How can our lives benefit from the products we design?

We ask “Why?”

The question that is asked every day around Uncorked is “Why?” “Why are we making this?” “Why would anyone care?” “Why did this work?” “Why did that fail?” “What problem are we solving?” It all begs the question “Why do we spend so much energy asking why?” We do it because it means everything is guided by reason, information and an obsession to understand how to best solve each problem set we wrestle with. Because we haven’t found a better way to stress test our thinking, creating, and teamwork. And, most importantly, because we know it works.

We turn theories into things.

We understand it’s critical to debate, discuss and deliberate before we start designing, making and testing. That said, turning something theoretical into something actual is what we do best. This is when our breadth of experience, skills and passion for producing both traditional and experimental products stops being a conversation and turns into a real, live thing. And once things are working, we push the boundaries - whether we’re talking about code, electronics or design. By searching for, and overstepping, the edges, we can learn exactly how far an idea is capable of going.

We are open.

At Uncorked we share ideas, inspiration, and advice with each other and the communities we are a part of. But more importantly, we include our clients in our thinking, our hypotheses and solutions as part of our core process. We’ve found this openness prompts everybody to share vital information, context, insights and other tools. The more open we are with our ideas, the more they grow and gain interest, contribution, and momentum - the stuff that makes a good idea turn into a well designed, useful product.

We speak human.

We deal with complexity, and we thrive on the intricate conversations involved in untangling it, but if we can’t explain our solution in a simple way to our friends, family or a barista at Water Avenue Coffee, our work is not finished. There’s always a complicated way to do something. We take pride in making the complex simple.

We are specialists. And generalists.

One thing everyone does at Uncorked is a lot more than one thing. We pride ourselves on each having a broad skillset that we enjoy applying in new ways on every project. The proof of this versatility lies in the range of work we do. Our unique variety of capabilities means we can do business strategy, product design, branding, startup launches, non-profit work and just about whatever else inspires us.

Our people

  • Marcelino Alvarez

    Marcelino Alvarez

    Chief Executive Officer

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    Marcelino Alvarez

    Marcelino Alvarez

    Chief Executive Officer

    Marcelino J. Alvarez is founder and CEO of Uncorked Studios, where his responsibilities include shaping the company’s vision and strategy, business development, and community outreach.

    Prior to Uncorked, Marcelino served as Executive Interactive Producer at Wieden+Kennedy Portland, where he worked on Old Spice, Electronic Arts, Laika, and Nike. His work on the Nike Chalkbot illuminated new possibilities for how people interact with technology. The project was a rare opportunity to bridge the divide between digital, physical, brands and people. The quest for similar opportunities led to the founding of Uncorked Studios.

    Prior to Wieden+Kennedy, Marcelino was one of the first Integrated Interactive Producers at Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami. He produced award-winning digital campaigns for VW, Coke Zero, Virgin Atlantic, and MINI USA.

    Marcelino attended Duke University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and a received a certificate in Film & Video Production.

  • David Evans

    David Evans

    Chief Technical Officer

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    David Evans

    David Evans

    Chief Technical Officer

    David grew up in Pittsburgh, PA through the leanest years for that city’s fortunes, and also had the questionable fortune to graduate from college at the beginning of the dot com bust. As a result of both, David has learned how to thrive within a “can’t do” environment.

    Having managed tech teams on shoestring budgets, his approach to technology is that sometimes the best solution may be to think harder and more honestly about a problem before moving, rather than to run at the biggest price tag or the hottest buzzword. This experience across platforms has allowed him to stay up to date on the changing landscape while keeping the baggage over time limited to concepts and best practices.

    He firmly believes that technologies are like fashion - there are fads, forever classic styles, and outliers like the piano-key neck tie. He has an expansive understanding of technologies ranging from web and software, to hardware. His approach to technology is to identify what the difference between “impossible” and “very hard” is.

    He brings with him a history of lean startup life, having managed tech teams both local and remote for companies such as ModCloth, Intridea, and DeepLocal.

    David is a former adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh where he taught mobile application development to graduating seniors. This further solidified his approach to technology as a set of skills beyond a simple single solution and helped him to further hone his communication skills.

