Laura Koch’s next adventure
Our amazing Program Director, Laura Koch, will be transitioning out of her role to pursue her Masters in Public Health full-time. She has made an incredible contribution to the Community Cycling Center, primarily through our partner communities at New Columbia and Hacienda CDC. Below, Laura shares in her own words what her experience at the Community Cycling Center has meant to her.
I first heard of the Community Cycling Center when I was in college and volunteering for the Charlottesville Area Bicycling Association in Virginia in 2000. At the time I was working to start up a yellow bike project modeled after the Community Cycling Center’s now defunct program.
Little did I know that over 10 years later, the Community Cycling Center would have become such an integral part of my life. In my three and a half years as Program Manager and Program Director I have been truly honored to work alongside so many incredibly passionate and truly innovative co-workers and colleagues. When I came on in 2008, we were just beginning to ask ourselves hard questions about how people were benefiting from bicycling and who had access to these resources, which sparked a huge organizational shift towards community partnership work.
With out a doubt, the most rewarding part of my job has been to explore and strengthen relationships with community members and partners. It has taken time, but over the last three years we have developed true friendships and strong working relationships with a diverse group of individuals who are all committed to improving health in their communities.
I will think back fondly on the countless community meetings I have been a part of where we scribbled big ideas on flip chart paper, scratched our heads, raised our voices, went back to the drawing board and slowly but surely gave shape to community initiatives at Hacienda and New Columbia. It is an exciting time to see these projects getting off the ground. I want to thank the residents and staff working in these communities as well as my fellow co-workers for their vision, trust in the process, and commitment to making positive change in these communities.
As I step down from my role at the Community Cycling Center – I will be returning to school to complete my Masters in Public Health at Portland State University and from there on to new adventures. My last official day was the 1st of April, though I will be working in a limited capacity through the end of the month to ensure that the Community Bike Educator and bike storage project at Hacienda are on sound footing.
Again, thanks to everyone who has been apart of our incredible work over the last few years. I look forward to staying in touch.
We miss Laura already, and there will be some big shoes to fill here at the Community Cycling Center. We are currently looking to hire a new Program Director.
Have a favorite memory of Laura? Feel free to share in the comments below.