Meet the 2016 Speaker lineup for WordCamp Minneapolis!
Aaron Holbrook is a northern Illinois based web developer that spends his free time woodworking and playing Mario Kart with his boys. Currently, he builds highly scalable, performant applications as a Senior Web Engineer at 10up.
You can find more of his stuff at aaronjholbrook.com.
Saint Paul, MN
When he isn’t making music and/or paying exorbitantly for specialty coffee drinks, Aaron is a Community Therapist (read: email marketing support specialist) for GoDaddy Email Marketing and Mad Mimi. He has fierce brand loyalty for Subaru vehicles, Nord pianos, Trader Joe’s groceries, and Amazon Prime. He writes songs as He Who Never. Aaron believes that wine belongs on every adult’s table, and has found that it pairs nicely with twentysomething angst.
A 30 out of 30 on the Myers Briggs extroversion scale, Amy loves to get involved with local MeetUps, attend conferences, and lead the Minneapolis Girl Develop It chapter.
Andrew Gunn is the Director of Web Development at Platypus Advertising + Design, a Milwaukee based Ad agency. He also runs his own company providing tech consulting and development services. Andrew has developed dozens of WordPress plugins and themes, with over 10,000 downloads and 2,000 active users on his free WordPress.org plugins. In 2015, Andrew was project manager and lead developer of an interactive trail mapping plugin that saw over 30,000 page hits in the first 10 days.
Andrew (or Norcross, as most know him) is the founder and lead developer of Reaktiv Studios, an agency focused on solving complex problems with killer WordPress solutions. After quite a few years in the finance industry, Norcross switched to coding and hasn’t looked back. He’s got skin in both the service game — Reaktiv Studios is a WordPress VIP Featured Partner, helping top-tier clients with their WordPress development— and the product game, with Reaktiv’s flagship plugin, Design Palette Pro, continually being developed and supported. An organizer for WordCamp Tampa, Norcross loves to keep giving back to the WordPress community with free plugins, education talks at conferences, and core contribution to WordPress. Norcross lives in Tampa, Florida with his amazing wife, three kids, and rescue dogs that believe they’re humans.
Becky is a custom WordPress theme developer and project manager based in Chicago. She is the owner of Becky Davis Development and runs the Chicago Northside WordPress meetup. She has been working with WordPress since 2009 and teaches regular seminars at SCORE Chicago on Web Design and WordPress.
Caro Griffin is a front-end developer who spends most of her time in the classroom. As a freelancer, her specialty was developing WordPress websites for local arts organizations in her hometown of Chicago. Now she’s the WordPress Instructor at Skillcrush, where she’s focused on helping other women in tech find their place in the industry. When she’s not teaching, you’ll usually find her reading comic books, taking in a yoga class, or working remotely from a new city.
Grand Rapids, MI
Cate is a freelance writer who in her spare time homeschools two teenage girls and is married to WordPress documenter/developer.
Lake Mary, FL
Chris is currently the Director of Technology at Effin Amazing, an analytics and growth consultancy. He is a 16-year Internet marketing veteran with experience in web design & development, search engine optimization, online marketing, social media marketing and mobile development. He specializes in WordPress custom development utilizing either Genesis Framework or underscores and is very active in the WordPress Orlando community. Chris has held development and Internet marketing positions in some of Orlando’s top technology companies.
Dan has been a WordPress developer since 2009, focusing on front-end responsive code and clean admin interfaces. He has been a freelancer, in-house developer, and remote employee, and now works on large scale and enterprise websites as a team lead for Crowd Favorite.
Dan frequently travels and speaks at WordCamps, as well as publishing tutorials on good development practices on his blog. Generally, Dan gives talks on intermediate developer practices, and personal and professional development.
David Skarjune is a consultant for Word & Image providing solutions for content publishing and digital workflow for authors, artists, publishers, and organizations. Skarjune is a member of the Minnesota Book Publishers’ Roundtable, WordCamp Minneapolis organizing team, and Make WordPress.org Training team.
