The Liftopia Team
Evan Reece, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder
Evan founded Liftopia with Ron Schneidermann in 2005. Evan has deep experience in building pricing, yield optimization and inventory management strategies for lift tickets, rentals, lessons, and other ski resort related products. Prior to starting Liftopia, Evan was at Hotwire.com where he managed revenue maximization and pricing strategy for mountain destination hotels. Evan spent four years working out of his closet to get Liftopia off the ground. Evan grew up in Topsfield, Massachusetts and attended Colby College. He is fluent in German and grew up skiing at Ski Bradford, Attitash and Sunday River.
Ron Schneidermann, Chief Marketing Officer, Co-Founder
Ron founded Liftopia.com with Evan Reece in 2005. Ron has extensive experience with building successful partnerships with ski resorts to help lock in incremental business and optimize ticket sales yield. Prior to starting Liftopia, Ron managed Business Development at Hotwire.com where he focused on building relationships with add-on vacation product vendors and optimizing sales within the Hotwire.com purchase path. Previous to Hotwire, Ron was at Accenture where he focused on Business Process Consulting, working with clients across a variety of industries. Ron spent four years working out of his dining room to get Liftopia off the ground. Ron is a native of Walnut Creek, California and is a graduate of UCLA. Ron grew up skiing at Heavenly, Soda Springs and Kirkwood.
Jacob Sevlie, Lead Developer
Jacob has been working on the Liftopia platform since 2008 and came aboard with extensive experience with e-commerce platforms, reporting tools, transaction processes, and related technologies. Prior to Liftopia, Jacob worked for Newell-Rubbermaid where he helped jump start the online presence for the decor brand Levolor-Kirsch. He has also held a position for entrepreneur Irwin Jacobs working within the e-commerce teams of Watkins, Inc., Jacobs Interactive and FLW Outdoors where Jacob was co-inventor and developer of a patented live weigh-in fishing application. Jacob received his MS in Software Engineering and BS in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Jacob is a proud lifetime Minnesota resident and father of three. He learned to ski at Afton Alps and Buck Hill, home of Olympian Lindsey Vonn.
Rob Webb, Chief Product Officer
Rob joined Liftopia in the fall of 2009 to manage technology development, product development and operations. Rob has deep experience in managing the design and construction of useful, easy to use web based products and technologies. He has managed product development at several online advertising technology companies including Adroll, WebTrends and ClickShift. From 2006 to 2009 Rob bootstrapped a web-based consulting platform to profitability after receiving his JD/MBA from the University of Chicago, prior to which Rob worked for several law firms and in Guest Services for Vail Resorts at Beaver Creek. A native of Medfield, Massachusetts Rob attended Colby College, learned to ski at Mt. Tremblant and grew up skiing at King Ridge, Killington, and Sugarloaf.
Jennifer Palk-Cogley, Customer Support Manager
Jenn joined Liftopia in the spring of 2010 to manage operations, customer support and anything else that needs management and organization at Liftopia. Jenn is a San Francisco native and has a deep background in managing corporate operations, accounting, complex process management and customer service. She is also a huge mixed martial arts and pro wrestling fan and is a kick-ass mom. She first skied at Boreal not too long ago.
Kate Christiaanse, Director of Strategic Accounts
Kate joined Liftopia in the summer of 2010 to manage the development of incremental, yield-optimized ski resort partner relationships. Kate joined Liftopia from Yahoo! where she managed Product Marketing for various Yahoo! properties including the Yahoo! homepage. Prior to Yahoo!, Kate worked for Telluride Mountain Resort for four years in management, sales and marketing. She also held positions with Abercrombie and Kent Destination Clubs and Epiphany Clubs in Telluride. Kate attended the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and received a degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Dartmouth College. A native of Connecticut, Kate learned to ski at Mt. Snow, Woodbury and Mt. Southington.
