• Mark Melvin

    Chief Executive, Founder

    Mark and Debra Melvin co-founded Touchstone Climbing in 1995 with the help of several dozen passionate climber investors. He spent 15 years in the corporate world, which he credits his sense of how not to run a company. Mark’s background includes a M.S. from U.C. Berkeley in the school of Engineering. He has dabbled in most forms of climbing, from the Cassin on Denali, to several dozen ascents of El Capitan, his preference being multi-pitch trad routes. He’s run a dozen ultra marathons, and fallen over his handlebars many times chasing his son Daniel on downhill mountain biking adventures.

  • Debra Melvin

    Controller, Founder

    Debra is co-founder of Touchstone, managing the financial side of the business. Her passions are climbing, backpacking, and cycling. She loves the outdoors, especially the backcountry of the Sierra, and hot dry places like Joshua Tree.

  • Markham Connolly

    Director of Operations

    Markham started at Touchstone working at Mission Cliffs when it opened its doors in 1995, developing the youth programs and working at the front desk. He moved back to Telluride, Colorado to accomplish some unfinished challenges in skiing and climbing, but returned to open and manage Berkeley Ironworks in 1999. He has been Director of Operations since Spring of 2002. Outside of Touchstone, Markham is busy chasing after his two kids Isabelle and Joe with his wife Joelle, an avid mountain biker, climber, and art consultant curating and managing collections for private and corporate collectors. When he is not with his family or at work, you’ll most likely find Markham on the trails riding his mountain or cross bike getting ready for mountain bike races or gravel grinders. One of his proudest achievements to date is completing the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race in under nine hours at the ripe age of 50.

  • Jeffery Bowling

    Creative + Business Development Director

    Jeffery has been working for Touchstone since 1996, when he got a taste for climbing at Mission Cliffs. Was it for this his life he sought? Maybe So, Maybe Not. When we travel backwards down the number line, we see that Jeffery has done everything from working kids’ birthday parties to route setting to managing Mission Cliffs. Currently, he oversees gym development. Jeffery & and his sweet one, Holly are known to waste their time together following the lines going south. Jeffery is alright’ cause he has got a degree, a M.A. in Philosophy. In his free time, he can be found wading in the velvet sea and he sometimes has really Gotta Jibboo.

  • Russell Olsen

    Director of Facilities + General Contractor

    Russell joined Touchstone in 2000 as a subcontractor from Telluride, CO. While snowboarding 100+ days he and the crew build a handful of climbing walls for school’s and the rich and famous. Almost 12 years later he has made a life in the bay area with his wife Michelle, daughter Morgan and his son Aiden. If you don’t see him finishing up the latest Touchstone Gym or improvement he is with the family soaking up rays on a beach or rafting down some whitewater.

  • Patti Phillips

    Retail Manager

    Patti started her Touchstone career at the front desk at CityRock in 1997. She continued working at Berkeley Ironworks when it opened in spring of 2000. Patti is now the Retail Manager for all the Touchstone gyms. She loved working with her dogs, redesigning her house, and hanging out with Tim.

  • Monica Aranda

    Director of Membership Services + Customer Relations

    Monica has been working for Touchstone since 2006. She first started climbing when she was 14 years old and has been in love with the sport and community ever since. When she’s not responding to emails and taking calls she’s either hanging out with her family and friends, off on a run or at the gym training for the next big thing.

  • Nicole Moffatt

    Human Resources

    Nicole started at Sacramento Pipeworks as front desk staff in 2001, left in 2012 to explore, then returned in 2013 to develop and manage the Human Resources department for Touchstone. In her off time, nothing beats a good cup of tea and a brilliant book. With recent trips abroad, traveling more and meeting new people is something she looks forward to.

  • Heather Bellgreen

    Director of Marketing + Graphic Design

    Heather hails from the weirdest state ever, Florida, and has a PhD from The Royal Orlando Academy of Dramatic Tricks. She wrote her dissertation on genetically engineering the cuteness of kittens in order to fight terrorism and would love to talk with you about it in length, so definitely bring it up when you see her. When she’s not traveling the world in her unicorn onesie, you can find Heather pounding IPA’s in an attempt to forget that she ever lived in Florida.

  • Nancy Graham


    Nancy started working for Touchstone in 2014 after a long career in the architects and engineers field. Her passions are sculpture and balancing the books – an unusual balance of right and left brain functions. You might see her working out at Ironworks or walking her dog Smudge (a Right-Tailed Terrier) around Berkeley.

  • Justin Alarcon

    Director of Routesetting

    Justin is the strong, silent type who is too busy running an empire to write his own bio. Some would call it lazy, but we prefer to call it telepathic delegation. That’s next level managerial strategy right there. Justin hails from the great state of California, and when his soccer career was cut short by aging out of the pee-wee league, he turned to bouldering. He fell hard for Yosemite climbing, taking a job as a bear ranger to fund his incessant pebble wrestling. ‘Twas beneath a boulder that he met his now wife, and she managed to drag him out of the woods and into a ‘real job’ working for Touchstone. We couldn’t be happier.

  • Ryan Moon

    Events Coordinator + Programs Director

    Ryan started climbing in 2003 and finally joined the Touchstone family in 2006 at the long gone, but not forgotten Touchstone San Jose bouldering only gym. He considers himself lucky to have been able to participate in an activity that has given him a strong, supportive group of friends and allowed him to have one of the best excuses to travel the world. Although a fan of all rock types and styles, nothing can satisfy his fancy more than a clean granite boulder and a broken in pair of stiff shoes. Climbing instruction is what Ryan considers one of his strong suits having done it for over a decade now via private lessons and clinics with everyone from new-to-climbing bumblers to national level youth competition climbers. Do you know he did Thriller?

  • Noah Ruiz

    IT Manager
    Noah got his start at Touchstone behind the desk at Mission Cliffs and Dogpatch Boulders. But his skills were better used making sure the internet tubes stay up and running, and so we’re happy to have him on the team as our IT manager. He is a self-proclaimed computer language, web dev, and technology nerd who also enjoys DJing and audio engineering. When not behind a computer, he can be found bouldering or biking around town.
  • Mailee Hung

    Director of Communications + Community Engagement

    Mailee first started climbing in 2007, but it wasn’t until post-college unemployment set in that the sport started looking like an appealing way to spend all of her time. Luckily for her, it turned out that there was still some great climbing to be had while gainfully employed by Touchstone—first as desk staff at Dogpatch Boulders while she pursued her MA in Visual and Critical Studies at California College of the Arts, and then as the community engagement coordinator, PR manager, and all-around wordsmith for Touchstone’s various media projects once that pursuit proved successful. She can sometimes be found chuffing up cracks and dihedrals to prove that she’s more than a pebble wrestler, but truthfully when she’s not writing she’s usually just reading or watching sci-fi. Or pebble wresting.

  • Eric Nakano

    Facilities Project Coordinator

    Eric discovered climbing in 2011 while lifting weights with the Henry Rollins crowd at the Sacramento State fitness facility. He noticed the gangly Ian Mackaye kids having a bunch of fun on the climbing wall and realized he had found his sport. After completing his BA in Photography, he moved to San Francisco and landed a job running the youth after-school programs at Dogpatch Boulders. Eric has since left Dogpatch to help manage facilities projects across all of our gyms, including the ones yet to be built. In his life outside of the gym, Eric enjoys black coffee, black beers, black metal, blank slabs, and photographing stuff just off the highway near the 76 station, that you pass on your way home from work.