    He has two dogs, Alfie and Charlie, who are his closest allies.

  • David Ewald

    David Ewald

    Chief Creative Officer

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    David Ewald

    David Ewald

    Chief Creative Officer

    David Ewald is Chief Creative Officer at Uncorked Studios. A founding member of the company, David leads the team to pursue design excellence across all Uncorked projects. His tenacity for user-centered design remains the core belief that inspires our team to build products that make life designed.

    David has helped shape the strategy and design vision for Uncorked’s clients including LEGO, Samsung, Intel, and Google Creative Lab. Additionally, David provided his branding expertise to Safecast, an organization co-founded by Uncorked Studios following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. His previous work for Target, Cartoon Network, Nike, HP and Matador Records built a foundation for his unique blend of entrepreneurship and interaction design.

    David is an accomplished photographer, and spends his spare time seeking opportunities to document narratives in and around the Pacific Northwest. He is originally from Wisconsin and lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, with his wife and son.

  • John Furukawa

    John Furukawa

    Chief Operating Officer

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    John Furukawa

    John Furukawa

    Chief Operating Officer

    John is Chief Operating Officer at Uncorked Studios.

    John draws from a background of building and managing consumer software products and services in both established company and startup environments to operate Uncorked’s business, contribute consumer-focused strategy and UX, and produce technical projects.

    Prior to Uncorked, John helped launch and iterate Whrrl, a Kleiner-Perkins funded social location-sharing mobile platform lead by ex-Amazon, Yahoo, and RealNetworks executives. Before that, John helped shape the early mobile entertainment landscape at RealNetworks, building RealPlayer for mobile phones to first enable streaming audio and video technology and later launching and operating mobile music and entertainment services for both consumer and white-label markets. He worked with most mobile technologies, manufacturers, and operators.

    John is passionate about providing value and building trust, for users, clients, and our team. He lives in NE Portland with his wife Abby, son Oscar, and dog Martin. He loves food carts, spreadsheets, and quick-witted colleagues.

    John received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

  • James Keller

    James Keller

    Executive Director of Semiotics

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    James Keller

    James Keller

    Executive Director of Semiotics

    James Keller is an inquisitive outgoing introvert.

    She has been finding ways to interpret how the world works for other companies for more than 20 years, giving her the ability to articulate the why, who and how behind any project. Most recently, she was funemployed for a summer, recuperating from a 3-year-stint as the director of mobile user experience at @WalmartLabs. There she managed several dozen designers, design researchers and prototypers to create 12 different products across three markets. She found her way to Walmart after Small Society (a company that she owned and co-founded) was acquired. Small Society made the first branded apps for companies like Starbucks, Whole Foods and Amazon. Before that, she was a designer and strategist at many agencies (including Wieden+Kennedy where she met our CEO, Marcelino), working on accounts like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Laika.

    James’ goal is to make sense of the chaos of our business. At Uncorked, she uses this talent to understand the client problems that we are trying to solve, how our studio relates to the community and how our people relate to each other. She approaches all of these like a design problem, facilitating teams into articulating and achieving a shared vision.

    During her free time, you can find James working on her tomato garden, reading fiction books in a hammock and hanging out with her family. She also works as a mentor with various startups through organizations like the Portland Incubator Experiment.

    Side note, she was a junior police officer when she was ten and once had a stint as a paid GoGo dancer for a weekend. She also played rugby in college and was the handstand champion in the state of Hawaii in 1987. Basically, we know who not to mess with in the office.

    And yes, despite a name that would lead you to believe otherwise, James is most definitely a girl.

  • Avery Pollick

    Avery Pollick

    Executive Managing Director

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    Avery Pollick

    Avery Pollick

    Executive Managing Director

    Avery Pollick is an insightful, observant and delightfully forthright ex-New Yorker.

    With her extensive background doing a mix of product and account positions for about 14 years, she is able to make the ownership, direction and vision for any business or product easier to wrangle in any situation. Most recently, Avery worked as the managing director for a UK-based insight and strategy firm and established its first U.S operations in New York. Before that, she spent more than 10 years as a producer, account manager and product lead at companies like Google, R/GA and Firstborn working on global products including Nike+ Fuelband, Nikeplus.com, Google’s “30 Weeks” Program and Google Small Business Products.