Diana Paasch, Partner Strategy Manager
Diana joined Liftopia full time in the winter of 2011 after graduating early from Cal Poly. Diana launched the Liftopia academic ski club sponsorship program while in an internship posting over the summer of 2010. While in school, Diana was VP of Marketing of the Central Pacific Ski Club at Cal Poly, which is the second largest academic ski club in the country with over 1500 members. A native of Grass Valley, California, Diana raised national champion Suffolk sheep and Angus cattle in her free time growing up. Diana first skied at Sundance and grew up skiing at Northstar.
Matt Cohen, VP of Finance
Matt joined Liftopia in the summer of 2011 and oversees the company’s Finance and Operations. He brings travel ecommerce experience from Hotwire where he spent four years in financial reporting and planning. Matt also worked on Cisco System’s Channel Finance team and at SummerHill Homes in corporate/project finance and strategy. He earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA from Colby College. Hailing from Wayland, Massachuesetts, Matt learned to ski at nearby Nashoba Valley and grew up skiing at Sugarloaf. He later worked in Guest Services at the Resort at Squaw Creek.
Ryan Jones, Marketing Manager
Ryan joined Liftopia in the summer of 2011 after spending several years at Hotwire, most recently managing the launch of the Hotwire International online marketing program. Previously, Ryan was part of the revenue management team at Wynn and Encore Las Vegas, responsible for pricing, demand forecasting and distribution channel management. Ryan graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business, and grew up skiing primarily in Colorado at resorts like Copper, Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat.
Brendan Doms, Senior Web Developer
Brendan has worked as an entrepreneur and developer for many web startups, ranging from bootstrapped to venture-funded, and including a few he created himself. He specializes in rapid prototyping new ideas and front-end development, ensuring accessibility and usability for all. He graduated from Olin College near Boston in 2007 and immediately afterward moved to San Francisco. Since then he has spent time as an independent contractor and consultant all over the country before joining Liftopia full time.
Jen Enrique, Lead Designer
As a user experience designer, Jen aims to make digital experiences more delightful, more intuitive & more user-friendly. At Liftopia, she balances business goals and aesthetics utilizing a diverse skill set from her experiences at agencies focused on UX/UI design and digital branding. Jen grew up in the bay area, graduated from UC Santa Barbara, and first learned to ski on the bunny slopes of Bear Valley.
Otto Imken, VP of Customer Support
Otto joined the Liftopia team in the summer of 2011 to manage and grow in-house customer support at Liftopia. He brings 14 years of customer support experience to the table, as well as extensive time as a manager and director at various start-ups and Fortune 100 companies, not to mention his Ph.D. in Philosophy. An avid cyclist, Otto navigates the city on two wheels, avoiding rush hour and successfully dodging irate drivers 99.9% of the time.
Darren Makwangwala, Partner Services Representative
Darren joined Liftopia in October of 2011 as the first member of the in house Customer Support team. He has ~10 years providing support for Bay Area tech startups including managing and training support reps. During a hiatus from support roles, Darren worked in the Bay Area independent music scene working in roles that varied from artist management to marketing and promotions. He got his first dose of skiing culture at the age of 7 in Lake Tahoe at Kirkwood, Alpine Meadows and Sierra Ski Ranch (Sierra-at-Tahoe). Darren reconnected with his ski roots during the '11/'12 season at Kirkwood for the first time since 1990.
Taylor Rhoads, Partner Services Representative
Taylor joined Liftopia in October of 2011. He gets his kicks supporting partners and team members as a part of the Liftopia Partner Services team. Before moving back to San Francisco from NYC, Taylor spent two seasons in Mammoth Lakes, CA (on hiatus from city life), where he racked up close to 350 ski/ride days during the biggest winters of the decade. Taylor grew up in Los Angeles, studied at California College of the Arts in San Francisco with a focus on graphic design and photography. A California skier & snowboarder since the age of 3, he's an avid rider of mountains and waves, a music lover, a traveler and a creative professional. Also, he cooks. A lot.
