Problem Solvers, First and Foremost

When you partner with a design firm, one of the greatest contributors to success are the people you work with. When you work with MSDS, here are a few of the folks with whom you'll collaborate, and hopefully share more than a few laughs.

Matthew Schwartz, Founder, Director of Strategy

For 18 years, Matt has helped clients create more valuable brand experiences by applying expertise in brand strategy, design, user experience, and content strategy; specializing in interactive brand development. Matt plays a hands-on role in all the work MSDS produces, collaborating with clients and the firm’s teams to make sure business strategy is aligned with execution. A veteran of interactive since 1994, Matt got his start with McCann Erickson’s Compelling Content group, then as a Designer with Young & Rubicam’s interactive division. He later served as Creative Director with interactive agencies Bottle Rocket and Online Retail Partners, before founding MSDS in 2000.
An Associate Member of the Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, Matt's work has been awarded and profiled by The Webbys, Communication Arts, The International Academy of the Visual Arts, Print Magazine and others. He holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College with a dual concentration in Visual Studies and Writing, and conducted post-graduate design studies at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons in New York City.

Ryan Reynolds, Design Director

Since 2002, Ryan has specialized in design strategy, user experience design, and content strategy and creating integrated design systems for clients in nonprofit, academic, energy, healthcare, and finance sectors. As the head of MSDS's design team, Ryan is responsible for aligning brand strategy and design execution, collaborating with MSDS’s clients to develop and execute organization-wide design and content strategies. He's an expert in working with complex, data-driven, technical, and policy content to create simplified design strategies and data visualization that communicate with impact. 

Ryan's work has been widely recognized for excellence with numerous interactive and print design awards. Prior to joining MSDS, Ryan served as a Senior Designer at Korn Design in Boston. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College, and a Certificate in Graphic Design from MassArt.

Niki Hammond, Technical Strategist & Director of Project Management

With over 16 years of experience developing enterprise-level web applications and websites, Niki partners with MSDS's clients and our creative and technical teams to develop interactive strategies, business process optimization, and change management plans. She is the primary liaison between clients and MSDS development team, working closely with each to translate complex technical details into easy-to-understand concepts, while writing detailed specifications that help realize business goals and requirements.

A certified PMP (Project Management Professional), Niki is an expert at increasing efficiency, managing complex schedules and resources to work within budget constraints. Over the course of her career, Niki worked as a Web Developer and Technical Director at Online Retail Partners, UBS, and Girl Scouts of the USA. She holds a BS in Information Systems from Pace University. 

Paul Chamberlain, Senior Producer

Paul is an expert in web development, with 15 years of experience in large-scale design production and workflow development for interactive and print media. As Senior Producer, Paul plays a hands-on role developing client websites, while managing MSDS’s team of front- and back-end developers. Paul brings a passion for technical problem solving and a keen ability for optimizing production and process workflows, specializing in Drupal, Wordpress, and Responsive CSS/(X)HTML and Javascript development. Paul researches and vets all components used in MSDS’s development platforms, mining public code repositories and plugin libraries for the latest open-source development tools to integrate into MSDS’s continuously evolving core CMS installation. Prior to MSDS, Paul spent five years managing the production department of a digital production studio, becoming an expert in workflow management.

Emily Degruchy, Senior UX Designer

Emily offers over 10 years of experience designing interactive experiences and applications, combining expertise in product design, information architecture, process design, user interface design, and product management. She is an expert at interpreting client needs and goals, and applying research and analysis to develop goal-oriented UX strategies. Emily works across MSDS’s strategy, design, and technology teams, uniting brand and user goals into effective online experiences.

Prior to working with MSDS, Emily worked as a User Interface Designer with The Wonderfactory, UX lead with Canopy Commerce and Ruckus Media Group, and as Product Manager for Appinions. Emily earned a BA with a double major in Design and Psychology from Clark University.

