automätik is an award-winning, certified National Women Business Owners corporation specializing in research, consultation, instructional design, event design and management, graphic design, digital/interactive design, event production, and facilitation management/coaching. While our roots run deep in automotive OEM, our talents cross industry borders quite nicely. We've been around since 1990 and have been growing ever since. We invite you to get to know us, and how we may support your journey...

Who We Are


Kathy Sweet fire chief

Since starting the company at a Plano, Texas kitchen table in 1990 with husband, Dave, automätik's CEO, Kathy Sweet—affectionately known as the "Fire Chief"—has remained the "behind the scenes" force of automätik.

While Dave handled facilitating, writing, and client relations, Kathy assumed the formidable challenge of developing the company's infrastructure from the ground up, including all aspects related to finance, human resources, operations, and, as her pseudo-title implies, putting out the occasional "fire." (Figuratively speaking, of course; we have a strict "No Fire Bugs" hiring policy.)

While she's far too humble to admit it, Kathy's success as a business leader is not by accident: with a BA in Marketing from The Ohio State University, Kathy held management positions with The Collection, Paul Harris, and Petite Sophisticate retail apparel purveyors, as well as American Greetings before establishing automätik. And, as any "Fire Chief" worth her salt, Kathy is gifted at recognizing, diagnosing, and solving issues and problems, and has an amazing ability to tactfully communicate in the "heat of the battle."


Dave Sweet maître d'

Dave Sweet (affectionately known as "PAPA Sweet" to friends and a bunch of orphans in Africa) is automätik's President.

Dave grew up in a small Ohio town called "Salem" (Zip Code = EIEIO) and studied Marketing and Psychology at THE Ohio State University (Go BUCKS!).

His career began with Caterpillar in parts and service until he moved into sales operations with Ford Motor Co. After a steady career progression at Ford, Dave received "an offer he couldn't refuse" from a Ford/Mazda retailer in CA where he had the opportunity to sit in about every chair through general management. In 1990, Sweet received another "offer he couldn't refuse" from J.D. Power & Associates to serve as a consultant, facilitator, and instructional designer.

THAT is what started "automätik." And what a wild, wonderful ride it has been, growing from a one-man consultancy into a full-service international Tier One event design company.

Having instigated a myriad of ground-breaking training interventions and interactive learning "experiences" over the years, Sweet adopted the pseudo-title of maître d' (the overseer of servers), a perfect encapsulation of Sweet's leadership style within automätik and with our valued client partners.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man…” Colossians 3:23


Johnny Sweet solutionizer
vice president

Having been raised (quite literally) in the automotive industry, Johnny has seen many sides of the business and recognizes the value of a service-first mentality. He'd say that his workplace mission is to collect awesomeness in a bottle and deliver it to automätik's clients in an excellent way.

Through years of designing curriculum, managing accounts, contributing to national ride-and-drive events, and facilitating training sessions, Johnny brings a broad range of experience to the table–and as an unashamed "millennial," he attacks it all with fresh exuberance.

If you can't find Johnny at automätik, he's probably at one of two places: (1) gallivanting around downtown Phoenix with his lovely bride and their young boy/girl twins or (2) a local golf course, where he carefully conceals his PGA Professional status (until after a favorable bet is in place).


Mark Krach catalyst
vice president

Back in 1987, freshly-minted University of Texas MBA Mark Krach began what has become a lifetime journey in the automotive industry.

After a successful stint as a zone manager for Ford, where one of Mark's co-workers was none other than Mr. Dave Sweet, Mark was recruited by one of the Bay Area's most progressive automotive retailers where he moved into sales and fleet management, including training new-hires.

In the early 90s, Mark received a phone call from his former FoMoCo co-worker, Dave Sweet, who convinced him to moonlight as a freelance instructional designer for his startup automotive training company, automätik. (Mark’s undergraduate training was in Journalism and Education.)

The fruits of their labor—and a passion for travel—soon led Mark to chart a new course, joining automätik full-time in its infancy, designing and facilitating paradigm-shifting training programs and consumer events since the mid-1990’s.

Off the clock, Mark's thirst for travel and new experiences is slaked with an annual getaway for he and his wife, Lisa. They have traveled all over Europe, the Caribbean, and even to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.


Michael Thielimaginator
vice president

With over 15 years of combined automotive industry experience in retail automotive sales, sales management at a nationally-ranked sales satisfaction dealership, automotive training facilitation (he's personally facilitated over 500 training events and still loves to "eat his own cooking" if given the green light to train), and instructional-and-event design, Michael possesses the sensors to understand the needs of the retail automotive audience and the creative vision to respond with innovation and results.

Lately, Michael has helped shepherd automätik's transition from paper to pixels, discovering creative—yet investment-friendly—ways to integrate mobile learning tools such as tablets, smartphones, "the cloud," and social media into the training and event experience. A brisk walk by his office often gives the impression of a mad scientist at work. Sadly, his attempt at repurposing the flux capacitor within a product launch experience has yet to gain traction (insufficient jiggawatts of electricity and an inability to source a roadworthy DeLorean being the primary road blocks).