Jaydon Robinson, Partner Strategy Manager
Jaydon joined the Liftopia team in November 2011 to help manage the relationships with our partner resorts and provide them with inventory pricing recommendations to help them maximize revenue. Prior to Liftopia, Jaydon worked at Bloomberg LP in New York and did revenue management within the Enterprise Strategy group at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. Born in Philadelphia and raised in San Diego, he graduated from USC’s Marshall School of Business in 2008 and had a blast studying abroad in Hong Kong in 2006. He first skied on the bunny slopes at Snow Summit and also grew up skiing at Big Bear and Mammoth.
Shaun Plander, Partner Services Representative
Shaun joined the Liftopia team in December of 2011 as part of Liftopia’s first in-house customer support team. Now part of the partner services crew, he is helping resorts use the Liftopia platform to the top of its potential. Shaun has proven his jack-of-all-trades support skills in bowling centers, live theaters, call centers, and tour companies. Liftopia’s token thespian, Shaun performs in live theater and improv productions throughout San Francisco, most notably with his ego-fueled comedy troupe, Narcissists Anonymous. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, where he double-majored in playwriting and business economics, he is often heard emphatically yelling, “Go Gauchos!” Shaun grew up snowboarding at Mammoth, Timberline, Whistler, and June Mountain.
Sean Engie, Finance & Operations Associate
Sean joined Liftopia in the winter of 2011 as a Support agent but moved over to Finance and Operations full-time in April 2012. In Finance/Operations, Sean focuses on making sure all Liftopia's resort partners are paid properly and on time while also ensuring the office is running at the optimal level of happiness and efficiency. Prior to working for Liftopia, Sean worked as a support agent for Alaska/Horizon Air based out of Sacramento and spent one season driving a bus for Northstar-At-Tahoe. Sean grew up in Malaysia and moved to Southern California when he was 13 where he attended highschool before moving up to the Bay. He has a BA in Political Science from UC Davis and first learned to snowboard at Mt. High but grew up boarding at Northstar.
Jeff Carouth, Senior Web Developer
Jeff joined Liftopia in the spring of 2012. He brings many years of experience with web development and is passionate about continuous improvement. Prior to joining the team, Jeff held positions at SugarCRM and Texas A&M University. He was born and raised in Texas where he now resides with his wife and son.
Josh MacAdam, VP of Engineering
Josh joined Liftopia in 2012 to support its rapidly expanding technical infrastructure and product offerings. Prior to Liftopia, Josh co-founded and led technology at social CRM Mingly, and bootstrapped AuctionWagon, a national chain of eBay drop-off stores. Josh also served as Chief Technology Officer at QIXO, a travel meta-search engine based in San Francisco. He also held a position on the Office XP team at Microsoft, has consulted for companies such as IBM and Disney, and holds a BS in Applied Math from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Josh grew up in Los Angeles and learned to ski at Mammoth.
Elizabeth Garcia, Visual Designer
Elly joined the Liftopia team in the spring of 2012. Originally hailing from the Sunshine State where she graduated from the Miami International University of Art & Design with her BFA in Graphic Design, Elly made her move to the Bay Area early 2012. She brings her in-house design experience from previously held positions at companies like MTV Networks and NBC Universal, and religiously creates using her tablet. When not in the office, you can find her either illustrating, biking around Oakland, or daydreaming about her first ski experience, which will occur this 2012-13 season.
Greg Champion, Partner Strategy Manager
Greg joined Liftopia in July of 2012 as a member of the company’s Partner Strategy team. He recently completed his Master’s at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he concentrated in Business and Hospitality Administration. Prior to school, Greg gained extensive experience in ecommerce at Travelocity where he managed some of their largest hotel and airline corporate accounts. Greg also held positions in corporate sales for Hyatt Hotels, and revenue management for Marriott and IHG. Greg grew up in South Carolina and learned to ski at Sugar Mountain but now skis Lake Tahoe. When he’s not on the slopes, he spends his free time coaching for the Special Olympics, surfing, or taking photos.