Beth Jacobson, Senior Web Developer

Beth brings 17 years of back-end development expertise, designing and building website and web application infrastructure. She takes pride in designing interactive systems that are robust and maintainable, with flexible, scalable data architectures and structured, user-friendly content entry systems. Beth has particular technical expertise in database design, and is an expert in Drupal development, leveraging more than a decade of working in PHP and MySQL to create customized systems that meet the most demanding technical and functional requirements. Before coming to MSDS, Beth had a long and varied career as a contract programmer/developer, designing systems for commercial, industrial, and nonprofit sectors, spanning tools and languages from C++ and Oracle to CSS3 and HTML5.

Ross Berenson, Designer/Developer

For the last 6 years, Ross has applied his skills as a user interface designer and front-end coder to design effective online experiences. Equally well-versed in visual fundamentals as he is coding, Ross combines his expertise in design and front-end web development to create highly usable and engaging interactive experiences. He takes both a visual and technical approach to interactive design, integrating semantic XHTML, CSS, and Javascript with popular server-side platforms to create a seamless user experience on desktop and mobile platforms. He earned his degrees in Communication Arts and Graphic Design from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

Laurel Ames, Designer

Laurel is passionate about design and communication for social causes and nonprofits, reflecting her belief in utilizing design to educate and inspire change in an environment where values and needs are constantly shifting. She brings strong editorial skills to her work, uniting content and design to create mission-driven creative. With MSDS, Laurel specializes in design development across print and interactive, partnering with the creative team to develop and extend brand concepts. Prior to MSDS, Laurel worked as a designer with Designing Hope Studio working with socially-conscious organizations. She holds a BFA in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.  

Michael McKinstry, Project Manager

For the past 6 years, Michael has dedicated himself to assisting nonprofits and universities to attract and retain new donors and supporters by enhancing their outreach and interaction methods. As Project Manager with MSDS, Michael offers both programatic and technical expertise in the planning, execution and deployment of interactive initiatives, events, and campaigns. He is at the hub of MSDS engagements, acting as the lead liaison between client and MSDS teams, ensuring projects are executed within scope, on budget, and on time.

Before joining MSDS, Michael worked at the International Rescue Committee, creating a highly-successful and integrated Donor Cultivation and Stewardship program using online outreach, events, and other direct marketing methods. More recently, with New York University, Michael coordinated High Availability Infrastructure planning in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to ensure that High Performance Computing, Data Services, eResearch, and the Digital Studio had proper Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans in place. Michael graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BA in English and Spanish.

Nathan Manire, Designer

Nathan has over 6 years of experience as a Designer, working for nonprofit, education, and commercial clients. At MSDS Nathan has focused largely on data visualization, information design, icon system development, logo design and illustration, working closely with MSDS’s Design Director and Director of Strategy to create work that communicates with clarity, simplicity and impact. Nathan has a BFA in Graphic Design from Wayne State University, and has studied information design at Malardalen University, Sweden.

Catherine Neckes, Copywriter

For the last 5 years, Catherine has worked as an editor and writer for a wide range of publications and organizations, focusing on culture, travel and nonprofit organizations. She is an expert in both long-form editorial and short-form content development. Catherine helps MSDS's clients develop a strongly-branded voice across interactive and print mediums, offering specialized expertise in content development for social media platforms.

Catherine's prior experience include workng with Paper Magazine, Brooklyn Exposed, and Umbrage Editions. She earned her BA in English from Williams College in Massachussets.  

Angela Ferrante, Research Assistant & Operations

For the last 5 years, Angela has worked in the art and nonprofit worlds in a range of roles, from assisting in day-to-day operations to staff and project support in a variety of settings. Her academic and curatorial background includes experience with data entry, research, and managing digital archives. Angela also worked as a Curatorial Assistant and Digital Archives Assistant at the Brooklyn Museum. With MSDS, Angela provides account support and project operations management, and assists with competitive research and brand and communications audits. She is also the lead manager for project record-keeping oversight and management and billing reconciliation. Angela graduated from New York University with a BA in Art History.