EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW about the Tech Guys team…

There’s nothing worse than businesses talking about how great and unique and clever they are. Especially in the tech and marketing space. It usually winds up sounding like this Weird Al song…

Well, that’s not us. Though we do agree that we are interested in “client-centric solutions and synergy!” SYNERGY! SYNERGY!

If for some strange reason, you do want to learn a little bit about our team members, feel free to peruse our bios below. You can also check out our services here

Mike Cline

Aliases: Mikey, Ninja Zer0, Lion-O

BS in EP Perl PHP JS/AJAX MySQL VB C++ IDL Matlab HTML Salesforce.com (APEX & VisualForce)

Mike’s evolution into the tech space all started with a Tandy TSR-80 that he first played with until becoming bored and then tearing it apart- while scratching up his mother’s countertop.

From there, it was all downhill; Visual Basic apps, basic tech support, outside service tech, Perl/PHP/MySQL programming, database engineering, remote system administration, discovered online marketing, technical backend for large scale online marketing efforts, process optimization, technical ninja for online marketing processes.

Mike just also happens to be a Rocket Scientist (yea, big surprise /sarc>). Mike received a degree in Engineering Physics from Embry Riddle in 2004. Even though Mike is a marketing ninja, he also has a passion for going to space! More importantly, he wants to build a summer home on Mars and drink Pan-Galatic Gargleblasters with the coolest cats on Betelgeuse.

Kevin Brkal

SEO & Social Marketing Expert WordPress PHP CSS SEO PPC Facebook Ads Adwords

Kevin brings over 20+ years of digital marketing experience to Tech Guys. In the early days he was an affiliate marketer who built all of his sites from scratch. Over the years he has held various marketing positions with some well known online brands and then also spent time at a digital marketing agency. Today he offers clients a well-rounded approach to online marketing that connects all of the dots from SEO to Facebook Ads. He loves new challenges and delivers under pressure.

Bobby Buffum

“Gamer, cosplayer, entrepreneur.”

Full Stack Web Developer BS in Game Software Development HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, Jquery, AJAX Windows IIS Linux Apache/Nginx Server Admin VB.NET, C#, C++ (.NET) Salesforce (APEX/VisualForce) Salesforce Administration Game Engines (Unity, UDK) Technical Writing, Project Management Data Analytics (google analytics, hotjar, tracking etc) Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, After Effects, Adobe Premiere CRM Management/Development Mail Platforms (mailchimp, aweber, getresponse, etc)

A gamer to the core: Bobby is a Technology Samurai who brings the tenacity of a gamer to Tech Guys. This dogged determination to overcome obstacles, affinity for problem solving, and the idea that a challenge just means you need to “git gud” and beat it, is a driving force behind his client’s success.

He has a Bachelor’s in Game Software Development and over two decades of coding under his belt spanning many languages, game engines, CRM tools, and various web platforms. It’s likely that if he hasn’t worked with something specific, he’s worked with something similar.

When not saving people from their own technology nightmares, Bobby is known for being a craftsman and a cosplayer. If you’re not familiar, it’s a portmanteau of “costume” and “play” that’s very popular in pop culture. It is wearing your underwear outside of your pants at Comic Con! Or more realistically: taking characters from movies, shows, comic books, and all sorts of mediums and bringing them to life.
Working with content creators like twitch streamers, youtubers, and cosplayers who build communities around positive life goals and inspiring others is a source of inspiration for him.

He’s the Batman of our group; the one we call when there’s trouble and we need someone to save the day and look edgy/brooding while doing it.

Alex Chisholm

PHP Javascript / AJAX / jQuery Third Party / API Integrations Salesforce (Apex & Visual Force) SQL Website Security Python Big Data Apache Spark Physics Quantum Programming

For over a decade, Alex has been working as a coder with his start at 16 years old as a freelance coder, working remotely with a global set of clients as well as some local clients in his hometown of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Towards the end of high school, he became fascinated with physics and went on to get a B.S. at the University of Florida.

