Business Staff

Jay Youngdahl, President
Jack London District, Oakland
Jay grew up in Little Rock around the time of the Central High crisis with parents who were active in the struggle for integration of local schools. Like many sons and daughters of the Mississippi Delta, he eventually came west to Oakland. While serving as a private in the US Army, after being drafted, Jay’s first newspaper experience was publishing a GI paper with other service men and women stationed in Germany, called FTA (F*** The Army). Noteworthy articles included an expose of an army captain who was sexually harassing female soldiers. Jay has been part owner and columnist for the Express since 2007, and the majority owner since 2010. Keeping the Express strong and vibrant while “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,” is one of Jay’s life missions.    

Jody Colley, Publisher
Jack London District, Oakland
Jody grew up in Kansas City. She got her start in publishing by doing bookkeeping and writing articles and band reviews at her college newspaper. At that point, she knew she wanted to be the publisher of an alternative newsweekly someday, and set off to do it. At the age of 20, she began working full time at the PitchWeekly while (slowly) finishing her BA in Management and Human Relations. She worked every position at that paper in order to fully understand the publishing business. In 2000, she was recruited by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as a Sales Manager, eventually becoming the Sales & Marketing Director. She became publisher of the Express in 2007. Jody is passionate about sustainable economies and economic justice. She co-founded the nonprofit Oakland Grown, and as won awards for her work supporting independent businesses. She also enjoys creating, camping, plinking, kayaking, driving, and hanging out with her super dog, Dexter.  

Justin Harris, Sales Operations Manager
West Oakland
Justin grew up in Los Angeles, and from a young age, was a Niners fan in the days of the LA Raiders. So, it was no coincidence he moved up to the Bay Area in 2004 to attend the University of San Francisco. Aside from having headphones practically forever implanted in his ears, Justin has played in a range of bands from Metal to Reggae/Funk/Ska, and Djs just about every other genre. During college, Justin fell in love with the Bay Area’s arts, culture, and community, so, after graduating, he decided to stay. Since joining the Express in 2010, he has inhabited various positions on the sales team, but his favorite contribution is his role in producing the Express’ BRIEFS and SCREAM film festivals. Aside from work, Justin likes dogs, tattoos, and high fives. In his free time, he enjoys growing a beard, overindulging in Netflix binges, and spending too much money on tasty foods.

Caitlin Albritton, Senior Account Executive
Downtown Oakland
Caitlin earned a BA in International Relations from California State University, Chico, where she was active in the school’s award-winning Model United Nations team and studied abroad in Costa Rica. She then went on to work at nonprofits, teaching citizenship to refugees and health and safety to farmworkers. Caitlin enjoys working with a variety of retailers, start-ups, nonprofits, and media agencies to create eye-catching copy. She’s passionate about the East Bay and is sure it’s the healthiest and coolest place to live. In her free time, she enjoys riding and showing her horse, Contessa.

Nicole Heirich, Account Executive
West Oakland
Nicole grew up in the charming little coastal town of Half Moon Bay and graduated from UC Riverside with a BA in Foreign Languages & Comparative Literatures in 2014. Prior to joining the Express, she worked closely with local restaurants and wine bars in both sales and operations. Outside of work, she can be found at various music venues, cruising around the East Bay on her bicycle (affectionately called “Bici”), or recreating Pinterest recipes and reading (primarily fiction and feminist theory) at home. 

Ben Grambergu, Account Specialist
Jingletown, Oakland
Ben grew up in a media sales family, and from a young age, he knew he would be in the industry. After graduating from the University of San Francisco in 2007, he immediately joined the newly independent Express. Meeting with local entrepreneurs and decision makers to determine how he can help grow their business is something that genuinely excites Ben. He’s worked with everyone from small coffee shops to the largest international beer brands. When he’s not a work, he tries to be as active as possible. Camping, hiking, dog training, and travel all rank very high on his list. He also enjoys live music and performances of all types, and believes everyone should stay up for sunrise at least a few times a year.  

Israel Brown, Distribution Director
Israel Brown is a lifetime Californian, having been born in Long Beach and raised in Oakland. He currently resides in Berkeley, where he is working on his third novel.