The Valve team

Members of the Valve staff come from numerous places around the globe, including Florida, Virginia, California, Washington, New York, and the countries of Texas, England, and Australia. They collectively define sunlight as "that which makes a computer monitor difficult to see" and free time as "when we get to play games instead of make them."




Ted Backman - Art Director/Conceptual Artist/Illustrator/Animator
Prior to joining Valve in the summer of 1996, Ted studied painting at the University of Washington. During his time at Valve, Ted has been responsible for designing and building many of the people, places and things that inhabit Black Mesa, City 17, and the outlying environments. A Seattle native, Ted finds drizzle comforting and insists Paynes grey is his favorite color.

Kelly Bailey - Senior Game Designer, Sound, Music
Kelly is Valve's senior audio producer, responsible for creating sound effects & music.

Jeff Ballinger - Senior Artist
Jeff is responsible for creating Half-Life 2 world textures, prototyping levels, architectural studies and surface treatment. His background includes studying graphic design in college and working at Cavedog on the title Amen: The Awaking. In addition to working on world environments you can find him sketching, modeling, and always learning new software.

Aaron Barber - Level Designer/ 3D artist
While studying engineering at UCLA, Aaron got his first experience building 3d environments while constructing VRML websites for the University. During this time he was also actively involved in designing levels for Quake and Duke Nukem 3D with several internet mod groups. His level design eventually got him a position at Xatrix Entertainment working on titles such as Redneck Rampage, Quake 2, and Kingpin. After completing Kingpin, he took a senior design position at EA working on James Bond before coming to Valve. Outside the world of game and level design, Aaron also enjoys playing music locally around Seattle. www.nineteen5.com.

Jeep Barnett - Software Developer
Jeep quit his janitorial job at Fred Meyer to turn his programming hobby into a career. Jeep's love of video games (and fear of returning to a life of toilet scrubbing) drove him to earn a B.S. Degree from the DigiPen Institute of Technology. His Senior game project, Narbacular Drop, led to the team behind it joining Valve to create Portal.

Dan Berger - Software Engineer
Prior to joining Valve, Dan shipped a bunch of products and consumer services and managed development teams - none of which was nearly as cool as what he's doing now. Despite his complete lack of game-industry qualifications - unless 20-odd years of pen-and-paper role-playing count - he made his save vs. interview and got invited to join the party. Dan works on Steam, happy to be back in a role where he's only responsible for his own mistakes.

Yahn Bernier - Software Development Engineer
Yahn was an Atlanta patent lawyer with a degree in chemistry from Harvard. So obviously he ended up in Seattle developing computer games. He taught himself to program at the age of 12 and, more recently, developed what we at Valve have called "that other level editor," BSP. Now that he's getting paid to make games, he figures he'll practice law in his spare time (little does he know). Yahn worked on Half-Life's multiplayer code and is currently hard at work on Team Fortress 2. His favorite phrase, when imbibing too freely, is "Yucca will assimilate you."

Ken Birdwell - Senior Software Development Engineer
Ken interrupted his fine art studies to join Gabe at Valve as one of their first employees. With a background mostly in simulation and medical software, Ken's primary focus at Valve has been Animation software, and is responsible for most of the acting systems that underlie the characters in Half-Life 2. Ken is the only Valve employee to actually grow up here in Bellevue, and spends countless hours regaling his office mates with tales of what the town was like "when I was a boy".

Steve Bond - Game Designer/Engineer
Having made the great trek westward from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Steve is responsible for much of Half-Life's sophisticated monster and entity behaviors, of which the squad-level AI is his favorite. Steve worked with John Guthrie on several projects that demonstrated the power and flexibility of the QuakeC development environment, which caught John Carmack's attention, who in turn referred him to us. Before that, Steve worked at a local internet service provider and delivered pizza, a fact that we rarely let him forget, even in his corporate bio.

