Tehseen (TJ) Akhtar, VP of Product Management
Tehseen (TJ) Akhtar is the vice president of product management for Vizrt and heads the video and graphics processing portfolio. He has been with the company for the past four years, overseeing countless critical product introductions to the visual storytelling market. As an experienced product management, business development, and strategy leader with the aim to evolve innovative concepts into commercialized product and services, Akhtar is a significant asset to the Vizrt team, its partners, and its clients.
Prior to his role at Vizrt, Akhtar was head of managed hosting and cloud services for EMEA at Tata Communications and was also the senior product manager and strategy lead for BT Compute in BT Global Services, helping various industries transform their businesses through cloud computing, working for the company for over eight years. Akhtar is UK-based and has a host of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications, electronics, microelectronics, and business administration from Northumbria University and the University of Hertfordshire.
David Barton, NBC Sports, Senior Art Director
David Barton is a seven-time Emmy Award Winning senior art director for NBC Sports and Olympics. His primary focus is developing branding strategies and live event GFX packages for each Olympic Games on the networks of NBCUniversal. Barton has been leading design teams since the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006, working closely with event and feature producers, studio directors, and members of the sales and marketing department.
Beyond his responsibilities with The Olympics, Barton also art directs the live event and studio graphics for NBC’s Sunday Night Football and Football Night in America, and other properties for NBC Sports. He has been with NBC Sports and Olympics since 2005.
Erik Beaumont, The Famous Group, Head of Mixed Reality
Cory Befort, Los Angeles Rams, Senior Creative Director
Cory Befort is the senior creative director for the Los Angeles Rams. His list of accomplishments include various awards and accolades ranging from Clio, Emmy, and Sports Media Marketing wins to a world medal from the New York Film Festival. Befort lead the creative development and execution behind the Los Angeles Rams’ new brand identity, uniform design and strategic rollout plan, as well as the in-game display architecture and content workflow for the state-of-the-art home of the Rams, SoFi Stadium. He has developed a seamless and cohesive brand experience for in-stadium entertainment, merchandise, on-field product, social, and digital applications for the Rams brand. Befort has been in the professional sports world, including the NFL and MLB, for the entirety of his career dating back to 2010.
Komal Bhukhanwala, CBS Sports, Senior Art Director
Komal Bhukhanwala is a senior art director with CBS Sports. A two-time Sports Emmy Award winner, she has spent the past 12 years designing show packages and on-air graphics for all CBS Sports properties. As an art director, Bhukhanwala oversees the on-air graphic look for the department’s game and studio broadcasts, which included the redesign of Super Bowl 53.
During her time at CBS, she has expanded the use of AR in The NFL Today studio show and has art-directed the Augmented Game Open and halftime stats, as well as the QB comparison during Super Bowl 53.
Bhukhanwala also won a Promax Silver for her art direction of the Final Four Team Runouts.
Bhukhanwala is passionate about her chosen field. She believes that sports graphics has a key role in enriching the viewer’s experience and the promotion of the underlying event.
Zachary Binkley, Loyola University Chicago, Clinical Instructor, Quinlan School of Business
Zachary Binkley’s innovation in the classroom and sport industry is allowing students to identify tomorrow’s problems with viable, innovative solutions. His research in the areas of sport data and analytics, technology, and innovation is helping bridge the gap between idea and application, thus preparing students for a data-driven sports and business world. Professor Binkley’s current research focus is in the area of sports performance analytics and sport business analytics. Modeling is helping students, professionals, and coaches make sense of a fast-moving, technology-based world. Recently, his courses have explored the metaverse and NFTs through his two startup companies: BinkleyPonyFarm and Incrementa Lab.
Andy Blondin, Epic Games, Product Management Director, Broadcast
Andy Blondin is a seasoned veteran of the broadcast industry, specializing in real-time computer graphics and augmented reality. During his tenure at Fox Sports in Los Angeles, he led a team of real-time graphic designers that helped Fox to earn six Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award for Outstanding Studio Design/Art Direction for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015. Blondin has a strong background in augmented reality and in blending traditional media with live computer graphics. He joined Epic Games to build the tools necessary for pioneering the next generation of television and gaming. Blondin is passionate about combining both gaming and live production to bring new and exciting technology to the broadcast space.
