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Board Of Directors - 2024 Election

There are three openings for the 2024-2025 CBA Board of Directors. You may submit only one vote for up to three candidates per account (Individual, Family, or Business). You must be logged into your account on the CBA website to submit your vote. For questions, contact Michael Suwczinsky at

Please congratulate these new CBA Board Of Directors members. Their terms end in April 2026.

David Gottfredson

Shelly Cournoyer  

Chris Branuelas

The candidates statements are below.

David GotTfredson 

I was part of the planning team for the highly successful Spring Conference in 2023 and will be the Conference Chair for 2026 Spring Conference hosted again at Vista Forge. As such, I feel it’s time to take a more active role in the CBA as well as provide a Southern California voice in our large statewide organization.

I obtained a degree in Chemical Engineering which led to my career in both the spacecraft launch services and environmental consulting industries where I held a variety of leadership roles. I was introduced to blacksmithing while volunteering at the Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe and was hooked right from the start. 10 years later I have worked my way up through the CBA Level II curriculum, received my CBA Instructor certificate in 2019, and am closing in on finishing the CBA Level III grill (soon!). I am one of the instructors at Vista Forge, volunteer at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park (explaining blacksmithing in the 1850s), and typically do a one-week volunteer stint in Yosemite National Park as well as attend various CBA events throughout the year. Volunteering is a big part of my life and I have worn many hats in various organizations throughout the years.

I would be honored to represent you on the Board, and I thank you for your support

Evan Pintzuk

I have been actively blacksmithing at Vista Forge in San Diego County for a little over 5 years. I worked my way through the CBA curriculum and am currently working on my level three grill project! Blacksmithing and the CBA have introduced me to such a great new skill, hobby, and craft! I am learning to find ways to express the artistic side of me that has been suppressed by the daily grind!

I dabble in everything from tools to hardware and some art!! It has been a great start to my blacksmithing journey! The folks at Vista Forge welcomed me in like I was an old friend! It’s been truly amazing! Due to Covid, I have helped plan a couple events but only have attended one, Spring Conference’22 in Petaluma! I had a fantastic time and met lots of great folks! I am currently helping to plan Spring Conference ‘23 in Vista! Super excited!! Going to be a great time! I am hoping to do whatever I can to keep the CBA growing and operating smoothly into the future!

Shelly Cournoyer

It’s been almost 2 decades since I was initially introduced to the CBA family. This talented group of individuals has aided and influenced my life choices since and has become an extended family that I cherish. My Undergraduate degree is in Jewelry and Metalsmithing and my Master’s degree is in Metals and Blacksmithing. I have been employed for over a decade as an educator teaching metalsmithing to both, children and adults. For the last 2 decades, I have also been involved with running several art galleries. Currently, I reside in Reno, NV, and am employed at a community maker space called The Generator where I am the Shop Manager.

If elected onto the board I would like to encourage more youth involvement to learn this amazing craft. I would also like to invite art collectors and gallery owners to attend our conference auctions to expand the appreciation of the blacksmithing art form.

Chris Branuelas

I have been a blacksmithing student at Adams Forge and Vista Forge since 2017. In that time, I have gradually taken on various roles assisting with and coordinating blacksmithing classes and events. I have a background in public administration and have managed large scale projects and budgets.

As a mid-level manager in local government, I learned a great deal about organization and leadership. However, over the decades, I found that I was consistently a teacher at heart. I earned a master’s degree in education in 2009 with an emphasis on distance learning. I have truly enjoyed my journey in blacksmithing and value the friendships with truly gifted artists and engineers it brought. I hope to support the California Blacksmiths Association in its exceptional education and community endeavors.

Rishi Leung

I was struck by your call for young people to get involved and thought I'd see how I could help.

I am a junior in high school and have been forging since I was in 5th grade when I started to learn via Youtube. It was in high school that I happily discovered CBA and have enjoyed the community. I started a Blacksmith club in my high school and would like to become certified. I attend high school at Lick Wilmerding in San Francisco, which was started in the late 1800's with roots in technical and vocational training. It has evolved in its curriculum but maintains shops in the school for hands-on classes. There are technical classes, for example wood shops for making furniture but not forging. I started a club to increase awareness about Blacksmithing and get more young people involved in the trade which I enjoy. I think many kids would enjoy forging if given the chance.

I think there is a perspective young people can bring to the organization and I am figuring out how to get more involved with the community.

David Thayer

As a ranch kid growing up with horses I was mesmerized by the farrier's work in the forge. My whole life I had wanted to blacksmith and finding the CBA was a "Eureka!" moment. Being a lifelong, self-employed designer/builder and now the resident blacksmith at the Templeton Historical Museum, I love the incredible depth of art, craft and history inherent in blacksmithing. The CBA friendships, associations and education are an ongoing source of inspiration. It's been great to be a part of it and I'd like to be able to give back to the organization by serving on the board, if elected. Watching how the CBA board steps up and serves the members has been meaningful to me on many levels. It was motivating to see their dedication and commitment during the pandemic, adopting video conferencing technology, creating new education programs and keeping the organization afloat. And it’s great to see the the work of, and support for, artist blacksmiths from all over. As a small business owner for twenty years as well as being associated with several other non-profit organizations, I feel I could lend a hand and contribute productively.

Interested in joining the board of the CBA?

The reality is that the CBA, like any volunteer organization, can only work if members step up and participate in the workings of the group. Many "seasoned" members have taken a turn, have you? Now speaking particularly to our younger members -- how will the CBA know what is or isn't working for you if you are not present and voice your views?

CBA Board application information.pdf

California Blacksmith Association

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Richmond, CA  94804

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