Charlie Brown - Software Developer
Charlie earned his reputation within the gaming industry while working for 3Dfx Interactive and, later, Ritual. A Ft. Walton Beach, Florida native, Charlie graduated from the University of Florida in the summer of 1994 and then headed for California and 3Dfx. His responsibilities there included developer support, ports of products to hardware, sample code and simple demos, and ultimately working with 3Dfx Developer Relations managing the engineering game porting effort. After a 2-year stint, Charlie left 3Dfx with college-friend Gary McTaggart to create the Uber(tm) Engine at Ritual Entertainment in Dallas, Texas. Shortly thereafter, Charlie and Gary left Ritual to start their own company. Valve subsequently contacted Charlie (and his friend Gary) with an offer "they couldn't refuse."

Julie Caldwell – Business Development Coordinator
Julie came to Valve by way of Microsoft, with experience in the areas of employee benefits and recruiting. After taking a little break to become a massage therapist, she found herself missing the challenge of the high tech environment and endless supply of soda and corn nuts, so she jumped at the chance to come to Valve in 2002. Julie helps to coordinate marketing and business development efforts. In her spare time, she enjoys her part-time massage practice and reminding everyone not to hunch over their monitors.

Dario Casali - Level Designer
Joining Valve from England, Dario is a world-famous level designer. His work includes some of the most popular deathmatch levels on the Internet, as well as Final Doom, published by id Software.

Jess Cliffe - Game Designer / Artist
Cliffe co-created the original Counter-Strike with Minh Le. Since joining Valve, he has worked on Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life 2: Episode Two levels. In his spare time, Cliffe enjoys photographing concrete walls, rust stains, and his two cats.

Phil Co - Level Designer
Phil Co graduated from the University of Virginia School of Architecture in 1994 and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area hoping to be a rock star. Since his first ambition wasn't very successful, Phil turned to the next best job. He found himself as a level designer at Cyclone Studios working on Requiem: Avenging Angel. Over the last ten years, he has also designed levels at Infinite Machine, Knowwonder, and Blizzard North.

John Cook - Online Development Manager
Formerly of Team Fortress software, John manages online platform development for Team Fortress 2 and other projects. Before that, John studied computer science at RMIT in Australia. John is apparently still suffering jetlag from the move to Seattle, as he doesn't seem to be able to make it in to work until past noon.

Greg Coomer - Product Design / Communications
Prior to joining Valve, Greg helped Microsoft design various software products. Before that, he worked with Nintendo, started and ran a user interface design company, and spent several years as a freelance product designer. Greg helped to name the company "Valve", and then led the first game project that Valve ever cancelled. His secret dream is to create a game called 'Akzidenz-Grotesk'. You know, for kids.

Scott Dalton - Level Designer
Scott entered the game industry in 1998 in order to pay for his long time rampant addiction to making and playing games. He came to Valve after many years creating various games with Legend Entertainment. Aside from level design and game mechanics, he delights in creating particle effects, and when not making things come to life, making them explode, crash, crumble, and burn.

Ariel Diaz - Character Modeler / 3D Artist
Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ariel came to Valve after finishing studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. As part of the character design team, he is responsible for creating character models, facial expressions and skeleton deformations. Outside of Valve, he pursues training on traditional art skills such as drawing, painting and sculpting.

Quintin Doroquez - Graphic Designer
"Q!" brings over 10 years of multi-disciplinary graphic design experience to Valve. He has had a creative role in launching print, online, and new media endeavors as a senior art director for Incite PC Gaming magazine, art director for PC Accelerator, and associate art director for PC Gamer. At Valve, you can find Q!'s schedule filled with marketing, packaging, web design, game trailers, .dem file creation, and other visual communications tasks. In his spare time, Q! likes to reminisce about how he was training to be a competitive bodybuilder 14 years ago. Get over it, already!

Mike Dunkle - Director of Café Operations
Mike joined Valve in 2000 after spending 10 years in senior marketing and business development positions in the semiconductor test and embedded software markets. At Valve, Mike is responsible for cybercaf operations, tournaments, educational licensing, and general business development. Mike is an avid soccer player and coach so you will find him spending the few extra hours he has on a pitch somewhere in the world.

Dhabih Eng - Senior Artist
(pronounced ZA-bee)
Dhabih, who's been playing games since he was six years old, has a degree in Interdisciplinary Art from the University of Washington. He started making a name for himself by doing freelance design work for gaming magazines (Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official Playstation Magazine, PC Gaming World) while still in school. Dhabih has also done web design and worked on the Quake2 TC pack Zaero from Team Evolve. He started at Valve by doing freelance work in mid-1998, and signed on full-time in early February of 1999. Dhabih is truly a world citizen, having grown up in six different countries (Australia, Macau, Canada, China, Taiwan, and the USA). You can find out more about Dhabih and check out some of his work by visiting his website, http://www.sijun.com/.

