Serving you Better: A New Structure for our Team

Charles Brian Quinn

4 min read

Nov 5, 2013

Serving you Better: A New Structure for our Team

If you’ve been a fan of the Ranch for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve grown… a lot… very quickly.

We took some reflective time this summer and built a new structure for our team that for years to come will support our students, our clients and, most importantly, our Nerds. It puts us in position to solve more problems, explore new technologies, develop new courses, write more Big Nerd Ranch Guides and grow the expertise of our Nerds.


I think the biggest, most impactful change is the promotion of Adam Preble to VP of engineering. (You may also know his name as the August Big Nerd of the Month.) Adam has assembled a team of internal leaders to guide our engineering teams.

Brandy Porter is the director of design. She will continue to manage our graphic designers and UI/UX designers.

Brian Hardy is now our director of iOS. He manages our iOS experts and and has named Bolot Kerimbaev, Christian Keur, Peter Battaglia and Rod Strougo as team managers.

Chris Aquino will serve as director of Frontend/HTML5. He oversees the growing team of experts on our web team.

Chris Stewart is now director of Android. He will lead our team of Android developers and instructors. He’s named Kristin Marsicano as Android team manager.

Step Christopher is the director of products. He will manage our team of experts developing apps like Roominant and eClicker.

Steven Harman has been named director of backend. He manages our team of Ruby and Ruby on Rails experts. The backend team managers are Brandon Beacher, Don Pottinger and Jonathan Wallace.


Earlier this year we named Emily Herman the VP of operations, and her curiosity and analytical thinking has already led to numerous improvements. The operations team ensures that we nimbly deliver the most rewarding bootcamps for our students and develop problem-solving apps for our clients.

The operations team includes:

Aubrey Rhodes has transitioned to director of consulting operations. He partners with the project strategists (Jenn Green, Sara Kablak and Marcus Owens) to manage the processes we employ to deliver software to our clients.

Chris Kelly is the director of internal operations and is tasked with making our internal processes and tools more efficient and effective.

Jenn, Sara and Marcus, our project strategists, kick off, manage and see to successful completion all of our projects. They connect with clients and developers to ensure projects are on track, deadlines are being met and both sides are meeting their obligations to develop the best possible solution. (And let me add, we are quite fortunate to have them on our team!)

Marcel Speller is the managing director of Big Nerd Ranch Europe, with responsibility for our training and consulting business in Europe. Based in Amsterdam but with a continental reach, he works closely with Jon Woodroof, director of sales in Europe, and Birgit Reizevoort, our training coordinator.

Shannon Cobourn is the director of training operations and manages the delivery, evaluation, and continuous improvement of open enrollment bootcamps and corporate training courses. Nicole Rej serves as the training facilitator and Agnes Mackintosh is the training coordinator.

Business Development

Jason Russell has consolidated business development for training and consulting as VP of Business Development. He and his team will grow our relationship with our clients, students and community; identify potential new opportunities, locations and markets; and expand our consulting and training business.

Jami Sieder serves as director of training business development. She oversees the expansion of open enrollment bootcamps and corporate training classes. Juan Pablo Claude works with Jami as the Big Nerd Ranch ambassador to Latin America, to grow our presence and offerings there.

LeAnn Boucher remains the director of PR/marketing. Together with Tasha Schroeder, marketing manager, they manage external communications, social media, sponsorships and the Big Nerd Blog.

Mathew Jackson is our business development representative. He is responsible for sales of our consulting and corporate training offerings.

Finance and HR

Stacy Henry, our CFO, is responsible for our finance and HR functions. She and her team make sure we’re able to sustain our business. They forecast growth, collect payments and, in turn, pay our Nerds and vendors. I can’t say enough about how important this department is to our viability.

The finance team includes Felicia Harris, accountant; San Smith, office manager; and Katie Torres, HR representative. Katie works with Sarah Koger, our Nerd evangelist, tasked with recruiting talented new developers to Big Nerd Ranch.

Chief Learning Officer

Aaron Hillegass remains our Chief Learning Officer, working with our authors and instructors to maintain the highest quality content and teaching methods. And, as the “man in the cowboy hat,” he is also a frequent speaker. (Check out his CocoaConf Atlanta keynote next week!)

The changes I’ve detailed here are topline and capture just the biggest changes. I am fortunate to be surrounded by the most brilliant, kind and hardworking people I know, and there are more to this team (about 113 of us total) who make Big Nerd Ranch what it is: home of the Nerds.

If you want to be part of this unique place we’ve built, check out our job openings and apply!

Josh Justice

Reviewer Big Nerd Ranch

Josh Justice has worked as a developer since 2004 across backend, frontend, and native mobile platforms. Josh values creating maintainable systems via testing, refactoring, and evolutionary design, and mentoring others to do the same. He currently serves as the Web Platform Lead at Big Nerd Ranch.

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