The need was simple but not the solution: how could shoppers buy jeans online with confidence they would fit? The question loomed as both opportunity and challenge, and together they were the catalyst for André, our CEO, to found Embodee in 2008. Starting a company to create visualization technology for the apparel industry was a logical step given his background and expertise.
It also was a chance to lead an entrepreneurial venture outside the cocoon of large companies where he had spent his career. The venture began after André’s tenure as CEO of the U.S. subsidiary of Mental Images, Inc., a company now part of NVIDIA and specializing in image rendering and 3D modeling for the entertainment, computer-aided design, and scientific visualization industries.
He also had a diverse 20-year career at Intel, starting as a microprocessor architect and culminating as a general manager and director of Intel Capital, the company’s venture arm. He was co-architect of Intel’s first superscalar microprocessor, co-founder and leader of its MMX & AGP technologies, general manager of its first tablet product, and helped to close a $5.2 billion joint venture to supply Apple with memory.
André has a B.S.C.S from Portland State University and holds patents in microprocessor design and apparel digitization methods.
His most recent venture was high seas adventure: a trans-Atlantic sailing journey with five others. When on land he trains what he calls a small herd of Stuttgart ponies, a euphemism for a high horsepower, finely engineered, very fast car.
Ben is our vice president of product and technology operations. But the title doesn’t convey his career-long passion---and what he’s helping Embodee excel at: creating virtual product experiences. That passion was evident fresh out of the University of Kansas. After earning a B.A. in business and computer science, he moved to New York to work for noted magazine publisher CondeNast. He helped the company develop innovative online brands: style.com, epicurious.com, and brides.com.
While Ben’s work on brides.com was professionally rewarding, personally it was a life changer: he met and later married a young woman who was also working at the company, Michaele.
A self-described Midwestern guy with Midwestern sensibilities and work ethic, Ben joined the Embodee team after a decade with RG/A, an international agency known for its innovation in technology, design, and marketing.
For seven of his 10 years with R/GA, Ben was a developer and technical lead for the Nike account. His projects included the company’s flagship ecommerce site, NikeStore, the mobile version of NikeiD, and NikeTeamSports. These sites enable consumers to customize athletic footwear and team uniforms in real time. He was also a developer and architect of Nike+, the online community for runners and other athletes that was ahead of it’s time and helped kick off the IoT (Internet of Things) movement.
For Embodee, Ben works with existing and new customers in implementing our technology to best meet their needs and works closely with CEO André Wolper in defining the company’s long-term product roadmap.
Ben is based in Kansas City, Kansas, where he and Michaele are raising two young sons. In his meager spare time, he likes to run, cook, and prove that “I still have a little bit of basketball in me.”
Brent, head of digital production, is responsible for all aspects of garment digitization, from procuring the physical products to delivering them in 3D virtual form. He works directly with our customers and the company’s production team to ensure quality and on-time delivery.
Brent has more than 15 years experience as an art director and graphic designer working with sports apparel companies.
He also has extensive experience in apparel design and embellishment, as well as deep knowledge of apparel photography for retail use.
Outside of work, Brent enjoys family life, plays hockey, and maintains the PortlandCreativeList, a directory that connects businesses with the city’s many creative professionals.
Tucker loves all things 3D, including the technical complexities of lighting, rendering, texturing, and modeling--all of which are critical to the work Embodee does for its customers. Our lead 3D artist’s background includes freelance work for many companies, among them Sucker Punch Productions, Adidas, Nike, and Columbia Sportswear.
While he’s highly skilled, we’re not suggesting that Tucker is a Conduit, one of the characters with super-human abilities in the video game InFamous 2. Tucker helped to create the game as a game-play artist for Sucker Punch.
In his spare time Tucker participates in many online 3D communities such as CGtalk and Polycount. And no surprise: he’s an avid gamer.
Self-described hyper multitasker isn’t part of Wilitza’s job description, but this trait well serves our director of business operations—not to mention Embodee and its customers. Wilitza oversees the company’s operations worldwide while working with CEO André Wolper on execution of business plans, special projects, marketing, and promotion of sales efforts.
She also manages all aspects of Embodee’s office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while supporting staff in its other offices, in Portland, Oregon, and Sofia, Bulgaria.
Wilitza's career began as one might expect of someone with a go-getter attitude: a day after graduating from college, she was en route to New York to work for JPMorgan Chase on Wall Street. There she began honing her marketing, relationship management, and sales strategy skills as part of an asset management sales team.
After several years, Wilitza yearned for her tropical home and returned to Puerto Rico. Before joining Embodee, she worked on the sales and marketing team at a multinational insurance company and then became the operations and marketing director at an investment startup, managing its resort and marina assets.
A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Wilitza holds a business administration degree, with concentrations in finance and marketing, and donates business consulting services to a local charity. A “foodie,” she enjoys trying out new restaurants, spending time with her two kids, and visiting the tropical beaches year-round.
Street toughs should think twice about messing with our software team in Sofia, Bulgaria. Chavo, a web architect and software developer who supervises the team, is a black belt and international instructor in yoshinkan aikido, a defensive form of martial arts that Tokyo police use. Chavo was responsible for building Embodee’s web-based software platform from scratch, along with many accompanying production tools.
He has more than 16 years experience developing software for web and desktop applications.
A photographer and scuba diver, Chavo spent many years developing training software for finance and banking professionals. He also worked for one of Bulgaria’s leading visual effects studios, building interactive ads and websites for large international customers.
Today, besides continuing to improve Embodee’s technology, Chavo is learning to be a drummer and occasionally jams with friends.
A man of many languages, Iavor is our backend developer and responsible for Embodee’s image rendering engine, high-performance network cluster, and database management. Skilled in many programming languages, he also enjoys learning languages people speak--so far Russian, English, French, Spanish, and a little Greek.
Iavor has worked with a variety of development platforms during his 14-plus years as a developer, software architect, and chief technology officer in the entertainment and gaming industry.
Not all his time is spent in front of computer screens. Iavor looks forward to summer camping trips with his wife and two children, winter skiing, and aikido any time of the year.
Our multimedia developer is adroit, juggling user interface design and development of Embodee applications, test tools, and other utilities. And family life too as wife and mother of two children. Iliana has more than 15 years experience as a multimedia developer, including software for kids and the entertainment industry. She is proficient in different multimedia platforms and graphics editing programs.
Iliana’s adroitness is evident in sports as well. A snow-skier since childhood, she windsurfs, plays beach volleyball, dances, and paints with acrylics to relax. Perhaps her ease at bouncing from task to task stems from days on her university table tennis team.
When something critical stops working, Tsvetelin (we call him Tsetso) is usually our go-to guy. As system administrator, he’s responsible for 24/7 system monitoring, hardware and software maintenance, web servers and virtual servers support, networking, and network security. A member of our Bulgarian team in Sofia, Tsetso has 12 years of system administration experience.
He was co-founder of one of the city’s first high-speed Internet service providers. When not staring at computer screen, Tsetso might be spotted outdoors with friends biking, walking, or camping in the mountains. His indoor hobbies? Dance classes and cooking, including making homemade sausages and pastrami.