    Avery’s goal is to keep the Uncorked ship afloat and going full speed ahead while also marrying the team’s personality, perspective and creativity in a way that unifies all of our work. She also creates an environment where cross-functional teams, clients and stakeholders can truly collaborate. At Uncorked, she manages the product partnership and production teams while partnering with our operations and semiotics teams to maintain a consistent business experience for everyone.

    When she isn’t at the office, you can find Avery chasing her hyperactive two-year-old around the house, exercising like a fiend and spending time outside. She is also constantly trying to catch her ‘enthusiastic’ husband on his cycling, running, surfing and snowboarding adventures.

    Side note, Avery has competed in a couple Olympic-length triathlons and is currently trying to master the art of intricate desserts—all while welcoming her new child (the fourth member of the Pollick clan) to the world. Who said that doing BurnCycle in your 39th week of pregnancy is crazy? Yeah, she’s nuts, but we love her.

  • Audrina De Moss-Steyn

    Audrina De Moss-Steyn

    Office Assistant
    Audrina De Moss-Steyn

    Audrina De Moss-Steyn

    Office Assistant

  • Annie DeYoung

    Annie DeYoung

    Senior Producer
    Annie DeYoung

    Annie DeYoung

    Senior Producer

  • Ali Gary

    Ali Gary

    Designer

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    Ali Gary

    Ali Gary

    Designer

    Ali Gary’s personality exudes a quiet confidence that makes the work she does look almost effortless.

    With her specialized design background, she brings a keen eye for scale and proportion to projects in both the physical and digital realm. Before Uncorked, Ali interned down the hall at Laundry Studio where she designed everything from wallpaper to athletic wear, doing some work for Old Navy.

    Ali is a natural with typography and also surface design, which deals with creating designs that are printed onto actual surfaces, not just making the patterns themselves. At Uncorked, she thinks beyond design and bases her work on the product as a whole—balancing her instincts with experimentation to solve problems.

    When she isn’t at work, you can find Ali combing the world for inspiration. She finds it almost anywhere, such as when wandering around Portland to check out boutiques and artists, venturing outside of the city, or even watching tv at home.

    Side note, Ali considers herself a minimalist and never wears sneakers or athletic wear of any kind. Needless to say, she brings an uncommon charm to the studio.

  • Miguel Higgins-Moy

    Miguel Higgins-Moy

    Lab Assistant

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    Miguel Higgins-Moy

    Miguel Higgins-Moy

    Lab Assistant

    Miguel Higgins-Moy is a rare type of experimenter.

    His interest in learning how to solve problems from a young age has led him to be a valuable member of the Uncorked team today. In the midst of spending his time here with us, he is currently at PSU earning his electrical engineering degree. In 8th grade he joined First Robotics, an organization that gives K-12 students access to mentor-based programs to build science, engineering and technology skills. He has been both a student and mentor in the program for the last eight years. Most recently, he held an internship at AutoDesk where he built and fixed 3D printers and worked with various computer-aided design programs.

    Miguel’s goal is to experiment with different processes to improve the workflow for future projects—he is always preparing the hardware lab for what could come next. At Uncorked, he works alongside Josh, our director of prototype labs, to make things. This ranges from creating our in-house seltzer water to building physical prototypes for clients.

    When Miguel isn’t at work, you can find him playing with quadcopters or drones, 3D printing, making Pad Thai and hanging out with his cat and fiancé.

    Side note, Miguel used to play the violin in middle school and wanted to be a pilot when he grew up—he also used to be really into PC games like Battlefield and Portal. All we can say is, he is destined for great things, and we’re grateful to have his talent and optimism to help us turn thoughts into things in the interim.

  • Stephanie Hudson

    Stephanie Hudson

    Human Resources Manager

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    Stephanie Hudson

    Stephanie Hudson

    Human Resources Manager

    Stephanie joined Uncorked as Office Manager in the summer of 2014.