Katie Engel – Office Manager
Katie immigrated to Valve from the real estate industry where her talents for taking care of everything were sorely undervalued. She has a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington, which makes her uniquely qualified to handle the Interdisciplinary Personnel here at Valve. In addition to managing the office, Katie also assists with most every aspect of administration – and plans damn fine parties.

Chet Faliszek - Mr. Awesome
We are all still trying to figure out exactly what it is that Chet does at Valve, but at the very least he occupies office space on the 10th floor as self-proclaimed Mr. Awesome.

Adrian Finol - Software Development Engineer
Prior to joining Valve, Adrian contributed to several popular Half-Life MODs and was a founding member of the Front Line Force Team. He landed in Venezuela from Krypton, and began programming at an early age. After years of fighting Lex Luthor, he came to America in search of the perfect donut. He finally achieved what some call "Donut Nirvana," and has successfully acquired the physique of a veteran games programmer.

Moby Francke - Art Director
Moby is a character designer for Half Life 2 and the art lead on Team Fortress 2. He brings to Valve academic fine art training with an emphasis in illustration. After graduating from the Academy of Art San Francisco, he worked at Lucas Arts as a conceptual designer, and taught figure painting at the Academy of Art SF. Hes won several prestigious awards, including 2 New York Society of Illustrators Competition Awards. He is originally from the small Caribbean island of St. Thomas, and enjoys the simple things of life.

Kathy Gehrig - Business Admin
Kathy Gehrig was born in Missouri, raised in Kansas, and received a BA in Music from Iowa's Grinnell College. Prior to joining Valve, she performed a 10-year tenure in the IT group at Preston, Gates, and Ellis. When she's not busy raising chickens (you can take the girl out of the country, but. . . ), playing out with her band, Fall City, or acting professionally, Kathy leads Valve's human resource and recruiting efforts. Please email her if you're interested in joining Valve.

Vitaliy A. Genkin - Software Engineer
Having been raised in the vast expanses of the Soviet Union, having lived in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine, having received a couple of Master's degrees with honors and a lieutenant rank, having architected and implemented software that processed petabytes of binary data by now, having solved thousands of differential equations systems and having played numerous hours of Counter-Strike, Vitaliy went to sunny Santa Monica to help Sony lay the foundation for its PlayStation-3. Afterwards, Valve, amidst miraculous mountains and forests of the State of Washington, became Vitaliy's new home where nowadays he is architechting more code to handle more terabytes of next-gen stuff every day.

Chris Green - Software Engineer
Prior to joining Valve, Chris Green worked on such projects as the Amiga Flight Simulator II, Ultima Underworld, the Amiga OS, and Magic:The Gathering Online. He ran his own development studio, Leaping Lizard Software, for 9 years. He's enjoying his new position at Valve working on various pieces of graphics and game technology.

John Guthrie - Game and Level Designer
Along with Steve Bond, John started the influential and popular Internet gaming site, "Quake Command." John was also the co-creator of Quake Airplane and Quake Kart and constructed many of the chambers and corridors in the Black Mesa Research Center.

Leslie Hall - Cybercafé Accountant
Leslie joined Valves Cybercafé team in April 2004 computerizing the rapidly growing café business. With her arrival, Mike was able to say adios to preparing manual invoices and tracking café payments in spreadsheets! Leslie currently manages the accounts receivable and supports The Valve Store merchandise site. Her past experience includes over 8 years of corporate accounting functions in the telecommunications industry focusing on revenue management and financial reporting.

Jason Holtman - Director of Business Development / Legal Affairs
Jason is Valve's director of business development and works with outside entities pursuing Steam distribution and/or game development atop Source. When he's not playing games, he's playing rhythm guitar with a rock-n-roll outfit called Fall City. Prior to joining Valve, Jason spent a number of years practicing law but got tired of bad lawyer jokes. Plus, after playing Half-Life, he figured joining Valve was the only way to crowbar others with impunity.