While studying physics and researching axion dark matter particles for ADMX, Alex continued freelancing until he met Casey Stanton and joined forces with Tech Guys Who Get Marketing.

Learning physics amplified his arsenal of skills with a focus on critical thinking, data analysis and data manipulation/migration – all great skills for handling clients’ toughest challenges such as migrating platforms and developing custom solutions.

Alex has his home base nowadays in Philadelphia, but loves to travel and learn several languages like Spanish and Chinese.

Thomas Culp

Lead Marketing Consultant & Lead Designer BFA in Visual Communication Conversion Optimization Sales Funnel Design Direct Response Design Copywriting Social Media Advertising Infusionsoft Email Marketing iContact Aweber MailChimp GetResponse, etc HTML/XHTML HTML5 Responsive Web Design CSS PHP Javascript & jQuery WordPress Salesforce.com VisualForce Photoshop Illustrator Audio/Video Editing Google Analytics Google Goals Optimizely Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) SEO

Thomas is our Lead Makerting Consultant and Lead Designer and brings 15+ years of marketing and Direct Response design experience to Tech Guys. He specializes in developing effective marketing strategies and campaigns designed to convert. On the design side, Thomas takes pride in bridging marketing aggressiveness with clean, modern, functional design. He’s always in favor of removing the dogma from marketing and putting things to the test.

When he’s not flying through marketing funnels and coloring outside the lines, Thomas loves spending time with his awesome wife and daughter.

Charles Cosico

information architecture design un-crapifier branding specialist digital design print design html + css + jquery

There are very few things that interest and can manage to hold Charles’ attention, Technology and Design being two of those things. Starting out with a keen interest in magazine layout design and sketching at a young age, coupled with with the quiet rumbling of technology and how it seeped into people’s everyday lives during the 90’s, Charles fit perfectly into Web Design (although totally unbeknownst to him at the time, since the field literally didn’t exist back then).

During his college years he got into a Multimedia Arts, the first of its kind at the time and got exposed to all things digital + art. 3D Modeling, Sound Design, Photography and most importantly, Web and Graphic Design.

Through some twists and turns, Charles worked as a Web Design Executive for an Advertising firm in Dubai for a few years, and after amassing knowledge and skills decided to go back home and try his hand on a budding new way of life: the brave new world of Online Freelancing.

For the next few years, Charles handled various clients at the same time all on different time zones, of different sizes in different fields — Eventually getting entangled upon Bill’s beard and Tech Guys, starting out with some light contractual work, gradually working his way to today, as a solid part of the complex circuitry of the robot we all know and love.

Apart from all things digital, Charles loves to go out and run a few miles a day, enjoy and discover new music, watch movies and chortle at internet stuff.

Max Leza

Aliases: Aliases: if ( in_trouble() ) : $success = call_max(); return $success; endif;

WordPress PHP Development Javascript / jQuery / AJAX SQL API Integrations Robotics Object-Oriented Programming Intelligent Systems Micro-controllers Embedded Systems

I am a Software Engineer at Tech Guys. I am interested in bringing all kinds of technology solutions to people all around the world. My specialty is the back-end, or functionality side, of the software projects, so I am an expert in server side application programming and databases, and all they involve. I found myself attracted to the way WordPress builds projects and committed myself to be the best WordPress Programmer. I have studied and applied principles for safe and efficient programming techniques and pretty coding standards.

I have been interested in science and technology since a very early age. I was the only one on my school to have cell phone at age 11 (18 years ago) and at age 15 I fixed myself an old 70’s VW Bus and drove to school (with special driving permit obviously). I love when technology is applied to computers, devices, robots, cars, planes, and in general, to things that should make life easier and more interesting.

I studied a B.S. in Robotics and Digital Systems and later a M.S. in Intelligent Systems at Tec de Monterrey, Mexico (my hometown). Doing my M.S. degree I was in charge of the UAV department at the Robotics Lab (one of the 2 labs in the northern part of Mexico). For my thesis, I developed a real-time parallel computer vision algorithm to detect wireframe structures for search and rescue jobs.