When not clocked in, Michael's waking hours are occupied in a quixotic attempt to lower his golf handicap, polish his guitar-troubadour skills, or keep pace with his lovely (and athletically-superior) wife, Lisa, and two high-energy young daughters.


Brandy Johnson expediter
account director

In her role as Account Director for West Coast Operations, Brandy leverages a well-rounded automotive background which includes seven years as a senior product specialist and facilitator for brands such as BMW, MINI, Audi and Lexus.

While learning the ropes in the automotive industry, Brandy graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Technical Management from DeVry University.

Born and raised in sunny Naples, Florida by restaurateur parents, her pseudo-title of expediter suits her well. She has a natural talent for communicating and providing first class service.

Brandy currently lives a hop, skip and jump away from the Pacific Ocean in beautiful Redondo Beach, California. When she is not working you might catch her paddle boarding with her husband, cruising South Bay on her beach cruiser, or reading at the beach.

Nicci Alexander

Nicci Alexander superglue
executive director | project support

Making her automätik debut in 2004 (at sweet 16) and on through her college years at Arizona State University, where she earned a BA in Art History and Design Studies, Nicci has played a pivotal role in virtually every aspect of the client service experience.

Along the way, Nicci has graced automätik and its clients with a fantastic attitude, a keen eye for detail, and pitch-perfect client service. As her pseudo-title of superglue implies, Mrs Alexander keeps the company together, delivering world-class account support at every turn…and with a smile.

Off-duty, Nicci can often be found musing upon various genres of art or just plain kickin' it with her wide circle of friends.


Daron Harvey miss scrupulous
account director

As a true native “Arizonian,” Daron thrives off the desert landscape, warm weather, and sunny skies that Phoenix has to offer. In fact, it was her love for Arizona that put her in the position to join the automätik team in the first place.

While attending college with a focus on Social Work, Daron found herself in the restaurant business for over 10 years, where she worked herself all the way up to General Management. She even helped open her last restaurant, which grew rapidly and was recently voted the “#1 Sports Bar in Downtown Phoenix” by USA Today. And it was through Daron’s love of all things detail-oriented, passion for event planning, and knack for stellar customer service that landed her on the Client Services team at automätik.

When she’s not overseeing budgets, crossing off timeline milestones, and helping plan inimitable events, Daron resides in south Scottsdale and spends her free time reading, volunteering in the foster care community, crafting, seeking out live music, or simply Netflix-ing.


Shaundra Boone enthusiast
account support manager

In true Phoenician style, Shaundra revels in the light of Arizona’s sunny days, breath-taking sunsets, and bright, starry nights. She’s journeyed to faraway places, grateful for the experiences and worldly perspective, yet glad to call the Desert home. With a rare enthusiasm for life and learning, she lives by the motto, “Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Generous and idealistic, with a warm heart, Shaundra also possesses a strong sense of duty, a knack for knocking out objectives, and finds joy in service to others. While balancing education and occupation, she gained more than ten years of experience in client service. Shaundra’s inquisitive nature and service-orientation led her to a career with automätik's Client Services team and a realization of “automotive simpatico.” A natural inclination towards business, combined with exceptional organizational skills and talent for communication, aids in her daily dealings of all things logistical.

If she’s not dreaming up new ways to streamline our project efficiency, Shaundra is likely perfecting her shots on the billiards table, spending good ol’ fashioned quality time with friends and family, adventuring with her two canine companions, Sam and Louie, or exploring a new outlet to express her creativity—glass blowing is up next!

Paul Benner

Paul Benner show patrol
executive director | production

Paul first joined automätik back in the aughts and, after a brief two-year hiatus where he mingled in the aftermarket auto industry, he’s leading the charge as the Executive Director of our Production team.

Having worked on many different rungs of the company ladder during his time at automätik, Paul knows what each department brings to the table and how all systems mesh to create a memorable event. His time span has allowed him to rub elbows with each of our clients, and he loves matching new vehicle technologies with cutting edge production offerings.

When Paul steps away from “patrolling” automätik’s vast production and event directives, he knows that all work and no play make Paul a grumpy boy. Accordingly, Paul channels his passion for Arizona State University sports with tailgates and throat wrecking cheers, unwinds with a decent size film library, and spends time with his lovely wife and three amazing children.


Brandy Husemaneventologist
logistics director

Brandy Huseman is a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) with more than seven years of experience managing events including educational meetings, conferences, and trainings for both private and public organizations.

She previously served as events coordinator for Stamats Communications managing company-wide conference and event activities, and as events program coordinator for Arizona State University's Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, where she oversaw logistics and marketing for all center events and training activities. She holds a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.

A rabid Kansas City Royals fan (and the Chiefs too) Brandy spends quite a bit of time doing ZUMBA when she is not rooting for her favorite sports teams. She also knows a fair amount about craft beers and is a connisseur when she has the time to indulge.


Conrad Shehaninnoventor
technology director

Armed with a decade's worth of experience on the aftermarket side of the automotive industry fence, Conrad's passion for conjuring technological wizardry finally got the best of him, inspiring him to "cross over" into the world of automotive events and instructional design here at automätik.

And, while a newbie to automätik's creative team, make no mistake: Mr. Conrad Shehan possesses a very particular set of skills that our competitors find…most troubling.