Gray Horsfield - Vfx Artist
Gray Horsfield started writing in BASIC at age 10 on arguably the first home computer, the Texas Instruments TI99/4a. Gray has since made a decided effort to spend as little time coding as possible, and instead use the tools that better developers turn out. Starting with 3D computer graphics in 1988 for a commercial house in Australia, Gray then moved on to spend 4 years in south east Asia, taking on freelance computer graphics work all over the region. in 1994 Gray joined up with Peter Jackson's new company, Weta, as the 4th employee, and worked on a dozen films in as many years, including The Frighteners, Heavenly Creatures, Contact, Lord of the Rings 1, 2, and 3, Valiant and King Kong. Vindication of his addiction still remains a primary cause for leaving the film industry and joining the ranks at Valve. Hobbies include: blowing stuff up, and blowing other stuff up.

Keith Huggins - Animator
Keith joined Valve from the feature film effects world, having most recently worked on King Kong. He spent two and half years at Weta contributing towards Kong and the last two films of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with a brief stint at ILM in between projects. Prior to that, he spent five and a half years at Digital Domain in LA. Other films he worked on include: Star Wars: Episode III, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Fifth Element, as well as several commercials and music videos. Keith has the unique distinction of being the only person in the world to have animated dialogue for both Gollum and Yoda. When not working on projects at Valve, he can often be found in a casino, wondering aloud about what's with kids these days, putting in a moderate effort to remain fit, or spending time with his special lady friend.

Brian Jacobson - Software Developer
As a child, Brian first learned programming in order to crack all the computer games he couldn't afford. After being wracked with years of guilt, he decided to join the games industry to make up for his reprehensible childhood. At LookingGlass, he worked on Flight Unlimited, and then went on to co-found GameFX, and was a lead engineer on Sinistar Unleashed. After a brief stint out of the games industry, he came back to his senses and joined Valve, where he is currently hard at work on Team Fortress 2.

Erik Johnson - Project Manager
Erik began his career as a shoe salesman and later moved up to selling used cars. Deciding that the car business wasn't for him either, he took a job with Sierra Online in the QA department. As one of Sierra's testers for Half-Life, Erik spent a lot of time over at the Valve offices and was eventually offered a job with Valve as shipping manager. Erik's responsibilities include localization, testing, managing the build process, creating demos, and shipping products.

Jakob Jungels - 3D Artist / Animator / Game Designer
Jakob attended school in Indiana while working as the lead 3d Artist, animator and designer for Day of Defeat. In his spare time (ha!), he also had contributed work to America's Army. Eventually moving to the Northwest to work at Valve, Jakob now continues work on DoD as well as other Valve-related projects. Between long work weeks, Jakob tears it up at the local motocross track on his Honda CRF250R dirtbike.

Iikka Keranen - Level Designer
Having escaped (or been let loose?) from a secret bio-research lab in arctic Siberia, Iikka started to design and program games at an early age. However, it wasn't until he began to create levels and mods for games like Doom and Quake that he became known to the world. He left the pack of wolves that had raised him and joined the game industry in 1998 at ION Storm in Dallas, TX. After a few years and many adventures he found himself at Valve in 2001 and hasn't had the urge to bite people ever since.

Dave Kircher - Software Engineer
Dave came to Valve as part of the team working on Portal shortly after his graduation from the DigiPen Institute of Technology in 2005. His primary areas of work so far have been Portal physics, Portal graphical effects, and helping with Xbox 360 porting of the source engine. Even though Dave takes pride in his work when it's flawless, he gets his affirmation that he's really in the games industry from the occasional 'breaks every game using the source engine' bug.

Eric Kirchmer - Illustrator/3D Artist
Eric came to Valve after graduation from the Art Institute of Seattle in 2001. Originally from San Diego, Eric was a freelance illustrator who left the sun to work on more of a healthy monitor complexion. As part of the HL2 team, Eric is responsible for the game's visual density, by modeling everything from cars to broken concrete and debris. In the other few hours of Eric's life he can be found sculpting, raising bansai and working in his sketchbook.

