President, CEO and Co-Founder
A lifelong entrepreneur and a media veteran since 1988, Chris Kraft was already an accomplished editorial and advertising photographer before he decided to blend his eye for detail and business instincts to create a boutique video agency in 1995. His creative teams quickly began to fill their offices with honors and awards for corporate video excellence. Yet Chris was also busy developing cutting-edge business video training techniques and building new online distribution networks to carry them to clients and partners. A partial list of those clients include Nortel Networks, IBM, American Airlines, PRIMEDIA, Compuware, LucasLicensing/Hasbro, the city of Addison, NBC, Mary Kay, Adobe and McAfee.
Chris founded Splash Media in 2004, with the vision to help corporations bridge communications with their customers by using technology and creative marketing solutions. Recognizing that the information age and advent of social media would forever change the business model for marketing and media production, in 2010 he helped negotiate the purchase of WebDex, an Internet marketing firm with deep roots in search engine/website technologies. Chris also helped launch spark360, business news-style video productions that help small/medium-sized businesses tell their stories through a unique online distribution model.
Chief Operating Officer, Splash Media
John Dankovchik started his career over 25 years ago as a stockbroker with firms such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers where he honed his natural sales abilities. A decade later, John pursued his lifelong passion for technology and immersed himself in being on the leading edge of the technology that made Wall Street tick. John fulfilled his vision by founding LiquidTrader, an ultra-high performance professional trading platform that dwarfed what was available to the typical Wall Street firm. John served as president and chief technology officer of LiquidTrader until the company was acquired by GlobalTec Solutions, a leading provider of real-time trading tools for individual investors. John spent seven years at GlobalTec, including the last five as its president. Under his leadership the company experienced consistent growth with a great emphasis on strategic partnerships. One such partnership led to the creation of the first electronic exchange, built for individual investors, to transact in the spot foreign exchange (forex) currency market. This allowed investors to cut out the middleman and gain superior execution pricing. GlobalTec ultimately merged with this partner, a leading online brokerage firm.
John is a highly talented visionary who has a knack for identifying and capitalizing on macro changes in technology and regulatory changes that ultimately affect business and consumer behavior. “I love to see the pieces of the puzzle and figure out how to put them together.”
John joined Splash Media with the passion and vision of transforming social media and search engine marketing by using cutting-edge tools and analytics. “I cannot imagine a more exciting business to be on the cutting edge of. Social media, with its leading-edge technology, has given us the ability to listen to the consumer, apply exceptional creativity and content, and generate the desired results for our clients.”
Chief Learning Officer and Co-Founder, Splash Media, LP
President, Splash Media University
Paul Slack joined Splash Media with more than 20 years of direct marketing experience. He got his first taste of web marketing consulting in the 1990s as the Internet began to make its presence felt in the business world. Those early days gave him a strong foundation in search engine marketing/search engine optimization (SEM/SEO). Paul built on that as CEO of WebDex Media Group, a Dallas-based firm founded in 2000 that provided strategic planning, SEM, web-based lead generation, online public relations, and customer acquisition programs.
Since joining Splash Media, Paul has helped Splash Media become one of the fastest growing, most experienced social media marketing firms in the country. In early 2012 Paul added the title of President of Splash Media U, taking the reins of his company’s social media marketing training and certification program. He is also in demand as a featured speaker on social media and search engine marketing, and is author of SOCIAL RULES! for Entrepreneurs and Small Business: A Common Sense Guide to Social Media Marketing.
Chief Operating Officer, Splash Media University
Mark Hitchner’s resume is a perfect example of the blend of technology and entrepreneurship that permeates Splash Media. His experience in Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) includes the development of next-generation subscription and pay-per-view channels for both training employees and building new revenue streams for businesses. Two good examples: xTrain and TSTN, two online networks developed by Splash Media, where Hitchner created partnerships with organizations and companies for use of those networks.
As vice president of strategic planning/development for GlobalTec Solutions, Mark helped build partnerships and initiatives around his vision for an in-house IPTV channel. And as director of Strategic Projects with XOS Digital, the nation’s leading sports digital media company, Mark managed the ingestion and meta-tagging of thousands of hours of sports video on behalf of top-tier colleges and universities.
