|Darren Denning, Chief Executive Officer, Handi Quilter, Inc.
Darren joined Handi Quilter in 2006 as the CFO/COO and stepped into the role of CEO in June, 2012, when Mark Hyland moved into a position on the Handi Quilter Board of Directors. Darren has played an integral role in developing Handi Quilter’s business model and go-to-market strategy, which has resulted in continuous growth.His responsibilities continue to include oversight of all financial, administrative, legal and information systems operations, in addition to his new duties as CEO.
Prior to joining Handi Quilter, he held various executive level and management level positions at Venafi, an encryption management technology company, and Lineo, an embedded Linux software company. Darren began his career in the Salt Lake City offices of Deloitte and Touche and Ernst & Young. His industry experience includes operations and financial management, legal, contract negotiations, SEC reporting, strategic financial planning, and private and public equity financing.
Darren has bachelor of science and masters degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University and is a licensed certified public accountant.
|Chuck Fresina, Director of Global Business Development
With over sixteen years of experience in the sewing, crafts and quilting industries, Chuck is very proud to be a part of the Handi Quilter team. Handi Quilter is the embodiment of the three key business principals that he believes make a good company, great: Commitment to building a quality product, partnership with their retailers and service to the consumer. Before joining Handi Quilter in 2006, Chuck worked for a major sewing machine manufacturer as a Territory and a Regional Sales Manager.
Chuck was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and now makes his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana University where he earned degrees in Marketing, Finance, Economics and Business.
|Brenda Groelz, Director of Marketing & Education
With more than 25 years in the quilting industry, Brenda has owned a quilt pattern and book publishing company, a quilt tour company, and spent many years teaching and lecturing at guilds and conferences on the national circuit. She knows the typical quilter that Handi Quilter serves because she is one of them.
As a former Editor-in-Chief of Quiltmaker magazine, Brenda has worked in all facets of marketing, from product development to consumer research, and has launched products ranging from special interest publications to digital quilt design collections, and from rulers to longarm quilting machines globally. She has served on NQA, IQA and International Quilt Study Center boards. Her most cherished possession? Three Rolodexes packed full of friends, colleagues and contacts in the quilting industry. Brenda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Education and Journalism from Midland University, Fremont, Nebraska.
|Nate Arnesen, National Sales Manager
Nate joined Handi Quilter in 2012 as the Director of Global Business Development. He is responsible to develop new markets through global distribution and strategic partnerships.
While not a quilter, Nate has spent the last 10 years building businesses in the sister industries of craft and scrapbooking. Nate is a veteran of Provo Craft, BasicGrey, and Lifestyle Crafts where he held various roles including Product Line Manager, VP of Sales and Marketing, and President.
Nate holds Accounting and Management degrees from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Colorado State University.
Nate lives in Lehi, Utah and is happily married with four children. He spends his spare time with his family, golfing, and playing basketball.
|Shelly Withers, VP Finance and Administration
Shelly has over fifteen years of experience in accounting and human resources. Her broad experience includes IT administration, HR, web design and accounting/finance, which gives her the ability to see the whole picture and add value in many areas. Working for more than five years for venture capital companies gave her a foundation in financial reporting, key performance indicators and reporting requirements for investors. She is equally comfortable wearing the multiple hats required by small companies and she had the good fortune to be mentored by a former Director of HR for Franklin Covey.This cumulative experience prepared her for her duties in financial reporting and human resources at Handi Quilter. She was a major contributor to Handi Quilter’s conversion to a more advanced accounting system which has helped them move from a small startup to a professional organization with powerful tracking and reporting tools. Shelly uses her knowledge of software, reporting and financials to successfully complete Handi Quilter’s financial audit each year. As the HR Director, she creates policies and procedures for Handi Quilter.
When not at HQ, Shelly competes in the equine sport of reining and was the treasurer of the Intermountain Reining Horse Association for four years. Though not a quilter, Shelly is very artistic and aspires to be an artistic quilter one day.
|Scott Heiner, VP Operations
Scott joined Hand Quilter as Director of Operations July 9, 2012. His responsibilities include production, shipping/receiving, the warehouse and purchasing.
His operational background includes diverse products from various industries working as a process engineer, project manager, production/quality manager and operations director at Lucas Aerospace, ATK, Petersen Incorporated, Parker Aerospace and Autoliv. Products include jet engine transmissions, actuators, electro-mechanical flight controls, airbags, occupant seat sensors, nuclear waste equipment and water amusement parks. These experiences have qualified him well to direct operations and add to the continuous improvement of processes at Handi Quilter.
Scott claims no artistic ability beyond an eye and appreciation for a well put together process that results in a beautiful outcome including quilts. He has a bachelor of science degree from Weber State University in Manufacturing Engineering Technology.
|Gary Konzak, Director of Engineering
Gary has over 33 years of experience designing embedded computer control products. In his diverse career he has designed and written software for everything from computer keyboards to building control systems. He has designed electronics for semiconductor test and cruise missile support equipment. His experience with regulatory certification has allowed HQ to expand into international markets by assuring HQ products meet all legal requirements in the countries where our retailers operate. In addition, he also has experience in mechanical and packaging design. Gary is the author of two books on computer peripheral design, including an assembler and reverse assembler program. In 2006, Gary left a successful consulting business to help drive the Handi Quilter machine product line into the future.
Although not a quilter, Gary has helped his wife choose fabric, select patterns and tie quilts for family. He supports Handi Quilter’s motto, “Designed by a Quilter, for Quilters” by bouncing new feature and product ideas off the quilters who work at HQ on the education and marketing teams. He is a past vice-president of the student chapter of IEEE. He is active in the Boy Scouts of America where he has received the Second Miler Award and District Award of Merit for his service. Gary graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering Technology from Brigham Young University.
|Richard Eich, Director of Quality Assurance
Richard began working at Handi Quilter in 2006 as a Technical Advisor. His responsibilities included acting as a liaison between engineers and management as well as handling technical support calls from customers. During this time, he took on the added role of project manager for HQ Pro-Stitcher, which was released in 2007. He has helped manage updates and upgrades to HQ Pro-Stitcher since that time. In 2007 as Handi Quilter expanded its engineering program, Richard took on the role of Electronics Design Engineer. In 2015, Richard became the Director of Quality Assurance. He currently directs a team of employees dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of quality in everything from building the finest quilting machines to evaluating parts from vendors and testing cutting-edge software.
Richard earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology with a minor in Manufacturing from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Sarah, reside in Layton, Utah where they are raising five fantastic children.
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