James T. Gardner, Ph. D. founded Good Karma Bikes in July 2009 to serve the needs of homeless and low wage working people for reliable, safe transportation. He quickly realized that what was going on was not about bicycles; it was about the Clients and the transformation of their self-esteem. To this end, Good Karma Bikes provides training and job skills for clients in bicycle repair, maintenance, eCommerce, and retail. GKB is now in league to transform the lives of former foster youth.
Jim grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. It was that particular stretch of Pacific Coast Highway that caused his lifelong love of cycling. In high school, he took his bicycle apart after almost every ride. Cleaning and fixing bicycles was as much fun as riding them.
Jim attended college at the University of Southern California, studying engineering. He received a bachelors, two masters and a Ph. D. degree in Solid State Physics, Optoelectronics. During this time he was an intern at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory working in space radiation effects.
Jim and his family moved to the bay area in 1995 to work at Applied Materials. Since then, Jim has professionally worked in flat panel displays, 3D monitors, nanoparticle synthesis, water and energy conservation and environmental protection.
It was while going oh-for-four in start-ups, that Jim realized he hadn’t done enough to make the world better. About that time, he saw a homeless man on an unsafe bicycle. He started wrenching bikes in the park.
The operation grew to the point that Jim filed articles of incorporation and the IRS tax-exemption package. Good Karma Bikes has served 19,000 Clients in six years.
Jim lives in Willow Glen with his wife of twenty-five years and four rescue cats. Jim and Laura have been rescuing animals since they met at USC in 1989. Jim is a graduate of United Bicycle Institute, a Certified Bicycle Suspension Technician, and Certified DT Swiss Wheel Builder. Non-cycling interests include: mathematics, traveling, art, and classical music. Since founding GKB Jim has read 40,000 pages of history, biography, and philosophy.
Best of the Bay Honorees
Family friendly classic car show & static airplane show: Saturday, July 8, 2017 10am - 4 at Reid-Hillview Airport 2500 Cunningham Ave., San Jose, CA 95148
Meet our Honorees!
9th Annual Hot San Jose Nights
Airport Day & S.T.E.A.M.!
Jay Ross is an attorney at Hopkins & Carley and co-chairs its Litigation Department. He handles business and real estate disputes, including creditors’ rights in bankruptcy proceedings. Active in Rotary for nearly 15 years, Jay served on both the Foundation and Club Boards before being elected to serve as its president starting in July 2017. Jay has served on a variety of the Club’s committees, lead the effort to create the Rotary Children’s Sculpture Walk in the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens, was responsible for the Rotary agreements with the City of San Jose for the Rotary PlayGarden (Centennial project), and the chaired Rotary Fireworks 2016 (returning July 4 fireworks to downtown San Jose). Jay also has been active with the Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee and numerous other civic organizations. Born in San Jose, he lives in Los Gatos with his wife Julie and their two sons.
Dana Hooper is an advocate for creating more Residential Care Homes for adults with developmental disabilities. A former high tech veteran, he has served as Executive Director of Life Services Alternatives (LSA) since 2007. This award-winning* nonprofit was founded in 2002 by parents who had a dream of establishing community homes for their adult children with special needs. As a parent of a developmentally disabled son, Dana understands the full spectrum of housing options for adults with special needs in our community. Under his leadership, LSA successfully opened eight licensed Residential Care Homes to meet an increasing need in Santa Clara County. Currently, LSA is in the process of creating its 12th home. In addition to volunteering with the Santa Clara Chorale and Lighthouse for the Blind, Dana also serves on state task forces and regional boards related to developmental disabilities.
* 2016 Service Provider of the Year - Awarded by the San Andreas Regional Center which oversees services for the developmentally disabled in four Bay Area counties
The Rev. Dr. Bryan J. Franzen serves as pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in San Jose. Franzen is a proven community leader who has served congregations in California, Illinois, North Carolina, Iowa, and New Jersey. His passion is addressing issues of social justice and inclusion, and he has years of experience as an advocate and organizer in the LGBT community, working for special-needs children, and with both mentally and physically handicapped people of all ages. Franzen is excited to be a director of the parade this year, especially as we celebrate the leaders in our community.
Helen Chapman is a community leader with over 25 years of experience volunteering for District 6 and San José. Upon moving to San Jose to raise her family, she understood the importance of ensuring that her children and all families had a safe neighborhood with options to work and play and quickly immersed herself in community work.
Helen has served as the Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association President and is a District Six Leader, Community Business Liaison, and Civic Organizer on various other boards and organizations, fighting to improve and strengthen our city. A former small-business owner and retired SJUSD Research Specialist, she raised her two sons in the Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood with her husband Dan. Helen has expanded our park areas, helped build a small park in her neighborhood and fought to open the Bascom Library Community Center. She worked on “The Alameda, A Beautiful Way project, a twenty year effort to revitalize and calm The Alameda and encourage business growth and pedestrian walkability. She just recently returned as a Director on her neighborhood association board.
Helen’s experience as a local environmental leader includes 7 years as a board member of Committee for Green Foothills, two three year terms with the San José Parks Commission, including tenure as Chair, and co-founding the San José Parks Foundation. She led efforts to raise the fees collected as part of the Parkland Dedication Ordinance to 100 percent of raw land value, giving San José millions of dollars for land acquisition for parks and trails as well as capital improvements for parkland. Helen has been advocating for better stream protection and worked with our allies to get riparian protection language into the City's General Plan. After decades of delay, the City now seems poised to adopt ordinance level protections. She was appointed to the Coyote Valley Task Force by former Mayor Ron Gonzales and served for 7 years. She considers the protection of Coyote Valley one of her top priorities. She has worked closely with organizations such as Greenbelt Alliance, Open Space Authority, the Sierra Club, Save Our Trails and many other environment organizations advocating for awareness, protection and sustainability issues.
She is on the board of the Santa Clara Democratic Central Committee, a delegate for Assembly District 28, and a member of the Democratic Party Environmental Caucus. She has been an advocate for District 6 residents working with State leadership, City officials and our neighbors to create positive change. She listens with her heart to people’s concerns and knows how to bring all sides together to get things done. Helen is witness to the struggles of our housing crisis, both for our families and veterans without permanent housing and those who struggle to keep pace with the soaring costs. She retired after sixteen years as a Research Specialist with San Jose Unified School District. She helped struggling students earn their diplomas and coordinated youth volunteer projects, building the foundation for community participation in the next generation. She currently mentors high school sophomores at Lincoln High School, and is currently working for District 2 San Jose City Councilmember Sergio Jimenez as a Policy and Legislative Advisor.