Our Team

Founded in 2015 for the Amazon Picking Challenge, PickNik’s team now has over 159 years of combined experience, 17 masters (with 5 PhD's) in the field of robotics and automation, bringing together deep academic background of robotic theory and robotics software development experience.

Dave Coleman, PhD

CEO

PhD Computer Science at CU Boulder focusing on motion planning and Mechanical Engineering B.S. at Georgia Tech. Dave has 13 years experience working in the field of robotics automation and is a leader in the open source MoveIt and ROS communities. His insights into robot-agnostic platforms for different morphologies, theoretical approaches, and different end-user requirements give him a well-rounded understanding for powerful robotic software. He has worked and consulted for all types of robotics companies including Google Robotics, Open Robotics, and Willow Garage.

Read More

Nathan Brooks, PhD

CTO

PhD and M.S. Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at University of Tulsa. Nathan's graduate research focused on developing team planning techniques and interaction strategies improving operator supervision of large robot teams. Through this research, he has extensive experience with simulation platforms and field deployment logistics for unmanned vehicles on land, sea, and air.

Read More

Jonathan Fries

COO

B.S in Computer Science from the University of Iowa. Jonathan has 25 years of experience in software development, working in both consulting and product settings. He’s spent the last 15 years especially focused on delivering outsourced software solutions for customers and developing professional organizations that deliver quality software and excellent customer experiences. Jonathan believes that strong communication and excellent technical capability form the backbone of developing quality solutions.

Read More

Dave Grant

Chief Revenue Officer

Leading the Sales and Marketing teams, Dave is responsible for company growth and cementing PickNik’s leadership as the industry standard for developing advanced Robotics applications. His previous CRO experience includes Uplight, which grew to be a Billion Dollar Unicorn and Smartabase, which grew 5x in just two years. In his spare time, Dave enjoys skiing – preferably steep & deep at his favorite ski area – Arapahoe Basin.

Read More

Lynn Regnier, CPA

Director of Accounting

CPA licensed in Colorado with an M.S. in accounting from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Over her career Lynn has worked for small and very large organizations in both business and scientific roles. Lynn brings six years of accounting experience from a mix of public accounting and early stage startups. Lynn's passion is in helping businesses grow by providing reliable financial information to help make informed decisions.

Read More

Kyle Kirves, PMP

Senior Project Manager

M.A. in English from the University of Dayton; PMP, ACP from PMI.org. Kyle is a technology professional and project / account manager with over 25 years managing and delivering software, hardware, and telecommunications projects and products. Prior to PickNik, Kyle worked in project delivery for Hewlett-Packard, the University of Colorado, and Ball Corporation, among others. For the last ten years, he has focused on software built with open and frequent customer+user communication, creating confidence in product value well before it ships.

Read More

Jaclyn Ghareeb

Senior Project Manager

M.Eng. in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. Jaclyn has spent her career in the space industry working at both large and small companies. She’s been the technical lead of rocket motors and the program manager of contracts ranging from development to large-scale, long-term production.

Read More

Nashley Banister

Chief of Staff

Nashley has a varied background ranging from the performing arts, wellness, nutrition and event planning. Nashley has a Masters of chemistry from Texas Woman's University and is passionate about supporting innovative and meaningful work. Creativity, strategic thinking and hard work are a few of the attributes that she is most proud of. She lived in Chicago, IL working in concert dance in both a technical and performance role and has most recently moved from Houston, TX where she worked with a Nutrition company. She looks forward to what Boulder has to offer and supporting the team with PickNik.

Read More

Henning Kayser, MS

MoveIt Chief Architect

M.S. Computer Science at University of Hamburg with focus on motion planning and machine learning, B.S. Computer Science with focus on distributed systems. Broad experience with autonomous robots and scenarios with unstable dynamics like liquid pouring or pushing of objects. Expertise in motion planning, trajectory optimization, constrained and Cartesian path planning as well as 3D-perception and image processing. Winning team participant in the IROS 2018 Mobile Manipulation Hackathon.

Read More

Griswald Brooks, MS

Senior Robotics Engineer

M.S. Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Controls and Robotics from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Inspired from a young age by the advances in robotics at MIT Leg Lab, Griswald pursued the field following service in the US Navy. Development of ROS and the PR2 at Willow Garage drew him to the Bay Area, where he was a key contributor to autonomous docking, navigation, and perception at companies such as Fetch, Neato, and Bossa Nova Robotics. Having designed and developed automated on-robot testing systems, he is experienced in delivering robust, production quality robot software.

Read More

Mario Prats

Senior Staff Robotics Scientist

Mario is a passionate robotics engineer with over 13 years of experience in mobile manipulation systems. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University Jaume-I of Castellon (Spain) in 2009. After graduating, Mario worked on underwater robotics in a EU project. He then joined Willow Garage in 2012, where he contributed to the development of ROS and MoveIt!. In 2014, he moved to Everyday Robots (Google), where he led the development of kinematics and motion planning libraries for whole-body manipulation. Outside of work, Mario enjoys building things, playing guitar, and spending time with his family. He is a passionate engineer who is always looking for new challenges.

