Ryan founded Bodybuilding.com in 1999 in his garage in Boise, Idaho at the age of 20. Under Ryan’s leadership, the company skyrocketed to nearly $500,000,000 in annual revenue before he stepped down as CEO in 2015. With almost zero startup capital and no outside investors, Ryan grew his company from nothing to become the world’s most visited fitness site and largest e-tailer of sports nutrition supplements. From the beginning, the company was focused on transforming the lives of its millions of customers and staying true to the core principles that Ryan passionately believed in. Profitable from the start, Bodybuilding.com was eventually purchased by Liberty Media. A born innovator, Ryan was named Entrepreneur of the Year by E&Y in 2009 for the Idaho/Utah region and Inc. Magazine called him one of the “Top 5 Coolest Entrepreneurs Under 30”. With 800 team members spread throughout six states and four countries, Ryan was proudest of the fact that Bodybuilding.com was consistently named one of the best places to work. Ryan was temporarily retired for only six months before the startup bug bit him again and Black Box VR was born, merging his continued passions for technology and fitness and the way they can intersect to help people transform their lives. In his spare time, Ryan is a private, instrument rated pilot with over 1600 flight hours. You can usually find him flying his Pilatus PC-12 turboprop around the western USA on the weekends for fun, charity, and business. He’s an avid non-fiction reader, spends his mornings at the gym, and recently took up ballroom dancing, much to the amusement of his friends and family. Ryan lives in Eagle, Idaho and has three crazy kids named Raiden, Kyla, and Bradley.
• Co-founder and Chief Design Officer of Black Box VR
• Founder and CEO of Newfire Creations, a digital agency specializing in UX/UI and corporate brand strategy for companies including Hewlett Packard, Hurley International, SAP and other clients across the globe.
• Creative Director and Product Innovation executive at Bodybuilding.com.
• Lead development of BodySpace, the world’s largest social fitness network, with over 3 million members and chart topping mobile apps that contributed to annual revenue growth from $90M to $500M+
• 2 time Rocky Gold Award recipient for design excellence
• Effie Gold Trophy winner for design
Preston Lewis is a fitness fanatic, UXUI junkie, product design ninja and serial entrepreneur selling his first company at the age of 16. Preston has provided creative direction and product management to some of the largest brands in the world including Hewlett Packard, Bodybuilding.com, Hurley International and SAP, to name a few. Along the way his passion for amazing products and solving difficult design problems has earned him numerous awards for projects ranging from traditional print campaigns and packaging design, to chart-topping mobile applications with complex information architectures. As Creative Director of Bodybuilding.com, Preston led teams responsible for a complete cross-channel brand refresh that modernized the company’s brand and set a tone for future digital properties. As Director of Product, he led the redesign of one of the world’s largest websites (32mm unique visitors per month), navigating the complexities and collaborating with a 60+ member development and design team; Preston also led the strategy and development of BodySpace, the world’s largest online fitness community with over 3mm members and the creation of platforms that more than tripled the speed at which the company could create and ship digital properties. Preston still considers himself lucky to have been a part of the massive growth the company experienced from under $90m to over $500m in his seven year tenure.
Annie Morley is a proud Idaho transplant with no intention of ever leaving the Gem State. A graduate from the University of Washington, she spent the first part of her career working for the largest containerized shipping company in the world.
After an international stint in Hong Kong, she craved a quality-of-life change and landed a recruiting role in Boise. After a few years in recruiting, Annie was herself recruited by Bodybuilding.com. There she oversaw marketing and programming efforts in the military, gym and personal training space. As the Director of Exclusive Brands, she built and managed its exclusive brands program. During that time she was responsible for several of the fastest growing and largest brands at Bodybuilding.com. Annie has been an honoree of the Idaho Business Review’s Accomplished Under 40 and Woman of the Year awards. She’s also heavily involved in her community, serving on several committees for the YMCA, WCA and she is a founding member of Care2Share. When she isn’t working, Annie can be found standing on her head (yes, she’s a certified 300 HR yoga instructor), downhill skiing, or hiking with her husband and very active toddler.
Director of Operations and Education
Chuck Westerberg is an Idaho native who spent almost two decades working for and managing the family dental business. He attended graduate and undergraduate school at Boise State University and has degrees in history and Latin. Chuck has an affinity for ancient history, archaeology, and osteology and has spent time in Europe studying Roman weaponry and signs of possible violent trauma on gladiator remains. When he's not busy with the IVRC's educational programs you can find him volunteering for various local non-profits, coaching his two wonderful kid's baseball teams, and backpacking in Idaho's great outdoors.
