DrivingMBA Driving Instructors and Staff
Kathleen Ryan – Curriculum & Instruction Lead - Kathleen has 12 years of experience working with children and adolescents in a variety of settings including seven years in the public school system. She has experience in special education as well as working with cross categorical special needs students. Her goal is to individualize instruction to meet and support all students. She places a high emphasis on establishing rapport with students by creating a safe learning environment that facilitates the students’ learning process. Kathleen has been with DrivingMBA since it’s inception. She has been instrumental in developing programs and adaptations to programs to meet the needs of students and she is particularly adept at working with students with special needs.
Richard Starr – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor - Richard has taught in the public school system since 1999, including 10 years teaching English in Gilbert and 5 years teaching computer skills in Escondido, CA, his home town. He is married and has three adult children, a son living in California and a son and daughter attending Northern Arizona University. He is a fan of the Diamondbacks and the Padres and enjoys camping and movies in his free time. He loves teaching and driving and is grateful for the opportunity to help his students develop skills to make them safer behind the wheel.
Tony Diioia – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor – Tony was born and raised in a suburb of Minneapolis MN. After high school he joined the United States Air Force and spent 4 years working as a Law Enforcement K9 officer. His tour included 2 years in the Philippines and 2 years stateside. Upon leaving the military he finished his degree in Criminal Justice and spent 7 years in Law Enforcement. During his time in Law Enforcement Tony attended several advanced defensive driving schools and served as an FTO, training new Officers. After adopting his son from The Philippines Tony decided to work as an investigator in the private industry. This gave him the opportunity to be home more with his son Tyler, who he raised as a single dad until meeting his current wife Marina, in 2011. Tony moved to Arizona in July 2014 after a short time in Wisconsin where his wife finished her post doctorate work. Tony enjoys teaching and sharing his experiences with young drivers. He believes in making a difference early in someone’s life before bad things happen.
Frances Cooke – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor – Frances is a high school educator with her Masters Degree in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University, and has worked in the public education system in Arizona for over 13 years. She is passionate about teaching adolescents and understands the importance of helping students learn safe driving practices. Her interests include motorcycling and volunteering for the American Red Cross. She has five grown children and three grandchildren who live nearby, so she spends much of her free time with them.
Devrae Rowan – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor – Dev was born and raised here in Scottsdale, AZ, and absolutely loves it. She graduated from Saguaro high school in 2008. After high school, she went on to college for her degree in special education. In 2013, she graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. Once out of college, she started working for a middle school in Scottsdale Unified School district, as a Special Education teacher for students with Autism. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with a non-profit charity group that promotes children’s literacy through cosplay. She really loves working with students and helping them develop skills that will ensure that they are safe and responsible people.
Annette Strmic – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor – Annette was born and raised in Chicago. While growing up she was involved in sports and developed a love for music and began playing piano. Annette was a chauffer for a professional limousine service in the late 1980’s. Annette has been happily married for 25 years. She, her husband and her son moved to sunny Arizona in 1996. Annette owned and operated a Child Care Center for 10 years where she cared for children from newborn to 12 years of age. As an instructor at DrivingMBA she is utilizing the skills she has developed over the years to teach students how to be safe and responsible drivers.
Michael Tate – Defensive Driving & On-Road Programs and Classroom Instructor – Michael is a retired police officer with 30 years of service starting in Texas and culminating in Phoenix. He is a Phoenix native who majored in music education and criminal justice and has been a youth baseball, softball, and bowling coach since the age of seventeen. He’s also been happily married for 23 years and has a son who is a college baseball player. During his career, Michael not only patrolled our streets to keep them safer but also served as a detective, crime scene investigator, school resource officer, field training officer, police instructor, and as a full time instructor of various law related programs in our public schools and in the community. Michael says “I had seen too much death, destruction, and families being torn apart so I had to find a way to make a more positive difference.” So, the last eight years of his career, Michael turned his attention to investing in our youth by running after-school and summer programs that focused on social responsibility, problem solving, and conflict resolution. Michael believes in the old saying of, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure… which brings us to present day. When I saw the work being done at DrivingMBA, I knew I had to be a part of their program. I’m convinced that Driving MBA is the very best at what they do and their passion to make a positive difference is inspiring. I’m very proud to be a part of their team.”