Marc Laidlaw - Writer/Game Designer
Marc Laidlaw joined Valve in 1997, bringing his experience as an author of weird fiction to bear on creating the Half-Life storyline. He was sole writer on Half-Life and Half-Life 2, and persists as lead writer for the Half-Life 2 Episodes, although he is now accompanied by an actual literary posse in the form of Chet and Erik. His novels include Dad's Nuke, Neon Lotus, Kalifornia, The Orchid Eater, and the award-winning The 37th Mandala, as well as The Third Force (a novel set in the world of the surreal Japanese videogame, Gadget).

Jeff Lane - Level Designer
Jeff started his career doing graphic design for the print industry. In a series of leaps and bounds over more than 12 years, he moved into doing graphics for video projects, then graphics for commercial multimedia, and finally graphics for games. He hasn't looked back since. After creating 3D art at Hyperbole Studios on their Quantum Gate interactive movie projects, he spent five years at Sierra Studios, where he worked as an Art Director on Phantasmagoria 2 and, recently, as a Level Designer for SWAT3: CQB before coming to Valve.

Tom Leonard - Software Engineer
Immediately prior to joining Valve, Tom was the CTO of Buzzpad, Inc. Before that, he spent five years at Looking Glass Studios, where he was notably the lead programmer of Thief: The Dark Project, writing the AI and core architecture for the game. Tom also had spent seven years working on C++ development tools at Zortech and Symantech.

Doug Lombardi - Director of Marketing
After years in the music industry, Doug decided to get a real job. Then he came to his senses and made the decision to get into the gaming industry instead. During his time in gaming, he has worked on the launch of websites, magazines, and games. As Director of Marketing at Valve, he helps manage and coordinate third-party relations, marketing and press activities.

Randy Lundeen - Level Designer/Graphic Designer
Randy comes to Valve by way of Microsoft, where he worked as an interface designer for the Internet Gaming Zone. Randy designs some of the most unusual and original levels in the company, and he also is the most likely person to be pushing the polygon and memory limits of our engine. In his distant past, he was a key staff member at a potato processing plant (his responsibilities including peeling and potato quality oversight).

Scott Lynch - Chief Operating Officer
Prior to joining Valve, Scott was Senior Vice President at Havas Interactive where he created and managed the Sierra Studios business unit publishing a number of products, including Half-Life. During his 5-year tenure at Sierra, Scott held a number of different positions in business development, acquisitions, finance, investor relations, and product development. Before joining Sierra, Scott worked in the public accounting industry at Coopers and Lybrand where he worked in both the audit and tax departments managing a range of clients from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Scott is a graduate of the University of Washington Business School with a concentration in accounting and is an inactive certified public accountant in the state of Washington.

Ido Magal - Level Designer
Ido is a UC Berkeley computer science drop-out turned professional artist. Prior to joining Valve, where he makes textures and maps for Counter-Strike, he worked at Westwood Studios, making thousands of tiny ground tiles for Red Alert 2. He enjoys photography, foreign films, and advising the President about issues of national importance. His superpower consists of knowing someone is thinking of him when his nose itches, and his weaknesses are Indian food, sharp women, and Tom Waits. To increase your odds of beating Ido's monstrous, all consuming spam filter, include the word WHIPPERSNAPPER in your subject line.

Hamish McKenzie - Senior Button Maker/Lead Button Pusher
What do you get when you give a really lazy animator a computer science class (many, many years ago)? A whole bunch of buttons that make being an animator just a little bit less tedious — or at least so he likes to think. Hamish has worked in both games and film in both the US and Australia, and pretty much loves making stuff move — and pressing buttons.

Gary McTaggart - Software Developer
Gary left the University of Florida in 1995 to pursue a career in programming at 3Dfx Interactive as employee number 11. While there, he created demos that were used to show the potential of Voodoo Graphics hardware. The most notable of these demos are the Valley of Ra and Wizard's Tower. Additionally Gary worked as developer support for other game companies wanting to get the most out of 3dfx's hardware. Gary left 3Dfx with Charlie Brown for a short stint at Ritual Entertainment. After working at Ritual, Gary and Charlie decided to start a new company and do contract work for Electronic Arts. Later, Gary decided that Valve would be the ideal place for him to be able to work on great games and technology without having to worry about the day-to-day operations of a business.