More on that later; let's start at the beginning: Conrad's first taste of automotive passion began at the tender age of 16, when he bought a '74 Dodge and, skinned knuckles and all, got it running himself (in his dad's garage, of course). Four years later, he helped build an aftermarket automotive parts manufacturer from the ground up. And what a wild ride it was: Conrad wore nearly every cap in the company; from customer support, CAD design, chief marketing office, project manager… and everything in between.

While a true Renaissance man with education forays in public education, graphic design, and electrical engineering, it is Conrad's passion for cars, software, electronics and thoughtful design that fuel his fire–and make him such a valuable asset to team automätik. With his practiced skills in rapid prototyping and working with emerging technologies, Conrad strives to keep automätik's training programs and events on the bleeding edge of technology without sacrificing relevance or accessibility.


Steve Royce alchemist
senior creative director

As one of automätik's creative directors, Steve's passion for turning "What if?" into reality drives his energetic and quirky approach to event and curriculum design.

As his pseudo-titled implies, Steve prides himself on guaranteeing that any project he touches gains momentum and traction toward meeting—and exceeding—the client's vision and expectations.

An unabashed technology nerd, Steve is constantly dabbling in the "latest and greatest" tech and gadgetry to identify innovative new training applications for existing consumer technologies.

When not at work or geeking out on a new side project, Steve loves to decompress by conquering a backwoods hike with his wife, sparring with his buddies at his local Krav Maga gym, or by passing time as a silver-and-HI Viz-yellow blur on the back of his beloved Suzuki SV1000S sportbike.


Adriana DiMatteo brainstorm trooper
senior creative director

After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University in May 2012, Adriana, more commonly known as AD, had no idea what she was going to do (and yes, her parental units were a little worried).

Per the typical college grad cliché, she traveled and meandered through life—OK, a few months—until landing a job as digital advertising coordinator. However, AD quickly grew tired of the lack of creativity, so when the opportunity came to join the automätik team she pounced on it like a ravenous tiger. Understandably, the initial interviews went poorly, but after earning her trust—and hinting at the presence of Class V animal tranquilizers—AD calmed down, resumed generally acceptable human behavior, and breezed through the remaining interviews with aplomb. This is a good thing.

All kidding aside, AD brings her unique blend of practical and creative writing skills, forged in ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Film Studies, to the automätik team and the world of event and curriculum design. And while her writing chops are undeniable, it is her enthusiasm for spit-balling new, imaginative ideas that have earned her the professional pseudo-title, "brainstorm trooper."

A staunch advocate of the philosophy "work hard, play hard," AD spends her time away from la oficina playing rugby, watching movies, or planning her next trip to her "natural habitat" (a.k.a the beaches of Southern California). Surf's up, dude!


Steve Wright flexitator
creative director

While Steve has called Phoenix home for almost a decade now, he still claims California will "always be his home."

After graduating from Azusa Pacific University in 2004, Steve followed his childhood dream (not his NBA dream, that one died long ago) and took a job in San Diego as a high school pastor. After just two short years—which included getting married and a pretty epic surf trip to Costa Rica—he recalls walking on the beach at sunset with his wife talking about a potential move to the desert. And while they both knew it was the right move, they agreed it was one of the least exciting decisions they could make.

As it turns out, that decision has been anything but boring, bringing with it the birth of three beautiful children, three very different career paths (isn't three a magic number?), and eight moves in nine years (yes, you read that right)…all of which led him to this funky company called automätik.

When not at the office, you can find Steve and his family exploring central Phoenix on their bikes, eating at their favorite local spots, enjoying spontaneous family dance parties, and dreaming with his wife about their future around-the world adventures (that dream is still very much alive!).

Mike M

Mike McCurley scribologist
creative director

One doesn't come across a genuine native of Phoenix, Arizona too often, but as fate would have it, automätik found one! As one of automätik's go-to Creative Directors, Mike the "scribologist" McCurley brings a fresh perspective and sense of witticism to the team.

Mike's unique career background includes years of leadership and management experience, both in the retail and healthcare industries, as well as the automotive and property insurance fields. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2010 with a B.A. in American Studies with a Certificate in Ethnic Studies on the side. Anywhere and everywhere in between, writing has remained Mike's steadfast passion, and his focus on delivering his best work for the Client has remained relentlessly hooked for the long haul.

When Mike is not writing, designing, and creating within the sci-fi themed walls of his automätik office space, he is spending time in a house full of girls! Three beautiful blonde daughters and an equally delightful, enterprising wife keep Mike bustling and youthful (and occasionally sleep-deprived)! Outside the four walls, Mike has grand aspirations to travel around the world to further fuel his passion for extraordinary hiking excursions. One of his most recent treks to the summit of Mt. Whitney (the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, just to brag) is a prime example of Mike's adventurous spirit.

As Captain Picard would say, ENGAGE!


Tom Myroniak philomath
creative director

Tom brings nearly three decades of automotive industry and event management experience to the automätik team. A passion for technology and continuous improvement drives this philomath as he continuously seeks new and improved ways to deliver excellence to our clients.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Tom joined the Cult of Automotive at an early age, accompanying his family and their motorsports teams at racetracks and dragstrips in the Midwest. He also helped his dad with projects in the garage and began restoring his first muscle car when he was just 15.