Advisory Board Members
Mark Bathrick - Director of the Office of Aviation Services (OAS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI)
Mark Bathrick has over 18 consecutive years’ experience leading multiple complex, fast-paced organizations to high levels of performance. Currently, Mark leads a nationwide aviation services enterprise for the federal government. He is a recognized expert in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and has been called upon by the White House, the Federal Aviation Administration, academia, and industry for his UAS expertise. Prior to his current position, Mark completed a career as a decorated Navy fighter pilot, experimental test pilot, finance specialist, a two-time squadron commander and base commander, retiring as a Navy Captain. Mark is an active member of the Boise Angel Alliance and is an Affiliate with the Boise State University Centre for Creativity and Innovation.
Mark was the first public sector executive to receive the international Dale Carnegie Leadership Award, recognized for his accomplishments in building a diverse team that successfully executed a federal business turnaround and saved 3,500 jobs. Mark also received a Presidential level award of excellence for this turnaround and the innovative new federal installation business model he developed.
Anthony Ellertson (Boise State University) – Director of Games, Interactive Media and Mobile Program
Currently working on the development of a new undergraduate major specializing in Games, Interactive Media, and Mobile Development (GIMM) while partnering with Art, Albertsons Library, Computer Science, Ed Tech, IT & Supply Chain Management, and Engineering here on campus. Currently the new GIMM program is funded under the College of Innovation and Design and we are creating an Innovation Space to serve as a resource to the program and the community. The Innovation Space will focus on cutting edge mobile tech, augmented reality, virtual reality, and maker spaces.
As an active researcher, Anthony is also principle investigator or co-principle investigator on a series of grants working with medical partners and social institutions both in and out of the state of Idaho. His goal is to leverage knowledge of mobile development and games toward the creation of enhanced therapy tools and applications for children with Autism and other communicative disorders.
In addition to working with children, Anthony is also co-principal investigator on a series of projects that are re imagining in and out patient care utilizing gesture based navigation, augmented reality, RFID technologies, custom built arduino devices, and other mobile solutions.
Specialties: I specialize in Mobile Development, Interaction Design, Flash/Flex/AIR Platform, Unity, Titanium Appcelerator, Web/Casual Games, Streaming Media/Adobe Media Server.
Mayor David Bieter - Mayor of Boise
David H. Bieter was elected Mayor of Boise in 2003 on the promise of making it the most livable city in the country. With his re-election in 2007 and again in 2011, Bieter continues to deliver on that pledge with new neighborhood libraries and parks, a strong economic development program and a commitment to environmental protection and sustainability..
Born and raised in Boise, Bieter is a graduate of Bishop Kelly High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies at The College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., before completing his Juris Doctorate at University of Idaho College of Law. He gained expertise in municipal issues as civil counsel to Bonner County in Sandpoint, as civil prosecutor and land-use specialist in the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office, and later as a private attorney. He was chosen to assume his father’s seat in the Idaho House of Representatives after both of his parents, Pat and Eloise Bieter, were killed in an automobile accident in 1999. Voters elected him to full terms in the House in 2000 and again in 2002
Dr. Lorna Finman
Dr. Lorna Finman is a graduate of Stanford University with a PhD in physics. She is the owner of LCF Enterprises in Post Falls, Idaho which manufactures RF Power Amplifiers for commercial and military applications. She is the founder of Discovery Technology, which is a primary sponsor of the FIRST Lego League (FIRST for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Dr. Finman also hosts LEGO, robotics, virtual reality and tech challenges for schools. Dr. Finman was an astronaut candidate in 1989.
Brian Cleveley (University of Idaho) - Virtual Technology & Design program
Brian Cleveley has 25 plus years experience in the private and public sectors in the area of design technology. His main emphasis is in the area of designing immersive interactive virtual environments for use in serious gaming markets. Brian Cleveley is currently the Computer Studio Director for the College of Art & Architecture, University of Idaho, as well as an adjunct professor in the Virtual Technology & Design (VTD) program. Within the VTD program Brian teaches senior capstone design, advanced materials and lighting, and interactive technologies.
Nonini, a Republican incumbent who owns a financial services firm, is being challenged by Pat Whalen for the District 3 Senate seat. Nonini served in the Idaho House from 2004 to 2012 and in the Senate from 2012 to the present.
