The Software Team
Tino Soelberg - Chief Technical Officer
Tino has been with SteelSeries since the very first day it was set up in 2001. Now the chief technology officer (CTO), he works on technology development and product industrial design as well as overseeing the product roadmap.
He started in electronics engineering and quickly honed in on digital electronics and programming on various platforms before digging into industrial design.
He joined SteelSeries as a freelancer in 2001, working on basically everything product-related. He became a full-time employee in 2004, and was the VP of Product Development until 2009.
When not working on game accessories, he spends time on music and since the late 80s, he’s been involved in music production and DJ-ing, including multiple record releases.
Jeff Mahlmeister - Director of Products
Jeff’s direction in life was forged at an early age. One of his first memories as a child was spending countless hours watching his older brother program text based adventures in BASIC on the Vic-20. That coupled with the fascination he felt when he first played Karateka on the Apple II made him realize that he wanted to be part of bringing the enjoyment of games to people.
Besides doing chores to fund the purchase of every game and system that was part of the 8-bit era, Jeff spent his childhood time crafting his skill sets focused on two things: programming and art. He taught himself how to develop games (oh yes, his fighting game for the TI-85 was an instant classic – animated death scenes FTW) while also creating books of illustrations primarily rooted in the video game lore. I know what you’re thinking: "But how did Jeff do all of this with all of the sex he was having?"
In college, Jeff double majored in Computer Science and Art, but realized quickly that he just wasn’t hip (or talented) enough to be a real artist so he focused his time on software engineering.
After a career moving through various industries as a software engineer and later in charge of product development, Jeff found a home at SteelSeries that merged his three passions into one job: software development, consumer electronics, and video games.
Jeff spends his time at SteelSeries outlining the software product strategy and technology roadmap, while building the world’s most talented and passionate product development team and then getting the hell out of their way.
Dave Astels - Director of Innovation
Dave discovered computers in the late 70s and fell in love with the Apple ][. In the 30+ years since then, he's designed and built multiple computers, and written code in at least dozens of languages, including a few he made himself. He's written books and spoken at conferences. Always a hardware geek, one of his prized possessions is a logic board from the original Macintosh. At SteelSeries he figures out how we make the software do what it needs to do. Dave's an avid Magic the Gathering and World of Warcraft player whose iPad and 3DS are seldom out of reach. He also likes to pretend he knows how to use a calligraphy pen, and has given up pretending he is learning to play guitar.
David Tibbetts - Senior Managing Software Engineer
Dave grew up in the computer age. He learned to type on an Apple II in Kindergarten before realizing it was more fun to try and head west, to Oregon, with his friends and family, digitally. Technology and interaction always amazed him. Enough so much there wasn’t a single toy that couldn’t be taken apart with a small screwdriver and re-assembled, with no extra pieces even. Then he learned how to talk to computers and make them do things differently than how they were originally programmed. Guided by a whole lot of luck and passion, Dave’s career grew in the video game industry right out of high school, and went to work on video game titles such as NBA Street, Fight Night Round 3, and Tony Hawk: SHRED, to name a few. He is now a senior software engineer at SteelSeries, where he continues to take apart new devices, figure out how they work, and how to make them work better.
[Dave also has an unnerving obsession with Apple's Chicago font. - ed.]
Tom Panfil - Senior Software Engineer
If Tom's life was more like Mega Man...
Tom first downs Coffee Man. With heightened wits and energy from the Espresso Shooter, he quickly resets Git Man. Next up, Firmware Man's watchdog timer expires posthaste after Tom fires off a barrage of branches and merges from the Code Committer. Tom's next victim is Radio Man. Radio Man is TXing out the RX end in no time after vicious attacks from the Bit Twiddler. Afterward, Android Man promptly goes radio silent after Tom beams him with the Radio Jammer. ROBOT SMASH! Tom just placed and routed ASIC Man into smithereens. Next, Tom sends Driver Man to a screeching halt with a blast of Liquid Cooler to stop his clock. Finally, Tom long jumps Engine Man to his final kernel panic with a savage divide-by-zero onslaught from the Kernel Trapper.
Joel Hunsley - Software Engineer
Joel grew up in the St Louis area, where his childhood computer gaming habit grew into a lifelong passion for both computing and gaming. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science from UIUC, then ended up in the Chicago area. After working on medical and financial software, he was hired as the inaugural member of SteelSeries' internal software development team, where he is able to indulge both of his passions simultaneously.
In addition to his gaming habit, he crafts third-party tools and mods for PC games, reads 100+ sci-fi and fantasy novels a year, bakes delicious cakes, and wears eye-searing Hawaiian shirts whenever the temperature is above zero.
Thane Woidan - Software Engineer
Before doing web development for a living, Thane jumped around to different colleges progressively farther from his beloved home in the farmland outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He landed in Chicago, where he started his career in development doing online checkouts. Now, he is the CSS Master of the dev team at SteelSeries. He talks way too much about BioShock and Half-Life, is constantly reminding people that he played in the CPL for Counter Strike: Source in 2007, and insists on biking to work under inappropriate weather conditions.
On Apr. 12 2014, entered (and won) a CS:GO tournament at Indiana University. His Chicago office was appropriately decorated by his co-workers. Congrats, Thane!
Richard Hanley - Software Engineer
Richard was born sometime ago in the Chicago area. In due time he got a Bachelor's and Master's degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, which helps during an interview. Consequently he was able to explore the world of embedded systems in the train industry, the banking industry, and in the constant search for the best gaming device. His greatest, and most painful, achievement to date was getting his black belt in Kyokushin Karate without any loss of limbs. Another great thing to note is that he loves cooking, especially a nice lamb chop with a double baked potato. Richard was writing third person acrostic biographies about himself way before it was cool to use an illeism. Did you notice that this double acrostic was really awesome?
