Commonalities Blog


Stephanie Bradley Wilson

Director of Health Equity and Violence Prevention, Common Wealth Development (2016 – Present)

I serve as the Director of Health Equity & Violence Prevention managing the partnership of Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction grant.  This grant is a partnership with the Madison Police Department & City of Madison Community Development Division. I have enjoyed working with the staff of Common Wealth and being involved in the company’s efforts to stabilize neighborhoods through it various ventures of economic development, affordable housing, adult and youth workforce development.  It is a pleasure to work in collaboration with its many volunteers and interested people


Michael Bruce

Joining Forces for Families

JFF is a core partner with Common Wealth’s work in the Meadowood neighborhood, specifically with the development and support of the Southwest Transitional Employment Program (STEP). JFF provides office space and works with STEP participants and their family on a range of issues. These include housing, utility disconnections, mental health, educational advocacy, DV issues, public welfare connections, advocacy within Dane County’s service areas.


Justice Castañeda

Executive Director, Common Wealth Development (2017 – Present)

Common Wealth is uniquely a “Madison Idea,” and something that our city is fortunate to have operating.   More than just the phenomenal programs and work that the organization has been behind for the past 4 decades, what makes this idea so unique are the dynamic individuals who have championed the organizational mission and philosophy.  40 years is a testament celebration of all of the Madisonians who have cultivated the soil from which this ‘seed called community’ has been able to flourish and thrive.


Rachel Darken

Youth Employment Specialist (2012 – 2013), Youth Programs Director (2014 – 2017)Director of Economic Development (2017 – 2019)

I worked within the economic development programs for a total of seven years, eventually leading the effort to synergize the youth and adult workforce development programs and the business incubation program.


Megan Diaz-Ricks

Director of Economic Development, Common Wealth Development (2018 – Present)

I started as the Coordination of Care Specialist and then became the Director or Economic Development. Taking on both of these positions has meant being the change I want to see in Madison and Dane County.

“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.”
— Dolores Huerta


Mark Drake

Resident and Vietnam War Veteran

I moved to Madison, and the VA and Common Wealth Development gave me a new life. I have been working ever since. It has been amazing!


Billy Feitlinger

Co-Founder, Former Common Wealth Board Member and President/Member of Madison City Council

As a co-founder of Common Wealth Development Corporation in 1979, I am so proud of its accomplishments.  Through the efforts of many neighborhood activists, we were able to take an idea and make it a reality!


Mark France

Maintenance Coordinator, Common Wealth Development (1999 – Present)

I started remodeling houses and apartment buildings for the affordable housing program 20 years ago and am still here doing what needs to get done to continue our efforts to keep people housed in clean, comfortable and safe places and also playing a key role in business incubator maintenance.

My role has been to look at each situation regarding CWD’s properties and to keep residents and business tenants as well as our non-profit viable through proper care of the buildings and grounds and take a reasonable approach to maintaining our investments so that it can do as much good for the people and the planet as possible.


Todd Geltemeyer

Business Development Committee for Madison Enterprise Center and Main Street Industries

I am the Senior Community Lender with Forward Community Investments and volunteer on Common Wealth’s Business Development Committee for the Madison Enterprise Center and Main Street Industries facilities. I help review applicants’ business plans, interview the owners, and help determine suitability for businesses that apply to become tenants of the buildings.


Ashley Gohlke

Housing Operations Manager, Common Wealth Development (2018 – present)

As a member of the Common Wealth staff, I feel like a member of a family that is linked not by relation, rather the shared desire to uplift and support our community!


Richard Gross

Special Projects Manager, Willy Street Fair Coordinator, IT Manager (1995 – 2008)

I worked at Common Wealth for 12 years managing various special projects, setting up two business incubators, coordinating the Willy Street Fair and managing IT. It was both an honor and privilege to perform my various jobs and duties and was especially wonderful collaborating with management and staff.


Beatrice Hadidian

Program/Development Director, Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center (2014 – Present)

Former residential tenant of Common Wealth Development, and attendee of Willy Street Fair since 15 years old!


Journey Henderson

I was in Common Wealth when I was a sophomore in high school. It was an extremely amazing program that taught me so much about how to handle things in a professional manor… Also side note: during our session I think I was the person who was one of the best in the program; I received a professional folder that I still use for being one of the best in the program (of the semester)!


