Jesse Schell


Since starting Schell Games in 2002, Jesse has grown it into the largest and most successful game development company in Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, Schell Games has produced an amazing array of innovative, family-friendly entertainment experiences including the Disney Fairies MMO, Pixie Hollow, the award-winning Toy Story Mania TV Game, and some of the most popular interactive theme park attractions in the world.

Jesse also currently holds a faculty position as Professor at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches classes in Game Design and serves as advisor on a multitude of innovative projects. Since 2006, Professor Schell has taught the Building Virtual Worlds class, created by ETC Co-Founder and The Last Lecture author, Randy Pausch.

Jesse authored the critically acclaimed book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. The book captured Game Developer magazine’s coveted “Front Line Award” for 2008. A second edition of the book was published in November 2014.

Prior to starting Schell Games, Jesse was the Creative Director of the Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio, where he worked and played for seven years as designer, programmer, and manager on numerous projects for Disney theme parks and DisneyQuest.

He is perhaps most celebrated for his design of Disney’s Toontown Online, the first massively multiplayer game for kids. Toontown Online has won several awards, including the following:
  • Computer Gaming World – “2003 MMORPG Game of the Year”
  • Webby Awards – “2003 People’s Voice Award, Kids Category”
  • Parents’ Choice Foundation – “2003 Silver Honor”
  • Children’s Software Review – “2003 All Star Software Award”
  • WiredKids – “2005 Safe Gaming Award”
  • 2005 Webby Awards – “Webby Worthy Selection Award”
In addition to his award-winning work at The Walt Disney Company, Jesse has achieved numerous accomplishments, including the following:
  • Received the Carnegie Science Award in the Entrepreneur category (2015)
  • Chosen as a SMART 50 Award winner (2014)
  • Selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009 Finalist for Upstate NY, Western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia region
  • Named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by MIT’s Technology Review (2004)
  • Served as Director and Chairman of the International Game Developers Association (2003-2005)
  • Lead designer of “2001 Thea Award” winner, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Buccaneer Gold, a virtual reality attraction within Disney’s theme park
  • Cut his technical teeth as a Software Engineer for IBM and Bell Communications Research
  • Earned a Master’s Degree in Information Networking from Carnegie Mellon University
  • Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)
  • Plied his creative skills as writer, director, performer, juggler, comedian, and circus artist for both Freihofer’s Mime Circus and the Juggler’s Guild
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Jake Witherell


Jake Witherell is Chief Operating Officer of Schell Games, where he oversees the operations and business development efforts of the company. Finance, marketing, legal, human resources, IT, and facilities management are among the departments he manages in this position.

Jake has over 20 years of experience in founding, managing, advising, and investing in companies within the technology, telecommunications, retail, and business services industries. He was previously a co-founder and Managing Partner of M Park Capital, a private investment firm focused on acquiring and operating lower middle market companies.

Prior to M Park Capital, Jake served as Chief Operating Officer of a division of PGi (NYSE:PGI), a leading global provider of collaboration software and solutions. Prior to PGi, Jake held the position of Chief Operating Officer of Netspoke, Inc., an integrated web and audio conferencing service provider. Netspoke was twice named to the prestigious INC 500, a list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.

Before Netspoke, Jake was co-founder and President of iMeet, Inc., an internet communications service provider. There he grew it into a $10MM company and oversaw its successful merger with audio conferencing provider Netspoke, Inc. Jake also was the VP of Marketing and Business Development at internet start-up SneakerLabs, Inc.

Recently Jake was appointed to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission (ELIC), a group that advocates for quality early childhood education and care. He currently serves on the board of the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art and HeartPrints Center for Early Education. In the past, he has been a Director of iMeet, Netspoke, and M Park Capital. Jake holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He also earned a certification from the Entrepreneurial Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Chuck Hoover


Chuck is the Chief Production Officer (CPO) at Schell Games. With over a decade of experience forging cross-disciplinary teams, his passion lies with building partnerships and setting the tone for the development logistics of the studio.

He has managed Schell Games’ relationships with clients such as Disney, Facebook, Oculus, Microsoft, Google, Sea World, Universal Studios, Yale, and Electronic Arts among others. Chuck has been the lead studio producer on numerous theme park attraction projects, MMO’s, VR, and mobile experiences and continues to shape the future of Schell Games as one of the largest independent game studios in the world. 

In addition to his role at Schell Games, Chuck is also Adjunct Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center graduate program, teaching Production & Leadership.

Chuck graduated from Virginia Tech magna cum laude with a degree in Architecture and Design. Post-graduation he utilized his degree as an adjunct course instructor, teaching 3D modeling and heading up the design and production of sustainable technologies. Before joining Schell Games, Chuck was a producer for Electronic Arts on the Sims2 Expansion Pack Team and his love of managing complex projects and providing teams with what they need to succeed led him to the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. There he received his Masters of Entertainment Technology.

An appetite for creating world-class experiences in the game and entertainment industry has influenced Chuck both in and out of the workplace. In addition to being the founder of the Game Leadership Workshop, Chuck is also the Chairman of the IGDA Production SIG.

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Reagan Heller

VP of Art

As the Vice President of Art at Schell Games, Reagan sets the overall artistic vision for each project and oversees the Art team as well as assists with general studio staffing and management.

