100% Employee Owned Since 2022
SimBio founder Eli Meir had four employees (including his mom) when he incorporated SimBio in 2003. Nearly two decades later Eli’s mom has retired but the other three employees are still at SimBio, along with a couple dozen more. More than half of SimBio’s employees (“SimBiots”) have been with the company for at least ten years and many instructors have been using SimBio’s teaching tools for a lot longer than that. Whether working with code, words, ideas, models, data, designs, servers, and/or people – all SimBiots take great pride in their work and enjoy the highly collaborative culture that the company has nurtured.
The Numbers Speak Volumes
Thinking towards the future and recognizing that SimBio’s accomplishments have relied on the talents, dedication, and hard work of its employees, in 2022 Eli made the decision to transition the company to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) structure. Everyone at SimBio is excited about what lies ahead and thankful that Eli is sticking around to continue directing our Research Team and helping lead us into the future. If you’d like to know a little more about SimBio’s employee owners, read on.
President, Director of Marketing/Customer Relations
Ellie Steinberg joined SimBio in 2001 to write and wrangle content and help manage the business. She became President in 2019. Ellie received a PhD in ecology and evolution from the University of Washington where she and Eli Meir (SimBio's founder) co-taught a class using an early version of his EcoBeaker program. Watching students have “Eureka!” moments while experimenting with simulated butterfly populations made her realize just how rewarding teaching can be. As much as Ellie loved the field exercises in her own undergraduate Ecology class, she wishes SimUText Ecology existed back then to actively reinforce concepts being taught in lecture. Lotka and Volterra make way more sense when you can fiddle with their models!
Vice President/Director of Content Development
Susan Maruca is SimBio's Chief Content Wrangler and has been helping with content since 2001. Long ago as a physics undergrad, she wanted to do her senior thesis on Darwin, and when her advisor said no, he sealed the deal on Susan's lifelong passion for biology education. She has no favorite module, because, as one does with children or pets, she loves them all equally. But if she was stranded alone on a desert island and could only have one SimBio module with her, it would be How Diseases Spread, because honestly there is nothing more fascinating than well-told stories of germs and coevolution.
Director of Software Development
Derek Stal is SimBio’s Director of Software Development. After getting a BSE from Princeton University and MSCE from the University of Washington, he did a year of graduate study at the Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden when grunge was still cool. Once he realized the possibilities in combining software and science education, Derek gave up the rock & roll lifestyle of a structural engineer and joined SimBio in 2002. His favorite modules are Understanding Experimental Design (think like a scientist!) and Keystone Predator (who doesn’t love a murder mystery?). When not shaking his fist at ones and zeros, Derek can be found in the mountains and he won’t give up on the ski season until the last snowflake has melted.
Founder / Director of Research
Eli Meir founded Beakerware (which later became SimBio) in 1998 to make his ecology teaching program EcoBeaker available to a wider audience. He is now SimBio's Director of Research, overseeing an educational research program that has been awarded more than a dozen NSF and NIH grants. With a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington and having applied computational techniques across many areas of biology research, Eli is particularly excited that we're helping Intro Bio courses replace textbooks with inquiry-driven active-learning tools. Off the computer, Eli and his family are trying to finish their half-built house in Western Massachusetts before the inspectors catch up with them.
Izzy Buck has made graphics for SimBio since 2016. She lives in and is originally from Missoula. Before moving back to Montana, she spent many years in Colorado where she worked as a graphic designer, and taught graphics for PPCC in Colorado. Before that, she received her undergrad in Art from the University of Montana. Her graphics, animations and illustrations often stem from her traditional media sketches and studies of nature - flowers, weeds, trees, bugs, and various other animals. Her favorite module is Keystone Predator, because of the story, and all the colorful critters — and how fun it was to work on it!
Research Post-Doc and Content Production Assistant
Jaz Donkoh is a post doc researcher and content editor. She joined the SimBio team in 2022, after spending 5 years playing with cells and viruses and mosquitoes (oh my!) and pretending it was research. She completed her PhD in virology and immunology at Colorado State University. Her favorite module is Climate Change, as it is able to break down complex scientific jargon into beautiful and easy to understand simulations and animations. When she’s not trying to figure out the best way to wrangle student data, Jaz can be found hiking/running/ climbing mountains across Colorado or attempting to shape clay into pots.
Project Coordinator, Editor, and Production Assistant
Amy is an editor at SimBio, and works in content development. She started working for the company in 2017 after finishing a master's in microbiology at the University of Montana. Her favorite modules are those that cover evolution and molecular biology. Genetic Drift and Bottlenecked Ferrets, Transcription and Translation Explored, and Gene Regulation Explored are her favorite modules because they present tricky material in a digestible way for students.
Lead Author / Software Developer
Kerry Kim joined SimBio in 2010, and is the lead author of several of SimBio's Cell Biology modules. His Ph.D. is in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Washington where he researched adaption in the visual system. He has done research in computational biology, been a professor of biophysics, and worked clinically to preserve neural function during spine, brain, and neurovascular surgeries. His biology teaching combines these by using medical examples for motivation and by using computer simulations. His favorite module is Cellular Respiration Explored, which shows how the electron transport chain can be understood as a physical system to which we can apply our mechanical intuition.
