Meet Team WOODCHUCK
FOUNDER + CEO, Toilet Scrubber
Ben is an entrepreneur, designer, speaker, and extreme adventure enthusiast. Like most good entrepreneurial stories- Ben came up with the idea for WOODCHUCK while working on a late night college finals project. One night, while drinking a beer and building a model for his college architecture class, then-22-year-old Ben thought it might be interesting to stick a wooden adhesive to his iPhone. This little experiment sparked an idea that would change his life forever. Ben is a University of Minnesota-Twin Cities graduate with highest honors in Architecture and Landscape Architecture; US Oil scholarship winner three years in a row. (and a CO-ED Cheerleader. That's normal right?) Ben is the Visionary Designer of the WOODCHUCK brand, handles national and international distribution, and Big Box relationships. Ben see's a much bigger vision not only for WOODCHUCK, but natures integration into everyday life, and American Manufacturing. Between the energy of this team, and the Made in the USA commitment, the company has caught the eye of worldwide media. It has been featured on Tech blogs from Australia to America, articles in the Wall Street Journal, Business Upstart Journal, and fashion blogs such as Refinery 29. On top of simply making products, Ben saw economic opportunity and freedom diminishing and decided to do something about it. To bring self-sustaining, skilled manufacturing jobs back to America, and reintroduce authenticity into people’s daily lives. He created his company, Woodchuck, to give oxygen to this American Made mission. If you’re looking to go fly planes, jump off cliffs, camp, and then talk business strategy; this is your guy.
CFOO, Lady Killer
John graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in Finance and Supply Chain Management, and was brought onto the team to bring this expertise to the team. When he's not busy crunching the numbers, John likes to spend his free time golfing, spelunking, and hiking. He also dabbles with competitive eating, and can put down three foot-long subs in less than 30 minutes.
Ross J. Gebauer
VP of OPERATIONS, Internship Coordinator, customer service, everything else.
Ross graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and global studies. Instead of pursuing a career in international affairs, he was drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of small business and was brought to Woodchuck in October 2013. When he isn’t monitoring the business operations department, you can find him biking through the cities, climbing rock walls, or perfecting his slack-lining abilities. He also enjoys tasting the rich food that the Twin Cities has to offer as well as the sampling of different types of craft beer and wines.
Keara is currently in her final year of the B.S Architecture program at the University of Minnesota. With an interest in material studies and sustainable design she is excited to take her creative mind into the WOODCHUCK design team. Her dream job would be designing raw wooden cabins, but for the time being wooden cases and other products are going to be a great start. As a new member of the WOODCHUCK design team Keara is excited to extend her knowledge, passion, and creativity to create the next big thing. Outside of the studio, Keara enjoys anything athletic, finding adventures, rummaging for antiques, and relaxing evenings by a fire.
VISUAL BRANDING, Web Design
Ben graduated from Minneapolis College of Art & Design with a degree in Graphic Design, and was absorbed onto the team in 2011 to help develop the WOODCHUCK brand. When he's not busy in Photoshop or Illustrator, Ben loves to spend free time with his wife and son. He loves all board-sports: snowboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding, longboarding, paddle boarding, the list goes on...
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT INTERN
Katie Jensen is a senior at the University of Minnesota and she will be graduating in May with a Bachelor Degree in Architecture and a minor in Product Design. She has a passion for art, design and music. Katie was recently brought onto the WOODCHUCK team as a product development intern and enjoys the freedom of creativity with nature-based products that WOODCHUCK has to offer. When she’s not creating things, Katie enjoys being outside with her dog, four-wheeling, being on the lake, and enjoying the outdoors with family and friends…also she has webbed toes, so ya.
DESIGN INTERN, Efficiency Engineer
Ross initially joined the Woodchuck team to do 3D modeling for iPhone cases, but has since built tables, installed large format wood cutters, built more tables, and re-vamped the productions and storage facilities for maximum efficiency. He is currently studying Product Design and Business Management at the University of Minnesota where he also works for three professors doing various design work, assisting with research, and TA’ing for the flagship product design class, Toy Product Design. In addition to his complete immersion into the world of Product Design, Ross also brings his previous skills in engineering to the table to aid in his quest for an efficiency rating of 9000. In his copious spare time, Ross likes to road bike, curl, and sing.
EVENT MARKETING INTERN
They say you are shaped by your environment and Kaitlin would have to agree. Growing up in Minnesota, her family spent a lot of time outdoors; camping, hiking and general adventuring. Most of her favorite memories were made outdoors, like pioneering the great frontier of her grandma's woods with her sister or practicing her BB gun shooting skills on an apple tree with her brother. As a graduating (fifth-year) senior at the University of Minnesota, she looks forward to using her degree in strategic communications - advertising and minor in design to pioneer a different frontier as an event marketing intern. When she's not WOODCHUCKing, Kaitlin is probably out for a run with some of her teammates from the U of M cross country and track teams. She can also be found posted up at a local coffee shop, (Bordertown is a favorite) simultaneously drinking in a good book and cup of coffee. Other things that make her happy include baked goods, TED talks, graffiti, photography, being out on the lake, exploring Minneapolis via bike, outdoor concerts/festivals and art museums. Special skills include chugging a whole water bottle in the airport security line.
Brand Strategy/ Social Media intern
Ashley joined team WOODCHUCK as a brand strategy and social media intern in May 2014. She’s our gal when it comes to promoting new products, enhancing client relationships, and connecting WOODCHUCK to the community.
Ashley is a senior in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. She is pursuing a degree in public relations and advertising as well as a minor degree in management from the Carlson School of Management. When she’s not in class or at WOODCHUCK you can find Ashley dancing at Gopher basketball and football games! Ashley is a 4th year member and current captain of the University of Minnesota Dance Team. In her free time, she loves to travel and soak up the summer sun on the lake.
It’s arguable, but Isabel’s top two favorite things are adventure and coffee dates. When she’s not out adventuring in the Twin Cities and enjoying a cup of joe, she basks in the local music scene and bakes up a mean batch of brownies. WOODCHUCK saw the passion burning in her eyes when she shared stories from both of her homes, The Philippines and Minneapolis, and the growth she’d undergone at the Carlson School of Management studying Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management. She is extremely grateful to have been asked to join the WOODCHUCK team as their Marketing Intern on April 1 (thankfully not a joke), and is ridiculously, obnoxiously excited to work hard, play hard, create and launch fantastic new products, and last but most important, be a part of the family.