As CEO at Speck Design, Elisa Jagerson is focused on facilitating relationships and an infrastructure supporting them, to ensure that both Speck’s clients and team members find the desire to remain a long-term partner of Speck. Elisa has spent her career running and investing in services companies. Elisa was Managing Director of the equity group Bay Laurel Capital, and also served as interim CEO in three of the portfolio companies. Earlier in her career, Elisa founded and ran PartsRiver, later acquiring assets of Saqqara and CDG, a Boeing subsidiary, to become the leading DQM provider in the industrial supply chain. In her earlier work with two international private equity funds, ZPF and Zephyr, Elisa managed successful investments into emerging market technology services firms. Elisa has been consistently recognized for her ability to increase the scale and profitability of a company without compromising the integrity, customer orientation, or supportive work environment generally associated with smaller enterprises. Elisa serves on the boards of companies and nonprofits including PartsRiver, Remedy Interactive, and Astia. Elisa graduated with honors from Princeton University and received her MBA from the Wharton School of Business. Elisa was a national champion rower while at Princeton. Her passions are many but most overlap in the areas of emerging market policy. When not at work, she can be found impersonating a jungle-gym for her three young children, or daydreaming about how she used to surf and mountain bike, and may again someday.
Jane Sanchez, Chief Financial Officer, focuses much of her time on the finance portion of projects. As a Certified Public Accountant with an MBA from Pepperdine University, Jane brings her vast experience of working with startups and innovative companies that focus on connecting with the customer to meet their needs. She serves as the hub of the Speck partnership experience by ensuring accuracy and integrity in the financial relationship between Speck and the clients. Jane is also responsible for managing the Administrative Operations at Speck, and enjoys a strong participation in the Human Resources area. She spends her spare time with her very active family, usually cheering at a ballgame of some type.
As Chief Innovation Officer, Dennis oversees the design, research, and engineering teams, keeping them focused on optimizing Speck’s deliverables to the maximum benefit of our clients. He is driven to develop and uncover new opportunities for clients, establishing strong connections with their customers through product solutions that create lasting value. A visionary senior designer, engineer, and manager, Dennis brings over 30 years of experience in both strategic and tactical thinking to projects. Dennis served as a senior hardware engineering manager/director at several high tech startups. He has extensive experience in complex systems and server product development, computer system architecture, mechanical design, program/project management, and organizational development. In addition, Dennis has broad experience that includes fine art, Interior design, facilities management, residential and small commercial architecture, and is an accomplished painter and sculptor. Outside of Speck, he spends time traveling or in the studio painting and drawing. He has the dubious accomplishment of having had two of his paintings selected for Enron’s corporate art collection.
David Freas applies his expertise in design and strategy to enable established businesses and new ventures to deliver innovative products and services that delight customers. David is passionate about understanding people’s needs through design research, identifying opportunities based on those insights, and empowering designers and technologists to create solutions. He believes that creating a brand begins and ends with the emotional connection between people and products (or services). Over his 12+ years in the design and innovation industry, David held positions at Smart Design and frog design, where he led business development for North America. Much of his career has focused on cutting edge technology and media with companies such as Comcast, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, and GE. David earned his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, with a focus on customer insights and product strategy. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, reading on his Kindle, and trail running.
As Project Manager, Amy Bayley’s goal is to facilitate smooth, successful projects that create maximum value for Speck’s clients. She oversees the planning and management of projects, taking into account the unique needs of the team, client, and project, to ensure clear communication and prioritization of all efforts. With over 20 years of experience in consumer insights, Amy has touched every aspect of consumer research in a variety of industries, leading projects in life sciences, personal technology, and consumer goods. She has a Bachelor’s in History and English from the University of California, Berkeley. When she’s not at work, she can be found hiking by the ocean, daydreaming about the desert, or doggedly trying to learn to play the piano.
As Director of User Insights at Speck Design, Katie Peters helps infuse the company’s innovation and design processes with insight into the user experience. Katie brings over 20 years of design research experience in ethnography, product development, branding, packaging, usability, and messaging research. She has worked with clients including Microsoft, Pepsi, HP, Panasonic, Intuit, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, and PayPal. Katie has a B.A. in Sociology from Haverford College and has worked across industries including consumer, hi tech, industrial, finance, business-to-business. She has an avid curiosity for what makes consumers and businesses tick. She spends her down time hiking, cycling, and exploring the national parks with her family.
As Director of Client Solutions, Denise Pliskin works with clients designing leading edge datacom equipment. Her clients include some of the top players in datacom including Cisco Systems and Ericsson as well as many small to medium size companies. Denise has been with Speck Design for over 15 years and is committed to contributing great value to Speck’s clients, serving them with grace, joy, and ease. Her background as a designer and project manager for over 30 years helps her understand the real, everyday issues that her clients face, including dealing with manufacturing issues, complex technical challenges, aggressive schedules and cost targets. Denise enjoys time with her big family, which includes her husband, two adult children, foster children, grandchildren, godchildren, a 90-year-old mother, a cat, and a very goofy pit bull. She also spends her time reading, participating in Landmark Education, and remodeling her 100-year-old Victorian home.
