once upon a time...

Paul Burke was treating his niece and nephew, Marie and Mark, to spring break. The itinerary was simple: Have fun!

However, when Paul actually took Marie and Mark to museums around the city, all he saw them do was take out their phones and zone out. To get them fired up about art and culture, Paul tried suggesting some of the audio tours museums offered. “Yuck! Do you know how many people put those things to their ears?” they said. That part, Paul understood. What was bothering him was seeing their eyes glued to their phone screens.

It was time to put his foot down. “Look guys, you’re here. Enjoy this.” The next part, he did not expect. “We’re already enjoying it,” both teenagers said. Then they showed him their phones: they had been googling the works of art the entire time. That was when the light bulb went off. The phone wasn't a distraction, but an awesome tool for making the experience something more...

Executive Gurus

Paul Burke

Paul Burke

Chief Executive Guru

Vision & Career:

Paul is the youngest of eight kids. He is also the best-looking and funniest. His family loves him so much that, at the age of 16, they sent him on a 42-day wilderness survival expedition. His big takeaway: two sticks make fire. After talking his way into college, he spent several years trading commodities and stocks in Chicago. The movie Anchorman eventually convinced him to move to San Diego, “the greatest city in the history of mankind.” (His girlfriend, also, might have had something to do with it.) Things he loves: Chicago sports; his dog, Ari; and shoes. Apparently, Paul owns more shoes than everyone else at Guru … combined … multiplied by three. If you want to know if it’s Paul Burke walking towards you, just look down at the shoes. If they’re a color of the rainbow, it’s him.

Paul Shockley

Paul Shockley

Chief Creative Guru

Vision & Career:

Paul is one part dreamer, one part entrepreneur and one part athlete. The result? A potent cocktail of creativity, business acumen and work ethic that is equally pleasant whether shaken or stirred. Paul learned the basics of business around the same time he learned to walk, buying things from neighborhood garage sales, refurbishing them at home, and reselling them for a tidy profit at the local swap meet. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, he started a series of successful businesses, including an international real estate company, a video production company and a digital marketing firm. Currently, Paul is developing a new project he likes to call “cooking.”

Hilary Srole

Hilary Srole

Project Management Guru

Vision & Career:

Hilary is a lifelong juggler...metaphorically speaking. Literally, she’s a terrible juggler. As a child she dabbled in gymnastics, jazz dance, karate and the flute. In college she majored in Hospitality and Tourism at San Diego State University and spent the next seven years overseeing teams of up to a hundred people in order to put on events for 600-plus guests. Currently, she applies her juggling talents (again, it’s a metaphor) managing projects and keeping the Guru team working at optimal efficiency.

Clay Shinn

Clay Shinn

Chief Technical Guru

Vision & Career:

Do you ever deposit your checks using your phone? You can thank Clay Shinn for that. On top of being a tech guru (pun intended), he is also an avid traveler. He has visited over 50 countries, and is planning on completing a 50-mile trek in New Zealand for his 50th birthday. (The number 50 is a recurring motif at this juncture in his life.) At Guru, we know him as a typical San Diego native. What does that mean? He loves shorts. Before every meeting, he texts Paul Burke, “Is this a pants meeting?” It usually is.

Andrew Scherr

Andrew Scherr

Project Management Guru

Vision & Career:

Andy is a rare breed. One part creative, three parts results driven project manager. He blue-skies with the best of them and then gets down and dirty in the nitty-gritty to make it all happen. After earning a Masters in broadcast journalism from Columbia University, he worked as a news reporter, television writer, producer and then as a project lead for multimedia installations at museums, zoos, stadia and public parks across the US. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. We try not to hold that against him but it's hard. Especially when he gets a little too excited about the Baltimore Ravens.

Vision & Career:

Paul is the youngest of eight kids. He is also the best-looking and funniest. His family loves him so much that, at the age of 16, they sent him on a 42-day wilderness survival expedition. His big takeaway: two sticks make fire. After talking his way into college, he spent several years trading commodities and stocks in Chicago. The movie Anchorman eventually convinced him to move to San Diego, “the greatest city in the history of mankind.” (His girlfriend, also, might have had something to do with it.) Things he loves: Chicago sports; his dog, Ari; and shoes. Apparently, Paul owns more shoes than everyone else at Guru … combined … multiplied by three. If you want to know if it’s Paul Burke walking towards you, just look down at the shoes. If they’re a color of the rainbow, it’s him.