Vice President of Strategy & Innovation
Jeff Kilman loves big ideas and toys. Toys? “Have you ever watched a kid play with a room of random toys? It takes a child no time whatsoever to close the chasm between the imagination and the actual physical action of doing.” Jeff is driven to close the gap between the bold theories of social marketing and the actual physical strategies it takes to succeed wildly at it.
Prior to joining Splash Media, Jeff has been a leader in Omni-channel marketing both owning his own multimillion dollar company partnering with Fortune100 Brands and in consulting and speaking to start-ups, media moguls and sales superstar organizations on how to blend sales art with social science. Jeff’s sales management roots come from over 15 years of executive leadership within some of the finest sales organizations, such as GE, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi North America and running sales for The Daily Tar Heel when in college (still the hardest job he ever had).
His real passion is pulling out a blank iPad, sitting with business owners or CEOs and brainstorming ways to launch and monetize the wildest, boldest, craziest dreams possible. “The brand is now the audience. The brand is being targeted by the consumer in today’s social and mobile world. They decide who, what, when, where, why and how they want information that is timely and relevant. If you do not provide it you are no longer considered a viable target.”
Chief Technology Officer
Fifteen years ago, Pete Kraft was working tech support for Communications Expo, repairing computers, installing software and configuring services for consumers. Now he oversees all the technologies and digital platforms for Splash Media – which means you’ll still find him repairing, installing and configuring when he isn’t charting strategy and negotiating contracts with customers and suppliers.
Pete was a systems administrator at Electronic Data Systems, managing the global Windows Server network for the entire company. He achieved the highest Microsoft certification level at the time and created the intranet website for EDS’ teams at Texas Instruments. At Arrow Electronics, he served as a solutions architect, securing new designs for its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) computing group and providing pre- and post-sales support for clients.
His work at Arrow and Alliance Systems involved sales engineering, a meshing of highly evolved technical skills and the ability to build and maintain customer relationships. With Arrow, it was selling hardware and semiconductors; at Alliance, it was telecommunications systems and networking applications. Both jobs allowed him to develop solutions for companies working in a broad range of industries such as telecommunications, broadcast, medical imaging and geophysical data analysis.
While at Splash Media, Pete has consulted on the development of a custom digital video delivery system that will be used to help our clients tell their stories via the Internet.
Don H. Pace
Don Pace spent 28 years as a partner with the 700 lawyer international law firm of Baker Hostetler and has a strong background in business and legal matters. After leaving the practice of law, Don joined Odyssey Partners, a New York-based leverage buyout firm, where he was involved in many acquisitions. Don left that firm to start his own leverage buyout and was a successful builder of companies. As an attorney with Baker Hostetler, his clients included the NFL and extensive negotiations with owners of NFL teams. His other clients included E.W. Scripps, S. I. Newhouse, The New York Times and other media clients. Don’s leveraged buyout was of a small insurance company in Tucson, Ariz. Using a $27 million leveraged buyout financing, Don built it from $18 million in net premiums written to $200 million in net premiums written in five years and took the company public after only three years.
Mr. Pace earned his Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Economics from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.
R. Brad Murano
Chief Creative Officer
Before he brought his considerable talents to Splash Media as an editor, director and director of photography, Brad Murano was spending time with the likes of Pat Benatar, Kenny Chesney and Clint Black. As co-founder of Film Xero with future Splash Media director Steven T. Miller, Brad produced and directed more than 100 music videos for major media labels. The ability to work with advanced video effects technologies set the stage for Brad to become an Emmy Award-winning animation and motion graphics designer. The virtual “sets” created for Splash Media’s clients in its $5.5 million studio and production facility are born from his imagination and technical abilities.
More than 20 years of Brad’s media production experience have included stints on “Walker, Texas Ranger” and projects for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Nutrisystem, Disney’s Buena Vista Datacasting and EMI Catalog Marketing.
