Our Driving Team

Dedicated To One Mission

Saving Teen Lives

Our Leadership Team

Maria Wojtczak

Co-founder, COO

Maria is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She is responsible for managing the administration and operation of DrivingMBA. Maria brings her expertise of more than 20 years of organization development along with her experience in large systems change and organization learning principles to her leadership role at DrivingMBA. Her extensive experience in the field of adult learning and in the design and facilitation of adult learning experiences and interventions has been instrumental in developing the research and evidence-based approach to driver training at DrivingMBA.

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. He is responsible for the emphasis on utilizing high end simulation as a tool to produce safer, better equipped drivers to make our roads safer for all users.

Enrollment and Administration

Mary Albanese

Administration and Marketing

What started out as a part-time job in January 2019, has now turned into a full-time, management position with DrivingMBA. In her new role, Mary manages the office and administration team, participates in sales and enrollment and also will be utilizing her 30+ years of marketing experience to help gain more exposure for the DrivingMBA brand and spread the mission of the company. What DrivingMBA offers is personal for Mary who lost a 20 year old stepson as a passenger in an accident in 2005. Her passion for being part of a program that’s sole goal is to create safe, competent drivers comes through in everything she does for DrivingMBA.

Heather Penwell

Front Desk Administrator

Heather has 4 children and 4 dogs that are her world. Her children are all in their 20’s and her dogs are 4 years and younger. Heather has lived in Arizona for 24 years. Heather’s father was in the military and traveled quite a bit. Eventually they ended up settling in Arizona and Heather followed. Heather was in the Security field for 20 years and she decided to go back to school about 7 years ago. She completed the Medical Assistance program and also has her Bachelors in the Medical Administration field. Heather joined DrivingMBA 4 years ago, she left for a brief couple of months in 2019 when she was offered a position in her field, but she decided she wasn’t happy there and came back to DrivingMBA. Heather loves what she does and we’re glad to have her back!

Stephanie Black

Administration and Enrollment

Stephanie was born in Northern California. Her family moved to Southern California when she was 4 years old and lived there for 16 years before they moved to Arizona in August 2014. She is 1 of 8 children. Stephanie attended Irvine Valley College and Brigham Young University in Idaho to complete her associate’s degree in general studies. She is interested in pursuing a degree in Physical Therapy to become a PT assistant. She has worked in the restaurant and customer service industry. Stephanie joined DrivingMBA to experience a new environment and to help people learn to be safe drivers. She loves softball and played from the age of 5 through high school, unfortunately, due to an injury, she was unable to play in college. Most of all, she loves spending time with her family and friends.

Phillip Cruz

Administration and Enrollment

Phillip was born in California, spent some time in Dallas, and settled in Arizona just a couple of years ago. Phillip has worked for Marriott International in various capacities, including accounting, loss prevention, and the front desk. His background in customer service makes him a great addition to the DrivingMBA team. Phillip is kind and enjoys helping others. He loves chatting with students and parents when they come into our office. Phillip is the front desk Administrator for the Glendale location, and also supports the Scottsdale team when needed… He also loves dogs and currently has two furbabies.

Driving Instructors and Trainers

Kathleen Ryan

Director of Curriculum & Instruction

(MVD Certified)

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.

Nevar Frank

Driving Fundamentals, On-Road and Defensive Driving Program

(MVD Certified)

Nevar has a BA in Sociology and International studies, an MA in criminal Justice and is currently working on PHD in Criminal Justice. She has been in corrections supervising emergency procedures and supervising the safe transportation of offenders for 8 years. Nevar also has 10 years of teaching and training experience. She grew up in North Dakota and has lived in West Africa, North Carolina, California, Kansas, and Colorado before moving to Scottsdale, Arizona.

Zach Benn

Driving Fundamentals, On-Road and Defensive Driving Programs

(MVD Certified)

Zach (aka Benn) was born in Southern California, lived in Northern Nevada for 5 years until finally calling Arizona home with his family in 2008. Zach graduated from Highland High School in 2014 and continues his education in Criminology/Criminal Justice. Zach completed the Driving MBA program in 2011. He is extremely proud of his impeccable driving record and credits the Driving MBA program for his driving success. Zach enjoys target practice, road trips, gaming, camping and is a diehard Green Bay Packers fan.