Sharon Hendley

VP – Wildwood Productions, Common Wealth Development’s Business Incubator Tenant (2001 – present)

I’ve worked closely with the Common Wealth crew at festivals and coordinated producing soft goods and promotional items for Common Wealth events.  I’m always impressed by the passion and dedication of the entire organization. They help individuals, businesses, and the community to develop and thrive.


Tyson Jackson

Former Youth Programs Coordinator

 In this game we call life, we are just here to help play and change the odds for our youth.


Erika & Jessica Jones

Co-owners and Brewer – Giant Jones Brewing Company, Common Wealth Development’s Main Street Industries Tenant (2017 – present)

We opened at Main Street Industries in 2018. We are committed to producing certified organic products that will be good for everyone, whether or not you are consuming them! Being part of the MSI incubator space has enabled us to collaborate with other small, community-minded businesses. And, being able to support the mission of CWD further aligns with our goal to make an impact that’s bigger than our beer, and good for everyone!


Gary Kallas

As Executive Director  of the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center since 2001, I have had the pleasure of working with many accomplished CWD staff and passionate CWD board members.  Primarily, our work has centered on staging what is arguably the country’s finest celebration of place, i.e.  the Willy Street Fair. Doing so, has been a highlight of my nearly 20 years at Wil-Mar.


Lynn Lee

Marquette Neighborhood Association President and advocate for CWD

As President of the Marquette Neighborhood Association our funding and relationship has always been to ensure CWD would continue to do the great work they do, for our neighborhood, which originated in our neighborhood.


Jeffrey Lewis

I have had the honor and pleasure of working with Stephanie Bradley Wilson and Common Wealth Development as their Research Partner on the Community Based Crime Reduction grant (2016-present).


Lauren Lofton

Former Board Member, Former Finance Committee Member, & Attorney

It has been an honor to assist Common Wealth in their ever-evolving efforts to improve our community and make a difference in the lives of residents!


Truly Remarkable Loon

Board of Directors 2004 – 2013, Board President 2008-2013

By serving on the board I participated in the many community improvements that CWD has made and continues to make. I got to know and work with many great people and it was a great learning experience for me personally.


David Montgomery

Certified Insurance Counselor                                 

Baer Insurance Services, Executive Vice President

Proudly serving, and working closely, for over 30 years with Common Wealth Development as insurance agent and advisor, while Common Wealth has so greatly served the Community.


Marianne Morton

Retired Executive Director, Common Wealth Development

The best part of my 35 years at Common Wealth was getting to work with so many dedicated and creative staff members, board members and people from the community. I am proud of what we achieved through this collective effort and excited about the great things Common Wealth is working on now.


Judy Olson

Project Manager / Housing Manager  (1994 – 1997)

In 1980, I moved into Ridgeside Coop, an innovative limited equity housing cooperative initiated by Common Wealth.  I lived there for 20 years, learning new skills of housing management and neighborhood revitalization.  These skills served me well in manyendeavors including service on Common Wealth’s Housing Committee and as a member of the Common Wealth staff from 1994 – 1997. Recently, in my role with the City of Madison, I helped write the planning and implementation grants with Common Wealth, Dr. Jeffery Lewis, and partners for Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction.


Emma Pacho

Common Wealth Development Family Member

Emma has been part of the Common Wealth family for years and years. She is a valuable community ally and we appreciate her so much!


Aronn Peterson

Youth Employment and Financial Literacy Specialist, and Youth Programs Director, Common Wealth Development (2009 – 2013)

The relationships, mentoring, and charge of CWD Youth Programs gave me the opportunity to make meaningful connections with students, families and educators. Placing students in jobs, and teaching them critical life skills, we were able to better prepare hundreds of students for lifelong success. I am extremely proud of the work we were able to do, and for impact we were able to have. Congrats Common Wealth!


Robert Pierce

The Honorable and Lifetime Community Urban Agriculture Farmer, President and Founder of Neighborhood Food Solutions and the  South Madison Farmers Market.

Our affiliation with Common Wealth Development goes back 13 years through my youth internship program PEAT (Program of Entrepreneurial and Agriculture Training) where we train and teach students agriculture and business.