A former United States Marine, he lived in Okinawa for a year where he practiced Karate, refined his sushi skills and learned to speak Japanese. These experiences helped him land a job in product planning at Nissan North America when he returned stateside.

After eight years with Nissan, Tom left the corporate world to join a communications agency where he headed up several major accounts for Golin-Harris Los Angeles. Before long, his entrepreneurial spirit led him out on his own as a consultant, supporting automotive OEMs with their marketing and communication efforts.

Finding his way back to his motorsports and aftermarket roots, he served over a decade at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) where he directed marketing, research and education for the industry. As Vice President of Marketing and Member Services, he and his team won numerous awards and helped grow the annual SEMA Show into one of the largest trade shows in North America.

A Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and graduate of Northwood University with a degree in International Business (and a minor in the automotive aftermarket), Tom now lives in Chandler, Arizona. He spends his free time coaching football for his son’s team and being a personal Uber driver, chef and maid for his kids.


Tesha Taylorcreatologist
creative director

Tesha joined automätik with several years' experience working in the automotive industry where she specialized in brand management, positioning, collateral design and event management.

She previously served as Western Regional Marketing Manager for ADESA Auto Auctions where she was responsible for establishing innovative marketing programs for vehicle manufacturers, dealers, fleet management and financial centers in addition to working directly with Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. She received her B.A. from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University when she was 19 years old.

Although born and raised in Seattle, she spent several years post-college living in the laidback surf town of Ocean Beach, CA—where she quickly discovered that the sunny shores of San Diego will always be where her heart is. Tesha grew up competing in the equestrian world where she was an accomplished show jumper and one-time rodeo queen. An adventurous globetrotter by nature, her greatest passion is traveling to remote and obscure locations where bugs are abundant, tourists tend to be nonexistent, plans are usually iffy and vaccinations are required. From volunteering in Africa, to diving with sharks in the Caribbean, to trekking through the jungles of Central America–she is most in her element when traveling off the beaten path, encountering language barriers and negotiating border crossings.


Patrick Mannionawesomesauciér
communications designer

In 1991, Patrick embarked on what (now) seems like a crazy scavenger hunt. Starting at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design, he ate hamburgers in Bill Gates' backyard while doing a design internship, and later burned the midnight oil helping BBDO - Los Angeles make TV commercials and print campaigns for Apple. After college, a stop was made in San Diego where he spent the next two years designing the interfaces and multimedia content of TurboTax Deluxe for Intuit.

But the sit-tay (Journey-speak for "City") was calling. Patrick packed up his '95 Eclipse and headed east to Manhattan. The next nine years were spent working for a long list of Fortune 500 clients at a smattering of Madison Avenue ad agencies and design firms such as FutureBrand, Ammirati & Puris, Organic and Young & Rubicam. Recruited to help lead the design efforts at eBay, Patrick went back west, where he led a team of awesome designers and engineers, and helped manage the global brand architecture initiatives for both eBay and Paypal.

Children (and the promise of unlimited, free babysitting in Sun City) ultimately brought Patrick and his growing family to Phoenix, where he began teaching design at the collegiate and high school levels. His love of working with clients and being back "in the mix" have brought him back out into the in-house world again.


Cayla Bruner gear head
communications designer

Hailing from the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado and (later on) Arizona, Cayla joined the automätik team jam-packed with passion and love for anything "automotive." Her enthusiasm for the industry is bursting at the seams and leaks out of her almost permanent smile.

Having grown up in a steel fabricating shop alongside her mom, uncle, and grandfather, Cayla learned early on that one can develop a relationship with a project. Wrenching on cars, and seeing them turn into running automobiles from piles of rust and bolts, she was instilled with this sense of ingenuity at a young age. Her love for motors blossomed into an unbridled craving for adrenaline. She has dabbled with racing competitive motocross, traveling to various mountains to snowboard every winter, riding stand-up jet skis, and is currently in the process of building her "dragon wagon" (a Subaru FXT) with her husband, who is also a motor head.

When this young-gun is not hard at work with automätik, she’s probably out exploring nature, playing with her Muttley Crue of four—yes, four—rescue dogs, going as fast as she can on something motorized, or creating 3-D wall art from upcycled pallet wood and other salvaged materials.

Cayla is a natural "creative" who sparked a strong talent and interest for design and creative writing from an early age. At automätik, she pursues both of those passions with a flow of endless kindness and fierce devotion—just like her grandfather taught her.


Joey Bora ghostwriter
communications designer

Joey’s life in recent years has been a wild but exhilarating whirlwind. After growing up in Oregon and living there for most of his life, he decided to uproot and move 1,300 miles due-south to Arizona, where, after navigating a series of life’s twists and turns, he discovered a perfect opportunity on automätik’s Creative team.

Through a combination of life experience and personal passions, Joey brings a versatile set of skills to the automätik team. He achieved his B.A. in Liberal Arts at Oregon State University in 2013, and then quickly turned around to earn a Master’s in the Art of Teaching (with a focus in Social Studies) at Lewis and Clark College in 2015. Prior to joining automätik, Joey taught sixth grade Social Studies, arming him with real-world insight into how students learn and the kinds of tools that can help them be successful.