Michael Lelli - Software Engineer
Michael grew up in Southeast Michigan and started coding back in his teens. Starting with webpages, he eventually set his sites on projects closer and closer to the hardware, eventually ending up writing embedded software in university. After graduating from the University of Michigan Flint with a Bachelors in CS, he started working at big automotive companies doing powertrain software. However, his love of video games eventually pulled him to Chicago and SteelSeries.
When not working on the next big awesome thing at SteelSeries, he works on video game emulation software and participates in Chicago's competitive SSB4 scene.
Reina Santiago - Lead UX Designer
For Reina, it all started in a galaxy far, far away. Her love for Star Wars and basically any movie with explosions led her to study animation and gaming in college. Later she landed a job at Redbox where she merged her love for movies and gaming by creating award winning designs for iPhone, Android, Web, Print and interactive kiosks. Nowadays she uses her Jedi design skills to lead the UX and Design team at SteelSeries. Besides playing old school games like Pitfall and Galaga, Reina also enjoys a few games from this decade like TF2, and Just Dance. Some things not many people know about her: she was an extra in Transformers, has ridden a jet pack and played on the famous Grand city music hall piano.
Emily Rosen - UX Designer
After completing her Master’s in HCI and a short stint as a web monkey at a marketing agency, Emily started designing pretty interfaces for SteelSeries Engine 3. She spends her free time drawing cute things, crocheting cute things, playing cute video games, and also playing video games that are not so cute. Her favorite game is Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. She also plays Minecraft a lot.
Sam Flores - Software Engineer
With a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and after being admitted to graduate school, Sam embarked on a quest to test and made the jump into Software Quality Assurance at SteelSeries, never imagining that such a “you break it, we pay you” model would exist. SteelSeries has become close to a second home to Sam where joy abounds, people share laughs, feasts are often celebrated, and occasional development takes place. Among his teammates, Sam’s the kind of guy that enjoys retro gaming and you’re likely to find him on any given day playing Street Fighter II, Goldeneye 007, or Donkey kong Country 3 to his heart’s content.
Tomasz Rybiarczyk - Software Engineer
Tom did not grow tired of school after getting his Bachelor's in Computer Science. He carries on, working towards earning the Master's Degree in Computer Science at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Always looking to expand his knowledge in Software Craftsmanship, he decided to try his strengths as a Software Engineer in Test - Intern at SteelSeries. He finds the work greatly enhancing his problem solving skills that are so much needed in his trade of choice. In the little spare time he has, he deepens his understanding of Computer Graphics and Video Game development. He also is a great open development enthusiast and a daily phoronix.com reader.
Tom does have any preference when it comes to video game genres. He plays any game for as long as it tells the tale and offers a solid, challenging gameplay. Among his favourites are Oddworld games, Lucas Arts classics (on Amiga!) and, of course, the Witcher series.
Matt Henderson - Software Engineer in Test
Matt grew up playing video games in northeastern Ohio, which are still a big part of his day-to-day life in Chicago. He has always enjoyed challenging games like Mega Man, Super Meat Boy, and the Souls games (though he was not brave/foolish enough to delve deeply into I Wanna Be The Guy), and competitive games. He has played several FPS games on competitive teams including Unreal Tournament, Left 4 Dead, and Battlefield.
After moving to Columbus to finish high school and attend The Ohio State University for a Computer Science & Engineering degree, Matt decided he wanted to live in Chicago. After a brief stint in Cleveland testing mobile applications for a bank, he finally made the move to Chicago, where he claimed a testing position with SteelSeries. Since that fateful day, he's spent many hours playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with the goal of competing in the After Hours Gaming League with his coworkers.
Matt Wszolek - Software Engineer in Test
Matt is finishing his undergraduate degree in computer science in University of Illinois at Chicago. After that he is planning to give graduate school a shot.
Matt started his affair with video games with a SEGA™ Genesis, and Sonic the Hedgehog is still one of his favorite console games. However, since then he has become a PC gamer. His favorite game genres are RPGs, strategies, and recently MOBAs. He currently spends most of his time in Heroes of the Storm and is on his way to be number one now that he has all the SteelSeries gear!
Matt likes to tinker with low level bits. Given a chance he will break operating systems in a matter of minutes. Few features survive his meddling. He is a supporter of open source software (so he can learn how others did it) and The Linux Foundation.
Adam Perez - Software Engineer in Test
Adam is a 2016 graduate of UIC's computer science program who turned his part-time internship at SteelSeries into a full-time career, so I guess you could call him the definition of success. In his mind, there is nothing that can't be scripted given enough time and food.
Aside from that, Adam spends most of his time making art and music, biking around the city, playing video games, and obsessing over dogs that aren't even his. He hopes to, one day, be the tallest human in space.
David Skuza - Software Engineer in Test
After landing a position as an iOS developer at a startup in Chicago, David decided to put his college life on hold while focusing on his true passion - programming. Two years and several projects later, he found himself wanting to get away from the mobile scene and into something new. SteelSeries was the answer, where he now gets to combine three of his favorite things: programming, games, and breaking things (and how!). If he's not in front of a computer, you'll find him either riding his motorycle (100% within the constraints of the law), or taking one-too-many selfies with his cat.
You can also find David playing any game of any style off of his hundred-some count backlog of games, where you'll quickly notice that he is a master at turning simple tasks into the impossible, and performing seemingly impossible tasks with ease. He once traversed a maze in Wind Waker blindly - and backwards.