Take A Look At The 2019 Lineup of eCommerce Movers & Shakers
Founder & Head of Optimization
Josh has helped countless eCommerce businesses boost their revenue with conversion optimization. Running close to a thousand A/B tests have helped Josh to distill the true optimization tactics from the b.s.
President & CEO
A serial entrepreneur, Carl has been blazing trails for Expressions Vinyl for over ten years. Beginning with a single channel eCommerce system with just a few products to today with over 2000 product skus and many employees. This has been no accident though. Carl’s belief and experience with omnichannel marketing has propelled Expressions Vinyl from start-up to a multi-million dollar organization.
Partner Sales Manager – Commerce
Magento Commerce, an Adobe Company
Beginning his career in digital commerce in 2008 with Accenture Interactive, Brian has experienced the Commerce revolution from it’s initial inception through it’s current state. With experience on both the agency and technology landscapes, Brian carries a unique perspective of the challenges B2B and B2C organizations face and the road that lays ahead for these organizations as the expectations of today’s buyers is shaped and reshaped on a continuous basis.
Magento Commerce, an Adobe Company is the world’s leading eCommerce platform. Helping enable customers of all sizes and verticals to deliver rich and compelling experiences to their customers and buyers.
Principal and CCO
Shira and her husband, Dan, followed their passion for entrepreneurship and the outdoors by purchasing the family business from Shira’s parents in 2010. Their efforts to usher the local specialty store into the new era of retail have grown the company over 450% and morphed the 70+ year old business into an omni-channel outdoor retailer while simultaneously serving their dedicated local community with the Champaign Outdoors brick-and-mortar store and a robust national online audience via RuggedOutdoors.com. Shira’s background is in Design and Marketing, and she oversees the Marketing, Physical Retail, HR, and Warehouse teams for the Company. Shira holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg. Shira started her career in several Chicago design firms, including a lengthy tenure as Art Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Prior to moving back to Champaign, she was Principal of Trillium Creative, the graphic design & marketing firm she founded in 2003.
Principal and CEO
Dan took the helm of Champaign Surplus in 2010 when he and his wife, Shira, became the third-generation owners of the outdoor specialty retailer. He oversees strategy, finance, inventory, and operations and has led the company through significant systems and growth initiatives since his arrival. These initiatives include the launch and rapid expansion of RuggedOutdoors.com, the move and rebranding of the brick-and-mortar presence into Champaign Outdoors, and a companion Rugged Outdoors storefront supporting the web entity. RuggedOutdoors.com has grown rapidly each year and is now the nation’s leading, independently-owned eCommerce enterprise in the outdoor industry. Continually pushing the envelope of small business and technology, the company has been recognized with a Most Innovative Retailer award from the national Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and as an Innovation Award finalist by the University of Illinois and Champaign EDC. Dan has a degree in Accounting from Michigan State. Prior to purchasing Champaign Surplus, he held various finance roles in Chicago, including Senior Vice President, Controller of Leo Burnett USA Advertising Agency.
Vice President of Global Sales
With experience in IT, marketing, and sales, Josh Ward plays a key leadership role in the web hosting industry. Currently, the Vice President of Global Sales with Nexcess near Detroit, Michigan, Josh helps create secure, redundant, and scalable solutions for a diverse array of clients. Over the past three years, Josh has built out a full sales team at Nexcess and has been a key contributor to accelerated growth at Nexcess consistently setting sales and client acquisition records.
Josh is originally from southeast Texas, called Austin home for 25 years, and now lives in Brighton, MI. He met his wife, Clesha, in high school while playing basketball. Josh played college football at the Colorado School of Mines, once poked an alligator in the eye and then shot it for trying to bite him, and ate his weight in raw gulf oysters. On the weekends, Josh avidly avoids yard work by spending quality time (sports, fishing, and card games) with Clesha and their four kids who call him “El Jefe.”
ERP & Web Administrator
Nick Brough has been a part of Kroll International for the last 5 years and has had multiple roles with this company. He began to work with Human Element in February of this year after a failed initial website launch with another company. With Nick’s “Let’s get it right the first-time mentality” they have been able to implement many updates and changes to the new Kroll website with no hiccups or code revisions on their production site. He is also a workaholic who will not sleep until a problem is resolved.