As a legislator who has served on the Education Committee, Nonini said he's passionate about creating opportunities with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Nonini, who assisted with the start of the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy in Rathdrum, said more jobs in the future will require a STEM education.
Jay Saenz - Founder of the Boise Virtual Reality Project
Jay is the founder of the Virtual Reality Project. Best known for his work as a photographer and filmmaker, Jose's photography series"Collaborations" was included in the City of Boise's Sesquicentennial Celebration Art Collection. His short film, "Emma" was featured in the Huffington Post and around in several international publications. Through the Virtual Reality Project Jose has helped several local organizations launch and develop immersive experiences----from the application of VR in industry and medicine to advising BSU's Space Broncos as they developed an interactive space museum.
TJ Thomson - Boise City Council
TJ is a proud Idaho native and Air Force Veteran. Following military service, TJ attended Boise State University (BSU), becoming heavily involved in both the Boise community, through volunteer service activities, and the university policy making process, as BSU Student Body President. TJ graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and then continued his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, earning a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) Degree in Policy Analysis and Public Management. TJ is also a Certified Internal Auditor with the Institute of Internal Auditors.
TJ has built over a decade of experience as a steward of fiscal responsibility at the federal, state, and private levels. At the federal level, with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington D.C., he worked as a Space Policy Analyst on NASA programs – focusing heavily on finding tax payer savings on costly government initiatives, as well as improvements to Space Shuttle safety. While working in Washington DC, TJ also served as a Human Rights Commissioner, was trained as a community mediator, and helped organize the annual Martin Luther King Celebration. Upon returning to Idaho, TJ worked for the Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) as a Program Evaluator. OPE is a nonpartisan, independent office that serves the Legislature by evaluating whether state government programs and agencies are operating efficiently, could operate more cost-effectively, and are achieving intended results. Presently, TJ works for Idaho Power Company as a Certified Internal Auditor – a role that focuses on the efficient use of resources and the integration of controls to promote ethical and open company practices.
Brett E. Shelton - Professor and Department Head, Department of Educational Technology
Dr. Brett E. Shelton uses a variety of mixed-method research approaches to study vision, perception, cognition, and the design and assessment of innovative technologies for learning. Other interests include immersive and interactive learning environments, data visualizations, open education, instructional simulations and educational gaming. He was the former director of the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning and the IDIAS Institute, both at Utah State University, where he taught before joining the faculty at Boise State University in 2013. He is the Department Head of Educational Technology in the College of Education, with a joint appointment in the College of Innovation + Design, and is Co-director of the Boise State Varsity eSports Program. Dr. Shelton holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis in educational technology and cognitive studies, from the University of Washington, an M.T. in Industrial Management and Supervision, specializing in computer graphics and multimedia, from Arizona State University, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Idaho.
Dan Thurber is an inventor of things. From a young age, Dan has been experimenting with how to make products better from testing performance of the potato gun to improved optics on a telescope. Currently, Dan serves as Founder and President of IonVR, a mobile VR headset that nearly eliminates VR sickness and works with most every smartphone. In 2005, Dan began his career in IT infrastructure, which led to the formation of Digavise in 2011, with clients across a variety of verticals. Highlights include removing malware from an electron microscope for a large mining company, intranet security for an international investment firm, and identifying SQL vulnerabilities for large companies. After trying an early Oculus DK1, Dan began experimenting with VR, first making a wireless, battery operated Oculus using cloud infrastructure to send data. Using mobile devices soon followed. The first prototypes were built with cardboard and then Legos (dubbed the Blockulus). A year of optics research followed, leading to the current IonVR headset, with built-in hardware that nearly eliminates blur. Research and development continues in virtual reality to improve and enhance the growing industry.
Jim specializes in the creation, publishing and support of interactive products and services for digital platforms. His 16 years of experience includes production management, product design, publishing operations, strategic business development and studio operations management.
Previously, Jim worked at Konami Digital Entertainment serving as Executive Director, Mobile Operations, where he managed operations for all mobile products distributed in North and South America. Jim’s relationship with Konami grew with their acquisition of the mobile technology firm Blue Label Interactive, a company he co-founded in 2004. Jim has provided interactive development services on projects with clients including Microsoft, Disney, Electronic Arts, EA Mobile, Activision, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Bodybuilding.com, Honda, Paramount Studios, Sierra Entertainment, TDK Mediactive, THQ, Inc., and many others.
