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.
Jeff Austin – Beginner and On-Road Program Instructor – Jeff Austin was born in Texas and moved to Arizona when his father transferred to Phoenix in 1969. He received a difficult lesson in the dangers of driving when his older sister was killed by a drunk driver while visiting the family from her home in California for her 20th birthday. Jeff started at the bottom, cleaning sewers on the weekends through high school, dreamed of being an architect after watching too much Brady Bunch as a child, and finally completed a Bachelor’s in Psychology at Arizona State University in 1989. He worked with troubled youth at a residential boys treatment center in North Phoenix while attaining his Master’s in Counseling at ASU in 1994. He was a Faculty member of the Maricopa County Community Colleges, teaching and counseling students for over 5 years. His best achievement is as a father of 3 great children and of course, a tolerant spouse. He was a proud stay-at-home dad until being laid off when all the kids were enrolled in school. Jeff is committed to DrivingMBA’s mission to reduce the risk and magnitude of death, injury and property damage caused by inadequately trained drivers. He considers himself an amateur comic having performed with the Farce Side Comedy Hour while at ASU.
Al McClellan – Beginner Program Instructor – Al was born and raised in California and considers Big Bear Lake, California his home-town. He has raised 3 children, 4 step-children, 4 foster children and helped raise 2 nephews. Al spent many years in the food industry both in California and Arizona. He moved to Arizona in 2004 and in 2008 decided to go back to school. Al is working on his teaching credentials and he is in his 3rd year at Mohave Middle School where he started as a Para Educator in Special Education working with Autistic children, and is now the Intervention Specialist. Al LOVES his job as he gets to help kids every day, trying to make a positive impact on them. Al sees working at DrivingMBA as another great opportunity to help teens be successful with this important life skill. Al loves the philosophy of DrivingMBA of making sure students are ready to be on the road, rather than just getting them licensed. He has taught many kids how to drive over the years, and with all of his children he knows first-hand the dangers associated with young drivers.
Jacob Frantz – Beginner & On-Road Program 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.
Ken Zwilling – Defensive Driving & On-Road Program 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.
Dawn Sharp – Defensive Driving & On-Road Program Instructor – Dawn grew up in Orange County California until she was 16 when her family moved to Central Oregon. In 2011 Dawn moved to Arizona to finish her education. Dawn has a Bachelors degree in Health Science and is continuing with her education in sonography. Dawn has spent her adult life educating children on many platforms from preschool to youth recreation, first aid and CPR to horsemanship and riding skills. Dawn has a strong belief system that knowledge is power and she works to share her enthusiasm for education in all its forms with the young people she meets. Dawn’s passion for education is shadowed only by her love of motor sports. Dawn is an avid racer, racing both go karts and cars. Dawn joined the Driving MBA team to share her enthusiasm for education and driving to help create a population of more attentive and safer drivers.
Matt Raia – On Road, Beginner & Defensive Driving Program Instructor – Matt was born and raised in Chicago IL. He moved to Chandler AZ in 2010 to enjoy the great weather with his 2 German Shepherd puppies. He comes to us as a veteran Police Officer from the state of IL where he was a State Certified Police K-9 officer, field training officer and juvenile officer. Matt has seen all too often the effects of poor driving skills and the results of collisions on the roadways. Many collisions that could have been avoided if drivers were just more educated in what they could do in an emergency situation. This exposure has fueled his passion to help educate new drivers to drive more responsibly and defensively by utilizing the DrivingMBA state of the art educational system. He thoroughly enjoys working with young people and helping them develop their driving skills.
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.
John Brooks – Defensive Driving Program Instructor - John is a retired military and airline pilot who graduated from California State University at Northridge with a degree in Business Administration and from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Masters degree in Aeronautical Science. He served twenty years in the Air Force, retiring as a Major, during which time he served in numerous flying and staff positions. He accumulated extensive experience as an Instructor Pilot and Pilot Evaluator during his military career. John settled in Arizona in 1985 and flew as a Boeing 737 Captain for America West Airlines for 16 years. Throughout his flying career John was exposed to the benefits of simulation in the training environment and the ability to expose students to hazardous and emergency situations in a safe scenario. John joined DrivingMBA as he is an avid believer in the benefits of simulation, and that simulation can be utilized in defensive driver training similar to aviation, allowing exposure to situations not practical on the road. With twelve grandchildren (so far) he has a vested interest in developing safer driving practices for our future generations.
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.