Who We Are

Information about the makers of Chord

Jared Marmen View Jared Marmen's profile on LinkedIn

Jared first began drawing up plans for Chord as a graduate engineering student in 2006 and never completely put it down. As an engineer, project manager, and entrepreneur, he has a proven ability to develop and bring to market innovative products and approaches. Jared led the development of innovative technology products, growing an $70k federal grant into a technology product line that generated a 24x return on investment. He has personally worked with every piece of technology used in Chord and the suite of planned Barttron products. Jared has a BS in physics from St. Mary’s College of MD, which is where he fell in love with his roommate's yellow lab Homer and later adopted Homer’s nephew Bart, our company’s namesake. Jared has a MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Johns Hopkins and a new yellow lab named Nelson, a proud Chord test dog.

Dr. Nina Cracknell

Dr. Nina Cracknell is our animal behaviorist. She has a PhD in Canine Behavior and Welfare from University of Lincoln (UK). Her research interests lie in understanding the causes of animal behavior in order to aid the development of optimized animal training methods. Nina is passionate about applying learning science and reward based training techniques to facilitate the learning process, and bond, between animals and their caregivers. She believes that, as animals are always learning, teaching should be able to happen wherever they are.

Brandon Jennings

Brandon is a graduate from Stanford University with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a concentration in robotics. In addition to his impressive academic background, Brandon has six years of experience developing and testing mechanical and electronic aircraft systems. His knowledge and expertise are deep and wide including traditional controls, modern automatic controls, machine learning, autonomous system development, mechatronic system development, and embedded system development. In addition, he has experience with simulator systems including military aircraft and BMW’s Munich-based dynamic simulator. Brandon leads the development of the Chord collar and is the driving force behind the innovative electro-mechanical design.

Darby Smith

Darby is a graduate of Towson University. She majored in animal behavior as well as biology with a concentration in organismal biology and ecology. Darby has been passionate about animals and nature from a young age and takes a special interest in the social systems and hierarchies of animals. She worked in an animal physiology lab at Towson researching swordtail fish courting behavior. Darby traveled to New Orleans in January 2017 to present this research at the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference. She hopes to help Chord grow by providing insight on how dogs learn and behave and how these processes can be aided by the collar. Darby has a rescue mutt named Alice who could most certainly benefit from the structure Chord collar provides!

Josh Merchlinski

Josh is an animal lover and management expert with deep skills in strategy, digital transformation, mobility, and innovation management. He loves challenging the status quo and and blazing new trails both figuratively and literally -- particularly with his gigantic Newfoundland named Kuma by his side. Josh has a JD and MBA from Penn State and University of Maryland respectively. He is creating a world where Kuma will play Lobot to his Lando Calrissian.

James Gronseth

With a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, James has more than 10+ years of experience designing and developing software solutions. He has a whole array of experience in user interface designs, such as but not limited to android and apple apps, 3D/2D simulators, and other desktop applications. Other experiences in software that James has are physics engines, 3D modeling, and embedded system software for Linux/Unix-based systems. His passion is ultimately to never stop learning, whether it is continuing efforts on reading the latest creative solutions in his respective field or science in general such as physics or even his hobbies like astronomy for researching the Universe whilst using his telescope to peek out for a moment of inspiration! James is also passionate about his family which includes his dog, Chewie! He looks forward to monitoring Chewie to finally take a leap closer for communication between a man and his best friend.

Amy Lauer

Amy is an innovative and driven accounting professional with over 20 years of experience. She has a BS in Accounting from Villanova University and is a CPA. Amy has two lovable, large pups - a chocolate lab named Brutus and a greater swiss mountain dog named Heidi. Both of her pups are rescues so Amy looks forward to using a Chord collar to refine their behavior, most of all to keep her naughty Brutus out of the trash.

Courtney Marmen

Courtney is passionate about helping people solve the everyday annoyances and inconveniences that have been accepted as part of being a pet owner. She has over ten years experience working in human resources and teaching. Courtney has a BAs in Psychology and Spanish from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is an American Montessori Society certified teacher. In addition to her role as our customer service and customer experience lead, Courtney is dedicated to product quality and communications.

Ray Breslau

Ray is an electrical / electronic engineer with over 40 years of experience. He is renowned in the development and use of GPS and integrated inertial navigation systems. In addition to his navigation systems expertise, he has extensive experience designing and testing analog and digital electronics. He has recently been involved in developing Bluetooth and WiFi related systems. Ray has a BS from Johns Hopkins and is a U.S. Navy veteran. He is involved in all aspects of the development of the Chord collar and he is instrumental to the ongoing development of the outdoor and indoor invisible boundaries and related precision navigation capabilities of Chord.

Andy Helten

Andy has developed embedded software for numerous operating systems over nearly two decades of working as a software engineer. He has worked extensively with Linux which is the underlying operating system of Android. Linux work includes developing device drivers as well as complex distributed applications. His experience is not limited to embedded systems but also includes Java development and work with Android apps. Andy insists on following a disciplined software development process that includes Agile Scrum, issue tracking, code reviews, and software that compiles with zero warnings. He has an MS and BS in computer engineering from Johns Hopkins and K-State respectively (EMAW!). Andy looks forward to tracking his two dogs on his rural property as well as to keeping them off the road and out of the neighbors yard.

Brad Streett

Brad is a software engineer and mathematician with 10+ years of experience developing, designing, testing, and deploying software solutions. He has extensive experience in desktop application development, mobile application development, user interface design, database design, MVC web development, and RESTful web services. Brad enjoys creating well-organized software that follows strict design patterns with an emphasis on maintainability and user experience. Brad has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. He has a passion for learning and leveraging the latest cutting edge solutions. Brad is excited to use a Chord collar on his hilariously stubborn German Shepherd and his two delightful rescue dogs.