Read More

Jeremy Bronson

QA Lead

As a dedicated Quality Engineer Expert with almost 20 years of experience, Jeremy is passionate about ensuring the highest standards of quality in products and processes. His career has been defined by a relentless pursuit of excellence, driving improvements, and optimizing quality control systems across various industries. Jeremy thrives in dynamic environments, embracing challenges, and delivering innovative solutions to enhance product quality and customer satisfaction.

Read More

Giovanni Remigi, MS

Senior Software Engineer

M.S. in Computer Science at University of Padua. Giovanni has worked as a Developer, Analyst and Solution Consultant in several fields for more than 20 years. His favorite languages are Modern C++/Qt and Java. He loves math and computer graphics. Giovanni is a professional photographer, specializing in 3D lenticular photography.

Read More

Abishalini Sivaraman, MS

Robotics Engineer

M.S. Computer Engineering and B.S. Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University (concentration in AI, ML and VR application development). Abi got into robotics primarily through extra curricular activities. A tinkerer by nature, she learned mechanical and electrical CAD software, machining, 3D printing, soldering, ROS and computer vision techniques while working on building an AUV and automating a Ford Focus.

Read More

David Yackzan, MS

Robotics Engineer

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton. Through his research at UK and his work as a robotics software engineer at Badger Technologies, David has fostered a passion for practical robotics applications and developed expertise in motion planning and 3D sensor perception. David’s graduate research focused on the development and implementation of a real-time path planning algorithm for a robotic arm in an unstructured environment. Outside of robotics, David enjoys playing soccer and snowboarding.

Read More

Ezra Brooks

Staff Software Engineer

Ezra has over five years of experience in software engineering, and has always had a passion for building user interfaces. He’s spent most of his career supporting spaceflight, which led him back to his love of robotics he’d discovered while competing in FIRST in high school. Ezra enjoys the variety of working across all levels of the stack, all the way from web applications and cloud architecture to serial communication or raw packets over a socket.

Read More

Sebastian Jahr, MS

Robotics Engineer

M.S. Mechatronics and Information Technology with specialization in robotics and B.S. Mechatronics and Information Technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Sebastian is experienced with using C++ and ROS2 to realize various robotic applications. His previous work includes the development of MoveIt2's hybrid planning feature. He is passionate about robotics and manipulation and eager to deepen his knowledge in motion planning and control.

Read More

Henry Moore, MS

Robotics Engineer

M.S. Aerospace Engineering with a focus in autonomous systems and B.S. in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Mandarin, all at the University of Colorado Boulder. Henry enjoys programming in both C++ and Julia, tinkering with simulated robotics applications during his free time, and learning about new developments in motion planning, controls, and robotics as a whole. Outside of robotics, Henry also plays the Irish sport of hurling as a midfielder and enjoys playing and spectating chess.

Read More

Bilal Gill, MS

Robotics Engineer

M.S. Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Controls and Dynamic Systems from NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. Bilal's interest in robotics started in high school where he took part in FIRST Robotics. In college, his interest bloomed when he joined the robotics club and participated in the Trinity College International Firefighting Home Robot Contest. Before pursuing robotics full-time, he spent much of his career working on simulations for dynamic systems, ranging from motors to aircraft.

Read More

Michael Wrock, PhD

Director of Product Engineering

PhD, MASc, and BEng from Ontario Tech University. Michael has spent over 15 years contributing to the autonomous robot and mobile-manipulator system's body of knowledge through academic publications and industrial applications. He has specialized in localization, trajectory generation, perception, and human-machine interaction and is always happy to share his knowledge using over 10 years of experience as an educator. With an emphasis on software development, Michael has designed, built, and collaborated on many robotic systems ranging from proof-of-concept prototypes to field-deployed robotic solutions. When he's not pursuing his passion for robotics, he can be found scuba diving, rock climbing, or trekking through the forest.

Read More

Chance Cardona

Software Engineer

B.S. Engineering Physics from Colorado School of Mines, with a specialization in Robotics and Intelligent Systems. Chance has worked on a wide range of robotics and industrial control applications utilizing C++, Python, and Rust. Chance is passionate about space exploration and hopes to utilize robotics and AI to improve lives. He has expertise in autonomous robotics, digital signal processing, distributed systems, and applied physics.

Read More

Bryan Wienhoff

Front End Web Developer

B.A. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Bryan specializes in crafting engaging user interfaces enriched with 3D graphics. He has a wealth of experience in both full-stack and front-end web development. When he is not shaping the future of robotics, Bryan indulges in his passion for the outdoors and is a former Colorado State Poker Champion.

Read More

Paul Gesel

Robotics Scientist

Paul received both his Ph.D. in Computer Science and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire. His Ph.D. research focused on learning from demonstration (LfD) for robot trajectory generation. Paul is experienced in implementing robotics algorithms in C++, Python, and MATLAB. He has experience working with a variety of physical robots, including robots from ABB, Rethink Robotics, Clearpath Robotics, and Universal Robots. Paul is a robotics enthusiast and enjoys learning new concepts.

