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About Us

Robert Franklin
Chief Webolutionary

Robert Franklin Robert Franklin (In black) lives in Salinas, California, with his wife, three-year-old-son and Jack Russell terrier. As a native New Yorker, he never would have imagined when growing up that he would raise his family across the road from a farm, horse stable and cow pasture-pretty wonderful stuff for a kid who grew up on the streets of Queens. His son is an avid horseman at three-Rob doesn't remember seeing his first horse until he was 10. With his son as his guiding star, he wants to do his best to make this planet a better place for his son than it was for him. Rob is passionate about families, technology and enjoying the great outdoors and is driven by an existential angst over the meaning of life. Having his son has answered part of that question for him; this Web site is his attempt to answer the other part by giving back and empowering others to thrive.

Now for the typical About Us stuff: Rob has spent the past decade working as a programmer and then as a technology project manager for various Fortune 500 companies. He spent his first five years working on the east coast and then moved to California to work at a Silicon Valley start up. One of the goals of FamilyThrive is to encourage others to drop out and tune in to making a difference and a viable living in their areas of passion. FamilyThrive is built on an Open Source software framework, a movement Rob feels strongly about. This site is also built on his belief that the intellectual ideas and execution of this site should be open to the public, and over time he will share with our readers the details on how he was able to start a webolution.

Please join us on this exciting and fun-filled ride.  Feel free to contact Rob at Rob "at" familythrive "dot" com.


Dave Mckinnis
Open Source Development Lead Programmer, Bug Squasher Extraordinaire

David McKinnis has enjoyed working on computers since he was in middle school. (If he told you what computer he first programmed, it would date him). His family, which recently expanded to four kids, gives him constant experience in the challenges of raising children and balancing work and family issues. After working for a well-known software company for many years, he started his own business when he and his wife moved to the East Coast to be closer to their families.

One of his business goals is to help nonprofit organizations and others trying to make a difference in the world use technology more effectively. When he's not spending time with his family or working with computers, David creates pottery at a local art center and likes to run.

Emily Shapiro
Parent Corner Lead Writer

Emily ShapiroEmily Shapiro lives on the Upper West Side in New York City with her new husband and 17-year-old daughter. Emily has personal experience in many of the challenges our readers may be facing. She went through a divorce, was a single mom for many years, saw her daughter through some intense challenges, and is now blending a family and guiding her daughter through the college search process while researching how to pay for her continued schooling. She is excited about the opportunity to share the benefits of her life experience as well as her professional experience and training with FamilyThrive readers. Emily is a self-described reading addict and recently asked her husband to lock the sixth Harry Potter book in the trunk of the car to salvage her vacation time. An English major in college, she is equally happy reading a 19th-century novel as a recent fantasy book. Her favorite types of books since childhood have been about families or about young people on the journey of growing up.

Rosi Hayes
Do GoodStuff Writer, Web site Editor

profile_rosi Rosi Hayes is an artist, educator, instructional designer and believer in social entrepreneurship. Her roots are in the mountains of Utah, but she has spent most of her adult life in New York City, which she now considers her second home. She loves geology, avant-garde theater, period mystery novels, reading and studying the works of William James and John Dewey, brave people and backpacking. Her most recent piece of video art can be seen at She would like to honor the social entrepreneur Inderjit Khurana, featured on

Nuno Zimas
Web Developer and GNU/Linux SysAdmin/Joomla! Guru

Nuno ZimasNuno Zimas is a Web developer and GNU/Linux SysAdmin,currently living in La Coruña in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Nuno was born in neighboring Portugal and grew up in the small town of Leiria until he moved to Lisbon to study social work. Two years later, he switched to anthropology.

Though his degree taught him how to study mankind, Nuno has always been much more interested in machinery and cybernetics, mainly because of his aesthetical tastes and philosophical insights rather than for their technical usage. He actually hated computers until as late as 1997, when he first heard about the possibilities of using them as a means to compose electronic music-his main hobby and passion at that time. He was quickly impressed by the power of computers, and by the end of 1997 he was completely immersed in the Web.

By 2001 he was in charge of the political science Web portal for his faculty. A mission he carried out until he decided to relocate to Galicia.

In late 2002, he became acquainted with GNU/Linux and Free Software-gain, a shift boosted primarily by other variables than technology but that, over time turned out to be a practical choice based on effectiveness. His commitment to the ever-growing Open Source community has only increased, and he actively collaborates as beta tester and developer in a few projects, namely Joomla CMS, PCLinuxOS and LMMS. He has gathered considerable experience in Windows to Linux desktop migrations in local SME's.

Nowadays, he runs a start-up company, Efiplus, with his soul mate, Agata Urbaniak, and some other Free Software enthusiastic friends.

His methodology of work is strongly based around core ethical values and political beliefs, such as loosely coupled collaboration, self-governance and social cooperation as opposed to market-oriented corporatism.

Agata Urbaniak
Graphics Designer and Markup Languages Programmer

Agata UrbaniakAgata Urbaniak, a graphic designer and markup language programmer, has spent most of her life in the seaside city of Gdansk, Poland. Following in her mother and aunt's footsteps, she graduated from the Architecture Faculty in 2005 only to follow a different career path afterwards. Is it the definitive one? Time will tell.

Since a very early age, she preferred disassembling a broken telephone, calculator, etc. to playing with dolls. And at the late age of 20, she discovered her two dearest toys-a vintage Canon AE-1 camera/self-defense weapon and a computer. Her favorite place is now her messy, wire-and machinery-filled home office, which most likely has the only window in La Coruña where you can regularly see the light on at 5 a.m. This is where she works, learns, plays and has heated discussions with her life companion (described above).

Her views on family are highly influenced by the lack of balance in her own. A "daddy's girl" that lost her father in a car accident halfway through her life and who only recently "fled" from her mother's overprotective wings to make her first proper steps into adulthood, she believes that NOW is always the time that really matters.

Liesel Davis
Web site Content Editor

Liesel Davis is a freelance editor living in New York City. She believes learning is a key way to enrich life experience, liberate the mind to make better choices, and help in overcoming challenges. She is also passionate about food and cooking and works on various volunteer projects with organizations in her community to teach the importance of food in the home as a source of nutrition and as a way to bring family together.

She hopes to be a social entrepreneur herself one day, being able to do the things she loves most while making a positive impact on the world around her.




Earth Fest Quotes

“The future is in the hands of the teens right now, and it's important to educate them,” said Sam Adelson, 19, from CSUMB. “The planet is sick and we need to try our hardest to be sustainable in our practices every day.”
“I've never made biodiesel (fuel) before,” said Robert Hernandez, 14, of Salinas High School. “I like chemistry and this is very interesting.”
“I'm having fun,” said Ian Jones, 16, from Gilroy High School as he helped build a model solar car.  “Solar power is totally realistic for real cars. I really believe it will work.”