Joey is a team player through and through. (He grew up playing a wide variety of sports, and even played water polo for Oregon State.) Joey would say that HE wins when the TEAM wins, so he works as hard as he can to pull his weight and make the people around him better. In his eyes, there is nothing like being a part of a like-minded unit that’s humming on all cylinders.

Outside of his professional life, Joey enjoys a variety of endeavors. He’s always on the lookout for a good pick-up basketball game, and also spends time perfecting his writing craft. He’s definitely a sucker for a good movie, or heck, even a bad movie—as long as it’s hilarious. At the end of the day, Joey’s following his passions and rolling with whatever life throws at him along the way—and that’s what makes the “whirlwind” so exciting.


Lillian Thompsonwordsmith
communications designer

Lillian was born and raised near beautiful Portland, Oregon. After 18 years, she got tired of grey skies and pouring rain ruining her summer birthday parties. So, she decided to leave the Pacific Northwest and everything she knew to become an Arizona State University (ASU) Sun Devil. Lillian graduated from the Hugh Downs School of Communication at ASU in May of 2017.

As an avid music lover, Lillian's favorite extracurricular activity has always been going to concerts, which led to a deep interest in the entertainment industry. During her senior year, she landed an internship at a ticketing company, where they gave her the opportunity to work on-site at huge music festivals around the nation. The experience developed her appreciation for fast-paced event life; an industry she believes only people who are a little crazy seek out. When she discovered automätik and our commitment to inimitable events, she instantly wanted in on the fun. Her creative mind, admiration of big productions, and love for writing landed her a position as a Communications Designer. Lillian brings a fresh perspective, positive attitude, and unwavering dedication to the team.

Outside of her professional life, Lillian spends most of her free time sifting through dusty clothes at the best vintage stores in Phoenix and embracing the colors of life through painting. She enjoys frequenting the amazing music venues and tasty restaurants that populate her downtown neighborhood.


Kevin Lewicki dreamfinder
communications designer

After graduating from Arizona State University (ASU) and working for the Walt Disney Company for nearly three years, Kevin joined automätik with enthusiasm, creative drive, and a unique perspective.

From leading safaris through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to training young Jedi at Once Upon a Toy in Disney Springs, he continues to "create the magic" in his communications designer position on our Creative team.

Kevin earned a BA in Business with a concentration in Tourism Management from ASU in December of 2017. It was there that he discovered the event industry and began working for the School of Social Transformation as an Events Management Assistant. He learned a great deal about planning, managing, and executing programs, all while bringing a pinch of pixie dust and an eye for detail to make every event special. He then discovered automätik and from there, history was made (well, technically it's in the making).

In his free time, you'll certainly be able to find Kevin at a movie theater enjoying the art of cinema. No matter the genre, Kevin loves to escape into the world of the film; a world that inspires his own writing.


Kyle Notchmaximizer
communications designer

After spending much of his life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kyle left the land flowing with milk and cheese for the Pacific Northwest, right around the same time he was introduced to automätik via a short-term contractor position. Newly settled in Oregon, Kyle served with us on two more cross-country events, both in lead producer roles. Seven months later, we convinced Kyle and his wife to make their second cross-country move in as many months to join the automätik team full-time.

Kyle’s career path has been varied since graduating from Wheaton College in 2011. From working at a large church in Milwaukee, to managing a multi-faceted job creation non-profit, to working in print graphics production and installation, to making furniture and building walls in carpentry and construction, Kyle has truly done a little bit of everything!

Raised as an athlete and competing in various sports for most of his life, Kyle is a competitor who is always looking for the next challenge to master, both in his vocational and personal life. Once his athletic career ended after playing football at Wheaton College (go Thunder!), Kyle’s hunger for challenge pushed him into adventure races, camping, rock climbing and a spontaneous week-long solo bike trip around Lake Michigan.


Vince Schwartzdimensionalist
experience designer

A native Italian, Vince spent his formative years in Naples Italy. After immigrating to the USA, he spent the second half of his childhood assimilating western culture; first in up-state New York, then on to Scottsdale, Arizona, where his Italian-American family finally put down roots.

In 1997, Vince founded Lulham|Black Design Group, a corporate branding and product development firm specializing in consumer products, automotive education, and corporate communications. Through his firm's keen eye for design and branding, Lulham|Black Design Group's product and advertising collateral strategically positioned clients with their target audience, creating and finding the right images and words to evoke emotional responses.

In 2010, Vince was recruited to automätik, where he's charged with elevating automätik's capacity to conceptualize and produce leading-edge design for the automotive OEM industry. During his time at automätik, typical client feedback to his design work usually begins with "Wow" and ends with "Holy Cow," thus justifying Vince's pseudo-title of dimensionalist.

When Vince isn't conjuring up the latest batch of amazing, he savors time with his lovely wife, Claudia, and his stable of fast-growing children... and recently, grandchildren (no other grandpa in the world possesses Vince's Photoshop and InDesign chops...we've checked). Oh, and in case you were wondering, he still loves pizza, fast cars, and beautiful things.