Skarjune has worked as a writer, editor, journalist, photographer, designer, analyst, developer, instructor, and online community builder—lots of hats! He began his career at the University of Minnesota as an art critic writing for the Minnesota Daily and then many local and national publications in the ’80s. He stumbled through the field of Information Technology in the ’90s. He began working with open source free software systems after the year 2000.
Don Betts is a freelance WordPress Implementor and Developer from Winnipeg, Canada. As a student of history, philosophy, and theology he loves thinking about the big of how we use technology and how it shapes us and our culture. As a recent stay-at-home dad, he also spends an inordinate amount of time answering his four year old son’s questions about Star Wars (original trilogy only, of course).
Drew began working on the web in 1996, founded Gorton Studios in 2001 and joined Pantheon in 2015. At Gorton Studios he built a team of incredibly talented people and together they made many great organizations even better, including a wide variety of cultural, media, education, governmental, NGO, art and non-profit organizations.
At Pantheon, Drew is the Director of Community and Agency Outreach. He now gets to spend time working with agencies all of the world, share best practices and help them get the most out of both Pantheon and the Open Source tools we all share.
Drew has a broad range of interests, has lived and worked in Asia, Europe and North America and speaks several languages. He has an advanced degree in the martial art of Aikido and a liberal arts degree from St. Olaf College.
He’s also a generally nice fellow.
Dusty probably has a bio, somewhere.
He served as web lead and security researcher at The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) at Purdue University for 9 years. Along with Chris Hartjes, Ed is co-host of the Development Hell podcast.
Ed’s current passion is raising mental health awareness in the tech community with his Open Sourcing Mental Illness speaking campaign.
Ed writes at funkatron.com.
Apple Valley, MN
Erica has 10 years of experience with designing promotional & marketing materials for both screen and print format. She is fluent in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, & InDesign CS6 for every design project that comes her way. Graduating in December, 2014 with an A.A.S degree in Graphic Design from Dakota County Technical College, Erica rebranded the company she and her husband Jesse run from being Schaafnet Consulting to 3S Design. She works full time in her home office, with also being an avid volunteer in both program organizing and serving for non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities.
Besides graphic design, Erica has found her niche in web design through WordPress. With 5+ years of experience along with gaining knowledge through WordPress Meetups, WordCamps, and other conferences, She continues to be well versed when consulting with prospective clients on both new site designs, and much needed renovations along with encompassing every aspect their website needs to have in order to become a successful part of their business in today’s ever changing market and trends.
Around work, Erica is a avid runner with Moms on the Run with running local races every month (run time is 12 min’s per mile), enjoying her family, and traveling.
Eryn O’Neil has spent the last 8 years as a PHP developer, and the last 25 or so as a nerd. With a background as a tech lead in the agency world, she has worked on everything from e-commerce to online promotions to creating and maintaining an internal framework and CMS.
Her philosophy is to build software by placing humans first: both the people who will use it and the developers who will build it alongside you (and maintain it afterwards).
Based in Minneapolis, MN, Eryn spends most of her free time swing and blues dancing, flying on a trapeze, and wishing it weren’t snowing.
James Archer is Chief Design Officer at Crowd Favorite. He specializes in thoughtful customer experience design, and he has shared his passion and expertise with clients like Microsoft, Motorola, Walmart, and Yahoo, and projects he’s worked on have appeared in U.S. News & World Report, Fast Company, Business Week, Entrepreneur, The New York Times, AdAge, TechCrunch, and NPR. James regularly speaks at conferences and workshops, and writes frequently about design, marketing, branding, and business. He’s an active member of the community and frequent board member, and has been involved with the founding of various industry conferences, organizations, and meetups.
James Tryon is the Creative Director of Valet, the founder of Easily Amused, Inc, and a father of two(Three in Sept). He’s also one of the co-organizers of WordCamp Orlando and the WordPress Orlando meetup group.