Board Gurus

Nik Honeysett

Nik Honeysett

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

Board Member: Nik Honeysett is CEO of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (www.balboapark.org/bpoc), a technology non-profit consultancy that provides support, development and strategy for the museums in Balboa Park, San Diego and beyond. Previously, he was Head of Administration for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, (www.getty.edu) overseeing budget, personnel, operational and administrative services across the Getty’s two sites, in Brentwood and Malibu. Prior to this role, he lead the Getty's Web Group, responsible for all aspects of their main website, intranets and web development activities. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2000, he spent 12 years at Cogapp (www.cogapp.com), a UK-based consultancy specializing in the publication of interactive and online multimedia for the cultural sector in Europe and the USA. He is a former chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Standing Professional Committee and their Standing Professional Committee Council. He currently sits on the boards of AAM (www.aam-us.org), the Museum Computer Network (www.mcn.edu) and Guru (www.theguru.co), and teaches a course on the culture and management of museum technology through Johns Hopkins’ Museum Studies Masters Program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Physics and a postgraduate degree in Electronics. Blog: www.recoveringtechnologist.com / musematic.net/author/nhoneysett / midea.nmc.org/author/nhoneysett    

Steve Lukas

Steve Lukas

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

How much does AR and VR expert, Steve Lukas, love virtual reality? He dedicated a whole room for it in his house! Steve comes to Guru’s board with over a decade’s worth of experience in technical analysis, UX design and software development expertise. He has self-authored over 12 mobile apps on a range of platforms and spent three years with Qualcomm Ventures where he specialized in the AR and VR industries. But that’s not the best thing he does with his amazing tech skills—Steve loves to build math games for his two children and tinker on almost everything. Plus, tech isn’t his only love, Steve was an art minor in college , meaning he brings a unique blend of creativity, tech skills and a genuine passion for new technology to Guru....not to mention a wicked Transformers and Nintendo collection!

Andy Ballester

Andy Ballester

Board Guru

Vision & Career:

Andy Ballester was a co-founder of GoFundMe. We are changing the way the world gives. Every day, members of our giving community come together to support one another and the causes they care about most. Our campaign organizers have raised over $3 billion for medical expenses, education, community projects, sports, emergencies, pets, and more, making us the world’s largest online fundraising platform. Co-founded by Andy Ballester and Brad Damphousse in 2008 in San Diego, GoFundMe raised an undisclosed amount of money from a group of investors led by Accel and Technology Crossover Ventures (also including Iconiq Capital, Greylock, Stripes, and Meritech). As part of that transaction, the investors took a majority stake in the business, buying out the two founders in the process; installing an Accel venture partner, Rob Solomon, as CEO.  Andy has a passion for creating products that drive change on a massive scale.

Vision & Career:

Board Member: Nik Honeysett is CEO of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative (www.balboapark.org/bpoc), a technology non-profit consultancy that provides support, development and strategy for the museums in Balboa Park, San Diego and beyond. Previously, he was Head of Administration for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, (www.getty.edu) overseeing budget, personnel, operational and administrative services across the Getty’s two sites, in Brentwood and Malibu. Prior to this role, he lead the Getty's Web Group, responsible for all aspects of their main website, intranets and web development activities. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2000, he spent 12 years at Cogapp (www.cogapp.com), a UK-based consultancy specializing in the publication of interactive and online multimedia for the cultural sector in Europe and the USA. He is a former chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Standing Professional Committee and their Standing Professional Committee Council. He currently sits on the boards of AAM (www.aam-us.org), the Museum Computer Network (www.mcn.edu) and Guru (www.theguru.co), and teaches a course on the culture and management of museum technology through Johns Hopkins’ Museum Studies Masters Program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Physics and a postgraduate degree in Electronics. Blog: www.recoveringtechnologist.com / musematic.net/author/nhoneysett / midea.nmc.org/author/nhoneysett    

Creative Gurus

Dana Duran

Dana Duran

Lead Story Guru

Vision & Career:

Dana can basically do anything. Play for a division one softball team? Check. Write compelling copy for B12 vitamins? Double check. Get a master’s in English? Jackpot! Dana loves anything to do with literature and writing. She even got engaged at Jane Austen’s house. (If you haven’t been there, you must go...now.) Also, if you want to learn the optimal way to experience Comic-Con, talk to Dana. Some of her other skills include digital marketing and teaching college English classes.

Chelsea Peters

Chelsea Peters

Administrative Guru

Vision & Career:

Chelsea hates the sunshine, but also refuses to live anywhere without “beach” in the name (she’s from Newport, and currently resides in Pacific Beach). She counts shopping and walking from bar to bar as exercise: the only sports she likes are classical ballet and hockey, which she thinks is a pretty accurate assessment of her personality. She double majored in Television, Film, and New Media, & English at San Diego State University... because she realized that she was going to graduate a year early and wanted to stay! She’s obsessed with movies and TV, and believes in the artistic merit of everything from Tarkovsky’s “Stalker”, to Jackass. She spends her spare time programming for a film festival, petting fuzzy animals, and yelling out wrong answers for jeopardy.

