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.


 Frances Cooke – Beginner & On-Road Programs InstructorFrancesFrances 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.

Maggie Shelton – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor – MaggieMaggie was born in California but spent her childhood and young adult years in Africa, South America and the Middle East.  After obtaining a degree in business she and her husband supported their family of six by running their own businesses. Sharing a taste for adventure, they took their family around the world to scuba dive, sail, and fly in one of the several small airplanes they owned while the children were growing up.  Maggie has received various licenses and certificates as an operator for various modes of transportation including powerboats, sailboats, airplanes and motorcycles.  She’s always enjoyed driving, starting with the Willy Jeep she learned in while living in Brazil, to the Land Rovers she drove on game reserves in Africa, the 2-cylinder Citroen Geon she owned in Iran, mopeds in Asia, and her dirt bike in Baja, Mexico.  Maggie is a published author, and her works have appeared in print and online magazines as well as in stand alone publications of both fiction and non-fiction.  She lives with her husband in Gilbert, Az. and enjoys the opportunity to work with young people at DrivingMBA teaching them to be capable and safe drivers.

Devrae Rowan – Beginner & On-Road Programs Instructor –  DevDev 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 – AnnetteAnnette 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 MichaelMichael 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 - AEckstatThumbnailArt 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 – LarryLarry, 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 InstructorKen 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.

Founders and Staff

Maria Wojtczak, Co-founder, COO
Maria has over 20 years of organization development experience working with a wide range of organizations. In addition to the use of traditional organization development techniques, she is highly skilled in large systems change and organization learning, with formal training in both specialties. She has extensive experience in the field of adult learning concepts, and in the design and facilitation of adult learning experiences and interventions at all levels, and sizes of organizations. Maria coached senior leaders in a variety of companies and consulted in this capacity with senior executives of large automotive business units, high level education personnel, and senior personnel in other organizations. Maria is certified in the use of the Myers Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) assessment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Maria is responsible for the DrivingMBA operation as well as marketing for the organization.

Richard Wojtczak, Co-founder, CEO
Richard has over 30 years of diversified information systems experience and over 20 years of management experience within the automotive industry. His experience in Information Technology provides him with a solid appreciation of the possibilities for application of high technology tools. He brings a solid business background and possesses an MBA. Richard has training and practical experience in Organization Development and has consulted with diverse companies in the general area of organization development, including strategic planning, executive and team development, and skill building. Richard is highly skilled in problem analysis and change implementation.

Charles Sobczak, Partner Charlie has a diverse background ranging from a traffic agent responsible for weight and balance of aircraft to hazardous material coordinator, customer service supervisor as well as sales for Flying Tigers in Detroit Michigan.   From 1993 to 2003 Charles was in charge of certification and on-going training of sales personnel in automotive retail. Charles has significant experience in customer interaction, both from his time in automotive sales and from his efforts in conjunction with his wife in the restaurant business. He is particularly adept at developing strong working relationships with a wide variety of contacts. Charlie and his wife Laura came to DrivingMBA as an investor/partners in August 2005.

Laura Sobczak, Partner, Scottsdale Site Manager, Accounting & Administration LauraLaura's responsibilities include office management and book keeping for DrivingMBA. She also handles various administrative functions. Laura has a diverse background of experience ranging from being the first female traffic agent for Flying Tigers in Detroit Michigan to real estate and property management while living in Arizona. From 1992 until 2004 Laura managed the accounting and administrative aspects of her family's restaurants.

Ron Gurule, Enrollment Counselor  RonBorn and Raised in Santa Fe New Mexico, Ron was surrounded by a very cultured and art driven community at a very young age.  His first job was as a stone sculptors apprentice at age fifteen.  In 1997 one of the galleries representing his work offered him an opportunity to work in their gallery.  Ron realized he had a great passion for business as well as art.  Over the years Ron continued developing his reputation in the business and art community.  Ron opened his own International Fine art Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona in 2004.  In that time frame, he helped develop several small companies.  Today, he operates Desert Showcase Basketball where he continues to develop an adult and youth league and has partnerships with sports Authority and USA Basketball.  Ron recently joined Driving MBA where he hopes to apply his unique background and passion for success into a new life direction.  It is his goal to help parents and teens understand the value in proper driver training and the effects on their family and the general public alike.

Judi Barrett - Front Desk Administrator - JudiJudi has been an advocate of DrivingMBA for several years and was a client long before she came to work for us. She brings over 20 years of administrative, customer service, and sales experience to her position. She recently completed three years with ASU working exclusively with online students in enrollment and retention. Her passion for students combined with her firm belief in our program's philosophy makes her very happy to be here. She has been married since 1987 (to the same guy!) and together they love to travel, target shoot, and spend time with their pets. They have four children; the oldest three are pursuing various graduate and undergraduate degrees, and the youngest is in high school and is a national tumbling champion. Judi certainly empathizes with our very busy parents! 

Jazzell Jones - Front Desk Administrator - JazzellJazzell was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona. She graduated from Tempe High in 2009, and has worked in customer service for over 3 years. She is currently finishing up her Associates degree in Computer Science online at Rio Salado. Her long term goals are to graduate from ASU with her B.S.