Twenty-year career leading high-performing teams to design world-class visitor experiences which evoke wonder, inspire creativity, and bring people together in memorable settings. Demonstrated ability to generate breakthrough ideas, attract key talent, and manage multi-million-dollar projects with award-winning results.
Directing Creative Teams / Project Management / Exhibition Planning
Writing & Public Speaking / Vendor Oversight / Staff Supervision
Budgets / Schedules / RFPs / Contracts / Design Reviews
Interactive Technology / Arduino / Flexible Circuits / LEDs
HELLENGA PROJECTS – Elmhurst, IL
Artist & Inventor – (2017 to present)
Invented system for embedding LEDs, flexible circuits and microcontrollers into LEGO displays. Developed additional technology for embedding LED matrix-based animation and simulation into LEGO displays. Designed, built, and presented related art & technology displays at conferences and conventions including ASTC, AAM, Chicago Toy and Game Fair, Brickworld, and Brick Fair. Completed Toy Creator Academy and pitched to toy brands. Currently seeking licensing agreement.
Museum Consultant (2012 to 2017)
Assembled and led exhibit teams comprised of client staff and external software developers to complete technology and exhibition projects on behalf of museum clients. Produced a mobile app featuring augmented reality and virtual reality for the Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, OH. Produced an exhibition about sensors an Arduino-controlled maze and a smart clubhouse, Sensor Zone, for The Works in Bloomington, MN.
ILLINOIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM & EDUCATION CENTER – Skokie, IL Director of Program Services (2010-2011)Reported to the President and CEO. Oversaw Exhibition/Collections, Education, and Marketing departments. Produced the Harvey L. Miller Family Make a Difference! exhibition on the topic of bullying. Implemented the museum’s first branding campaign using billboards, bus placards, and print and online media. Supervised fifteen full-time and part-time staff. Served as liaison to Exhibit and Programs Committee of the Board.
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY – Chicago, IL
Project Director (2007 to 2010)Reported to VP, Collections & Exhibitions. Directed creative efforts of 7 staff and 25+ vendors to renovate the west wing and introduce Science Storms, a 26,000 sq. ft. permanent exhibition on physics and chemistry featuring a three-story tornado, live fire, 30-foot rainbow, 200 artifacts, and 50 interactive stations. Delivered a world-class visitor experience which received the industry’s top design awards: AAM award for Overall Excellence in Exhibitions (2011); ASTC Roy Shafer Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience (2011); and Themed Entertainment Association’s Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement (2010). It was named one of the 20 Most Influential Exhibitions This Century by the Society for Experiential and Graphic Design (2018).
Senior Project Manager (2006 to 2007) Performed project management through completion of the Science Storms schematic design phase. Established the $30 million budget and four-year schedule; produced RFPs and contracts for AV systems design, lighting design, media executive producer, cost estimation, and construction of large-scale feasibility prototypes.
CHICAGO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – Chicago, IL
Associate Vice President, Partnership of Playful Learners (2004 to 2006)Led the Partnership of Playful Learners featuring Skyline, an exhibition about skyscraper engineering which was recognized by the AAM award for Special Achievement in Cooperative Learning (2010). Designed building materials which doubled the duration of girls’ participation to match that of the boys. Introduced graphic design approaches which increased family collaboration and conversation. Secured funding for the project with a successful $1.7 million NSF proposal. Associate Vice President, Production & New Ventures (2003 to 2004)Established budget and schedule for the planned $30 million renovation. Secured landmark approvals from zoning board. Supervised the work of architecture, exhibit planning, and construction management firms.
THE TECH MUSEUM OF INNOVATION – San Jose, CA
Senior Director of Exhibits & Programs (2002-2003) Director of Exhibits (1999-2002) Reported to VP of Exhibitions. Supervised a team of 13 staff and managed $2.3 million annual capital and operating budget. Closed out contracts totaling several million dollars after the new facility opened. Established written requirements for multimedia, graphic design, 3D exhibit design, and fabrication reviews to streamline the design, fabrication, and installation of future projects. Introduced interactive butterfly projection replicated by more than 50 venues. Exhibit Developer and Project Manager (1995-1999)Led the development of $3.5 million Communications: Global Connections gallery for The Tech’s new facility opening in 1998.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT – Excel, Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Microsoft Project
DESIGN – Inkscape, Silhouette Studio, Eagle CAD, GIMP, AutoCAD, Illustrator, InDesign
CODING – Arduino, Circuit Python
REGGIO CHILDREN – Reggio, Italy (2005)
Studied education methods of pre-school educators in Reggio, Italy
NAPERLAUNCH ACADEMY – Naperville, IL (2018)
Completed incubator program for small business entrepreneurs
TOY CREATOR ACADEMY – New York, NY (2022)
Completed incubator program for toy inventors
MUSEUM – American Association of Museums, Association of Science-Technology Centers
MAKER – Pumping Station One, Workshop 88 makerspace
LEGO – Steel City LEGO User Group, Brick World, Brick Fair
HARVARD UNIVERSITY – Cambridge, MA (1989)
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (John Harvard Scholarship for high academic distinction)