Katie Kearsey, Social Media Manager
Katie joined the Liftopia team in September 2012 after working at Likeable Media for a year and a half. She's a native New Yorker who graduated from Boston College in May 2011 with degrees in International Studies and French, and she made the move to San Francisco in June 2012. She's passionate about social media and food policy, and you can usually find her thinking or talking about traveling, photography or cooking. Katie grew up snowboarding at a small, local mountain in New York, and she skied for the first time at Alta during the 2011-12 season.
Dave Nuffer, Product Manager
Dave joined the team in the summer of 2012 as Liftopia’s first dedicated Product Manager. He is a life-long skier and admitted data geek, having studied Economics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dave spent the first part of his career analyzing distressed mortgages and building risk models for Clayton Fixed Income Services. Most recently, Dave was managing the development of business analytics applications at GoodData. When he is not skiing trees, or pivoting data, Dave spends his weekends searching for underused Bay Area singletrack.
Cynthia Taylor, VP of Partner Strategies
Cynthia's had her fair share of exciting beginnings. She managed to score her first travel job in the airline industry—in Australia, no less. She's also part of the original team that launched a corporate travel management solution for American Express focused on small to midsized corporations in the Aussie market. Once she was back stateside Cynthia spent almost 9 years at Hotwire. She most recently worked on the Travel-Ticker brand building and managing the Production/Editorial and Strategic Accounts teams, and prior to that was managing Supplier Relations at Hotwire. Today, she's our first VP of Partner Relations, overseeing Liftopia's account management team. Cynthia and her cohorts spend practically every minute of their working day making sure our partners see tremendous success from their partnership with Liftopia. Growing up in Colorado, she started skiing with the Eskimo Ski Club at Winter Park. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.
Gabe Rogel, Photographer
Gabe brings a unique combination of energy, verve and experience to each photograph he shoots. His work has appeared in countless magazines, catalogs and newspapers nationally and abroad. From National Geographic Adventure to TIME Magazine, from an international Bombardier ad campaign to the Patagonia catalog, Gabe's eye for photojournalistic style and artistic flair can be found wherever adventure lies. Going beyond the solitary role of photographer, Gabe values most the interaction he has with his subjects. He's traveled around the world to shoot commercial and editorial subjects in places as diverse as Kazakhstan, Oman, India, Ethiopia, Russia, Tibet, Namibia, Antarctica and Greenland.
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Board of Directors
Erik is on the Board of Liftopia and currently a Venture Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures and an active early stage investor. Erik was formerly President and CEO of Expedia, Inc. and CEO of IAC Travel. He serves as a board director at Zillow.com, Glassdoor.com, Terrapass.com, Bloomspot.com and Butterfield & Robinson, as well as on non-profit boards including Cutting Ball Theatre and EcoAmerica, and is a member of the National Council at the World Wildlife Fund. He learned to ski at Mont Avila north of Montreal but mostly hits Squaw Valley and Whistler these days.
Jim has been on the Liftopia Board of Directors since 2008 and also serves on the Board of Sand Hill Angels. He has been active in building software applications for the past twenty years and is currently the President/CEO of First Focus Learning Systems which provides educational tools and products to educational organizations. From 2003 to 2007 he was the President of JPMorgan SymPro, a subsidiary of JP Morgan Chase & Company. Jim is passionate about applying software technology to financial, educational and enterprise applications. Along with serving on the Liftopia Board of Directors, he also serves on the Board of Directors of (SVASE) Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs, and is a Board Observer with Upstart Mobile/Cabulous.
Kent has been on the Board of Liftopia since 2011 and has worked with technology companies for over twelve years. He joined First Round Capital in 2008 and both leads new investment activities and supports existing portfolio companies. Previously, he was at Yahoo!, where he focused on business strategy and M&A. Before discovering the big mountains of the West, he learned to ski at SkiSundown in New Hartford, CT and throughout Vermont. He claims to have never had a bad day skiing, including the times his day ended with a toboggan ride.
John has been on the Liftopia Board of Directors since 2005. He is currently Chief Commercial Officer at ezRez Software, which is a robust plug and play travel Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. Prior to ezRez, John was Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. From 2000 to 2004, John was with Hotwire.com, an Expedia company, where he served as a member of the website’s launch team and held various management roles in which he was responsible for spearheading a number of new product lines. He previously held management consulting roles with Accenture and Cambridge Technology Partners.