Dawn Ramirez

Driving Fundamentals, On-Road and Defensive Driving Programs

(MVD Certified)

Dawn is a former preschool and kindergarten teacher and also worked part-time as a substitute teacher. Dawn graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She genuinely enjoys working with kids and teens of all ages, and watching as they learn new skills. Dawn’s passion for education, combined with her love of driving, means she thoroughly enjoys getting behind the wheel with her students and teaching them to be safe and responsible drivers. She is a native of chilly Brookfield, Wisconsin and she moved to Arizona in 1992. When she is not working, Dawn loves spending time with her kids, who are now grown and both pursuing careers in the medical field. Dawn can also often be found on a sunny hiking trail, enjoying the beautiful weather with her lab, Kodi.

Tina Nowling

Driving Fundamentals and On-Road Programs

(MVD Certified)

Tina moved to the valley from the twin cities in 2006. She attended the University of Minnesota and has a degree in Art History. Tina has been working with young kids and teens for 20 years. Her experience as an educator includes over ten years as a preschool teacher in Arizona as well as summer camp counselor for school age children. She has coached high school soccer and grew up playing many different sports. Tina loves being outdoors. She has two children, a son who is a sophomore at Higley and daughter in 5th grade.

Devrae Rowan

Driving Fundamentals, On-Road, and Classroom Programs

(MVD and Dept. of Ed Certified)

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.

Thomas Deming

Driving Fundamentals and On-Road Programs

Thomas grew up in the Redwoods of Northern California. He served in the U.S. Navy as a jet mechanic on two aircraft carriers. He graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Since then he continues to serve as a 7th Grade Social Studies teacher for over 20 years in the Deer Valley Unified School District. He enjoys coaching Basketball and working with students to grow into excellent citizens. He has a wife and two teenage sons that love to go on road trips and hike on trails to enjoy nature. Thomas comes to the DrivingMBA knowing this premier program will help his children and society as a whole to become safe and competent drivers.

Taylor Mullen

Driving Fundamentals and On-Road Programs

Taylor is originally from the island of Oahu, Hawaii. She moved to Arizona in March 2016. She left the islands to better her life and leave her old life behind. Taylor has a strong desire for helping others and is her passion. She has worked for the past 4 years in Behavioral Health for children and adults. Taylor has found that continuing with her empathetic nature for others is returned from others also helping her. She enjoys everything she does, working with students, and your loved ones. It shows throughout DMBA and at home.

Kenneth Hack

Defensive Driving and On-Road Programs

Ken grew up in Westchester County, New York, and graduated from the State University of New York at Syracuse with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. After college, he moved to Phoenix and met his wife. They raised two sons who are both ASU graduates. Ken’s career has been in Risk Management and Insurance and he owned an independent agency for several years. At one time he considered a career change and earned 20 credits from Ottawa University in Education. Ken enjoys working with youth and has volunteered with Junior Achievement, Special Olympics, coached T-Ball and taught Sunday School. He has also worked as a substitute teacher. In his spare time, Ken enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, gardening, and taking care of home repairs.

Ed Cordova

Ed Cardona

Defensive Driving and On-Road Programs

Ed moved to Arizona after a 21-year career in the United States Air Force and has now been in Arizona for 26 years. Ed started with DrivingMBA in 2017 and left in 2020 to go back to Hawaii. After 9 months he decided to come back and is now back with DrivingMBA. He has an Associates’s degree in communications and has worked as a code and building inspector for the city of Glendale prior to joining DrivingMBA. Ed has two daughters, one a graduate of A.S.U. and the other a graduate of U of A. He enjoys quiet time and golfing on his time off. Ed finds this job to be the most interesting of any he’s had.

Art Eckstat

Defensive Driving Program

(MVD Certified)

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 20 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.

Linda Hulverson


(MVD & Dept. of Ed Certified)

Linda was born in Wisconsin and moved to Arizona after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1985, with a Bachelor’s of Business Degree in Business Administration. While attending 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.