Staff Profiles

Hailing from across the U.S. and around the world, the staff of the REC Foundation works to inspire the next generation of STEM students.

Human Resources
Regional Support

Dan Mantz

CEO and Chairman of the Board

Dan Mantz is CEO and Chairman of the Board for the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation. He is responsible for the long-term strategy, structure, and fiscal health of the organization. He acts as a direct liaison between the REC Foundation and the Board. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Dan was President of RackSolutions for four years and spent 19 years in the industrial robotics industry at FANUC Robotics.

Location: Texas

Brad Lauer

Senior Director, Operations

Brad Lauer manages fundraising and sponsorship activities for the REC Foundation. Brad is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of technology, web, and IT projects. Additionally, he serves as the Executive Producer of the VEX Robotics World Championship. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Brad was the Senior Manager, Education Channel Development at VEX Robotics, Inc.

Location: Texas

Tarek Shraibati

Senior Director, Programs

Tarek Shraibati works closely with the CEO and senior management to oversee the Foundation’s programs.  He is responsible for supervising the Directors of Regional Operation and Global Competition to assure that REC Foundation programs are delivered in a consistent and well run manner.  Tarek has over 20 years of experience in competitive robotics programs and joined the REC Foundation after 27 years teaching engineering at university. 

Location: California

Jim Crane

Director of Global Competition and Strategic Initiatives

Jim Crane works closely with the CEO to execute the strategic vision of the REC Foundation. He is responsible for directing programs that provide support to areas of need across all programs. He is the main point of contact for multiple partnerships and a member of the Program Design Committee. Before joining the REC Foundation, Jim was a physics teacher for 16 years in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

Location: Pennsylvania

Mike Martus

Director of Regional Operations

Mike Martus is responsible for supervision of Regional Support Managers and oversees the organization’s League Play program. Mike works closely with the CEO to ensure that VEX Robotics Competition events are delivered in a consistent and well-executed manner in the countries where the programs are delivered. He joined the REC Foundation after spending 37 years as a high school Vocational Robotics Educator.

Location: Michigan

Andy Schaafs

Director of Regional Operations

Andy Schaafs is responsible for supervision of Regional Support Managers (RSMs) in the South and Southeast US while also fostering the foundation’s partnership with Project Lead the Way. He works closely with the Senior Director of Programs and the RSMs to encourage the discovery and growth of Event Partners so that students can participate in multiple VEX Robotics Competition events of the highest quality. Andy comes from a 20-year background in chemical engineering, STEM education, and CTE/STEM project management with an emphasis on robotics and PLTW.

Location: Texas

Charla Pittman

Director of Operations

Charla Pittman oversees the daily operations for the REC Foundation, supervises the Greenville, Texas, office staff and leads the event planning for our annual signature events. Before joining the REC Foundation, Charla was a paralegal for a Dallas law firm and has held multiple positions within the public school system’s PTA and PTO as well as the Boy Scouts of America.

Location: Texas

Lauren Bannister

Human Resources Coordinator

Lauren serves as the main human resources point of contact for REC Foundation staff, contractors, and outside parties. Before joining the REC Foundation, she worked in human resources and recruiting in both the automotive and staffing industries. She is also fluent in Spanish from spending several years in Spain where she taught English in both schools and STEM camps.

Location: Texas

Amy Magazzu

Graphic Designer

Amy Magazzu provides graphic design for the Development and Communications departments. Before joining the REC Foundation she worked as part of a publication/design team for a scientific magazine and freelancing. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts, with over 11 years experience in the graphic design field.

Location: Massachusetts

Ashley Barrow

Office Administrator

Ashley is responsible for providing logistical support and assistance with day-to-day operations in the Greenville office. She also assists customers with their various needs.

Location: Texas

Brent Gray

Corporate Program Manager

Brent Gray is responsible for maintaining positive, lasting relationships with the organization’s local, national, and international alumni and sponsors. Before joining the REC Foundation, Brent worked for the Foundation for a professional sports franchise in Dallas that uses sports to change the lives of youth through physical education programs and STEM curriculum.

Location: Texas

Daniel Benavides

Operations Coordinator

Daniel Benavides assists the operations team with day-to-day logistics and handles shipping/receiving for the Greenville office.

Location: Texas

Jay Allbritton

Content Coordinator

Jay Allbritton worked as a cataloger at an academic library and as a writer, editor, and blogger before joining the REC Foundation.

Location: Florida

Karina Chavez

Administrative Assistant

Karina Chavez provides customer service and assistance with day-to-day operations in the Greenville,TX office.

Location: Texas

Leslie Cruse

Government & Regional Grants Coordinator


Leslie Cruse is responsible for the management of our Regional Grants Program and working with state and government initiatives to further the mission of REC Foundation. Before joining the REC Foundation, Leslie spent 13 years at Jacksonville State University, most recently working as a project coordinator for the Math and Science Initiative.

Location: Alabama

Leslie Hughes

Grants Program Manager

Leslie Hughes is responsible for performing research to identify potential opportunities for grant funding from government agencies and foundations to meet the financial and operational needs of the REC Foundation and then facilitating the process of writing the grant proposals. Previously, she was a grant writer for nonprofits and for her own consulting firm and has been involved with nonprofit grant writing for over 10 years.

