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.”

Harry Shade

Harry Shade

Chief of Outreach and Opportunity

Harry Shade is COO (Chief of Outreach & Opportunity) of CHOPS Live Animation, a recognized leader in providing live animation avatars to the trade show/special event industries. He has extensive experience in training and developing excellent teams for premier brands across the country.  Harry joined CHOPS in November 2016.

Prior to becoming COO at CHOPS, Harry was Founder/CEO of Rare Sense Unlimited, a personal/professional development organization, and Founder/COO of Innovision Global, a corporate training company that specialized in leadership, communications, and soft skill training.  He also helped build highly successful real estate organizations with Coldwell Banker Grand Traditions and Re/Max Premier Choice in Columbus, OH.

Harry served eight years in the US Army as a Military Police Officer and Criminal Investigator, receiving numerous awards and recognition in providing excellent leadership for his teams and community involvement.

Harry is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Criminology.  An active guy, Harry enjoys working out, sports, being in nature, dancing, volunteering, and creating in the kitchen.  He, his wife Querena, and three children reside in Las Vegas, NV.

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. He showcases his work in Autodesk 3D Max on his own website, ImaginationWorks, and 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.

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