    From Amsterdam to New York to Portland, Stephanie is pleased to bring her operational chops to the Portland area and keep Uncorked Studios running smoothly. With over 12 years of office management experience, Stephanie has an obsession for organization and love for Northwest wines. When she isn’t enjoying a bottle of wine with good friends, you will find her relaxing or working on a creative project.

    Stephanie received her Bachelor of Science in Management, Human Resources Management, Supply and Logistics Management and minor in Design Management from Portland State University.

  • Cindie Kellner

    Cindie Kellner

    Finance Manager

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    Cindie Kellner

    Cindie Kellner

    Finance Manager

  • Katarina Rich

    Katarina Rich

    Associate Technical Director of Mobile

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    Katarina Rich

    Katarina Rich

    Associate Technical Director of Mobile

    Kat Rich is the perfect combination of modesty and excellence.

    With a background focused on Android development, she is able to build mobile apps that are both functionally beautiful and user-friendly. Before her time with us, she worked as a research assistant making user interfaces for an app called iPrefer, which allowed people to enter in their preferences for certain products and get suggestions on what to buy, such as a certain make and model of car. Kat also worked as a teaching assistant at Iowa State University, helping students learn the art of coding.

    Kat’s goal is to write software that brings the work of designers to life in a smart, feasible way. She has a knack for developing in a way that allows for quick prototyping (because her code is easy to experiment with and flexible) but it is also thorough enough that it’s ready to launch.

    When Kat is outside of the office, you can find her playing with her parakeets Broccoli and Herbert, gardening various fruits and veggies, going to yoga or watching Netflix. She is also excellent at cooking/baking, as evidenced by her domination of multiple cookie challenges at the office.

    Side note, Kat went to the national championships for softball when she was 10 and went to all-state for choir in high school. She is also an originator of Little Friday, our once-a-month office ritual that involves spending a Thursday afternoon in unexpected ways. In her free time, she enjoys studying random things, like how to properly take care of and style curly hair—so we know who to call on a bad hair day.

  • Nick Parish

    Nick Parish

    Editorial Director

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    Nick Parish

    Nick Parish

    Editorial Director

  • Jason Strand

    Jason Strand

    Associate Design Director

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    Jason Strand

    Jason Strand

    Associate Design Director

    Jason wears one hat. Every day. Except, inexplicably, on the day this picture was taken. But as a member of the Uncorked team, Jason wears many, many hats. He’s part visual designer, part art director, part experience designer and part B.S. detector. He brings 15+ years of award-winning creative and technological experience to Uncorked, most recently at W+K Portland, and is thrilled to see what comes next. He also brings R&B slow jams, Louie the Boston Terrier and, when he remembers it, his lunch. The one thing he NEVER forgets, though, is his hat.

  • Charles Vestal

    Charles Vestal

    Head of Production

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    Charles Vestal

    Charles Vestal

    Head of Production

    Charles is the Head of Production at Uncorked Studios, working to iterate on process, communication, and tools to deliver awesome products for our awesome clients. Hailing from Texas, he brings a background in digital art, web development, product management, and sausage-making that inform the creative production process in unique and delicious ways.

    He has been helping creative teams create engaging software full-time since 2009, and breaking those things since slightly prior. With projects spanning Disney, Fox, Google, General Motors, and others, he brings a user-focused philosophy to his work, aiming to please clients by pleasing their audience. People seem to dig it.

    When not at Uncorked, he can be found re-watching one of the Star Trek series while most likely cooking something involving a potato. Charles is a collector of musical instruments (11), tiki mugs (23), and OK Cola ephemera (1 complete set of cans and bottles). He and his wife have a dog named after a fish, a dog named after a lady (who was named after a bird), and two lovely, lovely bikes.

    You can find pictures of his recent meals at https://instagram.com/charlesv/

  • Adrian Harris Crowne

    Adrian Harris Crowne

    Contributor
    Adrian Harris Crowne

    Adrian Harris Crowne

    Contributor

People are at the center of everything we build at Uncorked. From research and strategy to design and development, our world revolves around creating products that make life better for the people they touch. It’s this focus that connects every member of the Uncorked team and as we grow, we continue to seek people who view design and technology the same way. Sound like you?

Careers at Uncorked