Carly DeMento

Carly DeMento

Story Guru

Vision & Career:

In her storied past, Carly has written just about everything under the sun: obscure poetry, communiqués on water conservation, heaps of social media posts, copy for nonprofits, and even rowdy rock songs. She can’t help being excited about tackling a new subject and learning all there is to know before she moves on to the next obsession. She used to live the life of a broke artist in the Bay Area. Now, she is absolutely delighted to be back in her hometown, San Diego, eating taquitos, philosophizing about the relationship between art and meaning, and generally living the good life. Random fact about Carly: she always has a kazoo in her purse...for that inevitable moment when you need a faux trumpet solo. Trust her, you will.

Gina McKinna

Gina McKinna

Design Guru

Vision & Career:

Gina’s fascination for graphic design began in the early computer days, playing Oregon Trail. After she had shot her ration of bison and the thought of another bout of dysentery was just too much to bear, she took her love of graphic art with her to the Art Institute of California in San Diego. She has designed for big companies like Jack in the Box—where she got paid to taste-test Jack’s crispy chicken strips—as well as some of our nation’s finest museums, aquaria, and historical venues. Currently, Gina resides in Denver. When she’s not creating on-screen, you can find her sculpting play-doh masterpieces with her toddler son and reminiscing about her hound dog Elvis’s short-lived Petco supermodel days.

Vision & Career:

Dana can basically do anything. Play for a division one softball team? Check. Write compelling copy for B12 vitamins? Double check. Get a master’s in English? Jackpot! Dana loves anything to do with literature and writing. She even got engaged at Jane Austen’s house. (If you haven’t been there, you must go...now.) Also, if you want to learn the optimal way to experience Comic-Con, talk to Dana. Some of her other skills include digital marketing and teaching college English classes.

Tech Gurus

Anna Wawszczak

Anna Wawszczak

Team Lead/iOS/PhoneGap dev Guru

Vision & Career:

If Guru’s iOS team is a circus, then Anna is the ringleader––top hat, whip, and redcoat included. As a little girl, she used to sneak up behind her brother and watch him furiously type coded letters to his girlfriend...or at least that’s what Anna thought he was doing. It took some time, but eventually Anna learned that what her brother was really dabbing in was the obscure art of programming. She became an iOS developer before anyone in Poland even knew what the word “iPhone” meant. Today, she runs the backend of Guru’s apps.

LIkes: Volleyball, Design, Apple

Karol

Karol

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

If you think Karol’s athletic build and rippling arm muscles are impressive, wait until he flexes his iOS developing skills. An avid weightlifter and crossfitter, Karol takes pride in both his physique and his work and can often be found writing lines of code right after volleyball training while sporting his ever-present post-workout woolen socks—yes, even in the summer. A fan of Apple since childhood, becoming an iOS developer has been a dream come true.
Likes: volleyball, gym, photography, chess

Paweł Krakowiak

Paweł Krakowiak

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Look up the word ‘lonewolf’ in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Pawel next to it. ‘Teamwork’ is not in his vocabulary. Instead, he steps into the office, crawls to his desk, and immediately gets to work without so much as a ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Whatever social skills Pawel lacks, he makes up for it in speed and efficiency. Give him an hour to do a project and he’ll finish it in fifteen minutes. But wait! Don’t you go giving him more stuff to do. Between tasks, Pawel likes to decompress by one of two ways: playing his guitar or taking a stroll through a forest. On his spare time, your best guess on where to find Pawel would be somewhere at the local national forest feeding squirrels and bathing with the birds by a stream. In short, he’s a freak of nature.

Likes: motorbike, playing guitar, walking with dog

Krzysztof Podlejski

Krzysztof Podlejski

iOS/PhoneGap dev Guru

Vision & Career:

Did you ever dream of being a royal English knight in the days of yore? To sit in King Arthur’s round table with 20 other rowdy lads as you all reminisce about slaying dragons and orcs over pints of beer? Never had that dream? Well, our iOS developer, Krzysztof Podlejski, daydreams about this every day. In fact, he even owns a full set of armor. Whether the piece is authentic, his co-workers couldn’t say. But they can attest to Krzysztof sporting his armor in preparation of slaying some orcs in the multiverse of Warhammer 40k. Yes, that is a video game, which means he doesn’t actually slay real life beasts. To be fair, it’s the closest Krzysztof gets to living out his dream. After all, his day job as an iOS developer can only get so exciting.