Jason Mitchell - Software Developer
After eight years at ATI, where he headed the 3D Application Research Group, Jason was finally seduced by the entertainment industry and is now putting his 3D graphics hardware knowledge to use on a top-secret project at Valve. Having owned a T-square since birth, Jason has been hard at work making pictures out of geometry ever since. While joining Valve has significantly cut down on Jason's international jet-setting, he's still your man if you're looking for a stuporous late night Tokyo karaoke escapade. http://www.pixelmaven.com/jason/

John Morello II - Animator / Game Designer
Originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, John came to Valve via the MOD community. As lead animator and designer on Day of Defeat, John has spent the majority of the past few years modeling and animating the objects and characters in the popular WWII themed online game.

Bryn Moslow - Network Administrator / Keyboard-pounding Monkey
Known as "The Man" by those that know him as The Man and "Who?" by most everyone else, Bryn's life has been usurped by the machines. He started on Usenet and IRC from a DEC VAX terminal when Usenet and IRC were useful and may be one of the last people on Earth with a VAXstation still running Ultrix. He and his friend Al built the Internet together but he became disgruntled and left to be a Rock Star when Al took all the credit for it. When the whole Rock Star thing didn't pan out he found himself once again a keyboard-pounding monkey. In the few odd hours he isn't cursing incoherently while facing Redmond he can often be found doing horrible things to his neighbors with a heavily modded Marshall JCM 900 and one of his flock of Telecasters and wondering when the whole Internet fad is going to finally die so he can have a life again.

Arsenio N. Navarro II - Cyber Café Program
Do you folks like coffee? Arsenio is a Bay Area transplant with a legal background and a generally good attitude. Having worked everywhere from the independent oil fields of the south to west coast legal trench warfare, he is happy as a clam managing and administering Cyber Café, Academic and Tournaments licensing for Valve. When not hanging out with friends or playing video games, Arsenio enjoys playing a soothing array of musical instruments including the didgeridoo, kargyraa, and the ever-popular jaw harp.

Gabe Newell - Founder/Managing Director
Gabe held a number of positions in the Systems, Applications, and Advanced Technology divisions during his 13 years at Microsoft. His responsibilities included running program management for the first two releases of Windows, starting the companys multimedia division, and, most recently, leading the companys efforts on the Information Highway PC. His most significant contribution to Half-Life was his statement "Cmon, people, you cant show the player a really big bomb and not let them blow it up."

Martin Otten - Software Developer
Martin comes to us from Germany where he attended Dortmund University earning a masters degree in computer science. He is best known for programming Argus (for Quake) and Half-Life TV (as a contractor for Valve). Since arriving in Washington, Martin has lost all four hubcaps on his Volkswagen and has single-handedly stopped Seattle traffic by walking across the street in a bath robe while sipping a white Russian. Not bad for a "poor German boy." Martin also enjoys listening to the band Manowar since, after all, some bands play but Manowar kills.

Bay Raitt - Animator
Bay built Gollum's facial system for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He has worked as a concept artist and sculptor at the Weta workshop and helped setup the creature pipeline at Weta Digital in New Zealand. Prior to moving down under, Bay was the product manager the influential 3D modeling and animation tools Mirai and Nendo. Bay started his career working for Olyoptics as a colorist for early issues of Spawn, The Pitt and The Maxx for Image Comics. These days, Bay is getting used to being back in America by racing his ATV around in the woods of the pacific northwest looking for werewolves. http://cube.phlatt.net/home/spiraloid/

Alfred Reynolds - Engineer
Alfred joined Valve as a software engineer in 2002. Since his arrival, he has contributed to the development of Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2, and Steam. He also does his best to maintain the Linux ports of our games. Most recently, he lead the Steam development efforts to bring third party applications to the leading online distribution platform. Prior to his arrival at Valve Alfred worked for an Australian research organization and would be forced to kill anyone who discovered the true nature of his work there. He was also to blame for starting plugins on Half-Life servers, in particular creating Admin Mod.