While working at Speck Design Haakon also works as an Assistant Professor of Interaction Design at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He is a former professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, where his research centered on open innovation platforms and interaction design education. Haakon holds a Ph.D. in Perceptual Robotics from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy, with a special emphasis on multimodal virtual reality systems. As a former leader of IDEO’s Software Experiences practice, Haakon led design strategy, implementation, technology innovation and IP strategy on creative projects for some of the world’s most innovative corporations including Cisco Systems, MSN, PepsiCo, Bank of America, eBay, Samsung, Yahoo!, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Intel, Advanced Bionics, Toyota and Hasbro. He also worked for several years at Fakespace Laboratories, designing immersive virtual reality interaction hardware for clients including Ford, NASA Ames and Los Alamos National Research Laboratories.
As Director of Insights and Strategy at Speck Design, Lee Shupp focuses on deeply understanding the human experience and emotions to ensure that Speck designs valuable experiences for users interacting with our client’s products, services, and brands. Lee comes to Speck Design from The Futures Company and Silicon’s Valley’s seminal design consultancy Cheskin. He has done post-graduate work in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston, where he became a trained futurist. He has a Master’s in Communication from San Francisco State specializing in new technologies, and a Bachelor’s in Communication from the University of Texas. Lee is a singer/songwriter who collects vintage guitars, which simply feeds his GarageBand addiction.
As Director of Research and Strategy, Gretchen McNeely specializes in UX research, branding and content strategy for both physical and virtual design environments. Her areas of expertise include generative and evaluative user research techniques, secondary research, information architecture, strategic frameworks and messaging architectures. Gretchen brings a linguistic approach to user experience, understanding how people attempt to articulate specific needs, how design meets (or fails to meet) those needs, and how people know when they've discovered what they need. Before coming to Speck, Gretchen worked at Ziba Design, Wieden + Kennedy, and Leo Burnett, as well as managing her own research consultancy. Selected clients include Procter & Gamble, GE Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Costco, and SiriusXM. Gretchen is a Fulbright Scholar, with a master's degree in Information Science from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in German from Dartmouth College. She is a sought-after industry speaker on topics including the intersection of user experience and information needs. Her hobbies include professional stand-up comedy, event hosting, and commercial voice acting. She holds a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Jason Stone, Associate Director of Industrial Design at Speck Design, provides guidance on projects for the medical, data communications, and consumer markets. Design and art have always been a part of Jason’s life. After graduating with a BFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, he kick-started his design career in the R&D studio at Ford Motor Company. After leaving Ford, Jason worked for Insight Product Development and Zoe Associates, and spent time teaching Industrial Design courses at the Academy of Art. Later, as Design Manager at Kensington, he built and led an in-house ID and engineering group. There he created new categories in Laptop ergonomic supports and hand held input devices, and focused on Kensington’s core product lines of consumer computing, smartphone, and iPod/iPhone accessories. While at Kensington, Jason and his team received numerous design awards including over 15 CES Innovation Awards, four International Forum Design Awards, and two Red Dot Product Design Awards. An avid road cyclist and racer for many years, Jason equally enjoys collecting, restoring, and documenting vintage bicycles. There are 13 bicycles in his current collection, including a pre-war bicycle from 1906. He spends his free time exploring the Bay Area with his wife and son on foot and by bicycle wheel.
Industrial Designer at Speck Design and a soccer fanatic since age 5, Vincent Pascual prides himself on approaching each new project from the perspective of the users. He believes that immersing oneself in the world of the different users while trying to discover unknown terrains around the product use provides the best understanding of the design approach. Having always had a passion for the complexities of products and how they are made, Vincent’s work is diverse – everything from a solar-powered bus stop for the City of San Jose, to a collapsible crutch system, to the Den rug, a kids cave-like play rug which can hold up to 6 people and was featured at the 2011 Milan Furniture Fair and the 2011 International Contemporary Fair in Chicago. Vincent, who received his B.S. in Industrial Design from San Jose State University, is known to take his collaborative mindset from the design shop out onto the soccer field.
As Communications Designer at Speck Design, Jen Torche expresses her creative thinking and problem solving skills through print, typography, digital, and motion graphics. Originally hailing from Chicago, where she earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and worked as a designer at several publications, Jen took her love of art all around the globe, including in the heart of England. While in England, she received her Master’s Degree in Graphic Design and Communication, and now finds herself on her latest adventure living and working in the Bay Area at Speck Design. Jen loves exploring different forms of design, and creating art outside of the digital world of graphic design, from getting her hands dirty with silk screening to sewing to painting to whatever new medium she discovers. Fun fact, she used to make mascot costumes professionally before choosing the graphic design world.
