Who We Are
Co-Founder, League Director
Nick brings 15 years of experience in interactive design, product development, and technology fanaticism. His career started in the advertising space where he launched several multi-million dollar brands and it was in that time that the idea of the Spark germinated. He has since gone on to found four companies including Gravity Ward, a successful design and development consultancy. As father of two inquisitive little girls (and a husband to one amazing wife), he is driven to build a better technology and design education platform.
Co-Founder, Operations Director
Ben is a diverse technologist who has spent the last 10 years as a product manager at several travel technology companies, including Austin’s own HomeAway. He has led the strategy and development of mobile and web applications, and shipped many business and consumer products. His passion for education began after college when he helped run a Montessori classroom at Willamette Valley Montessori in Eugene, OR. Although he left to pursue a job in technology, the principles of the Montessori method have since played a key role in his life and career. Austin Spark League is a continuation of that passion, and an opportunity to share his knowledge and help others find the same inspiration he has found in his career.
Co-Founder, Outreach Director
It has been 17 years since Justine’s love for words and connections led her to a career in marketing communications, which has since evolved to include digital and social media marketing as well as community outreach. She juggles her time between family, work, yoga and now, Austin Spark League, because she wants her two daughters to know that the path to education isn't always linear, and that as long as they love what they do, they will find success in a context that's meaningful to them.
Head Instructor & Lead UX Design Instructor
Sean has spent his life combining creativity with work. Starting at age 19, he designed and developed award winning video games until he discovered improvisation where ideas could be expressed as fast as they could be thought. He is a UX designer, entrepreneur, executive coach, author, performer and trainer who has developed and taught curricula for communication skills, innovation, and creative problem solving to clients such as Cisco Systems and the University of Texas McCombs School of Business MBA Program.
Sean is the founder of Top Dog Software, where he developed award-winning video games, and the founder of The Hideout Theatre, where he taught hundreds of people to expand their creativity through the study of improv comedy, storytelling, and the art of creating in the moment. He is also the author of the storytelling project @VeryShortStory, where over 200,000 people follow his writing.
He believes that the lessons learned from studying improv make us all better designers, better people, and more fun to work and play with.
Technology Team Lead
Anjie is one year in to a career change. After 15 years in the architecture and structural engineering industries, she decided to learn something new and exciting - Programming! Anjie completed General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive program earlier this year and continues to learn new technologies and design principles to make her a well-rounded programmer and designer. She loves the feeling of “getting it” and is excited to help others feel the same way.
Chris is a UX designer who is passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. He is the co-founder of several startups, a research consulting firm, and has marketing experience in the financial services industry.
He has served as an advisor to Austin-based startups and functioned as a mentor at University of Texas’ Longhorn Startup and entrepreneurs at SXSW. He is also a board member of the Austin chapter of the User Experience Professional Association (UXPA).
Chris is particularly interested in the role UX design will play with the adoption of emergent technologies and platforms, such as augmented and virtual realities, wearables and the Internet of Things. When he isn’t spending time with his family he likes to read and improve his mediocre fly fishing and surfing skills.
Teaching Assistant & Pebble Guru
Edwin is an 18 year old student based in Ontario, Canada. He’s always had a passion for technology, and started writing Pebble apps when he was 14 after he getting his first Pebble. Edwin has since run two successful software Kickstarter campaigns and founded an app development company, Lignite, with his designer co-partner Philipp. He believes strongly in creating his own future, and plans to become an entrepreneur himself.
Edwin is proud of the 30+ Pebble apps and watchfaces he has created - many which were built at the request of the community. He continues to write code for many different projects including website backend, Pebble watchfaces and apps, and iOS apps.
Liam is a 17 year old code monkey, Apple fanboy, trumpet and french horn player, gamer, photographer, frequent napper, reader, and student. He currently attends San Marcos High School as member of the applied sciences academy, and hopes to study Computer Science at the University of Texas in Austin in 2017.
Kenneth hails from northern Indiana where he currently attends high school. He has many diverse passions including learning, technology, music, and helping others. A former Sparkster himself, he is thrilled to return to Austin as a mentor and TA.
Tod teaches design - both digital and product design - at The Magellan International School. When not in class with his middle school students, he coordinates Magellan’s technology program, coaches the robotics team, and manages the school’s startup maker space club. He strives to create learning experiences for students that resemble the experiences of productive, creative, problem solvers out in the real world. Although Tod currently lives in Austin with his wife and son, he has worked and lived in Colombia, Venezuela, and China.
David Hawks is the founder of Austin-based Agile Velocity. David has a background of building highly productive teams, and he has a passion for helping others achieve similar success, which makes him an ideal advisor of Austin Spark League. His guidance and experience with early-stage startups is a tremendous advantage as we continually work through the intricacies of shaping what was once an idea into a reality. He may be skilled at whipping startups to shape, but it’s his tailgating at Texas games that’s legendary.
Sean loves to make awesome stuff: cannons, software, trebuchets, music, rockets, pranks, hovercraft, and four kids. He wrote his first software for pay at age 12, and has been programming ever since. Seeing the Mosaic web browser for the first time set his course for the next 15 years as a web app developer, but the siren song of mobile development became strong enough to lure him to Mutual Mobile at the beginning of 2012, where he's been happily developing full-time for iOS ever since.