Splash Media client Adobe benefited from Brad’s expertise and vision when he served as broadcast creative director for the company’s new Adobe TV web portal
In addition to Emmy Awards, Brad has also won dozens of Telly Awards, several Worldwide Film Festival honors and the Kodak-sponsored Platinum Award for Cinematography.
Vice President of Accounting
Jim Sparks has been with Splash Media since its inception in 2004, and for 16 years has been associated with the companies that eventually morphed into Splash. Prior to this venture, he had been involved in a variety of fields in both the public and private sectors. These endeavors include the fields of hospitality, municipal utilities finance, mortgage financing, construction contract compliance, automobile insurance, stock trading software tools, e-learning, and hospital administration.
At Splash, Jim’s primary responsibility is to handle funds, oversee payroll and related taxes and filings, expenditure certification and directing internal accounting processes and procedures. Jim is known as the company “gate keeper,” meaning he tries to see that nothing gets in or nothing gets out without his careful scrutiny.
Director of Client Services
Ryan Miller joined Splash Media with a combined eight years of traditional and social media marketing experiences. While attending California State University, Chico, Ryan started and grew a successful fly fishing business with strategic online marketing as the driving force. After graduating with a B.S. in Recreation Administration, Ryan continued to explore social media marketing and went on to help businesses start the conversation.
Ryan is committed to excellent service and delivering results. He has a thorough understanding of social media and is well versed in the business applications for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs.
Director of Search
Cole Field started his professional career in the IT industry, but his real passion came to light when he joined his former employer, SuperMedia. This is where he learned about the world of online marketing and advertising, and how to leverage SEO, SEM, and IYP PPC to take businesses to new heights. After five years, his entrepreneur spirit led him to start his own photography company, where he has taken a wildly creative and interactive approach to the old-school photo. His mobile photo studio is branded to the needs of any client or theme; it’s a sophisticated marketing solution connection brands to consumers.
He has always been a social networker; he enjoys meeting new people and building key relationships. Social media has empowered him to expand his networking both professional and personally, as well as create an online presence for his photography company. It’s all happening online, and people and companies need to incorporate online networking more.
In a few words, he is an influencer, sarcastic and humorous, extremely passionate about his skill, a contemplator and a responder, and is child-like in spirit. He is a social networker and is always keeping up to date about online marketing. He’s just an average guy, with a creative passion just trying to make a successful living and find ultimate happiness in life.
He is married and expecting his first baby, and hope that he/she will become just as passionate about creative media as Cole is. Cole is very involved in humanity outreach, and servant leading at his church.
Lead Software Architect
A passion for packaging big ideas into something everyone can enjoy guides John’s every action. After discovering computers at an early age, he has been exploring the latest technologies, trends, and methodologies to develop empowering software. Since 2008, he has been developing distributed systems to distill vast collections of data into simple web applications.
Prior to joining Splash Media, John built Review Analyst, a ground-breaking reputation management software used by over 2,800 hotels worldwide. John also helped construct PlaceThings, a location-based story-telling platform for mobile and desktop devices while studying arts and technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2011, John began projecting Splash Media’s collective knowledge through SplashCube, the next-generation social media management tool. When he’s not behind a whiteboard or a monitor, John may be found at a racetrack, in the kitchen, or some other far away land.
Manager of Administration
Want to sharpen your administrative skills and learn how to manage a challenging budget? Try raising a family, Linda Randall says. She’s done that successfully, of course, but also has plenty of valuable experience in more business-centric environs. Her 23 years of administrative work include positions within commercial, nonprofit and government organizations; her corporate work features such diverse industries as automotive, cosmetics/fragrances, legal, finance, retail and manufacturing. She came to Splash Media after three years as manager of administration for WebDex Media, where she also managed accounting, human resources, sales operations and facilities. As if that wasn’t enough to keep Linda hopping during the course of an average business day, she also gives generously of her time for various community and charitable events. She’s on the board of Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit raising money for pediatric cancer research. Linda is a member and past officer for the Dallas Junior Forum, which arranged volunteers for several nonprofits including the Ronald McDonald House, Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and Hope’s Door.