James has been in the creative industry for more than 18 years, and he has a meticulous eye for design and usability. He also possess the know-how to plan, design, and code it all if needed.
An avid collector of random awesomeness and vintage artifacts, he’s always finding something interesting to spark his creativity and share with the team. When he’s not working, he can be found building something, playing with toys, or hanging with friends and family.
Jarrett Gucci comes from a retail background that started at Home Depot in Buffalo NY as cashier and 18 months later was asked to be a project manager based out of Carson California with a goal of opening 12 stores in 14 months. This goal was accomplished. He has also been an area manager at Big Lots and Bed Bath and beyond. He left his very last retail career as a district manager at Linens & Things in 2007 to pursue a hobby of website development as hope he could make some money doing it. After 4 years of building and managing WordPress sites, he founded a company called WP Fix It and since 2011 his company has serviced over 30,000 WordPress support tickets. Something you may not know about Jarrett besides all this, is that when he was 15 his neighbor gave him a 1962 dodge dart and he completely took it apart and rebuilt it.
Jen Jamar loves working with companies to amplify their reach through online marketing. As owner of Resonant Results, she works with clients big and small to create results-oriented, data-driven strategies and tactics that improve the ROI of their content, social media, and SEO.
In addition to her love of all things content, Jen has a passion for bringing people together through shared interests. She is the co-founder of Get Social Events, an events management & production company best known for Minnesota Blogger Conference and Social Media Breakfast – Minneapolis St. Paul. Jen is also really easy to spot in a crowd – just look for the loud social gal with blue & purple hair.
Jennifer is an award-winning designer and the founder and creative director for Bourn Creative, a full service design agency, specializing in web design, brand design, messaging, and content strategy, with WordPress as her platform of choice.
When not obsessing over design details, margins, and content, Jennifer manages the Bourn Creative brand, blogs about the work/life juggle at Inspired Imperfection, speaks regularly at both virtual and live events across the country, co-organizes the Sacramento WordPress Meetup, and she is lead organizer for WordCamp Sacramento 2016.
St. Paul, MN
Jeremy’s development career unofficially began in 2003 when he wielded the knowledge he learned from “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Building a Web Page: 5th Edition” to develop static websites for a Twin Cities bike shop and several local bands. Since then, he has expanded his skillset to include a variety of full-stack web technologies, and specializes in developing custom plugins and themes on the WordPress platform. He currently works as a remote WordPress Developer for 3five.
Jim Barrett is an, entrepreneur and improviser. He has performed at the Minneapolis Fringe Festival, Huge Theater, Brave New Workshop and the Minnesota State Fair. As founder of Leads4Growth, Jim has been providing creative service and tech companies with strategic business development support for over 10 years. This year he founded Improvisation4Growth, to help MDs, RNs, therapists and counselors to create real emotional connections with their patients and people suffering from addiction to lead new lives.
Joe Casabona is a Front End Developer that works in WordPress…a lot. In 2014, he authored a book called Responsive Design with WordPress and 2 other book on web development. He’s also a professor at the University of Scranton where he teaches Web Development and Computer Science courses and has developed an accredited course on WordPress theming.
Saint Paul, MN
Joseph C Dolson is a WordPress plugin developer and accessibility consultant. He’s the author of several popular WordPress plugins, including WP to Twitter and My Calendar, and works to promote accessible development with WordPress. He teaches a course at Lynda.com on Accessibility for WordPress and works with the WordPress Accessibility team to help make WordPress and WordPress.org resources more accessible.
Joe has been working in marketing and web development since 2001, providing web consulting and development services to clients in the U.S. and in Europe. Joe writes and speaks regularly on important topics in accessible web development and web standards. Keep up with Joe at Joe Dolson Accessible Web Design or follow Joe on Twitter.
John Heimkes IV
John probably has a bio, somewhere.
Sioux Falls, SD
Josh Leuze is a WordPress developer from Minnesota who loves making themes. He is the author of the popular Meteor Slides plugin.