Location: Texas

Nancy McIntyre

Community Innovation Manager

Nancy McIntyre joined the foundation in the summer of 2012 after a 23-year career as a teacher, administrator, coach, and robotics mentor. As a credentialed educator, she has helped to develop the foundation’s online curriculum, the engineering notebooks, and has worked with teachers around the world to empower them to successfully incorporate VEX Robotics teams on their school campuses. Additional foundation initiatives that Nancy has played a role in developing include the Online Challenges, the STEM Hall of Fame, and Girl Powered.

Location: California

Ruby Pontbriand

Marketing Communications Coordinator

Ruby Pontbriand is responsible for executing the organization’s overall messaging and branding through printed and online materials, and across social media channels. Prior to joining the REC Foundation, Ruby managed event communications, email marketing, social media, and internal and external communications in the local real estate community.

Location: Massachusetts

Victoria Carter

Accounting Manager

Victoria Carter is responsible for day-to-day accounting functions. Victoria attended Kapiolani Community College and Tennessee Tech University and has 15 years of full cycle accounting experience.

Location: Texas

Melinda Henderson

Accounting Specialist

Melinda Henderson is responsible for customer service as well as providing logistical support and assistance with day-to-day operations in our Greenville office.

Location: Texas

Ashley Phipps

Regional Support Manager


Ashley Phipps is joined the REC Foundation after a career in web development, information technology, and education. She has been a teacher and an established VEX Robotics coach for 5 years as well as a prominent Event Partner within the state of Florida.

Location: Florida

Ben Mitchell

Regional Support Manager


Ben Mitchell joined the REC Foundation in the summer of 2018 and has an extensive background as a former robotics team advisor, event coordinator, and volunteer in a myriad of roles.

Location: New Jersey

Bill Ryno

Regional Support Manager


Bill Ryno joined REC Foundation after 30 years working in industrial technology, technical writing, and technical training. He also served several seasons as Robotics Coordinator for 14 teams, coach/mentor for VEX robotics teams, and Event Partner for robotics events.

Location: Wisconsin

Carol Kujawa

Regional Support Manager


Carol joined the REC Foundation after ten years with the CREATE Foundation where she managed robotics events, conducted coaches training, and provided planning and implementation support for regional robotics championships and the U.S. Open Robotics Championship. She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and an automation and process control industry background in international business development, strategic sales, and marketing management.

Location: Colorado

Cheryl Burley Rausch

Regional Support Manager


Cheryl Rausch has 11 years of experience with competitive robotics working previously for the CREATE Foundation where she managed and supervised multiple areas of the U.S. Open Robotics Championship; such as Volunteer Coordinator, Team Registration, and Judging. Cheryl has also assisted with planning and support of robotics camps.

Location: Nebraska

Connan Bartl

Regional Support Manager


Before joining the REC Foundation, Connan taught at both the High School and the Community College level in Math and CTE/STEM for over two decades. He coached students in Skills USA and Ford AAA competitions at the Regional, State, and National levels.

Location: Nevada

Dan Troy

Regional Support Manager


Dan Troy provides regional support for New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Delmarva. He started his robotics journey back in 2002 with FLL and has competed in or mentored in a variety of robotics competitions including FRC, SeaPerch, VEX EDR, VEX U, and VEX IQ Challenge.

Location: Pennsylvania

Diana Fultz

Regional Support Manager


Diana Fultz joined the REC Foundation after 14 years as a middle school science and math teacher, as well as serving as robotics coach. She has a Master of Education in mathematics curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Location: Louisiana

Dylon Caudill

Regional Support Manager


Dylon Caudill joined the REC Foundation after competing in VEX Robotics for three seasons. Dylon worked as a LAN Administrator providing technology and systems support.

Location: Ohio

John Gilligan

Regional Support Manager


John Gilligan joined the REC Foundation after a career as an information technology professional and entrepreneur. John has mentored numerous robotics teams at all levels of competition, served as an Event Partner, and worked to engage more students through initiatives on a regional level.

Location: Michigan

Grant Cox

VEX Global Competition Manager

Grant Cox oversees the international VEX competition support team and also serves as the Chairman of the VEX Game Design Committee. He has been involved in robotics since 2007 at all levels of competition, from student to mentor and volunteer to event planner. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and previously held the title of VEX Robotics Marketing Manager for four years.

Location: Texas

Bridie Gaynor

VEX Competition Support Manager

Europe, Africa, Middle East

Bridie Gaynor is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Location: UK

Jason Kang

VEX Competition Support Manager

Asia Pacific

Jason Kang is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams in Asia Pacific. He has a Master’s degree in Mechatronic Engineering and worked as an engineer for many years.

Location: China

Eli Osornio

VEX Customer Service Manager

Latin America

Eli Osornio has been with VEX Robotics for six years and is responsible for sales and competition support in Latin America. He joined VEX as a technician and currently serves as Customer Service Manager specializing in Latin American sales. Eli is originally from Mexico and speaks fluent English and Spanish.

Location: Texas

Richard Seniuk

VEX Competition Support Manager


Richard Seniuk is responsible for supporting VEX events and teams in Canada. He was the head mentor and coach for a high school robotics team in Ontario for 11 years. As a VEX Event Partner, he started the first VRC tournament in Ottawa, actively grew the number of teams in the area, and has been a VEX Worlds volunteer since 2013.

Location: Ontario

Crystal Zhang

VEX Competition Support Manager

Asia Pacific

Crystal Zhang is responsible for VEX events and team registration in the Asia Pacific region.

Location: China

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