A 2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner and one of the top collectors of Star Trek screen-used props and costumes (his Star Trek Prop & Costume Blog has over 4,000 unique visitors a month), Alec has been able to marry his passion with his work.
An attorney by training, Alec graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law, coached men’s volleyball at USC, and the USA National Team and has since started 4 companies, AMG, a sports management company, Auctionworks and Screaming Sports, two technology companies, and most recently Propworx, which started after Alec attended the 2006 Christie’s Star Trek auction and got hooked on collecting screen used props & costumes. When Battlestar Galactica was coming to a close, he contacted his friend Richard Hatch, Tom Zarek on the show (and the original Apollo) and Richard put him in touch with the right people at NBC/Universal. The rest is Battlestar history. Propworx is now the # 1 source for studio prop & costume auctions.
Alec collects Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica props & costumes, which are his main passions currently. Alec has been collecting comics on and off since he was six. He is a huge Captain America fan, watched Star Trek when it was first on TV, rules at Warhammer 40,000 and drives his dream car, a bright red 2001 Lotus Esprit. Alec isn’t quite sure what he wants to do when he grows up.
Alena was born at a young age and began playing dress-up shortly afterward. It was the natural outcome of this early-manifesting tendency that she should grow up to co-found competitive cosplay group “…And Sewing Is Half The Battle!” She and her group have won around 30 awards in cosplay competitions, but the bulk of her time at conventions is spent teaching costuming panels, running workshops, and helping new cosplayers leap forward into the wonderful world of costume creation. At Anime World Chicago, Alena serves as director of Live Events and Panel Programming, as well as the Masquerade and all cosplay events.
Damaris Degen is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and is also a member of the UCF Golden Key Club National Honors Society. She has over 15 years experience in both the graphic arts and multimedia industry and currently serves as an adjunct instructor at Valencia College East campus. She teaches digital illustrations and graphic design. Damaris is also a moderator at flashgoddess.com, an on-line community that specifically targets female Flash Designers and artists. She is also a proud mother of twin boys, Ethan and Justin Degen, to whom occupies most of her time with hugs and laughter. Damaris’ hobbies and special interests includes cosplay, traveling, painting, conventions, weight lifting, sky diving, racquetball, Warhammer 40k, and Sci Fi TV shows and movies.
With a happy personality and a “let’s go get ‘em” attitude, Kasey Zhong handles AnimeWorld Chicago’s Volunteer and Special Events Departments. She has extensive experience in event planning, ranging from hosting panels and events at conventions to organizing club meetings during her time as an officer of DDR Illini and the Japan Intercultural Network. She became fascinated in anime when she encountered Sailor Moon and she branched into other anime like CardCaptor Sakura and many others before she entered the convention scene. She got into cosplay when she cosplayed Riku Harada from DN Angel at her first convention and has been striving to learn how to produce and model good cosplay ever since. Recently she has gotten into sci-fi series such as Battlestar Galatica and she hopes to expand her knowledge of the genre as the years pass.
Gaming has been a part of Mark’s life from a young age, whether in the form of designing video games with his Legos or “joining” his parent’s D&D group by pick pocketing their wallets. Now that he’s all grown up, Mark spends his time alternating between multiple gaming groups, costuming with his friends as a part of “…And Sewing Is Half The Battle!“, running, scuba diving, and getting out and seeing the world. In his spare time, he holds down a programmer/analyst day job, eats, and every once in a while, sleeps.
Honor is currently a full time student at the University of South Florida where she is pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences. Her future plans are to apply to Physician Assistant school and to further explore and develop her skills in the media/entertainment field. She has been attending conventions for years and has assisted in event planning, promotions and networking. Her warm and outgoing personality, make her very approachable. Honor has cosplayed as Laura Croft, an Ironette from the movie Iron Man 2, a Slave Leia, and Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect 2. And when not running around in costume or on campus, some of her strong interests are photography, piano, writing, traveling and physical fitness. She has attended Dragon*Con, Mega*Con, Metro*Con, and San Diego Comic Con.
Jaster has worked as convention security since 2005, and has overseen many facets of the inner workings of conventions. His skills include working well with the wonderfully diverse personalities involved in running the conventions, Hotel Security, EMT/medical services, the local police departments assigned to the convention. His experience also includes working closely with the convention guests (our stars) on the “walk of fame,” and as personal escort/security. Jaster enjoys being able to provide his problem solving skills, and being part of the team that makes the weekend an event.
Peter has worked as various anime conventions for the past 13 years. As his alter ego Wheldon Smiley he has created numerous live gameshows and has himself has worked on several videos, graphics and interactive panels. Together with his wife Gabrielle he is excited to be running the video rooms at AnimeWorld Chicago.
Curtis is a native of Seattle who moved to Southern California in 2008. Known to the Propworx crew as “The Shipmaster”, Curtis manages the day-to-day workings of Propworx as well as overseeing all the company’s live auction and eBay shipping. Prior to joining Propworx, he worked as an Operations Supervisor at UPS for 8 years, in addition to 3 years experience with Office Depot as a Supply Chain Manager. Curtis is an avid fan of In-n-Out, savvy new business ideas, and driving really fast. He recently purchased a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 636 and can be seen constantly breaking the sound barrier on any and all L.A. freeways. Curtis currently resides in La Habra with his beautiful wife Aulnay. He is also the proud father of two daughters, Sydny and Asia. In November, the family will welcome a new addition, baby boy Curtis Jr.—who will grow up to be the star quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks (C’mon, Junior Short?! That name’s got quarterback written all over it).
Emilia is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in chemistry and East Asian Languages and Cultures. Because she just can’t get enough of school, she is currently studying dentistry and hopes to graduate in 2014. (Anybody want some fillings?) You might have seen her at other conventions in the Midwest doing promotional work for AnimeWorld Chicago. In addition to helping spread the word about Anime World Expos, Emilia also helps out with the cosplay department and does artwork for AWC.