Jason Dachman, SVG, Chief Editor
Jason Dachman oversees all aspects of SVG’s North American editorial operations, including the thrice-weekly SVG Insider newsletter and SVG’s annual print publications. A member of the SVG team since 2009, Dachman also serves as program director for SVG’s RSN Summit, Sports Content Management Forum, Sports Graphics Forum, and TranSPORT event. Prior to joining SVG, he spent three years covering local sports for The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA, and two years on the production staff of SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s The Ron & Fez Show. Dachman began his career in the Sports Information Department at Northeastern University in Boston, where he also earned a B.A. in media communications and cinema studies.
Michael Dolan, Fox Sports, SVP of Design
Michael Dolan serves as senior vice president of design for Fox Sports, overseeing design across all live-event and studio production airing on Fox, FS1, and FS2.
A veteran executive with more than 20 years of experience in the television industry, Dolan has designed and implemented Fox Sports’ on-air presentation since 2008. He leads the Fox Sports Creative Services Design Team; which is responsible for all facets of the onscreen presentation from concept to execution in both traditional animation as well as live real-time and augmented reality graphics, virtual and traditional set design.
Dolan has worked across Fox Sports’ many properties and marquee events, including the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHRA, USGA, PBA, PBC, College Football, NHL, and NBA USFL, as well as the Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, Daytona 500. and the U.S. Open Championship. He also is responsible for the design of the network’s studio shows, including Fox NFL Sunday, television’s No. 1 NFL pregame show for over 25 years.
In 2013, Dolan was integral to the launch and branding of FS1 and FS2, creating the design elements implemented in the marketing and production of the new channels. Since 2002, he helped oversee the design and rebrand of the SPEED Channel.
Dolan graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts in 1999.
Kevin Dresser, Ross Video, Global Business Development Manager, XPression & Ross Virtual Solutions
Kevin Dresser has been with Ross Video for seven years overseeing business development for XPression and Ross Virtual Solutions around the world. Ross Video is committed to providing graphics solutions for sports content producers that fulfill many applications with high production value. With 23 years experience in live production, including working for sports networks, creative service providers, and an industry leading technology company, his diverse background enables a unique insight into working with partners and customers to provide the best service and guidance to meet their creative, technical, and business goals.
Prior to Ross, Dresser began his career with Fox Sports in Los Angeles, covering MLB, NFL, NASCAR, and College Football. During his time at Fox, he garnered four Sports Emmy awards in production and graphic design. Dresser also held the role of producer at Reality Check Systems, leading development and design teams on the implementation of custom software and graphics packages for major sports and entertainment networks.
Mark Friedman, Chyron, VP, Strategic Accounts
Mark Friedman has an extensive background across various roles in the sports broadcast industry. Prior to leading Chyron’s creative services group for the past three years, Friedman worked at NBC Sports Washington for 10 years fulfilling duties as a creative director using a mix of innovation and design. He was instrumental in creating innovative viewer experiences using Chyron’s PRIME and Paint Graphics Platforms.
Mark Garcia, WarnerMedia Studios, Composite Supervisor
Mark Garcia is an eight-time Emmy Award winning composite supervisor at Warner Media Studios where he oversees the execution of on-air campaigns for Turner’s various tent-pole events, including NBA on TNT (regular season, playoffs, All-Star); The NBA Award Show, MLB on TBS (regular season, postseason); the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship; and the Match on TNT. His most recent work includes the rebranding of NBA, MLB, and NHL packaging for Turner Sports.
Prior to working exclusively with Turner Sports, Garcia was a lead compositor for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Squidbillies. He also has worked on various commercial spots for Cartoon Network, TNT, and TBS.
Garcia is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with majors in film and 3D.
Brian Girardin, ESPN, Art Director (NFL & MNF)
Brian Girardin is an art director in the Visual Storytelling team within ESPN’s Creative Studio, primarily in the realm of linear broadcast design and animation. In 15 years at ESPN, Girardin has worked on a variety of package redesigns, show launches, and has helped bring home 6 Emmys – for the past few years, his focus has been Monday Night Football, NFL Studio, NFL Draft, and Peyton & Eli.