When I am not working, I love to dedicate time to my wife. We like to do community work together. We dedicate around 70 hours a month to varied community activities like: bible courses, literacy education and relief work.

Bill Ferrante

Chief Technology Officer

Bill Ferrante is the byproduct of one link of Italian Sausage and obvious mistakes of a Scotch-English woman. Spending his childhood eating wires and systematically destroying all the electronics he could get his grubby paws on, Bill blossomed into a beautiful technological butterfly. His talents include systems architecture, untangling the kind of tech messes only people like Joe Polish and JJ Virgin can create, as well as making a mean batch of cold brew coffee. Before Bill joined the merry band of misfits at Tech Guys, he cut his tech teeth at Database Technologies and Seisint where he learned from Data Fusion pioneer, Hank Asher. These companies were instrumental in catching the Beltway Sniper and dismantling the 9/11 support network. Both companies now exist as the Risk Management division of LexisNexis. Bill later shifted gears to focus on the Internet at AOL where he finished as the Technical Director of AOL’s Publishing Platform. Bill’s team ran the largest platform migration in AOL’s history, operating just over 300 sites which did everything from inventing live blogging to breaking the news of Michael Jackson’s death which virtually melted the Internet. Today, you can find Bill in steamy Orlando or serving on the Playa in Mike Clines’ Great Sammich Ride!

Mikala Francini

Executive Assistant to Laura Gouin Project Development Project Manager Virtual Assistance Training BA in English Copy and creative writer

Mikala has over a decade of experience in theatre, specifically in stage management, producing, and writing, which has taught her to value organization, process, and stories worth telling. In her search to combine her interests in the arts, literature, production, and management, she fumbled between several odd jobs, finally met Laura, and jumped at the chance to join the team. When she isn’t chasing Laura around, Mikala can be found chasing her small rescue mutt named Ted around Chicago. Ted has a plethora of medical conditions but is her pride and joy (he also has quite the Instagram account)!

Laura Gouin

Director of Project Development Masters of Arts in Theater Bachelor of Science in Education Agile Project Management Scrum Sprint Project Management Training

Laura calls herself a writer. Well whispers it really when nobody’s looking. She’s also a Director and Actress who’s worked in Chicago and New York as well as various theaters in the Midwest. And if you look quickly you might catch her in a few films.

While trying to piece together a living as a “starving artist”, she stumbled into the world of digital marketing/web development and soon realized her skills in storytelling were as applicable on the business stage as they were on the theatrical one.

She’s been with Tech Guys long enough to see the CEO’s hairstyle change from midwest farm boy to Justin Bieber wannabe and is delighted to work with such a fun group of digital marketing and technical experts.

As the Director of Project Development, she gets to have a lot of “first dates” with clients as she discusses their project needs and makes sure they receive maximum value and support so they become clients for life.

She’s a classy lady who refuses to onboard any clients she wouldn’t wanna have a beer with…or a dirty vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives. And she counts herself lucky to work with a company who feels absolutely the same.

Lori Keenum

Accounting Department

Lori brings 25 years of banking and sales experience to the Tech Guys team. She’s worked as the Assistant Bank Manager at 1st Source Bank, Vice President of Mortgage Lending and served as a Board member and Chair of Lacasa.

When not crunching numbers for the team, she enjoys fishing, playing games on the computer, entertaining friends and sewing clothes for her little Yorkie Odie and Bolognese Cecily.

Afroz Nissar

Aliases: Spacemalu, The Mongoose

BS in EP VB C C++ RoR MySQL Matlab Maple Mathematica Salesforce.com (APEX & VisualForce) HTML CSS JS Linux Guru

Afroz isn’t just a well traveled man, but he’s one of those rare people that learns about everything he can from lasers, space tech and quantum physics to business and the stock exchange to name a few.

He has taught English in China, run a private language training school (and eventually sold it), managed an import/export business, runs a logistics company, the list goes on…all while working with our clients as an external CTO to get their tech and marketing systems in order so that they can scale their business, automate processes, build better relationships with their customers and close more deals.