With over 10 years as a creative director in the gaming, mobile app and print industries, Duane has a unique talent of translating abstract creative concepts into actionable, real-world results. His core competency is in bridging the gap between strategic, artistic and technical teams. He takes personal and career development very seriously and is always learning. Duane has lived an adventurous life across 27 countries, speaks 3 languages (English, Mandarin and Indonesian), and has an enthusiasm and zest for life that he bring to all the teams that he works with.
Steve Cutchin - Boise State University, CS
Dr. Steve Cutchin joined the faculty at Boise State University in August 2013 From 2008 to 2013 he was manager of the KAUST Visualization Laboratory Core Facility and the Supercomputer Facility at King Abdullah’s University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. At KAUST he recruited a technical team of engineers and visualization scientists while managing the building of the state of the art scientific data visualization laboratory on the KAUST campus, forged relationships with international university and corporate partners, continued to improve the laboratory and recruit new staff.
Prior to his work in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Cutchin worked at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) first as manager of Visualization Services at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and later at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). He has worked as a Sr. Software Engineer at Walt Disney Feature Animation developing software tools to improve animation production on feature films. He has published articles on Computer Graphics and Visualization, created animations for Discovery Channel and images for SIGGRAPH and Supercomputing conferences and journals. He received his doctorate from Purdue University in Computer Science.
Amy Gile - Founder and CEO of Silverdraft and Silverdraft-Devil & Demon
Silverdraft, pioneering maker of Devil and Demon super-computers for rendering, VFX transcoding, animation, Virtual Reality (VR) and visualization applications, will showcase the firepower of its products to enable groundbreaking, collaborative VR and accelerated VFX postproduction during SIGGRAPH 2016. Highlights include demonstrations of Demons running Autodesk’s VRED and Immersive Design Studios’ Canvas visualization software at the partner booths of NVIDIA Corporation and PNY Technologies, along with the launch of the industry’s fastest-ever Autodesk Flame at B&H.
Silverdraft’s custom-tuned Devil supercomputers and fast Demon workstations unleash unparalleled computing muscle in small footprints, delivering breakthrough technology that is optimized for software and task, which can easily scale from single users through to small, medium and large entertainment, industrial design and visualization facilities. Bluechip users include Tesla, Honda, Audi, GE, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, WWE, and Zimmerman Advertising.
I'm a Bay-area entrepreneur, angel investor, & mentor in the VR, AR & publishing space, as well as working in iBooks at Apple. I'm fascinated with the future of storytelling, particularly the intersection of technology and the arts. For me, that revolves around books, video games, and virtual and augmented reality. I'm particularly excited about the re-emergence of VR & AR tech.
Prior to Apple, I was the founder and CEO of BookLamp and the Book Genome Project, a technology-based book analysis platform that was sold to Apple in 2014. I've spent years advocating technology for content discovery & predictive publishing in the creative industries. There are plenty of articles about the BookLamp project and its history online, if you are interested: https://goo.gl/XpmLrW
I'm also a passionate gamer & worked in the game industry for 7 years prior to founding BookLamp. I started at one of the oldest independent gaming magazines, GamesFirst.com, & eventually ran part of the console coverage at About.com for The New York Times Company.
Ken Holsinger VP Digital Solutions, Freeman Company, Founder & CEO of Klowd.com
Ken has over 20 years of experience in technology, media and event production as a lead executive, consultant, and speaker. He has served on the executive team in various roles for several different organizations. In addition, he has a background in event management, facility design, and start-up operations.
Ken founded Klowd.com in 2011 and has brought together a talented team of top developers and designers building several exciting products. SlideKlowd and FXP | touch are award winning, patented platforms aimed at the education and events markets to fundamentally transform presentations.
At the end of 2015 Klowd was acquired by its largest partner, The Freeman Companies based in Dallas, TX. Freeman and its subsidiaries are the leading producer of tradeshows, meetings and corporate events worldwide. FXP | touch is being used by the world's largest brands and trade associations to change the way presenters connect and engage with audiences.
David Cleverdon - Owner of 360 Immersive
Jennifer Lastra - CEO & Managing Director
Owner of DTX Creative / 360 Immersive. David is a creator of innovative digital content that creates results and drives new business. His creative technology services offer the latest in 4K video and audio production, 3D animation, VR authoring, and aerial video.
U.S. Navy Veteran Jennifer Lastra is a certified Project Management Professional, and cofounded 360 Immersive, LLC. Jennifer brings a sincere passion for immersive technology, and an enthusiasm to help businesses realize the potential in VR as the game-changing training and performance-enhancing tool of the future.