Nancy Potter


I started Potter’s Crackers in 2006 in the Madison Enterprise Center and sold it in 2019 to an employee. It is still located on MEC. It was a pleasure to be part of Common Wealth Development for 13 years. They made starting a food business from scratch that much easier and adapted with us as we grew.


Connor Sabatino

President, Board of Directors, Common Wealth Development (2012 – Present)

Common Wealth Development represents our community’s best efforts at battling the nation’s macro issues.  For forty years we have stayed rooted to the idea of a seed called community while our state and national policies continually drift further away from the needs of hard-working Wisconsinites.


Tariq Saqqaf

Youth Programs Director, Common Wealth Development (2003 – 2012)

I will always hold dear my time running the youth programs at Common Wealth and the incredible teams of youth workers I had the opportunity to serve with while there.  Together we were able to transform the landscape of youth employment programming in Madison while deeply supporting individual youth – I still run into young men and women all the time who remember the programs and recognize the impact they had on their lives.


Richard Slone

Special Projects Manager, Willy Street Fair Coordinator, IT Manager (1995 – 2008)

I worked at Common Wealth for 12 years managing various special projects, setting up two business incubators, coordinating the Willy Street Fair and managing IT. It was both an honor and privilege to perform my various jobs and duties and was especially wonderful collaborating with management and staff.


David Rosebud Sparer

Common Wealth’s Lawyer

My affiliation with Common Wealth has been by serving as its attorney for more than 30 years, and still doing so today.  I also was one of the early housing committee members back in the late 70s, and served on other committees back then too.


Rebekah Stephens

Business Development Manager (2018 – Present)

Board Member (2017 – 2018)

The work Common Wealth Development does working in solidarity with people in the community constantly amazes me. I am humbled to be a part of this work.


Kayla Storlid


Common Wealth Development changed the direction of my life. I needed a place to go and I never could imagine the impact it would have on my life.


George Swamp

Former President, Board of Directors, Common Wealth Development

After serving 20 years with the Madison Metropolitan School District, Common Wealth Development was another opportunity to give back to the community. My leadership skills were recognized and after a couple of years I served as Board President. I am grateful to give back to my community.


Sheray Wallace

Meadowood Community Health Worker

I am a Tenant /Community Health Worker/Kids Forward Community Ambassador for their tenants.  This has meant a great deal to me to provide wrap around service to the community to eliminate health disparities.  I also have enjoyed living in a very moderate apartment which is affordable.Working with Common Wealth has been a pleasure.


Tyrone Cratic Williams

Board of Directors, Common Wealth Development   

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for Common Wealth Development. For over 7 years, I have served Common Wealth in a variety of capacities as a Financial Literacy and Youth Employment Specialist, guest speaker and career panel volunteer with Youth Employment Programs. I continue to engage the Madison community as a Financial Literacy Educator with Cratic Capital Development LLC and as a Police Officer with the Madison Police Department.


Jake Wood

Owner – Wildwood Productions, Business incubator tenant (1987 – present)

Wildwood Productions is Common Wealth’s first tenant at the Madison Enterprise Center beginning October of 1987 and continues to present day at Main Street Industries. I feel very fortunate to live in this wonderful Madison community in no small part due to the excellent Common Wealth contributions over these last 4 decades! Happy birthday Common Wealth with best wishes for many more to follow!

(Although Alexander Wood is no longer an owner of Wildwood Productions,  he founded the company in 1984 and signed the first lease with Common Wealth as anchor tenant at the Madison Enterprise Center in October of 1987.)


John Wroten

Adult Employment Manager (August 2013 – Present)

Common Wealth Development has given me the opportunity and the  privilege of working in solidarity with the residents of South West Madison to make the community a more equitable and just community for all.


Bert Zipper

As the Alder for the Williamson Neighborhood in the 1990’s, it was plainly evident that our district was significantly different than all of the other city districts — and it was largely due to Common Wealth!   We had the ability to develop and do projects based on what people needed — NOT on what was most profitable for a real estate developer.  We had better development, with more focus on community involvement and with increased benefits to the community as a whole.  Every block of our neighborhood benefited from Common Wealth’s work and dedication to our community!


Photos by Bobbie Harte Portrait