Meet the Team

At The Product Manufactory, we’ve built our team to ensure we have every expertise area accounted for and our toolbox stocked with all of the necessary product development tools. Each member of our carefully selected team brings his or her own unique skills and perspective to each one of our engagements.

Ben Barnes, General Manager, Head of Engineering Ben developed his expertise through over 10 years of intensive engineering work at The University of Illinois, the Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, and field work installing water systems in rural Africa. Ben is a leader who uses his extensive experience in product design and problem solving to deliver successful products to our clients. His ability to quickly sift through the problem at hand and design, test, and execute cost effective programs makes him invaluable to the success of any client. He holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. 

Ben Barnes, General Manager, Head of Engineering

Ben developed his expertise through over 10 years of intensive engineering work at The University of Illinois, the Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, and field work installing water systems in rural Africa.

Ben is a leader who uses his extensive experience in product design and problem solving to deliver successful products to our clients. His ability to quickly sift through the problem at hand and design, test, and execute cost effective programs makes him invaluable to the success of any client. He holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois. 

Mercedes Mane, Managing Partner Mercedes is an expert in managing and launching new products. Her educational background is in Electrical Engineering, from Purdue University, and she received an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois. Mercedes entrepreneurial career began when she founded an electric car company, and then expanded later when became the President and CEO of Oso Technologies in early 2015. She led the company until it was acquired, by The Scotts Miracle Gro Company, where she continues to lead new business development.

Mercedes Mane, Managing Partner

Mercedes is an expert in managing and launching new products. Her educational background is in Electrical Engineering, from Purdue University, and she received an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois. Mercedes entrepreneurial career began when she founded an electric car company, and then expanded later when became the President and CEO of Oso Technologies in early 2015. She led the company until it was acquired, by The Scotts Miracle Gro Company, where she continues to lead new business development.

Dyson Singer, Head of Industrial Design Mac is an industrial designer with a background in design, fabrication, and embedded electrical systems. He has over 10 years of experience designing and developing products for manufacturing. He possesses a unique ability to hold the needs of the user during initial design and prototyping while still thinking in context of a manufacturer. He holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a supplemental degree in embedded electrical systems.

Dyson Singer, Head of Industrial Design

Mac is an industrial designer with a background in design, fabrication, and embedded electrical systems. He has over 10 years of experience designing and developing products for manufacturing. He possesses a unique ability to hold the needs of the user during initial design and prototyping while still thinking in context of a manufacturer.

He holds a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a supplemental degree in embedded electrical systems.

 
Bryan Wilcox, President - Managing Partner Bryan has extensive industry experience at General Electric, Northrup Grumman, and John Deere. He finished his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois in 2011, and decided to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. His first business was an electrical vehicle company where he designed and built, from scratch, a 3-wheeled electric car that achieved 800mpg. Bryan's efforts at the Manufactory are focused on general business leadership, building solid client relationships, and contributing mechanical and manufacturing expertise to project teams.

Bryan Wilcox, President - Managing Partner

Bryan has extensive industry experience at General Electric, Northrup Grumman, and John Deere. He finished his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Illinois in 2011, and decided to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. His first business was an electrical vehicle company where he designed and built, from scratch, a 3-wheeled electric car that achieved 800mpg. Bryan's efforts at the Manufactory are focused on general business leadership, building solid client relationships, and contributing mechanical and manufacturing expertise to project teams.

Kathryn Hudson, Office Administrator Kate keeps operations humming at TPM. When we fold in fulfillment, inventory management, or warranty service for a client, she manages those logistics and makes them work with our internal operations. Kate holds an MS in Quantitative Psychology from Illinois State University.

Kathryn Hudson, Office Administrator

Kate keeps operations humming at TPM. When we fold in fulfillment, inventory management, or warranty service for a client, she manages those logistics and makes them work with our internal operations. Kate holds an MS in Quantitative Psychology from Illinois State University.

Marc Yanni, Fabricator On a small team with diverse prototyping needs, Marc has developed a breadth of many different fabrication skill sets. He holds a degree in industrial technology, but on any given day his title is CAD Designer, Machinist, Model Maker, Electrician, Welder … etc. Marc joined TPM in 2013 and, if you’ve had a high quality prototype come out of our shop since then, he’s had a hand in it.

Marc Yanni, Fabricator

On a small team with diverse prototyping needs, Marc has developed a breadth of many different fabrication skill sets. He holds a degree in industrial technology, but on any given day his title is CAD Designer, Machinist, Model Maker, Electrician, Welder … etc. Marc joined TPM in 2013 and, if you’ve had a high quality prototype come out of our shop since then, he’s had a hand in it.

 
Andrea Vella, Junior Electronics Engineer Andrea interned with TPM during her undergraduate physics program and continued full time after graduation.  She’s built impressive electronics design abilities on a foundation of solid physics fundamentals and has become a well-rounded embedded device engineer.