Scott has been working in the video game industry as a composer and sound designer for ten years. He’s written music and crafted sound effects for the Titan Quest games (Iron Lore Entertainment) and Darksiders (Vigil Games.) The last five years, he has spent at Bioware, creating audio for both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect. Scott formed Silver Arrow Audioworks in 2013 so that I could channel those valuable experiences into new and exciting audio projects.
Charlie Koenig - Sr. Visualization Specialist at Power Engineers
Charlie Koenig is a Sr. Visualization Specialist for POWER Engineers Visualization services. Charlie has a degree in Virtual Technology and Design, with over 12 years of experience in the energy field. Charlie started his career working on projects ranging from federal litigation cases, land use development/planning, product design, real-time situational training simulators, and environmental planning. Since joining POWER in 2008, Charlie has worked extensively with cutting edge visualization tools that make complex transmission, generation and distribution projects easier to grasp. Charlie leads many of the transmission, distribution and substation photo simulation projects, typically created for regulatory agencies and the public. Constant innovation has lead POWER Engineers Visualization services to become an industry leader, combining technical skills and an excellent understanding of our clients objectives to bridge communication gaps.
Christine Cullen - Manager eBusiness CRM Technology at Blue Cross of Idaho
Christine entered the virtual reality space over 20 years-ago as the Lead Developer of the Idaho National Laboratory's 'Integrated Visualization Environment.' She possesses great deal of technical knowledge. Her insight into the early days of VR is fascinating and valuable. Her passion for the industry has only increased over the years. Currently Christine is the CRM Department Lead at Blue Cross.
Markus Nigrin, CEO Blocksmith
Markus bootstrapped his first company while still attending college. Foreseeing the rise of digital cameras, he created a software suite for photo shops to offer digital services, successfully competing with established players like Kodak & Fuji. After selling Silverwire to HP, he oversaw the customer engineering arm of HP’s Retail Photo initiative. Markus started exploring mobile and desktop games seven years ago; his titles gathered 3+ million downloads.
Jon Farrell, Co-founder and CTO Villusion Studios
Jon has worked in feature animation for most of his career. His resume includes Pixar Animation Studios and Dreamworks Animation. He's currently finishing a master's degree in Interactive Design and Game Development.
Nick Crabbs, Partner and Founding Member Vynyl
Prior to his work with Vynyl, Nick spent nearly a decade working for some of the nation's largest banking institutions, local municipalities, and large enterprise environments as an IT specialist and manager. Morphing into a serial entrepreneur and community tech evangelist Nick has worked with several start-ups and local community organizations leveraging his knowledge and expertise in technology, management and recruiting to judge events, offer mentorship, speak on panels, and contribute to a growing tech scene.
Chris Morgan, R&D at Bastian Solutions
Chris is a member of the executive team at Bastian Solutions, an independent material handling system integrator providing automated solutions for distribution, manufacturing and order fulfillment centers around the world. Prior to working at Bastian Solutions Chris spent 14 years at HP where he led the Reliability and Hardware Development Labs. He was also a pioneer and founder of the HP Robotics Labs. Chris is best known for being a Passionate Leader, Innovator, Futurist, and a Visionary. Chris spends most of his time developing new technologies and evangelizing Robotics, Augmented Reality, AI, IOT and Immersive Technologies in the worldwide marketspace.
Dr. Alan Barnes
Dr. Alan Barnes D.C. is a transplanted Brit who lived in the Bay Area for 10 years before moving to Idaho. A practicing Chiropractor, he has been fascinated and obsessed with technology and the potentials of immersive realities since “borrowing” money from his parents for his first computer as a teenager.
After losing over 100lbs in 8 months without surgery or medication in 2016, he has become focused on the transformative capacities of AR/VR, and the power of individuals to radically change their lives through visualization and immersive realities. In addition to helping people with weight loss, he is excited by the prospects of AR/VR in the healthcare and rehabilitation fields.
When not sitting in front of a computer or in his practice, he enjoys spending time with his 2 teenage boys and his wife of 20 years, Holly.
Mark is a Software Developer and Coding Bootcamp Instructor who works with students to help them learn the skills necessary to enter the world of development. He believes that while coding may not be the job for everyone, given enough T.E.E (Time, Energy & Effort) and the right passions anyone can learn to code.
Mark has worked both as an instructor and a developer while on the side for fun he spends time building 3d models in Maya, develops VR games in Unity releasing titles such as Song Samurai, and manages a D&D campaign as the Dungeon Master.