Evan and Ron also sit on the Board of Directors.
First Round Capital
First Round Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm. As seed-stage investors, they often provide a company's first outside capital and typically invest alongside angel investors. Other investments include Uber, Mint, Fab, Like.com, One Kings Lane, Hotel Tonight, Path, BirchBox, Turntable and Warby Parker.
Erik is an advisor to Liftopia and currently the Chairman and CEO at Butterfield & Robinson and Executive Chairman at Terrapass. Erik was formerly President and CEO of Expedia, Inc. and CEO of IAC Travel, including online travel businesses Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Classic Custom Vacations and Interval International. Erik serves as a board director at Zillow.com, Glassdoor.com, Terrapass.com, and Butterfield & Robinson.
Chris manages a portfolio of over fifty consumer web, mobile, and wireless technology start-ups as well as an array of mature enterprises through his holding company, Lowercase Capital. Previously, Chris served as Head of Special Initiatives at Google Inc. Before joining Google, Chris held a number of executive roles at one of the world's largest streaming and digital media distribution companies, Speedera Networks (acquired by Akamai Technologies). The Wall Street Journal cited Chris as "possibly the most influential businessman in America." Chris lives with his family in Truckee, California and is an avid skier.
Dave is the Co-Founder and CEO of Path. Previously, as an original member of the Facebook team, Dave played a variety of product, marketing, strategy, and management roles in expanding the Facebook ecosystem to over hundreds of millions of people worldwide. He was a co-inventor of Facebook Connect and the Facebook Platform. Prior to Facebook, Dave held positions at Apple in product and marketing. Dave grew up under the big sky of Montana where he was ranked as one of the top downhill ski racers in the United States.
Dr. Kedrosky is a contributing editor for Bloomberg; a columnist for TheStreet/RealMoney; and the editor of Infectious Greed. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, where he is focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the future of risk capital. He is also Senior Research Advisor to Ten Asset Management, a southern California institutional money management firm using innovative quantitative techniques in capital markets. He is a fellow and on the advisory board of the Berkeley Center for Innovative Financial Technology. Dr. Kedrosky currently lives in La Jolla, California and is a passionate Mammoth skier.
Gregg is a co-founder of TripIt and led the company to acquisition by global travel and expense leader Concur in 2011. Prior to TripIt, Greg was a co-founder of Hotwire (acquired by Expedia for $650 million) and former president of Expedia's luxury travel company Classic Vacations, Inc. Prior to his work in the online travel industry, Gregg was a director at the private equity firm Hellman & Friedmanl. Gregg was named one of the "25 Most Influential Executives of the Business Travel Industry for 2010" and is a passionate skier.
Dave is a writer, angel investor, and web entrepreneur. He has been angel investing and working with early stage startups for more than a decade. Some other investments: Open Table, Marin Software, GrubHub, HotelTonight, Joyus, RentCycle, Three Rings, and SendMe Mobile.
Sand Hill Angels
The Sand Hill Angels is a group of successful Silicon Valley technology professionals dedicated to the formation and growth of startup companies. Their experience spans all aspects of growing successful companies from the formative stage through management of multi-billion dollar enterprises.
David, an active entrepreneur and angel investor, is an investor in Liftopia and has been advising the company since 2008. David has co-founded and sold 5 technology businesses: HealthDesk (HDSK), GetawayZone (VacationSpot/EXPE), MarketHome (CLAC), EscapeHomes (Roost), Pagewise.com (DemandMedia) and is a Board Member of DealBase, FlexJobs, LettersAndArts and Webvanta.
Sam, currently CEO of HotelTonight, has been an investor in and advisor to Liftopia since 2008. Sam previously founded and was CEO of DealBase.com and CEO of TravelPost.com. Earlier in his career, Sam worked in comparison shopping at Excite, CNET and as one of the first employees of NexTag. Sam attended the University of Virginia and received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.