Board of Trustees
Dr. Luke Dicken – Chair
Director of Central and Strategic Analytics, Zynga Inc.
Dr Luke Dicken is Chair of the IGDA Foundation, a charity for game developers, by game developers, and currently works as a Principal Data Scientist at Zynga Inc. He holds degrees in computer science, artificial intelligence and bioinformatics as well as a PhD in AI specifically for games. Luke has written a range of articles and given sessions at conferences around the world, as well collaborating on a number of game projects. Luke has been passionate about AI since playing “Creatures” as a teenager, and is a member of the AI Game Programmers Guild. He was named as one of Develop magazine’s “30 Under 30” for 2013, but hasn’t yet found a subtle way to work that into a bio.
Neil Kirby – Secretary
Technical Staff, Alcatel-Lucent
Neil Kirby is a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, the R&D arm of Alcatel-Lucent. He currently develops .NET solutions used to support the development process. He also provided software architecture consulting services and taught the course “Avoiding the Software Performance Crisis.” His previous assignments have included building speech recognition software and teaching at the university level. Neil is the author of An Introduction to game AI. His other publications include articles in volumes I, II, and IV of AI Game Programming Wisdom. He co-wrote “Effective Requirements Traceability: Models, Tools and Practices” for the Bell Labs Technical Journal. Neil holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from The Ohio State University. He was a driving force behind the creation of the IGDA Foundation and serves on its board.
Ed Fries – Treasurer
Former VP, Microsoft Studios
Ed Fries created his first video games for the Atari 800 in the early 1980s. He joined Microsoft in 1986, and spent the next ten years as one of the early developers on Excel and Word. He left the Office team to pursue his passion for interactive entertainment and created Microsoft Game Studios. Over the next eight years he grew the team from 50 people to over 1200, published more than 100 games including more than a dozen million+ sellers, co-founded the Xbox project, and made Microsoft one of the leaders in the interactive entertainment business. In 2004, Ed retired from his Microsoft Vice President job to continue his work in the video game business as board member, advisor and consultant to a broad range of publishers, independent game developers, and media companies. In 2007 Ed launched his own startup, FigurePrints, an innovative company that uses 3D color printing technology to bring video game characters to life. In the summer of 2010 Ed released “Halo 2600″, a “demake” of the Halo video game series for the Atari 2600.
Director of Development, Magnin & Associates
Ed Magnin has been actively involved in the game industry for the past 35+ years. Earlier in his career he worked for some of the top game developers of their day – MicroProse, Cinemaware, Virgin Games, and Park Place Productions. In 1993, he founded Magnin & Associates which has focused on handheld games ever since, first as a Nintendo (Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and DS) developer, and for the past 5 years developing iOS games. Over the past dozen years, he has also taught game classes at the college and graduate level. Many of Ed’s former students are now working in the game industry. Of all the things Ed has done, serving on the IGDA Foundation is the one of which he is the most proud.
VP Game Developer Success, Twitch.tv
Kathy Astromoff is VP of Game Developer Success at Twitch.tv, the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers. She has extensive experience in game developer relations and B2B marketing, including stints at Sega, game hardware startups, and GDC parent UBM. Kathy has served on the IGDA Board as chair and on various committees.
Sheri Graner Ray
Founder, Zombie Cat Studios
Sheri Graner Ray is the CEO and Founder of Zombie Cat Studios and has been designing computer games since 1989. She has worked for such companies as Electronic Arts, Origin Systems, Sony Online Entertainment and Cartoon Network. Most recently she worked with Jesse Schell at Schell Games as the studio’s Design Director. She is author of the book, “Gender Inclusive Game Design-Expanding the Market” which was nominated for Game Developer’s Book of the Year in 1996.
As an award-winning designer, her title GeoCommander was named Best Serious Game, Government Division at the 2008 I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase and Challenge. She has been awarded the IGDA’s Game Developer’s Choice award and has been on the Hollywood Reporter and WGEN’s lists of top women in games. In 1998 she founded the IGDA’s Women in Game Development Special Interest Group and served as its leader for 10 years. In 2000 she was a founding member of Women in Games International and served as its Executive Director for 6 years. She is a sought after speaker on the subject of game design at conferences worldwide.
David Stelzer currently works in business development and licensing for Epic Games, helping developers and businesses throughout the Americas and Australia make amazing projects with the Unreal Engine. Formerly, David has been the Head of the Games department at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Los Angeles, working with many of the industries top independent and AAA developers.
David began his career in the music industry at KROQ in Los Angeles. After attending law school and working as a litigator, he became Director of Business Affairs for House of Blues Entertainment, and went on to become the General Counsel for Sega of America and Southpeak Games. He joined Epic Games at the end of 2015.
David graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film (1994). He holds a Juris Doctorate from Western State University in Fullerton, California (1996), and is an active member of the California Bar.
Managing Director, IGDA Foundation
Jen MacLean is the Managing Director of the IGDA Foundation. She has over 20 years of leadership experience, and has delivered outstanding results for large and small companies across multiple operating functions. Jen holds an MBA from the Columbia Business School and also earned a BA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University. She was named one of the “Game Industry’s 100 Most Influential Women” by Next Generation, one of the “Top 20 Women in Games” by Gamasutra, and is a frequently-requested speaker at interactive entertainment industry events.
Operations Manager, IGDA Foundation
Brie Wendt is the new Operations Manager for the IGDA Foundation. She is a talented administrative and operational specialist who can count great companies such as Planned Parenthood and Cycle Gear among her previous employers. Brie has a deep passion for space and video games and as a result is pursuing a degree in computer science and engineering.
Next Gen Leaders Program Director
Dr. Pat Beckmann Wells is the Program Director for the Next Gen Leaders program. She has worked on games for interactive marketing and health care and was the Head of Training at two major animation studios. Her films with her company ‘Bunsella Studios’ have been in over 200 festivals around the world, and she has authored multiple text books for both game art and game asset production. Currently Pat is the Director of the Interactive Media Arts department at Irvine Valley College.
IGDA Scholars Program Director
Oleg Brodskiy is a former IGDA Scholar, and the new Program Director for the IGDA Scholars program. He is also the COO and Festival Chair for the Boston Festival of Indie Games. When not volunteering, he can be found doing production work, as well as working on his own projects.
IGDAF Women in Games Ambassadors Program Director
Cat Wendt is the marketing and creative services leader who has worked with indie game developers for the better part of a decade. She is also the director of the IGDA Foundation Women in Games Ambassadors Program, served as co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games SIG for more than five years (women.igda.org), and was honored to receive an IGDA MVP award in 2015. Cat has worked with companies like Playdom, Jelly Belly Candy Company, and UCLA.