"Skip" Cohen is founder and President of Marketing Essentials International, a marketing consulting firm specializing in projects dedicated to photography. Through MEI he founded Skip's Summer School, the leading summer educational event in professional photography. He is co-founder with social media guru, Scott Bourne, of the GoingPro project, an unprecedented event focusing on education for new photographers. Together with Shauna Harris and Matt Gartz he is a co-founder of GhostRighters.com; an editorial, marketing and web design resource center for professional photographers.
He is past President/Chief Operating Officer of Rangefinder Publishing Inc. and previously had responsibility for Rangefinder Magazine, AfterCapture Magazine, the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International association and the WPPI Convention and Trade Show. For almost two years he wrote a column on business and marketing for Rangefinder Magazine and currently is an advisor to Photo District News and serves as editor of PDN's new publications, Focus on Weddings and Focus on Portraits.
His career in the photographic industry started at Polaroid in 1970 in the emulsion development group in R&D. During his 17½ years with Polaroid he held positions in research, personnel, customer service, both overseas and domestic, and was the US Marketing Manager for Polaroid's photo-specialty dealers from 1984 –1987, when he left to take over Hasselblad USA as President/CEO.
During his twelve years at Hasselblad he founded Hasselblad University, today Hasselblad's worldwide educational arm; expanded the Hasselblad newsletter to a quarterly magazine and helped to establish Hasselblad as a leader in marketing and education. In 1998 at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, Skip and his management team were recognized as the best Swedish company in America.
He served as President/CEO of Hasselblad USA until 1999, at which time he helped launch an Internet photographic retail site as president of PhotoAlley.com until 2002, when the dot com economy collapsed.
He has served as PPA's Industry Advisor and Board member, Vice President of the Photographic Manufacturer's and Distributor's Association, member of the board of directors of Photographers and Friends United Against AIDS, board member of the Center for Creative Photography, originally founded by Ansel Adams, the Photographic Hall of Fame and most recently P.H.O.T.O. Foundation created to help photographers who were victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Two key industry fund raisers, created by Skip, included the sales of Ansel Adams' Cadillac to the Coastal Hotel Group in 1991 and the sales of Ansel's Hasselblad gear to shock jock, Don Imus in 1997, raising $100,000 for charity.
He has been a recipient of ADL's Torch of Liberty Award, Foto Imagen Magazine's Man of the Year Award and in 2001 he received PPA's Legacy Award for his work in support of PPA Charities. He has written five books on photography, The Art of Wedding Photography and The Art of the Digital Wedding with Bambi Cantrell, now in its sixth printing, Don's Blair's Guide to Posing and Lighting Body Parts and The Art of People Photography also co-authored with Bambi Cantrell, Wedding Photography from the Heart, with Joe Buissink was a new book with Scott Bourne, GoingPro is scheduled to be published by Random House in the spring of 2011.
Matthew Gartz is very impressed with the accomplishments of partner Skip Cohen. He feels challenged now to add a few more milestones to his life story. Skip and Shauna have told him time and time again that his list of achievements are more than adequate.
While Matt’s family and doctors believed that he was born 3 days late on March 3rd at 3:33am, Matt remains firm that he was actually born on time but that the rest of the world came 3 days early.
At the age of 10, Matt calculated the force of gravity by dropping bowling balls off his parents deck. Fortunately, it only took him 1 attempt to calculate.
He actually theorized E = MC2 before Einstein, but he didn’t want to take away from Al’s pursuit to figure it out so he let it go.
He invented the 365 day calendar year that most of us conduct our lives around. He recently discovered a glitch in the system that has added 3 whole days to every year of his life.
He was drafted by the Orioles in 2004 but decided he would be more successful designing websites for photographers.
He once rolled an unprecedented 303 at a local bowling tournament.
He coined the phrase 24/7
When asked about joining Obama for lunch one day, Matt responded "Yes We Can."
Matt scored a perfect 10 on the parallel bars at the 1980 Summer Olympics but was disqualified for attempting to perform in the Women’s All Around competition.
He received a Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Peoples Choice, Maggie, Nobel Peace Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award all before the age of 14.
Windows 7 actually was his idea.
With all of this, and high school behind him, Matt accepted early admission to the Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied computer engineering among some of the brightest minds in the industry. Since graduating, Matt has dedicated his time to designing websites for photographers and developing an internet based shopping cart for an online proofing company. He has over 7 years experience in graphic design and website design and is excited about the future of GhostRighters.
Shauna Harris, a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications at Washington State University, is equally impressed with the success and achievements of business partner, mentor and friend, Skip Cohen. Although she is very fond of her memories as the Event Planner for the WPPI Convention and Trade Show, and proud to have played a role supporting the careers of so many photographers from around the world, she credits her greatest accomplishment to her never-ending pursuit for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese.
Her passion for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich, or as she commonly refers to it "The UGC," started as a child, but it has grown immensely over the years, at times taking over logical thought and rational behavior. Once, in early 2004 on a solo road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles, she happened upon a hole in the wall restaurant at the base of Mt. Shasta. This restaurant boasted their phenomenal rolls, and although they did look delicious on the posters, menu and framed pictures along the bathroom wall, what Shauna sought was a UGC. She took a chance and ordered the 'cheese sandwich' but in the end, walked away disappointed and still hungry.
In her early years working at the WPPI office in Santa Monica, she spent her lunch breaks at a nearby deli, conveniently located directly across the street. For just $5.95, Lucy crafted a magnificent grilled cheese sandwich with a slice of tomato wedged in the middle and a green salad on the side. Lucy was the lucky recipient of Shauna’s patronage at least 3 days a week for well over a year.
Earlier this year when Shauna picked up and moved across the country to South Carolina, most assumed it was because she had found that Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwich she had so desperately been searching for. In truth though, the sandwich had found her. On an uncommonly warm winter day in Greenville, Shauna ventured into the Brick Street Café in downtown Greenville. She spotted the Grilled Cheese sandwich immediately, but had no idea what a treat she would be in for.
Her lunch mate and business partner, Matthew Gartz, asked if she wanted to split the sandwich, which she half-heartedly agreed to. But when it arrived, Matthew soon learned that he was lucky to have walked away with his life and the singular bite of a delicious Grilled Cheese Sandwich, now commonly referred to as THE Ultimate Grilled Cheese.
With this mission accomplished, Shauna now dedicates her days to helping photographers from around the world increase their exposure, grow their brand and improve their business communications. Shauna is one of the writers on the GhostRighters Team and will be your initial contact upon connecting with GhostRighters. She is an experienced writer with a history in copywriting for radio advertisements, marketing materials, photographer reviews, print and online advertising campaigns, email blasts, newsletters and press releases. Shauna also has a dream to one day design a coffee table book detailing where you can find the best grilled cheese sandwiches across the country.