Justine Anastasioptimist
graphic designer

Hailing from her hometown of Ansbach, Bavaria in Germany, Justine developed an insatiable passion for the arts early in life. She completed her associate degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Phoenix. Justine has earned her stripes in the corporate world and continues to develop and grow her skills at automätik.

She brings more than 4+ years graphic design experience to the automätik team and enjoys every opportunity to flex her design muscles and conquer new challenges. Bringing her own unique brand of creativity to every project she is involved with, Justine takes tremendous pride in constructing something both beautiful and effective for all her clients.

When not at work, Justine quenches her undying thirst for adventure by traveling the world with the intent of experiencing as many cultures as possible. She has learned to love the unexpected and is a firm believer in "It is what one makes of the unexpected that truly counts!"

Kristin Moore Graphic Designer

Kristin Mooreproportionist
graphic designer

Originally hailing from Wisconsin—the land of cheese, beer, and the good ol' Green Bay Packers—Kristin joined automätik with more than 13 years of experience in both print and web design.

Kristin loves any challenge—especially when it involves solving a complex problem—and she specializes in transforming simple ideas into beautiful works that make you say, "Wow!"

Since moving to Arizona in 2008, Kristin has built a family with her husband which includes two beautiful children and a cocker spaniel named Eli. When she's not at the office, Kristin enjoys listening to the Foo Fighters (perhaps too much) and playing barista by slinging together lattes and café creations for friends and family. She also loves going on spontaneous weekend trips, attending music festivals, hiking, and hunting for the next great deal.

Kristin's personal mantra is "to think is to create," and she’s always excited about bringing our clients' "creations" to life!


Stephen Dickensparagon
Web Application Engineer

Stephen, our resident programming "paragon," hails from the beautiful scenery of Lake Tahoe, followed by the great state of Idaho where he graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Entrepreneurial Management.

Prior to joining automätik, Stephen was a skilled salesman and customer service representative in a few different industries, from extreme sporting goods to fitness and supplementation. During that time, he taught himself—from foundation to finish—the elements of web design and development, where he began picking up skills in UX/UI design and full-stack JavaScript engineering. Stephen bolsters the automätik team as a web application programmer and UX/UI designer, playing a key role in creating the digital worlds that take learning experiences for participants to new realms.

If Stephen isn’t deep inside the matrix of coding web pages and applications, or sculpting digital masterpieces with his bare keyboard and mouse, he’s probably out racing his car at the track, surfing behind a boat at the lake, or (if there’s snow in the mountains) shredding the gnar and slashing the pow on his skis!

Nikki Ziegler

Nikki Zieglerrealizer
interactive designer

As our Design and Interactive double threat, Nikki Ziegler wears the hats of both graphic designer and hardcore web coder. Nikki kicks our interactive game up to a whole other level every time her fingertips hit the keyboard.

Nikki began her formal training on the "east side" –Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to be exact. While attending Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Nikki cut her design teeth on courses like modern typography and digital design production. As her skills and reputation grew, so did Nikki's body of work, as she took a giant leap to the Empire State (NY) working for an agency that produced mainly digital content for the web, along with plenty of print design to boot!

Nikki joined the automätik team in 2014 and has been churning out the bits and bytes ever since, first at our HQ in Phoenix, AZ and then remotely from her new home in Richmond, VA! Mrs. Ziegler has left her mark on everything from digital event guides and landing sites to in-retailer training apps, not to mention our very own automätik website!

Nikki likes to unplug when she's off the clock, exploring her new city with her husband and their border collie Eta. When she's not perusing the flora and fauna of Virginia, Nikki designs hand-made trinkets and jewelry, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, 'in real life' as the web crowd would say.


Darl Whitmer helpinador
IT manager

With the heart of a teacher, Darl has always enjoyed helping others. With an emphasis on technology, he continually seeks to improve and to provide solutions to increase efficiency.

Darl has spent most of his career providing technical solutions to educators, and with 11 years in the automotive education sector under his belt, automätik was a natural fit. With two decades of technical support experience, Darl doesn’t get rattled easily. Whether it’s a server outage or the onboarding of a new team member, he approaches each new challenge with a calm demeaner, confidence, and a passion for excellence.

Being a part of the automätik team has reawakened Darl’s creative side, allowing him to break out of the box of corporate limitations and explore the excitement of cutting edge thinking. Ultimately, Darl uses his technical expertise to build consistent quality for our internal team members and valued clients.

A true family man, Darl spends his free time with his wife and four kids—they inspire him to be the best he can be! He can often be found hanging out with them in the pool, watching movies, camping, and riding their buggy in the desert.


Cassie Smith advocator
senior logistics manager

Cassie was born and raised in the Valley of the Sun, and her unbridled love of life has helped her achieve many personal and professional successes.

An avid dancer, she began lessons at the age of four and achieved High Honors at a national competition level. Along the way, she applied the same diligence to her academics—in 2011, she graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Tourism Development and Management.

Since graduating, Cassie has served in various capacities in the hospitality industry at some of the most prestigious hotels in Arizona, quickly working her way up to an event planner role. Her extensive experience has given her keen insight into the world of corporate events, and allows her to advocate for automätik's clients every day.