Ryan Braunstein labors prodigiously as a Senior Mechanical Engineer for Speck Design. Ryan came to Speck from SunPower, the global leader in developing high-efficiency solar, where he designed their latest residential mounting system. Ryan has also worked for the crowd control and retail merchandising industries, designing queuing equipment alongside display and signage systems that transformed the market from public guidance to revenue generating merchandising platforms. Ryan earned a BS in Computer Science from Duke University, and transitioned to product design by way of post-graduate studies in Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering at SF State and UC Berkeley respectively. He has lived and worked abroad, as well as in NYC and LA before returning to his roots in the Bay Area to start a family. Between diaper changes, Ryan can usually be found beer-in-hand under his car fixing the latest oil leak.
As Senior Mechanical Engineer at Speck Design, Anthony Le brings over 12 years of experience leading the development of complex medical devices from early stage conception through regulatory approval and commercialization. His experience ranges from cardiovascular to pharmaceutical to cosmetic to surgical tools. He also brings technical expertise in multiphysics computational analysis of complex electrical, optical, and mechanical systems that reduce project risk and time to market. Additionally, he has extensive experience in FDA regulatory affairs, quality systems, and software development management for medical products. Anthony holds a number of patents in drug delivery, cardiovascular devices, and optical imaging devices. Anthony received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. In his spare time, he enjoys archery, running, and cooking.
As Senior Mechanical Engineer at Speck Design, Mia Shanholtzer utilizes her detail-oriented and creative nature to create complex mechanical designs. Mia joins Speck with extensive experience in medical device product development from Medtronic, where she worked as an R&D engineer developing next-generation treatment technologies for aortic aneurysms and peripheral artery disease. At Medtronic, she held concurrent product development and technical leadership roles, serving as design engineer on a vascular closure device, technical lead for multiple regulatory submissions, and technical lead for the commercial Endurant II product line. She earned her B.S. in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!). Outside of work, Mia enjoys traveling, experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen, and getting some fresh air on her road bike. Mia is a second degree black belt and two-time Junior Olympic medalist in Tae Kwon Do.
As Industrial Designer at Speck Design, Matt Gill finds inspiration in learning how imagination, fueled by technological advances and cultural trends, can consciously shape our environments and design tools. He first discovered industrial design in 5th grade, and has been focused on pursuing a career in the field ever since. Matt has worked in a variety of design positions, ranging from packaging design to toys to robotics, and most recently medical device design for DEKA Research & Development. He studied abroad in Wuppertal, Germany, and received his B.S. in ID from the University of Cincinnati. Matt switches between furniture design, personal illustration, and photography in his free time. He hopes to someday see a live dinosaur.
As Junior Mechanical Engineer at Speck Design, Michael Gallegos uses his technical background in engineering to assist in the development and design of complex mechanical systems. Michael comes to Speck Design from Nanometrics, where he worked as a Quality Engineer, providing manufacturing support for the latest semiconductor metrology machines. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from San Jose State University with a focus in thermal fluids, and made third place in the 2013 ASHRAE Applied Design competition. Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling up and down the coast, and exploring the many flavors that local breweries have to offer. Michael is also an avid runner, and competes in the occasional 10k and half marathon races.
Dev Mishra, Mechanical Engineer at Speck Design, passionately approaches each project challenge to achieve one key goal – striking a balance between achieving the users’ needs, while arriving at an elegantly and easily manufacturable design. With experience in developing high-speed cutting instruments, surgical visualization tools, and an array of implantable devices for correcting scoliosis, Dev brings a focus in device design and transfer to manufacturing. With prior roles at Stryker, SeaSpine, and Globus, he applies his experience to the breadth of projects at Speck Design. Dev received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an ME in Bioengineering from UC San Diego. Outside of work, Dev enjoys traveling – some of his memorable adventures include exploring the backwaters of the Bolivian Amazon and working as a chef in northern Thailand.
As Project Coordinator at Speck Design, Marisa Meredith uses her background in design research, engineering, and her OCD-like tendencies to assist with the planning and management of projects, ensuring that teams and clients are able to work and communicate optimally. Marisa is coming to Speck from Stanford University, where she has a B.S. in Engineering - Product Design. She has experience in working from a product design and engineering perspective, but is excited to apply her knowledge in project management. She strongly believes that by incorporating transdisciplinary methodologies in the service of human need, Speck will be able to see opportunities that others may not. When we use our ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with people, we have the courage to take a risk on something new. In her free time, Marisa can be found plotting ways to get rid of the gopher in her yard, practicing her koto, or watching too much TV.