Tony Grillo, GreenPark Sports, Chief Strategy Officer
Tony Grillo is the chief strategy officer at GreenPark Sports, overseeing marketing, business development, analytics, and investor relations. He leads a team that helps to secure and manage licenses from key IP holders, build the GreenPark fan community, measure and report on key product metrics across the company, and explore diversified revenue opportunities for GreenPark, both virtually and in real life. Before joining GreenPark Sports, Grillo spent most of his career in sports with the PGA TOUR, where he managed prominent brand partnerships including Mastercard, Nike, Adidas, Microsoft, and Topgolf, among others.
Grillo attended Harvard University, where he received his A.B. in economics. There, he was a two-year Harvard golf team captain and academic All-American. He also received his MBA from Columbia Business School.
Gil Haslam, Troika, Executive Creative Director
Gil Haslam is the executive creative director at Troika. A two-time Sports Emmy Award winner, he is the creative force behind some of the biggest brands in sports, including ESPN, UFC, PGA TOUR, AT&T SportsNet, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and HBO Sports, among many others. Haslam is recognized industry-wide for his experience leading major, high-profile brand launches and redesigns from positioning through packaging, as well as innovative broadcast and in-stadium fan experiences.
Chad Hudson, NBC, Senior Art Director
Chad Hudson is an Emmy Award winning senior art director with NBC Sports. Hudson is primarily responsible for overseeing all design aspects for the Golf Channel, as well as NASCAR, INDYCAR, Notre Dame Football, College Basketball, and MLB for NBC. One of the more memorable projects in his career was in 2018 where he oversaw the package and studio design of the FIFA World Cup for Telemundo.
While Hudson has been with NBC for the last nine years, he spent the first decade of his career with Turner Sports where he was the senior art director for such properties as the NBA on TNT and MLB on TBS, as well as March Madness.
Most recently, Hudson and his team launched the new graphics package for MLB Sunday Leadoff on Peacock and they are currently working on the redesign for the 150th Open Championship which begins in July.
BK Johannessen, Epic Games, Unreal Engine Business Director, Broadcast
An experienced leader with extensive international experience in the computer software and media industries, Bernt Johannessen came to Epic after 18 years at Vizrt specializing in broadcast graphics solutions for live media. Bringing a solid understanding of the needs of professional live media content creators to every project, he has supported top-tier broadcasters on all continents, helping them to achieve their creative visions and create engaging content.
Jason Joly, MSG Networks, Senior Director, Creative Services
Jason Joly is the senior director of creative services for MSG Networks. He and his team are responsible for the creative direction of MSG Networks’ live event packages for the Knicks, Rangers, Devils, Islanders, Sabres, and Red Bulls. They also oversee the packaging and design for the networks’ sports betting programming, on-air promotion, marketing, and social media initiatives. During his 13-year career with MSG, Joly has led multiple rebrands of their live-event and network identity packages.
Joly has won nine Emmy Awards and multiple PromaxBDA awards during his 20 year career in sports television and design. He is a graduate of Syracuse University.
Craig Laliberte, Unreal Engine, Senior Business Development Manager
Craig Laliberte is responsible for licensing Unreal Engine in the enterprise space. He came to Epic after 10 years at Vizrt, most recently as VP of business development, where he oversaw the expansion of Vizrt’s digital content technology. Laliberte has supervised many high-profile news and sporting events including presidential elections, the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, Formula 1 Racing, the World Cup, the U.S. Open, and the Kentucky Derby.
JP LoMonaco, CBS Sports, VP, On-Air Graphics and Design
As VP of on-air graphics and design, JP LoMonaco oversees all of the design, production, and execution of graphics for the largest sporting events on CBS Sports Broadcast and CBS Sports Network – including the NFL, College Football, the Masters, the PGA Championship, and the March Madness Tournament.
With over 25 years of motion graphics leadership and graphics production under his belt, the Parsons School of Design graduate has accumulated a skill set that puts him at ease either animating or designing at a workstation or delivering concepts, pitching, and planning his team’s next big project in a board room. An Emmy Award winning art director, LoMonaco has lead creative teams for the likes of UPN, Fox, and CBS over the past two decades. He has also directed and mentored many great designers in that time.
As an ever-curious student of the industry, LoMonaco brings passion and excitement to every project, big or small. He always tries to stay on the forefront of what is possible while pushing himself and his team forward.
Kevin Lopes, ESPN, VP, Sports Business Development & Innovation and ESPN Edge Innovation Center Lead
Kevin Lopes is the vice president, sports business development and innovation at ESPN, where he leads the ESPN Edge Innovation Center, and identifies and evaluates potential third-party opportunities in advanced technology initiatives like NFTs and digital immersive development.
