Captain Kirk Strawn is the quintessential mixed-bag - the quiet charm of an Iowa bred lad, the brains of a licensed medical doctor, creativity of the self-made artist, an infectious cheery optimism, and the full-throttle dream-chasing passion capable of only the truest of visionaries. Kirk's dedication to not just Walter, but to the thorough gussying up of the Walter Dome [replete with concert hall capabilities and giant custom doors] has been a 7 years quest with no end in sight.
Dave Roberson is the uber gear-head that worked Walter's guts into running condition again. Dave was busy running his Veggie Garage shop and tried telling Kirk "no thanks", but after a few months of pursuit, Kirk got him to come on board...for seven months! With 30 years of experience working on German cars, Dave succumbed to the idea to elevate the driving platform a whole 3 feet, a concept that many other mechanics said could not be accomplished. Dave loves "being along for the ride" and says his most valuable gain thru the project is that he "found something I was looking for...a new way to be happy." Dave sees Walter's future full of parties and events, mixing with all sorts of people to inspire creativity and happiness.
Martha Baker is both an architect with experience working on commercial and multi-family residences in AZ and a modern dancer performing with the resident dance group at Herberger, Center Dance Ensemble. With such rich and diverse creative drives, Martha felt that Walter "arrived at a great time for me" and got involved immediately doing drawings and architectural renderings that used the scale of VW buses to scale up to Walter's behemoth nature. Martha's drawings are the cornerstone of Walter's outward savoir faire and won her many a hug at Burning Man. She's hoping Walter's future includes a lot of just "seeing Walter around town."
Robert Larson has a job Walter finds a bit scary, but that he admires - he works at Exponent recreating very specific instances of car crashes to assist auto manufacturers with safety standards. As far as Tribe Walter is concerned, Rob is one of the Ancients alongside Kirk being that he supplied the original location where Walter was housed after leaving Jerome and before Walter Dome was located. Cool little story - Rob and Kirk removed the original spark plugs and thusly rendered Walter's engine inactive which required the entrance of Dave Roberson onto the set. Rob and Kirk knew one another thru their children's school and even took the families to Burning Man together in 2007 before Walter was a fully realized mutant. These days Rob serves in an advisory role.
Sigfried Cordelier, AKA Siggy, is the youngest tribe member who started out working as a CNC technician in France. After graduating early he became an exchange student at Central High School in Arizona. Graduating from Wyotech in 2007 Siggy later opened up his body shop behind Walter Dome which, go figure, eventually found him meeting Kirk. Siggy knew resistance was futile and joined on as the mechanic's helper and soon graduated into project manager. Siggy was involved with every aspect of Walter's build from tearing down, mechanical work and custom fabrication to paintwork, carpentry, and electrical. Siggy sees Walter becoming the world's most well-known VW and, eventually, having a brother and/or sister.
Nathan Ward spent 14 years working as a steel fabricator and, after wanting a change, moved on to teaching stagecraft, set design and sculpture. Nathan was only a half year deep when Kirk contacted him about doing some aluminum welding. Being amidst the exciting new adventure of teaching, Nathan politely declined...until he met Walter for the first time and, as he describes it, "I was enrolled." Nathan worked with the architectural drawings from Martha and welded the crash truck bones into the form and design of a VW bus at mutant scale. Nathan sees Walter's future filled with showing off at events and filling a "perfect role of making people happy."
Joel Dry is the lighting guy. Joel is co-owner of Optolum and has worked most of his life with solid state lighting and light emitting diodes. Having been friends with Kirk for years, he was aware of Walter's evolution, but originally contributed by introducing his wife Martha to the project. After some time, Joel received carte-blanche on how to light Walter up and, with the tribe's input, moved forward. After multiple iterations of lighting selections and patterns, 3M industrial grade silicon was used to apply LED lights in a fashion that best suited the area of Walter's body that the lights were being placed upon. Joel says he sees Walter's future being full of "benevolent purpose".
It makes sense to applaud Primo and Luis in the same context being that they played a tag-team role in much of the metal fabrication and welding work for skinning Walter's frame. After five months working on shaping his frame, they continued glorifying Walter's presence by crafting the bumpers, lights, mirrors, fenders, skylight structure, and windows. Don't forget to check their amazing work all around the Walter Dome and the outer Zen Garden gates. As well, to date, Primo is the designated driver and has driven Walter around Phoenix with grace and skill. They think Walter is going to be a famous party animal. Going to be...?
Dominic Ferrara is an artist originally from New York where he executed set construction for such marquee names as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Daniel Day Lewis. After 15 years in Arizona building high end custom furniture, Dominic found himself in his workshop adjacent to where Walter's metal fabrication process was beginning. All of Walter's wood paneling was cut and crafted by Dominic in the Arizona 112 degree outdoor heat! A bit of trivia - Dominic crafted Walter's articulating eyelid on the cabin door based upon a gag he saw in a 1955 Little Rascals episode. Dominic's vision for Walter's future sees him getting into commercials and movies. His trailer is going to be huge.