Two Locations.
One Great Team.

Our talented staff in Chicago and Santa Barbara includes strategists, designers, web developers and project managers. Together, we create award-winning branding, web sites and print collateral that shifts results higher. We have the capabilities of a large agency combined with the approachability of a small one. That must be why we hear we're nice people to work with, too.

Richard Shanks

Managing Partner - Director of Strategy
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Mr. Shanks is Managing Partner and Director of Strategy at UpShift. Before founding UpShift in 2000, he had extensive experience in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles working for design and advertising agencies of all sizes. When founding UpShift, he saw a unique niche that is ideal for medium-sized business clients: combine the strategy and account services of a large agency with the innovation and flexibility of a small one.

Today, with more than 250 international design awards, our teams in California and Illinois consistently deliver brand identity, logo design, sales collateral, and website design that is best-in-field. In fact, UpShift was recently awarded the “Nation’s Best Branding Firm” in an online peer-driven poll by UpCity.

In addition to heading UpShift, Rich is an Adjunct Professor at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in Visual Communication Design, America’s most-influential art college, where he has taught Beginning Typography, Senior Design Studio, Web Design, and Beginning Graphic Design since 1996.

Rich is also a past-President of the Society of Typographic Arts (STA), Chicago’s oldest professional design organization. Currently, he is on the Board of the American Institute of Graphic Arts of Santa Barbara (AIGA SB).

In the 90s, ID Magazine named Rich in their “30 Under 30” article, featuring upcoming talent from the CalArts Masters of Design program.

Rich received a Master of Fine Art degree from the California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Michigan.

Nicholas Staal

Managing Partner - Director of Design
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Mr. Staal is Managing Partner and Director of Design at UpShift Creative Group, where he leads day-to-day client interactions, design direction and project management.

Nick has nearly 20 years experience in design and production of brand identities, marketing, print communication and websites for a variety of high-profile clients—Weber Grill Restaurant, Snaidero, the Commercial Office of Spain, Greystar, Plain & Fancy, Lennar, and Bloomfield Capital.

While at UpShift, his work has been awarded by many international design organizations, including the MarCom Awards, Hermes Creative Awards, Healthcare Advertising Awards, Service Industry Advertising Awards, LogoLounge, W3 Web Awards, and the Communicator Awards.

Nick served on the Board of the Society of Typographic Arts (STA), one of Chicago’s oldest professional design organizations. At STA, he was the Young Professional Program Director, developing events of interest to design students and young designers. Additionally, Mr. Staal is well-versed in conventional and digital photography, social media marketing and fashion. He’s also a foodie—you may find him at Chicago’s latest and greatest restaurant openings.

In 2012, Nick was honored by Maven’s “Divo Series”, which celebrates and honors Chicago’s most successful young business men across a wide spectrum of industries.

Mr. Staal received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a concentration in graphic design.

Courtney Reilly-Goodwin

Partner - Account Director
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Courtney Reilly Goodwin is a Junior Partner and Account Director at UpShift, heading up client services, project management, and new business development. In addition, Courtney has headed up our Santa Barbara office since 2014, helping us expand client and agency services to the west coast.

With over 15 years experience in customer service and sales, Courtney delivers hands-on, personable service to our clients with a focus on building long-term relationships and defining value for our engagement.

Courtney is active in the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce and enjoys partaking in the dynamic lifestyle of the Central Coast, including boutique wineries, jewelry making, ceramics and yoga.

Courtney has a Bachelors degree from Michigan State University.

Upshift Staff

Austin White

Junior Designer
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Claudia Martinez

Project Manager

Claudia loves a good workout or workout class—especially if it’s outdoors!

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Renee Kuklenski

Designer

Builder of brands on the clock, yogi off the clock.

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Stephen Taruc

Web Developer

Stephen makes websites and has two cats.

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Cedric Gliane

Web Developer

Cedric, mild-mannered coder by day, thrill-seeking cyber fighter by night. His kryptonite: allergic to cats!

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Sarah Kuhl

Project Manager

Sarah oversees projects ensuring deadlines are met and clients are happy, all while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat.

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Rebecca Manske

Senior Designer
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Kathy Vanderjack

Senior Designer

Kathy's design process is equal parts coffee, questions, and perseverance.

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Daniele Anderson

Project Manager

Project Manager by day. Hoop dancer by night.

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