Cassie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, attending sporting events, and a variety of outdoor activities. Her favorite: four-wheeling and hiking with her husband. She also loves to cook and spends way too much time spoiling her two puppies, Daisy and Mia.


Casey Sandahlarranger
senior logistics manager

Casey was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and attended Arizona State University where she graduated with a BA in Business Communications. (Yep, an ASU grad from Tucson!)

Prior to joining the automätik, Casey spent over three years with the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation where she assisted in the coordination of two annual events: a local event in Phoenix and a week-long international event in Tuscany, Italy.

Now as a Senior Logistics Manager at automätik, Casey lives up to her pseudo-title of "arranger" by tackling our logistics needs with her detail oriented and "can-do" personality.

Casey currently lives in the oh-so-trendy Arcadia area and enjoys running outside (training for her next half marathon), going to spin class, and spending as much time as possible with her family and friends!


Courtney Peters detailist
senior logistics manager

Courtney, an Arizona native, loves her world of sunshiny days, endless amounts of coffee, and country music. She likes to think that life is too good to be true—because it is!

As a Logistics Manager with automätik, Courtney reigns in the land of "fine details." She is equipped with a B.A. in Communications from Azusa Pacific University and has years of special event experience. Prior to joining automätik, Courtney spent three years with the March of Dimes Foundation as their Events & Communications Coordinator. It was there that she discovered her love for logistics.

When she’s not serving as our resident detailist, Courtney can be found riding around Phoenix on her pimped-out beach cruiser, going on adventures with her husband, pumping iron in the gym, or hanging out with her two pups, Zona and Trek.


Dominique Hypolitegenie
logistics manager

With a past life as a dancer and musician, Logistics Manager / Genie Dominique Hypolite—known to her friends as Dee—is as inimitable as they come!

Born in Germany, and raised in Beantown, this Southie has been all over the map: Chicago, Houston, and Missoula each hold a spot in her heart, but more recently Dominique calls Phoenix home. No stranger to the spotlight, Dee is not afraid to bust a move when the mood strikes her, reliving her stint dancing with the prestigious Boston Ballet. From ballet to breakdance to coordinating the fine details of an event, Dominique has got all the right moves!

Born with a servant's heart, Dee has spent most of her life giving back, volunteering for many charities, and organizations. These experiences are what have turned Dee into the automätik "Genie" that she is today! From balancing several events into perfect harmony, to procuring talented trainers, Dee has a lock on all things logistic, using her 15+ years in customer service experience on the daily. Taking charge behind the scenes with catering, venues, swag, and even drive routes has opened her eyes to a career that fits her creative, eclectic personality to a "T."

Through all the chaos that comes with Logistics, Dominique still finds time to relax and enjoy her family. With two amazing kids and all things automätik there is never a dull moment in her life, and she wouldn't have it any other way!


Jo Bauswein spark plug
logistics manager

Organize a 200-mile relay race, juggle 20 partner-sponsors, and manage four trailers at 37 races across the country? NBD for Jo, who’s no stranger to "logistical challenges."

Some might say Jo was raised to be an event planner—growing up, her parents were actively organizing events in their hometown of Bainbridge Township, Ohio. Prior to joining automätik, Jo spent six years in the event world (minus the summer she spent as a raft guide and living in a tent). Jo’s bread-and-butter used to be running-related events—at Ragnar Events, she directed Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2014 and worked with Ragnar’s largest sponsors. Organizing and coordinating multiple events across the country at one time is her jam, which is what ultimately brought her to the automätik team.

And Arizona just might be the last stop on Jo’s meandering "tour" of the US. Though she hails from the great city of Cleveland, OH, she has resided in Chicago, Colorado, Boston, and Salt Lake City, before finally landing in Phoenix.

When Jo isn’t with us negotiating contracts for venues and creating killer spreadsheets, good luck trying to catch her! She’s often found running ultra-races (that’s anything over a marathon distance) or looking for her next adventure. Whether it’s visiting a Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland, frolicking through the Super Bloom flowers of Death Valley, or bowfishing at Lake Mead, anything is fair game in her book. Her ultimate goal is to live a life so interesting that they could create a Dos Equis commercial about it: The Most Interesting (Wo)Man in the World.


Derek Natzkefuturist
experience manager

After paving his own path to success for many years, Derek Natzke—founder of Paramount DJ Services—exchanged his thriving entrepreneurial career in favor of a full-time position with automätik, enticed by the glory of training and event production that he saw from across the fence.

For years, Natzke has served as one of automätik's go-to video producers, and he joined automätik with a diverse background in videography and live event production–making him an invaluable addition to the automätik team. As a compliment to Derek's video production services, he still travels across the state of Arizona in support of his DJ business, just because he loves the job!

Natzke resides on the outskirts of Phoenix with his wife and six children. When he's not spinning a record out of his extensive collection, Derek is serving the community through local non-profit organizations. That is, when he's not chasing those kids around the house!


Mason Cornwall aggrandizer
senior operations manager

Mason, automätik’s resident Canadian (eh!), grew up in the Great White North, living out all the stereotypes you might be thinking of right now: hockey on frozen ponds, ice fishing, curling, maple syrup poured on snow (look it up!), and of course being a self-proclaimed lumberjack.

