology and tools. Known as the “computer kid” throughout his childhood, he began to put his skills to work by designing websites for companies, his school district, and community. In addition to the web, he formed other hobbies in digital media such as video editing and photography.

While attending freshman year at the University of Michigan, Kyle met Andrew and the two quickly realized their skills at coming up with creative ideas that would lead to entrepreneurship. The two ended up living together the entire four years while preparing themselves for the future by studying engineering and ultimately how to solve big problems. It was during this time in Ann Arbor that Kyle introduced longtime school friend, Clayton Smith, into his social circle.

After leaving UMich, Kyle joined Car and Driver magazine and entered the automotive industry from the media side. While there, he learned the basics of building web content and online communities. While at Car and Driver, Kyle was asked to join TechCrunch as a full-time writer covering startups, gadgets, and cars.

During this time as a writer, Kyle was fortunate enough to travel the world and develop a passion for seeing more. As an active couchsurfer, he was able to understand the importance of viewing life and people from different perspectives seen all around the world.

After his time as a journalist, Kyle jumped into a more technical role at TrueCar where he was a senior analyst in charge of forecasting the future values of automobiles so that banks could develop new car lease plans. After four years in Santa Barbara, Kyle felt his heart pull him back toward Silicon Valley to join a startup. As an early employee of Beepi, Kyle was able to take part in deploying $150 million in capital to change the way people buy and sell cars online. He founded three teams at the company that utilized his growth mindset to start something, optimize the process, then train others who could specialize in the craft.  

Being in a startup wasn’t enough for Kyle. After two years, he wanted to be a founder and in total control of his destiny. After having long conversations with Andrew and Clayton, they identified a large need for coworking to connect more people in Ypsilanti. GoWork was formed as a place for others to come, share ideas, and work near each other all under the pretense that there is something bigger out there…you just need to work for it.

 

Meet the Founders: Clayton Smith

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Clayton Smith

Co-Founder, Head of Community

Clayton was born on the west side of Michigan then moved to Swartz Creek, a suburb of Flint. After graduating high school, Clayton moved to Flint and worked at a factory in Webberville, driving an hour each way everyday. When the factory relocated to Mexico, Clayton was left with limited prospects in Flint. With the future looking dreary, Clayton made a trip down to Ann Arbor to visit an old friend, Kyle (another founder of GoWork). This trip permanently reshaped Clayton’s purpose in life and gave him a new perspective of what life could be like outside of the factory life in Flint.

Ann Arbor was quite different from Flint, but it had a vitality that Clayton couldn’t ignore - his eyes were open anew and he moved down to Ann Arbor as soon as he could. Clayton found a new home in Washtenaw County by immersing himself in the local agricultural community. He found a job at Old House Gardens and realized that he wanted to be deeper in nature and natural living. With the connections he made, Clayton was able to become a part of Tantre Farm in Chelsea - one of the most enlightening experiences he has ever had.

After living on the farm for a year, and certainly milking his fair share of cows at 6am in the morning, Clayton decided to venture to the west coast of America. From Spokane, WA to San Bernardino, CA Clayton spent 5 months exploring organic orchards, intentional communities and visiting friends and family along the Pacific Ocean. After months of self-actualization, Clayton hitchhiked all the way back from San Bernardino to Ann Arbor to make it just in time for his hair appointment to donate the ponytail he had been growing during his travels. Despite having an epic adventure, Clayton was happy to back to the place he knows as home - Michigan, particularly Washtenaw County.

He settled in at the Washtenaw Food Hub, working as Production Manager at a local fermented foods company, The Brinery. Clayton played an integral role in the growth of The Brinery as it scaled from 3 to 12 employees and began to sell to all Whole Foods in the Midwest. Seeing how finance impacted business, and its employees and owners, Clayton realized that as a financial planner he could positively impact the people and businesses he knew and loved.

Clayton moved to downtown Ypsilanti with his then girlfriend, now wife and started directing his efforts towards financial planning. He has since worked for multiple local Financial Planning companies and currently sits on the Financial Planning Association of Michigan Board of Directors. It was during this time that Clayton fell in love with Ypsilanti - the culture, the food, the community - all of it so unique.

Having lived in Ypsilanti, Clayton jumped at the opportunity to partner with his old roommates on GoWork. Every day the vibrancy of the Ypsilanti downtown community shines and Clayton realized GoWork is a perfect fit to serve the needs of the hard working community. Clayton couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

When he’s not at GoWork or improving himself as a financial planner, Clayton enjoys exploring Michigan with his wife and going on walks with his Irish Wolfhound, David.

Meet the Founders: Andrew Sereno

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Andrew Sereno

Co-Founder, Head of Operations

Andrew grew up in Chelsea, MI - 30min west of Ypsilanti. After high school, he graduated from University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering for Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Material Science. While at University of Michigan, he worked with the Martin Research Group on conducting polymers for neural interfacing, helping co-write a number of published journal articles. He eventually joined his colleagues who formed a startup, Biotectix, to commercialize the technology they had been researching in the lab. At Biotectix, Andrew would eventually become Principal Scientist with his name on multiple patents.
 
Originally intending to stay in academia, Andrew headed out to Pasadena, California in pursuit of a PhD from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). While at Caltech, Andrew realized that he enjoyed the jack-of-all-trades attitude that a startup requires and the dynamic nature of business - and, above all else, that he would rather be with his, then girlfriend, now wife, Rebecca, back in Michigan. He returned to live with Rebecca in Ypsilanti as she finished her last year at University of Michigan.
 
Continuing his work at Biotectix, Andrew started to realize the burgeoning culture in Ypsilanti and the birth of an entirely new generation of economy - full of freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs. Ypsilanti was growing, but was seeming to lack the centralized community that really creates a thriving economy. This idea lay nascent in his mind as he moved back to his childhood home in Chelsea with Rebecca, where they eventually had their daughter, Vanessa.
 
Andrew recently moved back to Ann Arbor and wanted a coworking space he could build his consulting business, away from his home – sometimes it’s nice to get a breath of fresh air and not be distracted. Looking around Ann Arbor, it was hard to find an open and accessible workspace that felt inviting without serious commitment, at a decent price no less. Then he remembered his years in Ypsilanti and how in need it was then of the exact space he was envisioning – something the entire community could benefit from. Looking, he saw that it still was in need, and the community was crying for somebody to open a coworking space. Putting his consulting business aside, Andrew decided to partner up with his old roommates from his time at UofM to open up GoWork. And here we are!
 
When he’s not working at GoWork or meeting with clients, Andrew spends as much time with his daughter, Vanessa – usually cooking in her play kitchen or chasing the cats around the house. If he ever does find himself alone, he enjoys kayaking the lakes in the Waterloo-Pinckney Recreation Area or gardening when he’s at home. Of course, those activities can only be done in the summertime in Michigan, so in the wintertime he finds himself playing board games with friends or videogames with his wife.