BTAD Faculty

Steve Ater
MFA, Graphic Design, the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, Illinois

Steve has been a design educator since 1982. His appointments include: the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; North Carolina State University; Arizona State University; and the University of Washington. He has over 25 years of professional experience in design, brand development and strategy, brand positioning, design education, as well as curriculum development and public speaking. As a seasoned executive, Steve utilizes his unique talent of monitoring current and future cultural and technological trends, along with his background in semiology and design principles to help build relevant design concepts, products and special initiatives.

During his career Steve has directed many precedent branding projects including: The North Carolina Arts Council; Highline Community College; Herman Miller Dealer Extranet; Delta Marine; Gerding Edlen Development; Pioneer Museum of Motorcycles; Arscentia; and He has also contributed to many branding projects as a strategist, researcher, creative director and designer including: Microsoft Education; Microsoft Backoffice; Microsoft Publisher 98-99; Corbis Images; Microsoft Recruiting and Microsoft Press.

Steve has held executive level positions for design agencies as well as Internet development firms, including: Parallel Communications; MPL2; Saltmine; Siteworks; Aris; and Arscentia. Over the past ten years, Steve has built three strategic branding and design practices, and is also co-founder and principal of Think2a.

Jason Sobottka
MFA, University of Minnesota
Jason SobottkaTenured

Jason Sobottka is a professional artist and arts educator. He is Lake Washington Institute of Technology's first tenured visual art instructor. He exhibits his paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures around the nation. Jason was awarded the Winter 2012 Faculty Excellence Award.

Jason teaches several courses for the BTAD degree, including: CMST 302, Mass Communication; HUM 311, Design Theory; and the elective ART 324, Printmaking for Designers.

Recently, Jason was an artist-mentor for the Puget Sound Education Service District's Arts Impact teacher training program. In his role, Jason worked with middle-school math teachers to embed visual arts lessons into math curriculum, as part of a research study.

Jason taught drawing and printmaking at the University of Minnesota between 1999 and 2001 and was a part-time drawing, painting and design instructor at Green River Community College from 2001 through 2008. His past experience includes working for Tacoma Art Museum's Education Department, where he designed and built the museum's hands-on, art-making gallery, the Open Art Studio.

Prior to joining LWTech, Jason worked for two years at State Farm Mutual Insurance Company's Learning and Development Department, focusing on adult learning theory, leadership and performance improvement. He is certified in the Harrison Behavior Assessment.

Jason earned his Masters of Fine Art degree in visual art (with a minor in related fields-art history) from the University of Minnesota and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors from the University of Montana. He also holds an Associates Degree from Grays Harbor College.

Links to his art can be found at

William Bricken
Ph.D., Stanford University

William teaches the Mathematics of Design course. William received his Ph.D. in Mathematical Methods of Educational Research (with specialization in Artificial Intelligence, Statistics and Educational Psychology) in 1987. Prior to that, he was the Principal of an innovative primary school, built a house on the Big Island of Hawaii, and contributed foundational research to video games at Atari Research Labs and to artificial intelligence at Advanced Decision Systems. In 1988, as Director of the Autodesk Research Lab, he lead a team that designed and built one of the first immersive virtual reality systems. He continued his work in VR as Principle Scientist of the UW Human Interface Technology Lab, while teaching in Industrial Engineering and in Education. He then moved to Seattle University to lead the Masters Program in Software Engineering. During this time, William consulted at Paul Allen's Interval Research Lab, focusing on the construction of computational engines based on new mathematical techniques. He is an international authority on Boundary Mathematics, which uses iconic and interactive mathematics to redefine the meaning of computation.

William was CTO of three start-up companies, each based on his work in VR and in mathematics. He joined the LWTech Math Department in 2006 in order to focus on innovative teaching practices. His BTAD Mathematics of Design course integrates formal thinking with design intuition by emphasizing the visual and interactive nature of modern mathematics.

Grace Lasker
Ph.D., Public Health, Walden University
Grace Lasker, Ph.D.Tenured

Dr. Lasker focused much of her studies on human nutrition and obtained a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences. She has also received a Ph.D. in Public Health, with an emphasis in Epidemiology. Dr. Lasker comes to Lake Washington Institute of Technology from the nutritional and agricultural research industry. Her professional history includes work as project manager, greenhouse operations manager, website developer, and grant writer/editor, among other roles. She joined LWTech in the fall of 2006 to help develop and promote the Energy & Science Technician program, and to teach courses in Chemistry, Biology, Nutrition, and Anatomy & Physiology. She also teaches Principles of Sustainability for the BTAD program. Dr. Lasker is also involved in advancing the Energy Engineering Technology initiative at LWTech through various grants and teaching.