When not building themes and plugins in his basement, Josh can be found doodling with his kids, playing board games, or pedaling his bike around town.
Julie Kuehl is a WordPress developer from Moorhead, Minnesota. She enjoys building custom themes and websites that get the job done for clients. Julie’s outside passions include cars (Mustangs especially), motorcycles (Harley-Davidsons especially), dive bars and science fiction.
Justin Foell has 13 years of web-development experience and has spent the last 5 of those focusing on WordPress. Justin was part of 9seeds.com until he recently teamed up with Minneapolis WordPress local Nick Ciske at Cimbura.com. Justin loves WordPress because of the community. Justin’s first attended WordCamp was WordCamp MSP 2010 and after it had gone dormant for a while, he joined forces with Kiko Doran to reboot it as WordCamp Minneapolis in 2013. He’s been involved with every WordCamp Minneapolis since.
Mark is a software developer living in Minneapolis with his amazing wife and two beautiful daughters. He is currently employed at LeadPages where he builds modern web applications with amazing people. Mark has been developing software for the past 10 years for a variety of platforms, but primarily on the web where he has done his best to stay on the cutting edge. Incidentally, this has resulted in a disturbingly wide variety of unhealthy habits such as switching frameworks every year, rewriting perfectly good applications from scratch just because, and pretending to actually know what he’s talking about at conferences and meet-ups.
Matt is an engineer on the VIP Team at Automattic, which means he gets to think about scaling WordPress every day! Aside from watching movies, he spends his spare time walking dogs, traveling and riding bicycles. A Seattleite, he spent a pleasant four years in Minnesota, living and studying in a town associated with the motto “Cows, Colleges and Contentment.”
Hey there, I’m Mendel, an intrapreneurial change-maker, developer, speaker, and teacher.
I love the outdoors, so you’ll usually find me hittin’ the trails between tech events and code-slinging. I’ve also usually got my nose in a cup of single origin, Chemex-brewed coffee. As a GoDaddy Evangelist, I spend most of my time hanging out with developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and creative people all around the world to make sure their opinions and suggestions are heard.
Michelle is an independent graphic designer, who moved to Minneapolis from Chicago. She was formally schooled in design including print, branding, packaging, etc., with additional education in Psychology and Sociology, all tying together in a love of How To Solve Problems. Lately she has been specializing in WordPress websites, infographics, and high-end presentations for her clients. She loves the WordPress community and speaks/volunteers/organizes at WordCamps and events around the country. She also loves Wapuu and maintains a few fun open source projects.
Mykl designs engaging web experiences, and speaks about social media, WordPress, and typography. He is owner and creative director of Orange Jackalope Creative and the director of Social Media Breakfast – Minneapolis/St. Paul, the largest SMB chapter in the US. He co-organizes the Minnesota Blogger Conference, co-founded and coordinates the activities of Ignite Minneapolis, and runs the local chapter of TechKaraoke Minneapolis. Mykl has a special passion for the social web and its power to educate and inspire.
Saint Paul, MN
Over the last 12 years, Reid Peifer has gone from overworked intern at a small boutique agency, to happy freelancer, to owner and partner at Modern Tribe; a distributed digital agency made up of 50+ delightful developers and designers. He currently oversees teams on enterprise projects ranging from user experience to digital strategy, in addition to Modern Tribe’s multi-million dollar product business. Due to the nature of remote work, he’s happily a hermit in St. Paul most of the year with a wonderful wife and two overly spirited kids.
Richard probably has a bio, somewhere.
Ryan is a Web Strategist at Orbit Media in Chicago. Ryan also is the Founder and CTO of Internet Marketing Chicago, a full service digital marketing and web development company, based in the city of Chicago. He brings years of WordPress experience to the organization, ranging from speaking at and organizing WordCamps to building and marketing enterprise websites. Ryan is the lead organizer for WordCamp Chicago as well as the lead organizer for Startup Weekend Chicago. In his spare time, he likes to get outdoors and camp, hike, and ski.