Read More

Ross Wehner

Product Manager

B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and in-progress MBA from Colorado State. Passionate about robotics from an early age, Ross has led the product strategy, development, and launch of robotic fueling solutions and autonomous ground vehicles since 2019. Prior to robotics, he founded a management consulting business and led the development of advanced oncology equipment. Ross finds balance through scuba diving, photography, skiing, running, and backpacking.

Read More

Ladislav Škvarka

Front End Web Developer

Studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Department of Software Technology and Management. While enrolled in university, he began his career as a frontend web developer. He has a decade of expertise in web development. His current concentration is on React development while also managing a team.

Read More

Nate Wissner

Front End Web Developer

B.A. in Computer Science from Skidmore College. Nathan has almost 4 years in the Robotics Startup Industry working on multiple user interfaces and applications dealing with robots in the Underwater ROV space, Food Service Industry, Autonomous Trucking and Mail Delivery. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys camping with friends, snowboarding and working on personal projects related to music and robotics.

Read More

Advisory Board

Neil Tardella

Advisory Board

Neil was CEO of Energid Technologies, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company focused on developing advanced software and robotic systems for the aerospace, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and medical industries. Prior to joining Energid, Tardella held key R&D and management roles at Northrop Grumman Norden Systems, Sikorsky Aircraft, and Technology Service Corporation. He has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Hartford and a M.S. in computer science from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

Read More

Nick Lane-Smith

Advisory Board

Nick is an entrepreneur, product leader, and engineer. He has deep technical expertise in machine learning, data, and security. As Head of Product at Invitae, he launched a novel pharma data product line helping to reduce the costs of drug development. At Apple, he designed and built the security model for iOS that protects billions of devices.

Read More

Pat McCaffrey

Investor & Advisor

Pat is a partner at Cypress Growth Capital, an investment firm focused on emerging, US-based SaaS and tech-enabled services companies. He brings more than 30 years of operating experience in leading and scaling software and tech-enabled services companies. He has held executive leadership positions in venture capital and private equity-owned businesses as well as publicly held corporations. His broad understanding of the industry bolsters Cypress’ capabilities across all facets of investing activity, from investment candidate identification and assessment to portfolio company support. Pat is also a member of the firm’s Investment Committee. Prior to joining Cypress, Pat was the Chief Operating Officer of Omnitracs, a Vista Equity Partners portfolio company providing SaaS-based fleet management and track-and-trace logistics solutions to the North American trucking industry. His executive-level responsibilities in software and technology-enabled services also include successful tenures at TeleTech, BT Global Services, Optum, Viant, and Computer Sciences Corporation. Pat began his career in technology services at EDS. He holds a business degree from Miami University (Ohio).

Read More

Matt Patterson

Investor & Advisor

MA in Sociology and BA in Economics from Stanford University. Matt's been an entrepreneur and investor since starting his first company in 1999. He's currently a Managing Director at Stellar Ventures which is an investor in Picknik.

Read More

Advisors and Coaches

Robin Athey

Leadership Coach

Robin guides leaders and teams to thrive in complexity and change. She brings 35+ years’ experience across 27 countries as an executive coach, facilitator, thought leader at Deloitte, VP Cole-Haan, consultant Kurt Salmon. Clients include startup founders, Techstars, and leaders at ABB, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Google, MIT, Delta Airlines, Eli Lilly, Fujitsu, Banco Santander, Change Healthcare, Girls Scouts USA. Taught core leadership course for Simmons MBA, Fellow at Harvard University Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA).

Read More

Jeff Rose

Technical Advisor

Jeff is a Partner of Origin Rose, a strategic consulting company. Over the last 3 years, he also led ThinkTopic, a Boulder based AI company, as Co-founder and CEO. ThinkTopic has worked with a wide range of organizations, from the Asian Development Bank to Conde Nast and Digital Globe. Before starting ThinkTopic, Jeff was one of the first research engineers at (Google) DeepMind, where he collaborated with neuroscientists to develop novel machine learning algorithms.

Read More

Gerry Caron

Product Strategy Coach

Gerry is Principal at Caron Product Management Consulting, where he works with founders and other senior executives of small to medium-sized tech firms to craft strategies that strengthen product outcomes, processes, and organizations. He has held executive product leadership roles in several multinational tech organizations, ranging from leading public robotics companies iRobot and Universal Robots, to consumer brand leaders Bose, OtterBox, and iZotope, to startups FORT Robotics and Active Control Experts, among others. Gerry earned an MS at MIT, where he studied under master’s thesis supervisor Dr.Amar Bose, founder of Bose Corporation. He also has an MBA from Babson College's Olin Graduate School of Business and a BSME from UMass, Amherst. He is an Edison Engineering graduate and survivor of General Electric's elite Advanced Course in Engineering. He has been awarded 10 US patents over his four-decade career, with his concepts generating billions of dollars in the marketplace. Products under his purview have earned numerous industry distinctions including an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and several Red Dot, NAMM Tech, Best of What's New and other industry honors. He also is an international panelist/presenter on Product Management and Innovation.

Read More

Mission
Statement

Enable robotics companies through robust platforms for manipulation applications in real world environments.