Dave Riller - Game Designer
Prior to joining Valve, Dave was an active developer in the online Quake community and worked with id Software on the deployment of Quake World. For his day job, Dave was a program designer/analyst at MSI, a Windows software developer located on the East Coast. He also ran their website. Dave has been a beta tester for Doom 2, Hexen, Quake, and Warcraft II. In his virtually non-existent spare time, Dave is a pilot and musician.

Matthew Russell - Animator and all around bad influence
Before coming to Valve, Matthew was with DNA Productions for 7 1/2 years. Starting with DNA on the Emmy nominated "Olive the Other Reindeer", Matthew went on to be a character animator and supervising animator on the Academy Award nominated "Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius." Later he spent 2 1/2 seasons as a supervising animator on "The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius" before moving on to lead animator for the feature, "The Ant Bully," from DNA Productions and Warner Bros. Matthew is also an instructor for AnimationMentor. He also likes balloons, pony rides and fruity drinks with the little umbrellas on top.

David Sawyer - Level Designer
A world traveller as a result of his father's job in the Foreign Service, David comes to Valve from a recent stay in the Washington D.C. area. David became a full-time employee after proving himself through contract mapmaking work on Team Fortress Classic, and is now pouring himself into Team Fortress 2. Despite a calm exterior, David has become one of Valve's most fearsome and ruthless snipers in Team Fortress Classic, and delights in the cries of "Damn you, Ramirez!" that can be heard from nearby offices. He enjoys tormenting Chuck, in particular.

Taylor Sherman - Software Developer
After college, Taylor worked on NPC AI and netcode for big, expensive video games at The Boeing Company. In 2000, fed up with the level of dysfunction at the quarter-million employee company, Taylor left for the much smaller Applied Microsystems. There, he demonstrated his versatility by utilizing what may be his two first names, or two last names (nobody is quite sure), to write lots of code that was never used by anybody. In 2001 Taylor joined Valve to work on Steam. Taylor has a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering from The Cooper Union, and, if you squint real hard, two halves of an MSEE.

Eric Smith - Software Developer
Eric has a B.S. degree from the DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA. Programming has been Eric's obsession since he began programming in Basic on his Atari 800 when he was 12. His college career began at the University of Washington where he studied Electrical Engineering. Unhappy with Engineering, he landed a job as a Game Counselor at Nintendo. Over the years, he was promoted and ended up handling Risk Management issues for Nintendo. When DigiPen opened its doors in the U.S. in January 1998, Eric saw an opportunity to change careers and "make" games instead of just play them. Eric has lived in Washington most of his life and enjoys all the outdoor activities this area provides.

David Speyrer - Software Developer
Prior to joining Valve in 1999, David developed telecommunications software in Boulder, Colorado. During his time at Valve he has been a programmer/designer and cabal lead on Half-Life 2 and Episode Two. He has also worked quite a lot on the dreaded Hammer level editor over the years. A fan of recreational physical suffering, David goes rock climbing in his spare time and has dragged many a pale and shaking Valve employee on adventures in vertiginous terror.

Jay Stelly - Senior Software Development Engineer
Jay joined Valve from Tetragon where he was lead engineer and 3D engine developer of Virgin's Nanotek Warrior. Before that, he developed titles for Sony Playstation & 3DO. Way before that, he wrote his first computer game (at age 9) and had a game published in a magazine (at age 15). A native of Cajun Country, Jay finds Northwest buildings too hot (what, no air conditioning?) and the food not hot enough.

Jeremy Stone - Troublemaker
Prior to joining Valve, Jeremy spent 12 years at Microsoft as a developer and manager, shipping products including Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Internet Explorer 1.0 through 4.0, Flight Simulator 2000, Combat Flight Simulator 1 and 2, and MSN Messenger. Because of his penchant for building industry-shaking and disruptive technologies, he now works on Steam. He expands to ten times his normal size when placed in water.

Kelly Thornton - Sound Engineer / Game Designer
Kelly arrived at Valve via the Half-Life mod community. While earning a Masters degree in Business at UM-St. Louis, he helped develop and did sound work for Day of Defeat. Seeing video game development and sound engineering as the obvious natural progression to come out of an MBA and an undergrad degree in biology, he packed his things and headed west to Valve. Today, you can find him in his office surrounded by WWII books and memorabilia with a fat pair of headphones on, wondering how in the world he actually landed a job he loves doing.