Likes: challenges, order, checkered shirts

Juliusz Mikoda

Juliusz Mikoda

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Julius likes to KISS: Keep It Stupid Simple. His nickname is Max, he's a developer, and he likes fixing phones. That's all you need to know about him.

Likes: electronics, ski, diving, fishing

Kacper Markowski

Kacper Markowski

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Kacper shares no similarities with his American namesake, Casper the Friendly Ghost. For one, you can’t miss him. (He’s freakishly big and tall.) And two, his arms won’t go through you whenever he goes for an old-fashioned warm hug. That’s right, having Kacper around the office is less like having a ghost and more like having a big snuggly bear giving out hugs for free. He’s the friendliest of the bunch. He’s also apparently the most beautiful. He denies it, but the rest of his coworkers believe he moonlights as a model.

Likes: Cycling, swimming, fantasy books.

Piotr Stefani

Piotr Stefani

Android dev/tester Guru

Vision & Career:

Are you a coffee person? If you are, you already have 78.3 percent in common with Piotr. His office mantra is, “No coffee. No talkee.” (That may even be emblazoned on his mug.) Day and night, Piotr drinks, smells, and even sweats coffee. After coffee, his other loves in life are cooking, reading, developing apps, and even drinking the occasional glass of wine. (He failed to mention whether he’s a white or red person.)

Likes: Coffee, cooking, books, wine

Adrian Jeż

Adrian Jeż

iOS/Android dev Guru

Vision & Career:

Adrian is a Polish ninja turtle. He can only be pressed to do things if offered pizza. He’s not particularly fond of vegetables. He had his first carrot while working for Guru. (He said he liked it, but maybe not as a substitute for pizza.) He’s also not fond of the word ‘impossible.’ Give him a super challenging task, like debugging an app or picking trash, and he’ll get the job done.

Likes: sleeping, watching tv, music, books

Jan Królikowski

Jan Królikowski

Android developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Jan is a true outdoorsman. When not in the office, squashing any droid bugs the development team might be dealing with, he enjoys being outside. Jan is an avid archer, and goes by the nickname of Robin Hood. When not shooting arrows, he loves to fish, leaving few carp uncaught from his local river.

Likes: fishing, archery

Mateusz Kupczyk

Mateusz Kupczyk

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Mateusz excelled while at school.. at driving his teachers crazy! He now serves as a developer on the Guru team as an expert at making everyone’s lives easier through his dissection of the backend. While not working on making everyone’s lives a bit easier, he is either catching up on the latest movies or TV series, making himself a hero of note smashing (Guitar Hero) or aiming to be the hero of civilization crushing (Age of Empires II). Seriously, with Mateusz, it’s all about the awesome.

Likes: Playing pool, volleyball, Age of Empires II, Guitar Hero.

Michał Michalak

Michał Michalak

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

When he was a kid, Michal wanted above all things to be a mind-reader. The closest thing he’s gotten to this dream is being able to callout bluffers during weekly poker nights. Besides being an expert web-developer for Guru, Michal is also a thrill-seeking maniac. The wildest thing he’s done is outrun an avalanche on his snowboard. He also loves playing tennis. This guy is just bouncing with energy.

Likes: tv series, snowboard, tennis, poker, programming

Dominik Mrugalski

Dominik Mrugalski

Web developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Give him some craft materials and a little free time and our youngest backend developer will create colorful and miraculous artful works. Dominik's love for DYI helps with his incredible patience while maneuvering through the Django jungle and learning new things every day. Recently, he aspired to discover the Angular JS side of things. After spending restless hours at work, he grabs his guitar to soothe himself with merry tunes, preferably within circle of his friends (and his girlfriend, especially).

Likes: sports, meet friends, relaxing, honesty

Krzysztof Jabłoński

Krzysztof Jabłoński

iOS developer Guru

Vision & Career:

Krzysztof is known for two things. His everyday outfit combo of a white robe and straw hat, and his skills at iOS development. He speaks the complicated language of Objective-C and is known for creating difficult pictogram puzzles for his co-workers to decipher. He used to say that he is a guru of rainbow and giraffes. Why? You should not even try to guess.

Likes: tabletop games, a good book, loads of tea, bike

Vision & Career:

If Guru’s iOS team is a circus, then Anna is the ringleader––top hat, whip, and redcoat included. As a little girl, she used to sneak up behind her brother and watch him furiously type coded letters to his girlfriend...or at least that’s what Anna thought he was doing. It took some time, but eventually Anna learned that what her brother was really dabbing in was the obscure art of programming. She became an iOS developer before anyone in Poland even knew what the word “iPhone” meant. Today, she runs the backend of Guru’s apps.

LIkes: Volleyball, Design, Apple