Amanda Winston

Lead Project Manager Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Minor in Digital Technology Agile Project Management Communication Quality Control/Assurance

Amanda is Lead Project Manager at Tech Guys, having worked her way up from apprenticing under Laura Gouin on the team. She manages and continues the training of new and current PM’s, ensuring our clients receive the same exceptional service they’ve come to expect. She is also a Chicago based actor, having worked the storefront scene for several years and recently delving into the film and voiceover world.

Amanda believes at the heart of a good Project Manager is good communication. She brings 4+ years of professional stage management experience (if you aren’t familiar with the theatrical world, think of it as herding cats while trying to nail spaghetti to a wall, and documenting the whole process), and has successfully translated that, along with her uncanny ability to put words together (and a few years of real world managerial experience), into the world of Project Management. Also a trained actor, she’s found that her understanding of the human condition makes her the perfect advocate for client needs, while also understanding the heart of what good marketing should seek to accomplish.

Shanyn Strub

Executive Assistant to Bill Ferrente

Shanyn has always had a passion for management (aka herding cats), as she’s worked as a stage manager on both coasts since 2010. She has a BA in Theatre Studies from UConn, and has been bouncing around the country (and the UK!) ever since.

During her time in grad school, she reconnected with her college friend Mikala, who, like an angel from the heavens, helped her completely coordinate her job situation upon returning to the US. One of the things she suggested was virtual assistance, which is very similar to stage management, except you are herding cats remotely via a good internet connection. She has been working with Bill ever since, and enjoys every moment of it. When she’s off the clock, Shanyn likes to enjoy a good slice of pizza with her real cat, Crystal, or explore her new home of Chicago.

Addison Clearwood

Project Manager Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre

Addison Clearwood is a Project Manager with Satiated Artists working for the Tech Guy team. Growing up, Addison was fascinated by the magic most refer to as “technology” and is beyond excited to learn from the Robot.

Addison is proud to call herself a cheese-head as she was raised in Madison, WI and is known to bring a cheese plate to social gatherings. After graduating college with a BFA in Theatre – concentrations in Musical Theatre and Acting/Directing, she made the move to Chicago. Ever since, Addison has been exploring the welcoming Chicago theatre community and has had the chance to perform in several classic Chicago storefront theatres. After spending a few years grinding away as a coffee shop Barista and professional nanny, Addison stumbled upon this dream job. This team values each other for the complete human that they are and not just a cog in the machine; that’s the special component that makes the Tech Guys Robot so unique, there’s humanity in it’s wiring.

Shelby Larson

Chief Marketing Technologist Chief Marketing Officer SOP creation/development Financial development Digital marketing Google analytics Data based Marketing Branding/Messaging development Market Segmentation

“I make YOU and your BRAND the “No-Brainer” choice in your target market.”

Since 2007, Shelby has successfully grown two agencies from inception to 7-figures. This included building teams of over 100 talented individuals, creating robust SOP systems, creating and managing financial projections and budgets. She is a frequently requested keynote speaker at business and marketing conferences. Her businesses and Fractional CMO/CMT services have helped scale 7-figure and 8-figure businesses to success consistently by increasing revenue while lowering operating and marketing costs. She managed the successful acquisition of her agency in December, 2018.

She has lived digital marketing for the last 12 years. While she is strong across many aspects of marketing, she is world-class in the following areas:

  • Understanding Google’s algorithms around intention
  • Market segmentation & Psychographics of engagement
  • Avatar Identification and Creation
  • Creating high-converting marketing campaigns, strategies, and sales funnels
  • Messaging and Engagement

Those who know Shelby, never doubt that her whole heart lies at home. Her family is her muse. She married her best friend and is a mother of six amazing, active children ages 13 to 21. Her family is her greatest joy. In addition, relationships and social capital are at the center of her core values.

As a project of passion to help families, Shelby published Moonlighting on the Internet in Spring of 2016 to help families understand how to create consistent, legitimate income from home.