niko plaitakisfounder, technology + creative
Boundless energy, the best intentions, and a history with digital that dates back to Photoshop 1.0.
With 18+ years interactive and multi-media experience, Niko holds the title of founder, overseeing technology and creative. An expert in creative content development, video production and user experience, he has driven award-winning video campaigns, websites and marketing programs for global enterprise brands.
As a social media guru and all around networker, he has always puts relationships first, making him not only an effective businessman and mentor, but an inspiration to strategic partners and all members of the crew.
Powered by: dharma & coffee
craig hylandmanaging partner, alliances + integration
Social architect, innovation enthusiast, hands-on facilitator.
Brings 16+ years of advertising, design, digital development, and video/photo production management experience to the crew. Before taking the position of managing partner at visual mercenary group in 2004, Craig moved up the account management ranks at various agencies for clients such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals (US and Global).
Craig has earned a reputation for continually injecting new thinking into the group, daily operations, and clients served. With a deep interest for how technology influences behavior, his mantra is centered in meaningful connections and experiences. Business models around technology, wellness, regenerative and sustainable development continue to provide inspiration for areas of exploration.
Powered by: his ongoing 1850’s farmhouse restoration, scuba diving, snowboarding, his unbelievably supportive wife, and much adored 4-legged companions.
radian antariksoanimation + interactive
Jack of all things digital – master of all he puts his mind on.
Radian started at visualmerc as an animator and quickly realized that the emerging interactive space provided the forum to learn something new everyday. Fast forward 10+ years, he has become visualmerc’s genius of all trades. New APIs, frameworks, and platforms… he hasn’t been stumped yet.
Radian is team lead on planning, R&D, and programming implementation relating to all interactive web and app deliverables.
Powered by: PHP, ActionScript, WordPress, Drupal, 3D Studio Max , Character Studio, Havok Physics Engine, After Effects, Combustion, Flash, HTML5 Canvas, snowboarding, scuba diving, Guitar Hero, and Rush.
david schilirodirector + cinematographer + editor
After over a decade working as a professional actor in NYC, David moved behind the camera and began directing, shooting, and editing various short documentary pieces and live concerts for artists such as Bob Weir, Diane Reeves, Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh, The Allman Brothers Band, Sage Francis, Happy Apple, and The Bad Plus.
As head of the video department for Visual Mercenary Group for over 12 years, David has applied his vision and skills and produced award-winning work for various clients such as Samsung, Bausch and Lomb, The Economist, Dwell Magazine, Everbank, Sony Music, Novo Nordisk, The Robin Hood Foundation, and Consumer Reports.
For every person, brand, or product there’s a story. David’s extensive study and experience as an actor combined with his experience shooting and editing documentaries, creates a strong foundation for finding and telling great stories.
Powered by: permaculture design, Biodynamic Agriculture, Forest Gardening, and Bioremediation.
shannon kesterproduction + logistics
Takes control with a presence more impactful than words – with the ability to quickly spot a needle in a haystack.
Shannon’s foray into digital started through the lens. Through her photography, it was apparent that a unique understanding and respect for talent coexisted with a laser focus on detail. Proof that a creative mind can drive the most effective producers.
Shannon oversees all production related logistics, leading creative, programming, and photo/video crews through project development – on strategy, on budget, and on time.
Powered by: cooking, travel, interior design, bicycling, memes, and 80s new wave.
dimitri amaxasdesign + animation
What gives this creative the ability to visualize, design, animate, and deliver across strategic objectives? Something in his headphones, perhaps.
When Dimitri started with the crew, his design outlet was primarily in print. Web, mobile, and motion design turned out to be Pandora’s box. Add a keen sense for the lens and a passion for staying on top of the latest tech gear, and what we have… is a powerhouse.
Dimitri is team lead on all visual identity, IA/UX, interface design, and animation.
Powered by: Adobe Creative Suite 6, photography, and music.
tina anninodesign coordination + social media
Enthusiasm, ambition, and an inherent connection to all things relevant.
Tina joined the crew as a design intern and quickly became our radar for emerging lifestyle trends in the digital realm. With a background in Fine Arts, Women’s Studies, and 90’s grunge, she thrives on embracing new territories. With this, Tina adds insight from the social sphere and leverages graphic design to promote ongoing dialogue across all mediums. A source of inspiration to the group and our clients all along the way.
Powered by: yoga, painting, traveling, organic food, and the occasional pizza.
johnny dunn360 + VR tech assistant
Johnny is our connection to emerging technologies and related tech community insight.
Johnny joined us with a BFA in Design and Technology, as well as a background in Journalism. He is a well-rounded technology enthusiast with a particular focus and strength in Unity, Oculus, Gear VR, and Google Cardboard development.