UI Developer/Senior Designer
Joshua T Quick is an UI Developer and Senior Designer at SimBio and a mostly lifelong Montanan who received his undergrad from the Art Institute of Seattle. Since 2013, Josh has been responsible for helping to make SimBio’s interfaces appealing, drawing Simploids and animating cellular processes. He also moonlights as an illustrator, author and pug herder. Josh’s favorite module is Understanding Experimental Design as it allowed him to illustrate cartoon characters to help support an amazing SimBio tutorial.
Lead Author / Senior Content Specialist
John Roach is a Lead Author and Content Specialist who has helped pen our interactive ecology chapters since 2008. His slow-motion transformation from political-scientist to ecologist began with a volunteer stint collecting coyote scat in Yellowstone and culminated with a Master’s on pika ecology and a PhD on urban desert stream biogeochemistry. He moved to Missoula three times before it finally took. There, he’s raising two great kids with his wonderful wife while occasionally slipping out for a hockey game, a spin in the woods, or just to make some sawdust. His favorite module is Behavioral Ecology because it has both pikas that box and bower-wrecking bower birds. What could be better?
Kat Barry is our cheerfully relentless Business Manager. She came to SimBio in 2007 after serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and taking a year-long road trip around the US ending in Missoula, Montana. Despite being "fired" in her first week at SimBio for breaking the application while doing software testing, she has stayed with us for 15 years and plans to stay for the next 15. Her favorite SimBio module is Keystone Predator as it is delightfully colorful, and the one she most often uses to describe the kind of software SimBio makes to family and friends.
Communications Manager / Content Specialist
CC Carson is one of SimBio’s Biology Content Specialists and spends much of her workday communicating with biology instructors about how, when, and why to use SimBio in their classes. CC came to SimBio in 2017 after playing in the dirt and earning her master’s degree in soil microbial ecology at Kansas State University. Her favorite SimBio module is Cellular Respiration Explored because it so eloquently covers a topic that she struggled to teach to her students. When not helping instructors with their classes, CC is attempting to make her coworkers chuckle with absolutely terrible puns.
Customer Support Manager/Production Co-Manager
Jen Jacaruso is SimBio’s Support Manager who also helps out with SimUText production, and dabbles in UX Design and content conversion in preparation for our next version of SimUText. She joined SimBio in 2005 after teaching middle school and high school science in the Washington, D.C. area, and working at Kinko’s in Missoula, MT where she met Ellie Steinberg, the then Vice President of SimBio. Her favorite module is DNA Explored, because she loves genetics, and it’s a great refresher for what she learned a million years ago in college. When not working, Jen enjoys spending time with her animals, as well as knitting and watching her son play hockey — or knitting while watching her son play hockey.
QA/Technical Support Specialist
Liz Hamilton is the QA/Technical Support Specialist/Customer Support Specialist at SimBio and resident Star Wars nerd. She started in 2013 in the production office after 8 years in the US Air Force, and soon moved to QA lead for V2. She’s worn many hats for SimBio over the years, but her most fulfilling role is Nerdspeak Interpreter for the Sales and Marketing team. Her favorite module is Community Dynamics because the simulations make her feel like she's there, watching processes play out in person. When she’s not on the clock, she is a domestic chaos coordinator to 4 boys, and enjoys the outdoors, reading, and crafting.
QA/Data Management Specialist
Sari Hettick is a QA/Data Management Specialist, and a Customer Relations Assistant at SimBio. Sari started working at SimBio in 2012 as a part-time contractor to help with data projects before officially joining the company in 2015. She has found a home at SimBio where she gets paid to fulfill her desire to ruthlessly organize everything in her world. Her favorite SimBio module is Isle Royale as she enjoys trying to control the simulation of introducing wolves into a population.
Sales and Marketing Data Specialist
John Leggitt is SimBio’s Marketing Coordinator, and, as the job title suggests, he primarily helps SimBio coordinate marketing (although he also does a fair amount of data wrangling and general customer relations as well). After completing an undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Montana (where he got to learn from SimBio’s teaching tools firsthand!) and then a four-year stint as a flower salesman, he started working for SimBio in 2018. In his free time, John enjoys feeding treats to his kitty, playing music, traveling, video games, and songs about trains. John’s favorite module is Darwinian Snails — just like the invasive European green crab, he likes eating escargot.
Sales Manager/Production Co-Manager
Kimberly Lordeman joined SimBio during the summer of 2013 after many post college years of trying to find a work passion. She is the Sales/Production Manager. Kimberly’s favorite SimBio module is Understanding Experimental Design because it is an awesome foundation tutorial for all courses, and who would not want to save those adorable Simploids?! When away from the office Kimberly tries to keep her head down finding joy in the grandeur of the minuscule.