Lopes has been with ESPN for 14 years, spending his first 10 years on the programming team where he had been responsible for scheduling and operational oversight of WatchESPN & ESPN3, including 15k+ live digital events, digital collegiate acquisitions, and esports programming acquisitions and strategy.
In 2015, Lopes won a Sports Emmy for his contributions to the ESPN 2015 College Football MegaCast.
Prior to ESPN, Lopes worked at the Big East Conference in Providence Rhode Island. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Rhode Island where he serves on the Executive Boards of the Alumni Association and Harrington School of Communications Advisory council.
Jocelyne Meinert, Big Studios, Owner/Director
8-time Emmy Award winner and 21-time nominee, Jocelyne Meinert has been pioneering CG animation and design since the industry’s inception in 1982, receiving several national and international awards in the first five years of her career. She started Bigstudios in 1991, completing large scale design and animation projects for clients such as HBO, MTV, CTV, CBC, ESPN, CBS, MLB Network, NHL, NBC, etc.
Bigstudios is now one of the most established design and animation studios in North America for 2D or 3D animation, graphic design, brand, VFX, live action, AR, VR, and MR. Meinert continues to direct and manage large-scale projects, pushing emerging creative technologies, unique venue-event and team graphics, as well as original content and long form production with sister studio, Little Blackstone, their most recent Netflix project being shortlisted for an Oscar.
John Murphy, BBC Sport, Creative Director, Motion
As a creative director for BBC Sport, John Murphy leads on the branding, visual presentation, and graphical innovation for the department. His role crosses all areas of BBC Sport including; football, Olympics, World Cup, Wimbledon, and many more. Murphy has placed a large importance in VR and AR being used to innovate and create a visual identity which helps to explain the editorial of the program/event.
Lucas Nickerson, ESPN, Creative Director
Lucas Nickerson is a creative director, within ESPN’s Creative Studio. Along with fellow creative director colleague Tim O’Shaughnessy, the two lead ESPN’s creative teams in re-imagining and re-defining on air visuals for sports television.
Nickerson has most recently led the creative endeavors of ESPN’s Monday Night Football, NFL Studio, NFL Draft, NBA, NBA Draft, PGA, and Major League Baseball properties.
His proficiency of visualizing the combination of design, animation, augmented reality, and live action has helped lead his teams to nine Emmy Awards, 14 Promax Awards, and 11 NY Film Festival Awards.
With a passion for sports and design, the 19-year ESPN veteran and Rochester Institute of Technology alum, is excited to continue pushing where the talented internal ESPN creative teams can expand the visual boundaries, while innovating and elevating the sports fans’ viewing experience.
Heidi Noland, UFC, SVP, Brand & Creative
Heidi Noland serves as the senior vice president of global brand and creative at UFC, the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization. With an extensive background in creative, Noland provides strong strategic thinking and creative direction on all UFC brand touchpoint, including overarching visual identity, broadcast production, marketing, experiential, and consumer products.
In 2014, Noland led the development of UFC’s first-ever brand strategy. That same year, she partnered with Troika, a leading sports branding agency, to spearhead the rebrand of UFC’s visual identity, which included logo architecture, a refreshed broadcast package, and a promotion and marketing system. Noland instituted extensive usage guidelines to maintain, manage, and enforce UFC’s brand consistency.
An executive leader at UFC for over 12 years, Noland has been instrumental in building the UFC brand through innovative creative executions, global brand campaigns, and ground-breaking partner integration. She champions an incredibly talented, award-winning brand and creative team.
Tim O’Shaughnessy, ESPN, Creative Director; 2022 SVG Graphics Committee Chair
Timothy O’Shaughnessy is a creative director in the Visual Storytelling division of ESPN. In his current role, he focuses on combining creative strategy, process, and direction within his team. O’Shaughnessy is primarily responsible for guiding teams of creatives through large-scale animation and insert design projects.
In his 16 years at ESPN, O’Shaughnessy has garnered numerous Emmy nominations and several Promax BDA awards. Noteworthy projects include the NHL on ESPN; college football on ESPN/ABC; college basketball on ESPN; The SEC Network; the ACC Network; NBA on ESPN/ABC; World Cup 2010 and 2014; Euro 2012, 2016, and 2020; Outside the Lines; Olbermann; and Mike & Mike 2016.