Reagan Heller began her foray into entertainment technology as an undergrad, working on visual direction and asset creation for masters level game design projects. After completing her undergraduate degree in Graphic Design at Carnegie Mellon University with a minor in Art with Digital Concentration, she joined the Human Computer Interaction lab’s Stage 3 ALICE team. This experience prompted her to enroll at the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU to pursue a master’s degree, as well as complete an interim internship with Disney’s VR Studios team. Upon completing her masters, Reagan joined Schell Games as one of the first employees and began to create and guide the visual direction for the company.

With Schell Games, Reagan has worked on growing art team on a wide range of projects, acting in various roles and working directly with many of our clients such as Disney/PIXAR, Microsoft, and Raytheon. Each project offers a new challenge and requires a fresh, aesthetic approach. She aptly guides the team, rallying behind them with a strong vision.

In her spare time, Reagan enjoys battling the undead and preparing for the impending apocalypse.

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Matt Mahon

VP of Engineering

At Schell Games, Matt is responsible for managing the project programming teams, where he utilizes his managerial and technical skill sets. He establishes conventions and workflow processes, assigns tasks and responsibilities, and oversees the technical design of the projects. Additionally he is the first point of contact for other groups dealing with the tech team. Matt works closely with both the Art and Design teams to ensure that the technical aspects of both teams are taken into account and opportunities are exploited. Matt is also the primary technical contact for external partners.

As a 20+ year veteran of the game industry, Matt shares his experience across the company, acts as a sounding board for issues while lending insight from past experience, helps with hiring and company growth issues, and tells long rambling stories about the old days.

Prior to focusing on management, Matt was Technical Director at Schell Games for Disney’s Pixie Hollow Online (winner of the 2009 Parents Choice Award, Silver Honor), an MMO based on the Tinkerbell franchise; and Mechatars, a transmedia project that matched remote control robots with online digital battles .

Matt got his start in the industry in 1995, working with Ron Gilbert at Humongous Entertainment. Hired as a programmer, Matt worked on a number of award-winning titles including Freddi Fish2: Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Let’s Explore the Farm, Let’s Explore the Airport, and Let’s Explore the Jungle. Matt then worked as a Programming Lead and co-designer on Putt-Putt Travels Through Time, Pajama Sam2: Thunder and Lightning Aren’t So Frightening, Backyard Football, and Blues Clues: Reading Time. Matt was involved in every aspect of these projects; scheduling, production, design, script revisions, writing filler dialog, casting and directing voice talent, and more. Matt represented the company at several E3 conventions showcasing the products to the press. He attended the 2000 AIAS award show where Backyard Football was nominated for PC Sports Game of the Year. Matt was also sent to the NFL office in New York City to pitch the treatment of the NFL license integration into the Backyard Sports franchise.

In 2003, Matt joined Chris Taylor at Gas Powered Games. Hired as a technical level designer for Dungeon Siege 2 (RPG of the Year 2005, Gamespy, PC Gamer), Matt was responsible for creating environments that reflected the epic scope of the game. With his background in programming, Matt was also responsible for much of the event and quest scripting in the game. Through the systems he put in place, usability of the scripting language was expanded, allowing less tech-savvy designers to use the language. Matt assumed the role of Lead Level Designer for the Broken World expansion. Later Matt transitioned to Supreme Commander (PC Gamers Editors Choice 91%) as the Content Engineering Manager.

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Harley Baldwin

VP of Design

Harley Baldwin has been a designer and leader in the AAA console game industry at notable game studios, including 2K, Nihilistic Software, Demiurge, Crystal Dynamics, LucasArts, and Her Interactive. She has worked on many titles and in many genres, from Rock Band and Tomb Raider to Call of Duty and XCOM.

At Schell Games, Harley draws on her formidable experience to mentor, manage, cultivate design culture, and collaborate freely with clients and Schell Gamers to envision exciting, pioneering experiences for players or guests. With each unique project in mind, she understands and deploys the amazing and diverse skills and talents of Schell Games’ designers. As a regular on the conference circuit, she is often found representing Schell Games as speaker and participant. Harley also makes sure to poke at things, look under rocks, and play every day.

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Ed Saxton

VP of Production

Ed Saxton is the Vice President of Production for Schell Games. With a focus on team safety and trust, he supervises the company’s production team and sets the tone for the production style. 

Prior to joining Schell Games, Ed worked in management and capital project development in the theme park industry. This background led to a deep understanding of priority and process, along with a love of creating experiences that make lasting memories for the end user. 

Ed’s love of working on teams and problem solving led him to Schell Games. At Schell Games, Ed focuses on mentoring and managing within the production department, collaborating with teams to ensure projects finish on time and on budget, and incorporating positive team dynamics within the studio.

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Chris Arnold

General Counsel

Chris oversees legal affairs and human resources at Schell Games. He is responsible for developing relationships with our partners, such as Games For Change, Amplify, The Fred Rogers Company, Yale University and Walt Disney Imagineering. He also handles dispute resolution, intellectual property licensing, and corporate governance.

Prior to joining Schell Games, Chris worked as Operations Counsel at Mylan, a leading generics and specialty pharmaceutical company, General Counsel and Director of HR at, a global talent marketplace, and Corporate Associate at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, one of the nation’s leading law firms.

Chris received a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College and a J.D. from University of Pittsburgh focusing on technology and intellectual property law.

Outside of work, Chris volunteers with Big Brothers and Big Sisters in the Mentor 2.0 program. He lives in Allison Park, PA with his wife, Stephanie, and two daughters, Carmella and Charlotte.

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