The CHOPS Team

Dedicated to Excellent Service and the Art of Performance Animation
Gary Jesch

Gary Jesch

President, Executive Producer, Avateer

Gary has worn many hats over the years, and he owns quite a collection, too. He started with his CHOPS Live Animation hat in 1993, pioneering live interactive virtual characters with an amazing facial motion capture technology provided by Motion Analysis Corp.

His work led the way for animators, producers and trade show exhibitors around the world, with shows all over the US, Canada, Mexico, South America and even China, working for some major Fortune 500 brands that are very well known today.

In 2014, he took the next step in evolving his art form, by engineering his own performance animation software into a product he calls the “3D Digital Puppeteer (R).” Today, he has a team of staff and freelancers, more than two dozen copyrighted characters and a noble purpose – using his art form to have fun and make a difference.

In 2015, he added a second corporate hat, for “Invirtua” to do just that – to assist those with autism, by providing his interactive avatar technology to therapists, treatment centers and university researchers. Gary is a member of the Carson City Rotary Club and serves as a volunteer docent at the Thunderbird Lodge at Lake Tahoe, where he was named “Volunteer of the Year 2016.”

Our Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors

Trade Show Experts

We’re very proud of our CHOPS Ambassadors (left to right) Avis Wrentmore, Kira Gurnee and Dana Stamos – live animation professionals from the Southern California area.

Each of them performs as female avatars as well as interacting with audiences to help make the avatar experience more fun and attractive during trade shows. Avis is a professional model and an accomplished photographer who specializes in portraits. Kira is an exceptional voice-over talent with many projects to her credit, and travels between her second home in New Zealand and Santa Monica regularly.

Dana wows the world of martial arts as a black belt whose love of the sport has led her to creating the world’s largest martial arts websites, including USADojo and the Martial University. She’s been a huge help to CHOPS for the past 20 years, performing in videos and at trade shows. Her background in Special Olympics was a big factor in the progress made by Invirtua over the past few years.

All our shows now include at least one of these professionals, so that our clients can count on the very best conversations between avatars and attendees.

Tom Knight

Tom Knight

3D Character Design Artist

Tom has been working with the CHOPS team for 20 years as the main 3D artist and character developer, starting with CHOPS himself and Virtual Mark Twain in the late 90s.

Tom has accomplished the virtually impossible, time and time again. Nearly all of our house characters and every one of the custom characters created for clients came as a result of Tom’s dedication and attention to detail, plus his uncanny ability to solve even the most technical problems.

Tom ran a 3D graphics service bureau in California for many years, before deciding to focus on becoming a master artist using Autodesk 3D Max and some of the very powerful tools associated with it.

Today, he is a pioneering artist in Virtual Reality as well, as a partner with Luminous4D, creating VR worlds for clients to be used in a wide variety of ways, including commercials and video games.

Carol Holland Lifshitz

Carol Holland Lifshitz

Marketing Communication Specialist

Carol Holland Lifshitz created the script for our new Yogi Berra Avatar. She is a marketing consultant, business writer, copywriter, scriptwriter and journalist. With forty years of experience as a marketing professional and writer of all media, and up on the latest technologies and business trends, she has become a valuable part of our team.

Exceptional creativity and intelligence, impeccable work and uncompromising dependability have been the basis for the continuing growth of her writing services company. Her scripts, web sites, social media, articles, ads, direct mail, commercials, videos, events, PR, (and more!) have helped clients achieve their strategic objectives. She has worked with all size organizations — from some of the world’s largest companies to sole proprietorships — and in an impressive and varied range of industries.

In earlier years, Carol worked in New York as VP of Marketing for two internationally known consumer products corporations, and in creative positions at several ad and PR agencies (Creative Director, Copywriter, Producer). Experience from both corporate and agency perspectives, in both business management and creative capacities, gives her a unique edge when tackling challenges.

Carol is an award-winning writer and producer with a keen business sense. She has served as Emmy Awards judge, and was chosen as a film critic for the New York BACA film festival, succeeding Rex Reed and Otto Preminger in that capacity. Additionally, Carol was selected for LinkedIn’s “Best of 2016” in three categories of writing.

She is a graduate of Vassar College, cum laude, and a member of Mensa, the high IQ society. She can be reached at [email protected]