Before coming to ESPN, O’Shaughnessy worked at Ghostmilk Studios in Toronto, where he designed show title sequences. He received a B.S. in psychology from Binghamton University and an M.F.A. in design from The Rochester Institute of Technology.
Lisa Rader, ESPN, Senior Designer
Lisa Rader is a senior designer on the Visual Storytelling team within ESPN’s Creative Studio. Rader is responsible for designs and animations for a variety of productions. She most recently worked on the NHL design package, primarily tackling the insert package alongside a group of talented animators, designers, and Vizrt artists. She has also worked on several other package redesigns such as CFB, NFL on ESPN, Outside The Lines, E:60, and Get Up!.
Rader has received three Emmy awards for her work on the NFL Draft and NFL on ESPN. Before ESPN, she worked as a graphic designer for the University of Georgia at the Football Recruitment Office, where she also received a B.A. in graphic design.
Josh Rush, SURREAL Events, Co-Founder and CEO
Through an impressive 16+ year stint across PR, marketing, and interactive engagements, Josh Rush has deep expertise and unwavering passion for producing hybrid events and experiences—from conception to strategy to execution. Equal parts visionary thinker and creative director, Rush is relentlessly client-focused and outcomes driven. With a notable portfolio of Fortune 100 and 500 clients, he has helped countless companies build better brands by thinking differently, sharing unique stories, and creating amazing experiences. As a co-founder and CEO of SURREAL Events, Rush is driven to harness art and technology to inspire and enable real connection, while helping clients realize their metaverse vision.
Alexis Salinas, Univision Deportes, Senior Director, Technical Creative Services
Alexis Salinas serves as senior director of technical creative services for Univision, the leading media company serving Hispanic America.
Salinas is responsible for developing, producing, and deploying real-time graphics and graphic content for TUDN, Univision’s leading sports media brand. His additional responsibilities include overseeing all graphics functional groups and processes with the ultimate aim of bolstering the TUDN brand on-air and enhancing the production’s ability to tell compelling stories and engage with viewers. Salinas is also charged with creating the bridge between the production, production operations, and engineering teams for the sports graphics pipeline operation, as well as project manager for technology projects.
During his tenure at Univision, Salinas has served as manager of graphics management technology, technical manager, VizRT programmer, and senior 3D animator. Prior to joining Univision in 1996, he worked as a CGI director at EDEFX Group, where he was accountable for the operations, graphics systems, and network management and administration for the computer graphics department. He also worked as a 3D animator at Canal Uno Producciones in his native Venezuela.
Salinas earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela. He has also been a certified project management professional since 2012.
Jordan Shorthouse, Turner Sports, VP/Creative Director
Jordan Shorthouse is vice-president of creative for Turner Sports. In this role, he oversees the sports print marketing department and on-air broadcast graphics departments that support all sports telecasts. Shorthouse is multi award-winning creative director currently in his 23rd year with Turner Sports.
While at Turner Sports, Shorthouse has overseen award-winning print and on-air campaigns for the company’s tent-pole events including NBA on TNT (regular season, playoffs, and All-Star), MLB on TBS (regular season and postseason), the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, and NHL on TNT. Some of his work includes on-air graphics packaging, print campaigns, and location takeovers for Turner Sports Roadshow Activations. Most recently, Shorthouse oversaw on-site and broadcast graphics for 2022 NBA All-Star in Cleveland. This included onsite signage, desk and set design, and animation packaging to tie it all together.
Shorthouse was recently named one of CableFax’s Most Influential Minorities in Cable. He studied graphic design at Georgia State University.
Michael "Spike" Szykowny, ESPN Creative Studios, Animation & Graphics Innovation & Production Design
Michael Szykowny (better known as “Spike”) has been at ESPN for 23 years and is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning senior director of motion graphics and production planning. He leads a group of over 160 designers, animators, and Vizrt artists that create and play out graphics for the family of ESPN networks.
Chung Wu, NBC Sports, Senior Designer
Chung Wu is currently a senior designer at NBC Sports. He works on projects ranging from golf, and NASCAR to the Olympics. Wu enjoys the creative and technical process of design and is always looking for the best ways to incorporate them.