Robust, Searchable, Customized Websites with Waterlink Web

This interview was conducted by Frank Marzetta, a Realtor specializing in St. Johns Real Estate and a St. Johns resident. Frank is an avid supporter of local businesses and loves to tell their stories.

Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Q: How long have you been in St. Johns and what have you seen change in the neighborhood?

Mary Ann: Frank, that’s a great question. My husband, John, and I have lived in St. Johns about 26 years. When we moved in we felt really lucky to be able to buy our home. It needed work, of course, and the neighborhood needed work too. There were many vacant buildings in the downtown area. It wasn’t the thriving downtown we enjoy now.  As we lived here and raised our kids we got involved in the neighborhood. I’ve volunteered with Friends of Pure Park since 2005 when the city council voted to shut Pier Pool. Through community involvement and the support of Sam Adams we were able to reverse that. Both John and I love the neighborhood. It’s great seeing the growth and how much this neighborhood is changing.

Q: How did you get into website design?

Mary Ann: I got into website design through my work at Metro where I managed and marketed two websites, Carpool Match and then Drive Less Connect. I was able to bring the membership on Carpool Match from about 6000 users to 12000 registered users. When ODOT decided to put in a regional system that included Washington and Idaho I managed the transition and, actually, picked the name, Drive Less Connect. Later I had the opportunity to go back to school and study website design. I had always wanted to have my own business. My dad was self-employed all his live, and working for myself is part of my DNA. I went to PCC because they offer a Website Design and Development Certification, one of the few schools where that is available. One of the very first websites I designed was for Friends of Pier Park.

Friends of Pier Park Chair and Vice Chair, Matt Kuntz and Kelly Pergande, with Governor Brown, Mary Ann Aschenbrenner, and Commissioner Nick Fish at the April ceremony commemorating Grimm, a television show that filmed frequently at Pier Park.

Friends of Pier Park Chair and Vice Chair, Matt Kuntz and Kelly Pergande, with Governor Brown, Mary Ann Aschenbrenner, and Commissioner Nick Fish at the April ceremony commemorating Grimm, a television show that filmed frequently at Pier Park.

Q: What kind of web design agency is Waterlink Web?

Mary Ann: Thank you for asking that. I build primarily in WordPress because it is easier for my clients to manage and add content as their businesses grow. I work with a short list of subs that include a writer and former editor at The Oregonian, graphic designers, and a professional photographer.  I build customized websites that show our client’s values and mission. Our tagline, “connecting your customers with you,” describes how our websites include the keywords and technology necessary that help our sites appear in internet search results.  As Waterlink Web has grown clients have asked me to help with their website administration so I do website management now as well.

Q: Mary Ann, why is it important to support local businesses?

Mary Ann: When you buy from Amazon less than 1% of the money you spend goes back into the community, and that 1% is only if the delivery person lives locally. When you shop at a local merchant over 75% of the money you spend stays in the local economy. If you want to help your community thrive, shop local.  Plus, we are so lucky to have great stores right here in St John’s. One of my favorites is Salty Teacup, and we get most of my husband’s clothes at The Man’s Shop

Q: What do you like to do in St. Johns?

Mary Ann: I love the Farmer’s Market and that we are so close to Forest Park hiking. Pier Park is also beautiful for shorter walks. John and I like walking to the St. Johns Theatre, out to dinner, all the things you can do here without pulling the car out of the garage.

Doug Yuen, owner of Efficient WP, and Mary Ann Aschenbrenner, President of Waterlink Web, leading the June Portland WordPress MeetUp.

Doug Yuen, owner of Efficient WP, and Mary Ann Aschenbrenner, President of Waterlink Web, leading the June Portland WordPress MeetUp.

Q: What local tech groups are you a part of?

Mary Ann: I help run the WordPress MeetUp group in Portland. When I was getting started in web design I learned so much from that group. Then the organizers got a little burned out. This winter I reactivated it. We have about 60 folks show up every month at the downtown US Bancorp Tower.  Also, I am part of Women Who Code and will be on a panel for theACT-W Conference later this month. ACT-W stands for Advancing the Careers of Technical Women. Being part of a panel at a large conference is a first for me, but very exciting.

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