Learn more about WAM team members

Ellie Varley
Service Engineer

Ellie Varley grew up in South San Francisco, CA. When thinking of what to name their last child (of 8) her Dad preferred Mary Catherine, and her mother preferred Ellen Claire. When it was time to fill out the birth certificate, her mother seized a golden opportunity while her dad was out and went ahead and named her Ellen Claire! Ellie graduated from Cal Berkeley in 1989, with a degree in industrial engineering, operations research. Ellie was introduced to Western Allied by Jeannette Funke, who was in the same Lamaze class when she was expecting her daughter, Mary Catherine. In 2013, Ellie joined Western Allied as a service coordinator, and in February she became a service engineer (Congrats!) She says she loves working at WAM because “it really is the best!” She says its not just about the work you do, but the environment as well. Ellie says, “WAM is a unique environment, in that we really are a family. Everyone does their best to support each other, no matter what.” Ellie loves working with Robert Monaghan, she says they both connected so quickly because they come from big families.

Outside of her work, Ellie loves to go to the movies, read, and walk. Though she can’t really go to movies much lately, she has ventured to a drive-in movie theater recently! She would love to travel to all 7 Disneyland parks. She also would love to go to Greece and Italy. She says she loves to walk through old churches and ruins and visit all the museums.

Francois Lespade

Francois (pronounced frahn-swah) was born in San Francisco to immigrant parents who came from the Basque region of Spain and France. Francois grew up speaking Basque until kindergarten when he started speaking French at home and started going to a French-speaking school in San Francisco from the 2nd grade. As he grew older, English took over his Basque, but he can probably still get around with his French. Francois has been with Western Allied for about six years, starting first in the field for two years before joining the Detailing Department. His previous work experience was designing sheet metal enclosures, which led him well in his transition to detailing. Francois likes that Western Allied cares about investing in its employees and values adopting new technologies. In the detailing group, in addition to doing normal detailing work, Francois is also the designated Total Station and 3D Scanning guy. In his personal life, Francois is happily married to his wife Katie of 21 years. Together they have their kids Kyle (18) and Claudia (16). Francois’ hobbies include mountain biking, dirt biking, and car repair. Francois is also the community welder, who helps his neighbors with their various home welding needs. He is apparently a #%!*ing good welder – *pardon my French*.

Josh Edwards
Start-Up Technician

Josh Edwards was born and raised in Castro Valley, CA. A legacy WAMer, his father Mark Edwards introduced Josh to the former start-up superintendent. Josh started with Western Allied as a driver in 2008. He then went on to get his apprenticeship with UA local 467 and is one of our best start-up technicians. What Josh likes best about WAM is the culture. “Everyone is approachable and are all-around good people,” Josh said. “Western Allied is always willing to train us with new technology and make sure we are all safe on our jobsite.” Josh has been married to his wife, Viviana, for three years and has a 22-month-old son, Josh Jr.

When Josh isn’t working, he enjoys fishing, smoking meats, collecting American Silver Eagle coins, and spending time with his family. He hopes one day to travel to Thailand and to Europe. Fun fact: The first job Josh had was selling the Sunday paper when he was 12 years old.

Larry Coakley
Piping Foreman

If you’ve been at Western Allied long enough, Larry isn’t the first Larry Coakley you’ve met. In fact, for many years, Larry was known as “L.J.” for Larry Junior. Born and raised in Redwood City, what you might not know about Larry, is he is a THIRD-generation pipe fitter. His dad, Larry Senior, worked for WAM for many years and Larry’s granddad owned his own pipe shop in San Francisco before that. Doing piping is in his blood (though working with computers is not!) and Larry has now been with Western Allied for 21 years. When asked what has kept him here, he says, “They just haven’t fired me yet!” An unassuming man of few words, Larry is quite the jokester and a no-nonsense, beast of a pipe fitter. He feels that WAM is a good company that takes care of its people and doesn’t treat them like a number. Larry’s hobbies include hunting and fishing, which he does whenever he can. Larry has been with his wife Terra for 24 years; married for 16. A big teddy bear at heart, this grizzly man speaks tenderly of his wife, saying he “doesn’t know what I’d do without her.” Together they have their daughter Pamela (18), named after Larry’s mom, and son Jack (13).