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606 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402 Get Directions
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(253) 593-4474

Our Team

It takes a village to run a non-profit cinema! Many of the front line team members who sell tickets and serve up popcorn and concessions are part of our dedicated volunteer force. Below is a full list of administrative and organizational staff who work behind the scenes to make great things happen.

Grand Cinema Staff


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Philip Cowan, Executive Director
Born in Dallas, Philip has lived in Tacoma since 1998. After working in minor league baseball for ten years, the last eight of those for the Tacoma Rainiers, Philip was named Executive Director of the Grand Cinema late in 2006. Prior to his regular job at the Grand, Philip served as a volunteer and board member for the cinema. His favorite part of the job is picking films for the Grand.

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Wade Neal, Assistant Executive Director, Operations & Festivals
Wade is an Assistant Executive Director at The Grand Cinema and TFF. He is an an intellectual property and entertainment attorney, a professional musician with 10+ years experience in the music industry, and an advocate for nonprofit causes. Wade served on the board of The Grand Cinema for four years prior to working for the organization, and is a current director on the board of the Tacoma Community College Foundation.

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Katy Evans, Assistant Executive Director, Engagement & Education
An advocate for a just and creative Tacoma, Katy leads the outreach, fundraising, and education development work at The Grand. A successful fund developer, Katy has raised support for Northwest-based nonprofits and agencies like Metro Parks Tacoma and the Museum of Glass. She's a member of the Culture & Heritage Advisory Council with Metro Parks, and a board member of the Seymour Conservatory Foundation.

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Marlee Johnson, Director of Operations, Volunteer Coordinator
Marlee first joined the team as a volunteer in 2013, was hired as a part-time house manager, and now works as Director of Operations. Marlee’s favorite part of her job is interacting with volunteers and patrons. She believes The Grand is a fantastic place for meeting interesting people and relishes being able to interact with such vibrant members of the community. When not at The Grand, she enjoys attending film festivals and reading a good book!

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Rachel Marecle, Director of Community Development
Rachel joined us in 2007 from the sports entertainment profession and considers the two industries to be quite similar. She loves to create collaborative partnerships and often shares how much the Grand Cinema has to offer for both moviegoers and the community as a whole. She enjoys working with a small, passionate, dedicated team and feels that The Grand Cinema is an invaluable resource to the community.

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Laura Nyhuis, Tacoma Film Festival Director/Programmer
In addition to running and programming TFF starting in 2012, created  the Tacoma Film camp, a program directed at young people who are interested in learning about and making films. She is also Creative Director at Audiophile Studios, a company that provides creatives services for artists and performing arts venues in Washington State. 


Color-0024Darcy Nelson, Director of Marketing and Communications
Darcy majored in Communication Studies at the University of Puget Sound and promotes the films and programs hosted by The Grand Cinema. She is passionate about cultivating an appreciation for beauty and sense of belonging in Tacoma, and she enjoys connecting people with causes and conversations through film.

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Faith StevensProject Producer & Lead Designer, Tacoma Film Camp Director
joined The Grand in 2014 after working as a graphic designer for many non-profits and serving as the Executive Director of MLK Ballet in Tacoma from 2012-2014. Faith has traveled extensively and learned to make a mean batch of ashak while living in Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan. She loves the variety of films that are played at The Grand Cinema and the continual push to learn from others’ perspectives through film.

Gini Liley, Membership Coordinator, Accounting
For more than a decade, Gini has helped support the work of The Grand through a variety of administrative roles like keeping track of finances and accounting, and providing customer service to our members. 

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Dan Long, House Manager
jokes that he has been in the movie business since “dinosaurs ruled the planet". Dan grew up in Tacoma, and he has worked in theaters across the country, including Seattle, San Francisco and Minneapolis/St.Paul. Dan heard about The Grand from friends and family and was impressed by its influence on the Tacoma arts scene. He quickly became a patron and applied for a position as a house manager in 2005 - the rest is history. 

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Dennis Birnel, House Manager 
After celebrating his retirement, Dennis immediately joined The Grand staff. He worked as a volunteer, having loved The Grand community and atmosphere, and became a House Manager in 2015. His absolute favorite film is What We Do in the Shadows, a dark comedy that he saw here at The Grand. Dennis spends his time away from the theater watching movies—although he admits nothing compares to seeing a film on the big screen!

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Pat.c Noriega, Lead Projectionist
Worked as a projectionist at a number of movie theaters in Texas before joining The Grand. She also worked as an engraver. When she mentions it, a surprising amount of people say that they envision her chiseling away at marble tombstones. Sometimes she doesn’t correct them. Pat.c loves working for The Grand - not only is it a place to see great films, but also a hub for meeting all sorts of fun and interesting people.

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Lisa Fruichantie, Senior Projectionist
Prior to her first day of work, Lisa had never set foot in The Grand Cinema! One day in 2004, a projectionist ran into her business with a film reel problem. Lisa offered a solution to the dilemma and, an hour later, was offered a job by the theater’s director. A long time organizer of film, music, theater, and visual arts events in Tacoma, Lisa fit right into The Grand staff and, in 2007, she became a senior projectionist.

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Jose Candido, Projectionist
José joined The Grand Staff as a projectionist and house manager in 2016. He brings The Grand a great deal of theater and projection know-how, having worked with AMC Theaters for over 12 years. José finds that when he likes a movie or tv show, he’ll watch it over and over until he has it memorized. When he’s not at The Grand or watching movies, he likes to hang out with friends and play video games.

Austin Milner, Projectionist
Wendell Ratliff, Projectionist

To reach any staff member, please call 253-572-6062, or e-mail info@grandcinema.com.

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