Arts & Culture

Up and Comers of Downtown Sac

Shea GuntherMaher

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” – George Bernard Shaw

Downtown is pulsing with entrepreneurs, dreamers, creators and civically minded young professionals who are discovering their talents and fashioning their futures. This city is rich with possibility, bursting with opportunities for young professionals.

Metro Edge has been inspiring young professional leadership in the central city for 6 years. We teamed up with them to highlight a few up-and-comers in Downtown Sac who are making waves (and riding them with poise). These are individuals, much like you, who are cultivating curiosity and chasing their dreams in the City of Trees. Let us introduce you to…

Justin Wandro 


“I’m always looking for ideas, how can I be involved, how can I connect, how can I provide more value for the community.” – Justin Wandro

Justin Wandro is like any other young professional. He has a job at Loaves & Fishes as the Development and Communications Director where he makes an impact on our homeless community, he’s a member of the Leadership Sacramento Class of 2015 where he’s helping host one of the largest fundraising events in the program’s history, and he goes home to a beautiful wife and four children every night. Wait, what?! Four kids?! Yep, that’s right. And they’re all under the age of eight. 

On top of all of that, Justin has recently decided to add entrepreneur to his resume (we assume he lists the four kids on there, too). He has recently launched The Sacramento Box, where he has taken all the awesome things about Sacramento, and packed them into a box!

“I like to say I’m an entrepreneur at heart. Business and start-ups have always fascinated me,” said Wandro. “I’m always looking for ideas, how can I be involved, how can I connect, how can I provide more value for the community. Sacramento has tons of neat things that are made here locally, and The Sacramento Box allows us to easily share them.” Items like a Sacramento Zoo lanyard (you can’t just buy them!), locally brewed root beer, locally baked fortune cookies, and much more can be found in The Box.

Read the complete feature on Justin Wandro at

Kimberly Garza

Photo credit: Andre Elliott

Photo credit: Andre Elliott

“I want to make incisions into Sacramento’s urban fabric.” – Kimberly Garza

Speaking with Kimberly Garza, project manager for Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning, can be intimidating if you let it. She holds degrees from Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, is co-founder of her own design and research company ATLAS, and phrases like “tactical urbanism,” roll off her tongue with ease.

Garza’s intelligence is obvious but she also immediately projects her passion to improve Sacramento through design, and her willingness to connect with people.  She has previously worked for major architecture firms in places with more notoriety including San Francisco and Boston, but has decided to return to the city she grew up in to make a difference. Traditional ideas of climbing the corporate ladder be damned.

“I’ve always had these stepping stone goals – Berkeley, Harvard, major firm, my own practice – but now that has become just the desire to create spaces people want to be in,” Garza said. She has designed everything from private homes to community master plans, won major competitions including the International Sacramento Capitol Mall design competition, and tested her tactical urbanism chops by creating temporary spaces that have attracted the imagination of city dwellers where she previously lived and worked.

Read the complete feature on Kimberly Garza and her latest project – PORTAL – at