Shanta R. Nathwani
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Shanta is an IT, Web Design and Social Media Consultant and an Instructor in Web Design and Capstone Project at Sheridan College. She is also a principal in Web Weapons, specializing in Web Development, Business Intelligence and Educational Training.
She is a problem solver and have been said to have the patience of a saint. She can explain even the most difficult concepts to the most basic user and has developed training documents that allow clients to learn for themselves. She thrives on understanding the needs of my clients and believes in making social media as simple as possible and making it fun, which allows our clients to seamlessly incorporate it into their organization.
Shanta holds a Certificate in Business Management and a Bachelors of Commerce Degree from Ryerson University in Information Technology Management. Some of her volunteer activities include being the Alumni Advisor for the Women In Information Technology Management program at Ryerson University, Technical Advisor for the Malvern Red and Black Society and Assistant Instructor at the Canadian Martial Arts Centre.
Shawn’s been working with freelancers, entrepreneurs, and artists for more than 20 years. He’s consulted companies large and small on storytelling, social media, and marketing strategies.
At heart Shawn’s in it for the underdog. He believes that striking out on your own is one of the most courageous and world-changing moves anyone can make. And he believes that everyone can do it.
When he’s not hanging out with freelancers, Shawn loves to write, run, and travel. He’s passionate about helping others and he’s convinced that a good story is the best way to do it — especially if it involves an El Camino, potato fields, and some vintage Information Society.
When not dreaming of pixels and WordPress, Solomon loves watching the Walking Dead and reading any DC and Marvel comic book he can get his hands on. A fast thinker and faster talker, he pushes the rest of the dev team to keep up with him, whether it’s following his pace—or trying to follow what he’s saying. Solomon holds a BA in Digital Communications from the University of Baltimore. He currently works at idfive and lives in Washington D.C.
Steve Persch is an Agency and Community Engineer at Pantheon. In that role he trains developers to use Pantheon’s tools in conjunction with their existing workflows. He also stays active in the open source community by contributing code and speaking at Drupal and WordPress events.
Steven K Word
Steven probably has a bio, somewhere.
T-Rave spends his days responding to a wide variety of WordPress related questions as a Happiness Engineer for Flywheel managed WordPress hosting. He dabbles in code when time allows and enjoys time offline in his wood shop. He’s been known to enjoy a good IPA.
Grand Rapids, MI
Topher has been a full time web developer for over 20 years, working exclusively within WordPress since 2010. He currently works writing documentation for Easy Digital Downloads.
Tracy (or @tapps) is a Visual/UX Designer for Cornershop Creative and loves solving problems creatively. Her overlap of skills in design, user experience, strategy, front-end development, photography, video, and traditional art help her not only think outside the box, but to stay miles away from the box altogether! With over 20 years of web development experience, and over 15 years of client work under her belt, Tracy approaches design very strategically, thinking from all angles to ensure a consistent and effective creative solution… not just something that “looks pretty.” She also could probably deadlift you.
New Richmond, WI
Having always been obsessed with learning why things work and how they can be improved, it’s only natural that Travis found himself in the world of web development. Travis is a lead developer at Westwerk, and for good reason. His acute attention to detail and efficient and effective solutions to programming challenges keep clients happy and projects successful. In his free development time, Travis enjoys learning new platforms to provide more unified approaches to client problems.
I’m a Senior Web Strategist at Modern Tribe. I help clients reach their goals through design and strategy. I love building profoundly usable stuff. I’m passionate about design, typography, taking beautiful photos, and living a life full of adventure. Plus I get to create neat products for WordPress at Press75.
Tyler Golberg is a commodity trader by day and web design enthusiast by night. He started programming websites in 2005 working on bigger projects, like HomeSpot HQ. In 2011 he started using WordPress and discovered a love of using the platform to help small businesses and organizations find a home on the web with CYBERsprout.