Trevor McDermott has been a part of Kroll International for 6 years and has been the IT Manager over the last 4 year. He is an expert in the database management language of SQL as well as a programmer in C#. Trevor has won multiple awards for his integration of Kroll’s ERP and the wireless warehouse functionality.
Strategic Alliance Manager
Jordan has spent the last 9 years within the technology sector with the past 2 managing alliances for Avalara. With a passion for eCommerce, Jordan decided to take a role that allowed him to work closely with agencies in this space. He is passionate about sales tax and works to ensure that his partners, as well as their clients have a strong understanding of the tax landscape/benefits of automation.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Ryan Muir has played a role in the Midwest eCommerce community since 2009 as an accomplished strategist and data scientist. He joined the Human Element team in 2016 as the Director of Business Development and has assisted in the growth of the 3-time Inc. 5000 organization as a pivotal member of the team. Now leading the sales and marketing department, Ryan is best known for his perceptive, tactile approach – and subpar golf game.
PM Team Lead
Luke Bahrou is a Project Management Lead at Human Element, and has launched a number of eCommerce sites since he started his stint at the company years ago. Luke’s background includes working with big brand names like Ford, Aldi and Oneida. He is currently managing two monster new site builds, all while he pursues his Masters of Information Systems Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University. When he’s not juggling studies and life at Human Element, he is with his baby girl Aurora and his wife Courtney.
Technical Team Lead
Dan has worked in eCommerce since 2010. Before that, he did add some “Buy Now” buttons to webpages but the first, true eCommerce experience started as a contract PHP developer supporting a collection of 40 unfinished wood furniture stores on an outmoded custom platform. Everyday held something new and unexpected.
But at his core, Dan is a coach. He works to build teams and help folks develop their skills. Whether it’s baseball, hockey, or software development everyone has opportunities on Dan’s team.
Technical Project Manager
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and getting a taste of the coding life, Shawntaria began teaching herself different languages. While Managing projects for commercial and healthcare facilities, she decided to research the top places that I could get into IT entry level. Michigan was on that list, so Shawntaria packed up the car, moved to Michigan in a day and was hired by Logicdrop, LLC of Ferndale, MI in December of 2016 as their in-house mathematician, training data scientist, backend Drools developer, Business Analyst and Project Manager. She is now a member of the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society of Business and vital component to the Human Element Project Management team.
Director of Strategy & EOS Integrator
Sabra grew up in Southeastern Michigan, graduating from Eastern Michigan University for her undergrad, and working her way up through the ranks at Zoup! – where she initially met the Human Element team as they worked through several tough projects together. Sabra soon earned the title of Technology Integrator at Zoup! and helped to do some really cool things with soup and technology for dozens of soup franchises throughout the country… Which is why it was so unexpected when she up and moved to Kenya for seven months to save the elephants in 2012. During that time, Sabra lived in Nairobi and worked with a non-profit organization and helped to manage their website, motivate their social media friends, organize volunteers and raise funds to stop tusk poachers in the Tsavo region. Sabra also helped educate the public on the importance of maintaining the home of our long-snouted pachyderm friends.
Upon her return to the U.S., Ms. Bander found employment with Human Element as a project manager. As a long-time friend and colleague of the Human Element family, it was easy to see that she was a perfect fit for the culture and would make an excellent addition to the team. Sabra is an avid crafter and lives in Ann Arbor.
Kate graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 and began her work in graphic design at a Chicago startup. At first, her focus was on print, but evolved her skillset to fully integrated campaigns/experiences. Her current focus was narrowed to digital while working with ITHAKA in Ann Arbor. She developed her skills and honed in her passion for solving problems through design, always looking for a new challenge, and landed at Human Element as the Senior Art Director in January 2017.
Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
John Tucker is nothing short of a wizard in digital marketing. He graduated from Cleary University in 2010 with a degree in entrepreneurship and hasn’t stopped playing his part in the building and growth of the local eCommerce community since then. He has worked with Google and established an agency presence with Brand Labs of Souheast Michigan. He joined Human Element in 2015. He currently manages all Human Element client PPC accounts on multiple platforms as well as internal campaigns, in addition to providing ongoing insight and assistance in building the sales and marketing department to its greatest successes.
Brian Berryman got his start in the music industry as a recording engineer and producer working alongside artists like Eminem and George Clinton, as well as running a commercial music business, creating music and audio to help brands and cinematic storytellers connect with viewers. In 2010, he joined the marketing team at Vintage King, a worldwide retailer of recording and music-making equipment. As Director of Marketing and serving on the company’s leadership team, he helped shape and position the brand and its marketing strategy to connect with a diverse customer base that ranges from hobbyists to mega-selling recording artists. In 2017, he left his post to start his own freelance agency, focusing on storytelling, content, and branding. A more recent arrival at Human Element, Brian brings a diverse skill set to clients, helping them turn their business goals into actionable and impactful strategy.
Dev Ops Lead
Nathan Erickson is a Devops Engineer with 6 years of experience with php applications, linux environments and networking. He has spent the last 3 years at Human Element, maintaining secure deployment practices and environment best practices.
His first role in the Midwest eCommerce community was at 906 Technologies back in June 2013, where he worked while completing his degree in Electronic Imaging. But the first payment taking system he worked on was a software that sold tests and question banks for interviews. A fun fact about Nathan? He grew up in West Africa until he was 17!
Senior Project Manager
Erik began his journey through the world of eCommerce more than a decade ago; running his own Amazon and Ebay stores, sports marketing, and consulting. He left his position at a local non-profit in 2016 and joined the Human Element team as a project manager. When Erik isn’t neck deep in client facing work at the HEI office, he is out traveling the world. He tries to visit at least one new country every year and has become a real globetrotter, experiencing places like India, Thailand, Nepal and South Africa.
Technical Team Lead
Brian Tajer, affectionately known by his peers as Tajer, is the epitome of progressive development and determination within the Human Element team. We’d like to attribute it to the stimulating environment, but the truth is, that’s just Tajer. He began working in eCommerce in 2009 as a data implementer but it didn’t take long before he found a permanent professional home at Human Element where he has been now for 7 years. Away from the office, Tajer is either on a board (snow, wake, skate, you name it), coaching other snowboarders, or at home with his wife and two kids.
Director of Development
Paul Briscoe is a Tech Leader and Developer at Human-Element. He has worked with Magento for many years creating custom themes, modules, and integrations. He gained his Magento 1 certification in 2012 and his PLUS certification in 2014. He had the opportunity to work with Magento 2 while in Beta, reviewing the code and understanding key principles of the application. In Q1 and Q2 of 2016 he helped Human-Element become Magento 2 ready by passing all of the educational material and exercises provided by Magento. Since then, he has had a hand in almost all of the Human-Element M2 builds. He is in the process of architecting long term roadmaps for Magento 1 EE upgrades to Magento 2 EE. Additionally, the PaesWATER site which he architected and built was nominated at the 2016 Imagine as one of the most innovative Magento sites of the year. Paul Briscoe has a deep knowledge of eCommerce principles and has a passion for pushing the boundary of technology and online shopping.
Ben Lorenz is the Managing Partner of Ann Arbor eCommerce Agency Human Element and has more than 20 years of experience in website development, eCommerce strategy & consulting. Ben has worked with clients such as Ford, Bowers & Wilkins, Pentair, 1800Flowers, Guardian Industries, VW/Audi, Dominos Pizza and a long list of successful eCommerce clients. His experience in eCommerce ranges from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups. Ben started Human Element 15 years ago with business partner Jason Magee, specializing in eCommerce services on Adobe’s Magento Commerce platform.
Human Element has grown 135% in the last 3 years and continues to grow and expand services. Holding a position in the Inc. 5000 for the last three years, Human Element is considered one of the fastest growing companies in Michigan and holds the Fast Track award in the state for continued growth of 20% year over year.