Bill Van Buren - Producer/Designer
Like a guest at the dinner party in Bunuels "The Exterminating Angel," Bill signed on for a short stint to help ship Half-Life and found himself unable to leave. Bills pre-Valve experience includes positions at Starwave and Microsoft where he was responsible for art and design direction, production management, and creating art, animation, and the odd bit of music.

Alex Vlachos - Software Developer
After graduating from Boston University in the mid 1990's, Alex started his career writing software for the SpaceOrb 360, a 6-degrees-of-freedom joystick that led to his Descent addiction. After 2 years of messing with joysticks, he joined ATI in Boston for 5 years as the Lead Programmer of the Demo Team shipping over 30 demos for 5 generations of graphics hardware. He then spent a year starting a game company that he often refers to as "one way to get rid of some extra cash." He then packed his bags and moved to sunny southern California for 2 years to work at Naughty Dog as the Lead Visual Effects Programmer on their debut PlayStation 3 title. Alex joined Valve in fall 2006 and began contributing to Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Team Fortress 2, and Portal. http://alex.vlachos.com

Robin Walker - Design Manager
Robin Walker co-wrote the hugely popular Quake mod Team Fortress, before being assimilated when Valve acquired Team Fortress Software. Since that time, he has been responsible for design, code, and management on various Valve products.

Josh Weier - Software Developer
Hailing from Wisconsin, where he worked on multiple FPS titles with Raven Software, Josh now finds himself in the ever-raining Seattle. But at least it doesn't snow. Most of his days are spent holed up in an office with Steve Bond designing new encounters, creating special effects, and using his whiteboard as a canvas for a wide variety of strange and badly drawn characters. Don't get him started about "treasure games" and be sure to make fun of how young he is, because he really gets a kick out of it.

Erik Wolpaw - Writer
Erik Wolpaw's father attended Yale, became a successful lawyer, got disbarred, lost everything, and went to jail for a while. Later, he and Erik lived in a horrible ghetto apartment where Erik used the Yale Alumni magazine to smash cockroaches. From this inauspicious start, Erik eventually went on to not graduate high school. Now he writes dialog for video games such as Psychonauts and Portal. Prior to that he was a freelance writer and before that he co-founded Old Man Murray. It's not like he's a surgeon or anything, but it's not too bad, considering.

Doug Wood - Animator
Doug joined Valve in 1997 and has been working on the Half-Life series ever since. Before Valve, Doug worked at 3Drealms where he worked on Duke-Nukem 3D and Prey. He has been working in the gaming industry since 1994.

Matt T. Wood - Level Designer
Matt found his passion for making games by way of creating maps for Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. In 1997 he was hired by 3D Realms Entertainment to work as the lead level designer on their first full 3d game Prey (after the original team left). He later moved onto 3D Realms's Duke Nukem Forever as a level designer at first and soon transitioned into lead modeler/animator. At Valve, Matt is again back to level design where he (among other things) works with the 'choreo' team designing and creating scripted scenes for the Half-Life universe.

Danika Wright - Senior 3D Artist
Danika comes from the film visual effects industry in L.A. There she created 3D environments for 5 feature films, including Master and Commander, Day After Tomorrow, and X-Men 2. As part of the Valve team she is responsible for creating environment models and props for games such as HL2, TF, DoD and Counterstrike. Outside of Valve she enjoys drawing, recreating Seattle architecture in 3d and spending time with her husband Matt and son Drake. You can find out about Danika's and her husbands personal 3d work at www.mattikaarts.com.

Matt Wright - Lead 3D Artist
Matt has come to Valve after studying Industrial Design, and working in the film visual effects industry for a number of years both in his home country of England, and in the States. He was responsible for environmental models on 11 feature films, including Harry Potter, Daredevil and Master and Commander. Matt has a great love or architecture, which shows through in his work. At Valve he is responsible for creating 3d environment models, props and objects on Half Life 2, DoD, TF and Counterstrike. You can find out about Matt, and the personal 3d work that he and his wife have done at www.mattikaarts.com. Away from the computer, Matt enjoys hanging out with his wife Danika, son Drake, and spending way too much time in the kitchen cooking up Northwest produce.