Accounting & Benefits Manager
Jes Mullette has been with SimBio since 2014 and is currently the Accounting & Benefits Manager for the company. Jes's first career was in dance. She holds a Master's in Experimental Choreography and spent 25 years aspiring to make meaning through movement. Now she tries to make meaning with numbers in order to help SimBio grow and thrive. Though not a scientist herself, Jes is endlessly inspired by the intelligence and innovative natures of her coworkers. Her favorite SimBio module is Isle Royale, as she is drawn to the historical storyline, and as a non-scientist, finds it to be very accessible.
Senior Sales/Customer Relations Specialist
Way back in 2008, Melissa started as the Business Manager when SimBio was a smaller company. After a decade, she stepped back to a primarily sales role and is happily helping professors arrange course materials each term and supporting the production staff. Her office view of trees and mountains is a nice back drop for sending emails and communicating with customers. The Climate Change interactive chapter is her favorite for it's universal importance and impact.
Customer Relations Specialist II / Bookstore Coordinator
Since 2020, Patrick has played an important role on the Customer Relations Team as SimBio's Bookstore Coordinator. This role is fitting, as his pre-SimBio career was that of bookseller at various indie bookstores. He's also an up-and-coming star in SimBio's growing collection of demo videos, now that the marketing team has discovered he has professional narration skills. His favorite module is Life History, for the Fish Strategies interactive simulation, and for inspiring compassion for the Columbian ground squirrel. Outside of work, perhaps not surprisingly, Patrick is an avid reader and is pretty much willing to talk books any time.
Writer & Website Manager
Hilary came to SimBio in 2019 and was just figuring out who was who at SimBio when the pandemic hit. Luckily, she is in charge of the website, so building this page answered a lot of questions. Hilary has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, and has worked with non-profits as an editor and web developer. She enjoys activities involving mountains (ideally with her husband, son, and dog Twister if they are not too slow) and a comfy chair by a full bookcase. Her favorite module is Predation, Herbivory, & Parasitism because parasites are fascinating.
Brad brashly stumbled upon the SimBio scene in 2018 wielding a keyboard and a stick of RAM (DDR4 of course!) and assumed the title of developer/binary magician. He ran around with the cool kids at the University of Montana for some time and somehow was awarded a Bachelor's in English and a Master's in Computer Science for his efforts. When not writing majestic and poetic code, he can be found pounding the local running trails and watching his four kids grow into things that resemble humans. His favorite module is DNA Explored because he sees it turn up a lot when snooping around the database.
Julia is the first SimBiot to be hired three times, taking time off between stints to focus on her family. Initially brought on board to edit content, she currently helps the Software Development team with QA. Hailing from the land of sunshine, Julia met her husband at UCSD where she graduated with a degree in Biology. After having two daughters, they moved to Missoula where they fell in love with the small-town feeling, the mountains ripe for hiking and mountain biking, and the experience of having four different seasons rather than just one. Her favorite module is Isle Royale, as it brings back fond memories of learning predator-prey dynamics in college.
Erik Harris joined SimBio in 2010 under the title Programmer/Editor, which means he chases around semicolons all day in various contexts. He spends a modest amount of time playing hockey and an immodest amount watching it. It has not made him any better at golf. His favorite SimBio module is Biogeography because he likes plate tectonics. Runner-up is Niche Wars because the vicious bunnies remind him of Monty Python.
System Administrator and Engineer
Doug Leary has been SimBio's system administrator since 2017 after returning to his home in Montana after a thirty-year self-imposed exile to the Puget Sound. Doug has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Computer Science and Economics from the University of Montana. Isle Royale is his favorite SimBio module because Doug likes how students have access to all the module controls in the Isle Royale playground to test their understandings of population dynamics. That, and besides, Doug really has a soft spot in his heart for wolves.
Sam (who joined up with SimBio in 2023) was born in California, but has spent most of his life in the Arizona desert, where he picked up a degree in Computer Science and a love for air conditioning and ice cream. When Sam isn’t coding, he enjoys playing board games with friends, going to the movies, and trying new places to eat. His favorite SimBio module is Cellular Respiration Explored because he’s fascinated by the capabilities of the human body, and he likes that he can always count on mitochondria being the powerhouse of the cell.
Senior Software Developer/Systems Architect
Rob Ryan, a software developer at SimBio, first wandered through the door in 2005. He is principally concerned with keeping the SimUText product well groomed, growing and happy. Rob has spent decades in the software industry and has worked for more companies than he can remember. Part of SimBio’s east coast contingent, he spends his free time welding and metal casting. Rob’s favorite module is Darwinian Snails as it references one of his favorite foods...crabs!
Maria Stults joined SimBio in the summer of 2021 as a UX Designer/Product Development Coordinator. In her previous work life, Maria spent her days teaching elementary students with a passion and flare for STEM education. After deciding to pursue other life goals, Maria went back to school to earn her second degree: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management Information Systems from the University of Montana. Now instead of wrangling students, Maria spends her days wrangling requirements, tackling designs, acting as the liaison between our talented teams at SimBio, and clearing the path for software development. Her favorite module is Understanding Experimental Design; who doesn’t love a good experiment? Especially when SimPloid lives are on the line!