While Mason lived in eight different U.S. states—and a van (ask him about it!)—Arizona has been home for a while. That is, ever since he showed up to a friend’s wedding a decade ago and ended up saying his own “I do” to his wife Kim! According to Mason, she had him at hello.

In his late teens and early 20’s, Mason traveled coast-to-coast as a professional skateboarder and tour team leader, running a 50-city skate park tour with multiple teams and performing for crowds of 30,000+ people. The net result was a lifetime’s worth of experience client-facing and crowd-pleasing. Following his skating career, Mason pursued a Craigslist ad and took a job as a tile setter’s apprentice. There, he grew into a Project Manager position and helped build a construction company that grew from two to 12 employees in just a few short years.

Eventually, it dawned on automätik Mason’s construction expertise and unmatched attention to detail would be a perfect match for our in-house Production team. With all the polish and precision of a master craftsman, Mason now helps us create the kinds of live event experiences we’ve only dreamt of.


Sean Guillory magician
media manager

Sean, our in-house "magician," is an Emmy Award-winning video journalist, editor, and producer.

After following the news business across the country for more than a decade, the next chapter of Sean’s career is unfolding with automätik, where he’s free to do what he loves while (finally) staying in one place.

Sean left his home base in Colorado for a small market start in Eastern North Carolina, kicking off a local news marketing odyssey that lasted 12 years and landed him at the ABC affiliate in Phoenix for more than five years. From Florida beaches to Las Vegas nights, Sean says his travel and experience have given him a unique way of looking at problems and finding solutions.

Between writing, producing, filming, editing and designing graphics for projects large and small, Sean has had his hands on every aspect of the multimedia marketing business, picking up valuable skills at every juncture. His fresh perspective is an asset to automätik’s Production team, as he helps find creative new ways to engage audiences and make learning experiences even more memorable.

When not making video magic at automätik, Sean enjoys life in the desert with his wife Brooke and loveable pit bull Lucy (even after more than five years of way-too-hot Phoenix summers!). While they both love the desert, they still long for the beach and visit their favorite southern California haunts by the water as often as they can.


Julie Dvorakgate keeper
accounting manager

As automätik's accounting manager and, self-purported gate keeper, one might mistake Julie Dvorak (bt-dubbs: for all you classical music groupies out there, she is related to Anton Dvorak), for the prototypical brass tacks type of gal. Oh sure, Julie thrills at balancing the books and hoarding our paychecks on the first and fifteenth, but in truth, she's beloved by one and all.

Her keen sense of service and detail are an ideal marriage for the accounting team's seemingly-endless operational demands and she truly enjoys the supporting role she plays within team automätik.

Julie's background and personal interests are as diverse as her accounting skillset too. With a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics earned from Mount Mary College in Yankton, South Dakota, automätik staffers have long been the beneficiaries of Julie's love for—and hard-core skill with—cooking.

In addition to mothering team automätik, Julie enjoys spending time serving at church, knitting, collecting cookbooks, and meeting friends for coffee.


Lisa Krach
accounting assistant

As automätik's beloved gatekeeper, Lisa Krach achieves the impossible on a daily basis, carefully orchestrating a never-ending stream of American Express receipts and transaction codes into ledger perfect harmony.

Of course, armed with a BA in elementary education (and a Master's Degree as a Reading Specialist), she devotes her mornings to teaching pre-school, so we suppose keeping her cool amidst chaos just comes natural to Lisa.

Off shift, Lisa enjoys traveling globally, jogging, and spending time with their daughter, Melissa.


Julie Kellso the c.i.a.
accounting assistant

Julie first started at automätik after graduating with her Bachelor’s in Accountancy from Arizona State University. She served with us full-time until she began having kids and decided to focus her efforts on being a mom. From that time on, she has been known as “the c.i.a.” for us, or “the call-in-accountant.” Julie has loyally filled in, as needed, throughout the years, and she’s happy to have returned on a part-time basis to automätik’s Accounting team.

Outside of the automätik office, Julie can be found spending time with her four precious children and wonderful husband (her high school sweetheart), who she’s been married to for over 15 years. Julie and her family enjoy hosting people at their home, and she also loves to play piano and teach Jr./Sr. High students at her church.


Caleb Venman
production support manager

Bio Coming Soon!


Andrea Mikina safety net
hr generalist

Andrea Mikina is a certified PHR (Professional in Human Resources) with several years of HR experience in employee relations, recruitment, onboarding, and talent development.

Her previous HR roles were in the aerospace and construction industries, after working for several years in non-profits as a legal advocate for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Having grown up in Detroit, Andrea’s automotive roots run deep. Her father and grandfather both worked in factories (mainly Chrysler) and to this day, Andrea’s most beloved Detroit events are the Woodward Dream Cruise and the International Auto Show.

She completed a BS in Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, an MS in Human Resource Development at Pittsburg State University (Kansas), and a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design and Technology from The University of Arizona.

Andrea has volunteered with several organizations, including Big Brothers / Big Sisters. She has also volunteered at animal shelters and has a weakness for pit bulls and corgis. Travel and sports (Detroit teams!) are her other passions.