Art Eckstat – Defensive Driving Program Instructor - Art is a retired automotive and aerospace engineer with multiple engineering and business degrees including an earned doctorate. Art has been teaching defensive driving classes for over 8 years in Arizona with the goal of making our roads safer for everyone. He joined DrivingMBA for the opportunity to further this goal by teaching and evaluating defensive driving techniques to both new and experienced drivers utilizing our state-of-the-art simulators. Art also serves as a consultant and expert witness in engineering, business, and product liability matters. He was honored as a Contributor to Aviation History at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in 1997.
Larry Urbanek – Defensive Driving Program Instructor – Larry, is a retired police officer with 29 years of service in Illinois. He moved to Arizona in 2004. He specialized in accident reconstruction and traffic safety. Having been a certified police motor officer/instructor and a MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) instructor where he taught both Motorcycle and ATV training. Larry has helped many learn the safe and responsible way to ride. Larry also developed a 2 day driver awareness class which is still being taught to high school student in the south suburbs of Chicago. After seeing what DrivingMBA had to offer the students it was an easy transition and he has now refocused his training to helping our students here at DrivingMBA.
Ken Zwilling – Defensive Driving & On-Road Programs Instructor – Ken moved to Arizona from Minnesota in 1993 after selling his auto repair business of 18 years. He joined Universal Technical Institute as an automotive instructor in 1993 and became Campus Education Director in 1996. Ken moved to the UTI home office in 1999 as Director of Education and then as Curriculum Director 3 or 4 years later. He then moved to Regional Education Director until he retired from UTI in 2010.
Rose Willis – On-Road Program Instructor – Rose is a retired supervisor from the CA Department of Transportation where her 20-year career brings to DrivingMBA a multitude of driving skills. Rose did statewide training of employees on safe equipment operations in inclement weather on highway, rural and mountain roadways. As a result of having to respond to many highway accidents in her career she has made a personal dedication to want to make a difference in making the roads a safer place for all. Rose also was a trophy-winning competitor in Equipment Rodeo Competitions. And although these times have passed she now has settled in to training others and enjoys mostly spending quality time with her Grandchildren, where they explore nature, garden and play music together.
Linda Hulverson – Classroom Instructor – Linda was born in Wisconsin and moved to Arizona after graduating from the Univiersity of Wisconsin-Stout in 1985, with a Bachelor’s of Business Degree in Business Administration. While attening Arizona State University for her Post Baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education she worked in the pool industry. In 1995, she received her Post Bac degree and has been teaching in the public school system in Arizona for 16 years. She received her master’s degree in Elementary Education in 1999 from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She is also a certified CPR and First Aid training instructor as well as a swimming instructor. Linda has one son, Matthew, who has just entered the navy.
Jacob Frantz – Beginner & On-Road Programs and Classroom Instructor – Jacob is pursuing a degree in Secondary Education at ASU. He moved to Arizona after spending a summer living with family and working a local internship as he couldn’t do without the mountains and bike lanes. Jake grew up in the Midest where he also learned to drive. After he was licensed he lived in downtown Chicago and rural Wisconsin and that provided him with a wide variety of driving experiences. Jake says: “awareness, learning to control a vehicle is straight forward, learning to constantly observe and anticipate changing traffic conditions is much trickier.” Jake is also a cyclist, and believes riding inside a state of the art vehicle controlled by a novice driver feels much safer than his morning commute to college where just a couple feet away people are attempting to control a two ton piece of machinery traveling 35 mph while looking at their cell phone. Instilling safe driving practices and a respect for the seriousness of driving helps everyone on and off the road.