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
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.
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 former treasurer and director serving the board of the Tacoma Community College Foundation. At The Grand, Wade oversees theater operations and runs various events and programs throughout the year. With respect to TFF, he oversees the work of and provides support to the Director and the TFF team in connection with submissions, film traffic, and filmmaker relations.
Marlee Myers, Director of Operations
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 and ensuring everyone has a great experience
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. She also has a passion for film festivals and visits several throughout the year including Sundance!
Rachel Marecle, Director of Community Development
Rachel joined The Grand in 2007 from the sports entertainment industry, bringing her expertise in team sponsorship and corporate relations to the art house and festival. Working in partnership and sponsorship development for more than a decade, Rachel loves to build collaborative partnerships in service to the community.
Rachel works with businesses at a local and national level to find creative and successful sponsorship and marketing strategies in support of Grand Cinema programs and projects. She enjoys working with a small, passionate, dedicated team and sees The Grand Cinema is an invaluable, trusted community resource.
David Dinnell, Tacoma Film Festival Director and Programmer
David joined the team at The Grand in the spring of 2018 after completing his tenure as visiting faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. He has curated and organized several hundred film programs, artist retrospectives, exhibitions and performances.
His work includes a 16mm series celebrating Canyon Cinema’s 50th year screening internationally in 2017 and 2018; five seasons for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Cinema; co-programmed the 11th & 12th editions of the Media City Film Festival; the Flaherty NYC Film Series in Fall 2014; programs for the Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento in Buenos Aires. He most recently presented film programs at UnionDocs in Brooklyn; the Los Angeles Filmforum; San Francisco’s ATA; the Light Field Film Festival; and Cinema Project in Portland, Oregon. Dinnell was a programmer at the Ann Arbor Film Festival for ten years and Program Director from 2010 to 2016.
Oliver Johnson, Graphic Designer
Working first with The Grand as a photographer for the Tacoma Film Festival, Oliver was hired as our Graphic Designer in December 2019. Coming to Tacoma for college at Pacific Lutheran University, Oliver stayed and continues to fall in love with the creative community here more and more every year. He is stoked that his job as Graphic Designer gives him the opportunity to design for the community and that it can serve as a platform to spotlight members of that community wherever possible.
Tanya Tran, Marketing Manager
As a Tacoma transplant, Tanya brings their love for community to The Grand Cinema. Previously a bookseller at King's Books—and before that, an intern at The Grand itself—they treasures local, independent homes for far-reaching, diverse stories. With a BA in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College, Tanya is a seasoned wordsmith and understands the impact and value of the things we consume: what they say about society, and what society demands for the future. They love that their job as Marketing Manager is to bring attention to these stories, and to make sure that each story is told with an audience to bear witness.
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.
Ken Crowell, Volunteer Coordinator and House Manager
Ken volunteered here for two years before being hired as a House Manager in 2017 and then took on the volunteer coordinating role in 2019 and loves what The Grand stands for. An engineer in his previous work, Ken uses his eye for order to ensure that you have a great experience from the time you enter our doors to when the credits roll.
One of Ken's favorite work memories so far was when The Grand sold-out multiple shows of the Internet Cat Video Festival. Away from work, you might find Ken at the gym (he used to own a fitness center!) or in his front yard working on his 112 year-old historical home.
Volunteer email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Smith, House Manager
You may have seen Justin at the coffee shop next to us before he became a House Manager in March 2018. Justin’s favorite part of the job, outside of meeting and working with volunteers, is hearing what people think of films as they are leaving the theater. Don’t be afraid to tell Justin what you thought of a film if you see him working Monday and Tuesday nights! The rest of the week he can be found serving up fair trade coffee at Manifesto Coffee in the Hilltop neighborhood.
Naarah McDonald, House Manager
Naarah has been watching films at The Grand for the last 20 years and joined our team as a House Manager in February 2018. She loves that her job helps showcase exceptional independent films and community activities that further the creative spirit of the local film industry. A part of the local industry herself, Naarah does theatrical costuming work for local theater companies, and when she is not at The Grand, you can visit her at the boutique and textile maker space she runs in downtown Tacoma!
Pat.c Noriega, Lead Projectionist
Pat.c 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.
Lisa Fruichantie, House Manager, Artist Liaison
Lisa Fruichantie (Seminole/Creek) was born in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has worked as a fashion designer, stylist, costumer, community organizer, film projectionist, event and festival planner. Raised predominantly on Kenatize land in Alaska, Fruichantie moved to Washington in 1998 and to Tacoma in 2001.
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 and, an hour later, was offered a job by the theater’s director. At The Grand Cinema, Lisa serves as the senior projectionist and house manager one day a week. For the Tacoma Film Festival, Lisa coordinates events and works as artist liaison, caring for visiting filmmakers and industry professionals throughout their TFF stay.
You can also see her at her day job on staff at Alma Mater running events!
José 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.
Wendell Ratliff, Projectionist
Dianté Neagle, Projectionist
Bonne Dorrell, Bartender
Kegan Ross, Bartender
Bennett Johnson, Bartender