Wes Mantooth
Ph.D., American Literature, The George Washington University
Wes Mantooth, Ph.D.Tenured

Wes is instructor for technical writing in the BTAD program. He has had previous teaching appointments at: Montgomery College; The George Washington University; and Utah State University.

A published author, Wes is well-qualified to instruct students on principles of research, organization, and effective sentence style.




Laura Toussaint
Ph.D., Sociology, American University

Laura teaches sociology and psychology in addition to teaching Psychology of Creativity for the BTAD program.  She is the Outreach Coordinator and Membership Committee Chair for the Global and Transnational section of the American Sociological Association and a member of the Editorial Collective for Societies Without Borders. She has published articles for Sociologists for Women in Society and Bharatiya Samajik Chintan, the academic journal of the Indian Academy of Social Sciences.  Her book, The Contemporary U.S. Peace Movement, based on her research of peace activists, was published in 2009. Her latest publication is a textbook chapter entitled, “Promoting Cultural Rights,” in Sociology and Human Rights, edited Judith Blau and Mark Frezzo, 2011.

Pablo Wenceslao
Master of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Course study at M.I.T. Media Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and University of Washington
Full-Time Faculty

Pablo has over 7 years of experience in the areas of architecture and industrial design. Research and areas of interest include: Kinetic and portable structures as they relate to sustainable practices and multi-programmatic spaces; multi-functional products; and projects for under-developed communities.

Design Philosophy: Place as a phenomenon is more than a location; it is made up of tangible elements and intangible forces that give space its distinct character. Architecture and industrial design not only serves as the mediator between people and place but serve as the catalyst that activates the physical and cultural environment. Designs whose role and essence engage the forces that act upon them become indelible objects in a world of constant flux.

Lindsay Andreotti
Masters in Organization Development, Central Washington UniversityLindsay Andreotti

Lindsay is our instructor for Entrepreneurship and Design. She also currently holds a teaching appointment at the University of Washington, Foster School of Business in Entrepreneurship.

She has offered several online webinars, and has facilitated and taught hundreds of corporate training programs. Lindsay has a deep passion for entrepreneurship, and believes that every student has the ability to be an entrepreneur if they choose a specific mindset and grow some key core competencies.




Kelly FranznickKelly Franznick
Master of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology

Kelly is the founder of Blink, a user experience consulting firm ( He manages company strategy and engagements with clients that range from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Prior to starting Blink in 2000, Kelly led user-centered design projects at E-Lab (acquired by Sapient Corporation) Lexant, and Immersant. Kelly has a Bachelor of Science in Design from Arizona State University's Design School where he studied industrial design and human factors. He also holds a Master of Design degree, specializing in Human-Centered Design, from the Institute of Design in Chicago.


Celeste Tell
Master of Design, Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology
Celeste TellAdjunct

Celeste teaches Project Management for BTAD students. She has a diverse interdisciplinary background in workplace design, architecture and construction as well as information design, technology, strategy and planning. Celeste is currently a workplace metrics and planning consultant at Buildingi—a workplace technology company, co-founder and partner at Epicycled—a workplace innovation startup, co-founder and partner at Fair Building Technology—an architectural and construction management consulting firm and board president for the Pomegranate Center, an organization building community, gathering places and leaders.

Her approach to project management is grounded in emerging lean, agile and people-centered concepts and the belief that where design and innovation are concerned, leadership, process and communication are critical to project success.


Heath Davis
MLIS, Pratt Institute; MA, Cultural Studies, UW Bothell
Heath DavisTenured

Heath Davis serves as the Applied Design librarian to the BTAD program, providing information instruction sessions, facilitating collection development for the library, and through her activities on BTAD committees. Working in various museums throughout Washington, D.C. and New York City, Heath got her feet wet in a hand paper making studio and a letterpress business, before discovering her passion for libraries. She received a Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree from Pratt Institute in New York in June 2006, and completed archives internships at Whitney Museum of American Art and Pentagram Design.

She moved to Seattle in August 2006 to work on a one-year grant-funded project in the Special Collections department of the University of Washington Libraries, and subsequently worked in the historical archives of Virginia Mason Medical Center before joining Lake Washington Institute of Technology. Since joining LWTech in September 2008, Heath has discovered a love for teaching and working with students, and also teaches the printmaking course held in the summer.