Andrea Vella, Junior Electronics Engineer

Andrea interned with TPM during her undergraduate physics program and continued full time after graduation.  She’s built impressive electronics design abilities on a foundation of solid physics fundamentals and has become a well-rounded embedded device engineer.

Armela Mane, Electrical Design Armela contributes a unique mix of technical skill and marketing ability, she works on both electronics development and marketing strategy. In addition to her significant technical skills in robotics, Armela is passionate about consumer products, whether shopping for them or creating them, often contributing insight beyond the engineering development.  She received her BS in Electrical Engineering at Purdue, and rejoined us recently after completing an MBA where she added additional marketing expertise to her arsenal.

Armela Mane, Electrical Design

Armela contributes a unique mix of technical skill and marketing ability, she works on both electronics development and marketing strategy. In addition to her significant technical skills in robotics, Armela is passionate about consumer products, whether shopping for them or creating them, often contributing insight beyond the engineering development.  She received her BS in Electrical Engineering at Purdue, and rejoined us recently after completing an MBA where she added additional marketing expertise to her arsenal.

Brent Wagner, Brand and Design Director Brent’s expertise lies in design, he thinks for the user and creates the best product experience possible. His pragmatic design process is informed by past experience as an Art Director for Ogilvy and Mather and also as Brand and Design Director for the recently acquired startup, PlantLink. He graduated in 2011 from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois.

Brent Wagner, Brand and Design Director

Brent’s expertise lies in design, he thinks for the user and creates the best product experience possible. His pragmatic design process is informed by past experience as an Art Director for Ogilvy and Mather and also as Brand and Design Director for the recently acquired startup, PlantLink. He graduated in 2011 from the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois.

 
Michael Mahoney, RF Engineer Mike works as a radio frequency electrical engineer. He received his MSEE at UIUC in 1986, with an emphasis on microwave theory and design. He started his professional career designing microwave subsystems at Watkins-Johnson, then located in the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA. From there, he went to his first start-up, CellNet Data Systems (now part of Schlumberger), designing radio transceivers for use in data collection from wireless utility meters. In 1998, he joined another start up, Clarity Wireless, which was a pioneer in using OFDM signaling and multiple antennas for high data rate wireless communication. Later that year, Clarity was acquired by Cisco, where Mike continued working on OFDM radio transceiver design, including those used in the Aironet brand of Cisco WiFi access points.

Michael Mahoney, RF Engineer

Mike works as a radio frequency electrical engineer. He received his MSEE at UIUC in 1986, with an emphasis on microwave theory and design. He started his professional career designing microwave subsystems at Watkins-Johnson, then located in the Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, CA. From there, he went to his first start-up, CellNet Data Systems (now part of Schlumberger), designing radio transceivers for use in data collection from wireless utility meters. In 1998, he joined another start up, Clarity Wireless, which was a pioneer in using OFDM signaling and multiple antennas for high data rate wireless communication. Later that year, Clarity was acquired by Cisco, where Mike continued working on OFDM radio transceiver design, including those used in the Aironet brand of Cisco WiFi access points.

Lucian Bontumasi, Junior Embedded Systems Engineer Lucian started working with TPM two years ago and is part way through a BS in Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois. His interest and expertise stretch all the way back to high school where he worked in computer repair for a year and was a Coding intern at a mobile device management company. Lucian knows more about software development and embedded architectures than anyone has any right to at his age and his coding skills have been critical on multiple projects.

Lucian Bontumasi, Junior Embedded Systems Engineer

Lucian started working with TPM two years ago and is part way through a BS in Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois. His interest and expertise stretch all the way back to high school where he worked in computer repair for a year and was a Coding intern at a mobile device management company. Lucian knows more about software development and embedded architectures than anyone has any right to at his age and his coding skills have been critical on multiple projects.

Steve Platt, Senior Embedded Systems Engineer Steve has been working with TPM for four years. His work here focuses on embedded software development, but his experience and the perspective he provides is incredibly broad. He received a B.A. in physics and astronomy from Williams College in 1983, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago in 1984 and 1991, respectively, and an M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska in 2003. He was a Farr Research Fellow and a NASA Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Chicago. He was a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was also a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. He later served for five years as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His past projects include biomedical sensors, surgical robotics and medical devices, mechatronics, and instrument development for astrophysics applications.

Steve Platt, Senior Embedded Systems Engineer

Steve has been working with TPM for four years. His work here focuses on embedded software development, but his experience and the perspective he provides is incredibly broad. He received a B.A. in physics and astronomy from Williams College in 1983, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago in 1984 and 1991, respectively, and an M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska in 2003. He was a Farr Research Fellow and a NASA Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Chicago. He was a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was also a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. He later served for five years as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His past projects include biomedical sensors, surgical robotics and medical devices, mechatronics, and instrument development for astrophysics applications.

 
Vespa, Human Relations

Vespa, Human Relations

 

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