Virginia DahmsFounder & Project Manager

Virginia’s interest in art and design blossomed in Kansas City at nine years old behind an easel during painting and drawing outings with her grandmother who was a watercolor artist. Later, she developed graphic design skills by lettering and painting campaign signs while running for student council offices at school, hiring out as a calligraphy artist for invitations and special events, and designing menu inserts for local restaurants.

She began building web sites in 1996 when the commercial Internet was still in its infancy. She still works with many of her original web clients, having re-designed their web sites numerous times over the years at the company she founded, Kestrel Web Design & Development.

Virginia’s science and photography background provided solid grounds for later web development skills. She built and operated a commercial photography business and darkroom for many years, specializing in reproductions of vintage photographs, product photography and on-location work, prior to transitioning into web design as digital graphics and photography advanced.

She enjoys organic gardening, bird watching, playing piano, nature walks, bread baking, foreign films, and fine cuisine. She has been a scientific researcher, private pilot, radio show host, photojournalist, competitive shooter, human rights activist, public speaker, country music award show host, catalog photographer, scuba diver, weather spotter, and a technology instructor at a private school.

Virginia grew up in Kansas City, graduated from the University of Southern California, and has lived in rural Illinois for many years.

Nicole HeathWeb Engineer

Nicole taught herself basic HTML and how to build websites when she was just 12 years old. She started creating websites on her family’s home computer for her favorite boy bands and for sharing pictures with her friends, long before the days of Facebook.

With her avid interest in art and design, she majored in Graphic Design at Millikin University, where Nicole realized that her skills and interests were a great fit for the expanding field of web development and design. Throughout this time, she kept in touch with her grade school and high school friend, Sara, who would later become a business partner in Blue Heron Webs.

Through a university entrepreneurial business program, Nicole connected with Virginia and her company, Kestrel Web Design & Development, which proved to be a stepping stone, first as a college intern in the spring semester of 2007, then with an offer to join the Kestrel Web Team full-time after graduation. She has been creating web sites with Kestrel for nearly a decade, honing her skills in custom CSS, layout and design. In 2015, she jumped at the opportunity to join a new web development venture for the niche market of managed web sites for small and medium-sized businesses and organizationis.

Nicole discovered a love for distance running in her adult life. She enjoys running races of all distances, but especially the half marathon. She is currently working toward a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states.

Nicole is also a Certified Personal Trainer, Adult Distance Running Coach, and author of the Central Illinois race website, Fat at the Finish.

Sara GoodingGraphic Designer

Sara’s passion for art began on the back of placemats and napkins at restaurants as a child, and she quickly learned that art would be an important part of her life. Her midwest work ethic found her at 14 years old riding her bicycle to work after school and during the summers, where she began painting murals and statuary, including the “Oakland Street” cows in Decatur, Illinois.

Prior to completing her degree, Sara spent two years working as a catalog designer and at a print shop learning the “ins and outs” of print production. This experience convinced her that she was moving in the right direction and lit a fire in her to pursue a professional degree in art and design.

Sara graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from the Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg where she rounded out her technical skills.

In 2010, she began freelancing for Kestrel Web Design & Development. With the help of her long-time friend, Nicole, who would become her future business partner, Sara started to expand her prowess in web design.

Following the completion of her professional art degree, Sara worked as a designer for a retail company creating package design, product design and advertising. She also collaborated with a team of in-house designers for one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage and risk management services firms designing books, collateral, and branding at a promotional merchandise company creating licensed apparel and merchandise for well-known brands. Recently, she has worked for a modest-sized advertising agency creating ads, branding, websites and marketing for local businesses.

Sara enjoys attending concerts, traveling, visiting local farmers’ markets and creating t-shirts for her brand, Laundered Goods.