THE CREW

OUR IDEA PEOPLE. 

 

Jeff Barton

Co-Founder, President

A lot of creatives excel at making something beautiful. Jeff is the rare one who not only makes it beautiful, but guarantees it has a strategy that delivers results. 

Jeff’s hard working attitude was developed on a farm (seriously, he used to raise cows) and forged at some of the top agencies in the business. In 2017, Jeff struck out on his own and founded what would become Oyster Creative Collective. 

Besides serving as the captain of our ship, he supervises and leads a team of art directors, designers and copywriters to deliver award winning ideas and creative. 

Dan Ayer

CO-FOUNDER, WRITER, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS & SOCIAL MEDIA

Dan is an award-winning copywriter and public relations professional who combines ideas, strategy, words and content to drive business results for clients. 

During his career, Dan has served as a copywriter, media relations specialist, social media and digital strategist to clients across multiple industries. 

In 2013, he was selected as PRSA Pittsburgh’s Rising Star, an award given to a young professional who has shown outstanding promise in the field of public relations. After his first year in business on his own, he was again honored by PRSA Pittsburgh as its first ever Entrepreneur of the Year. 

Jenna Lo Castro Ph.D.

Director of Communications & Strategy

Need a communications strategy for business, stat? Jenna’s not an MD, but she’s our resident doc when it comes to writing a prescription for an organization’s message.

Her 9 to 5 is as an assistant professor of public relations and advertising at Point Park University, but she’s a member of our team 24/7.

Prior to joining the Point Park community, she was an assistant professor of corporate communications at Penn State, Fayette. She has taught at Pittsburgh universities including Duquesne, Carlow and Chatham.
She also has industry experience in advertising and has written for both magazine and newspaper — and as she tells her students — “yes, people still read them.”

Kylie McCracken

Senior Communications Strategist

Officially, Kylie is a Communications Strategist. Unofficially? She’s an ambassador for the city of Pittsburgh.

Which makes sense because she joined our crew after a successful stint leading multiple award-winning campaigns for VisitPITTSBURGH, our region’s tourism bureau. And she’s still driving the welcome wagon for the Burgh, serving as the Rivers Club Young Executive Council Chair on the Board of Directors and recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s 2019 50 Finest Honorees.

 

Georgia Streitman

Communications Strategist

From Intern to Project Manager to Communications Strategist.

Georgia’s found solutions for a lot of Oyster’s internal challenges and now we’re turning her loose to solve our client’s. Georgia started down the road towards a career in graphic design and art direction, but has found a home in the worlds of strategy and GSD (getting shit done!). On top of being a part of the Crew, she’s a student at the prestigious Savannah College of Art & Design, where she’s developing a keen eye for great work and balancing her own slate of projects.

 

Suzanne Basista

Senior Communications Strategist

Our resident wordsmith, news junkie and grammar nerd, Suzanne helps blend words and strategy to deliver results.

With deep expertise in PR and integrated marketing communications, Suzanne works with our clients and internal teams to make sure their vision and ours align to create something truly special. She spent her previous lives working both in-house and for agencies, helping provide our team with the full picture on every project.

 

Courtney Boone

Advisor, Executive Communications & Strategy

Courtney is the in-house yin to our agency yang.

Providing our team and clients with perspective that only comes from two decades of leading communications for some of the biggest organizations out there. We’re lucky to have Courtney on the Crew while she pursues her Executive MBA at the Katz School of Business at Pitt. And even more fortunate to have her serving as an advisor to our clients and mentor to our team.

 

Jamie Kurke

Senior Manager, Communications

Agency. In-house. Non-profit. Jamie’s worked just about everywhere. And now? Well, she’s bringing her blend of creativity and strategy to our crew, all the way from DC.

All that experience in diverse work environments provides real insight into how challenging it is to bring an idea to life. Luckily, with Jamie navigating, it’s smooth sailing to bring yours to the surface.

Laura Shirley

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR

Able to come up with big ideas? Check. Visually stunning work? Check. Strategic in everything she does? Check. Fun to work with? Double check. 

Laura checks every box you want from an art director. But where she really excels is going beyond those checkmarks. 

A natural leader who got her start at several top, highly-awarded creative shops, Laura refuses to compromise when it comes to her and her clients’ work. 

Her passion for design and the creative arts extends outside the office, where she holds key roles in AIGA and CreativeMornings.
 

Jordan Paplow

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

They say a picture says a thousand words. Well, Jordan believes a great design tells an entire story.

At Oyster, he uses visuals and imagery to help our clients tell theirs. Working in a grocery store inspired his work in design. He went from asking — Paper or plastic? To questions about how product packaging can bring a brand to life.

Maddie Quinn

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

A few things to know about Maddie: #1. She dreams about being an art director. #2. She loves lists. #3. She’s on the fast-track for #1.

Maddie joins the Crew after interning at one of Pittsburgh’s top agencies. A recent grad, Maddie goes all in on everything she does, including standing for 46 hours straight to raise money for Penn State’s THON fundraiser.

John Hapach

Senior Production Artist

If you have a creative challenge John’s not only seen it before, he’s done it twice. If he hasn’t, well then he puts his years of experience to work solving it.

Prior to joining the Crew, John’s worked for some the biggest names in the agency world as a creative director. His work has brought home numerous awards and even more happy clients.

 

Gianna DiPaolo

Public Relations & Social Media Strategist

Look up leader in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of Gia. 

Well, you’ll actually find a definition of the word. But that’s only because dictionaries don’t have pictures. If they did? Gia would be staring back at you.

Gia joined the Crew after several internships. One at a top flight agency, another at a small business and even worked for local government. When she wasn’t busy interning or over-achieving and graduating early from college, Gia served as the President of Point Park University’s PRSSA Chapter.

As a PR & Social Media Strategist she’ll be developing strategy, creating content and helping our clients show how they are leading their own stories.

 

Ashley Morrison

Social Media Specialist

She’s a Ted Lasso fanatic. That was probably enough to bring her aboard.

Ashley joins the Crew after gaining experience in the business-to-business, manufacturing and agency worlds. She even moonlights as an influencer sharing all things travel and food related around the Burgh.

 

Lisa Long

Senior Project Manager

Want to know how long that’s going to take? You ask Lisa.

Many people think she’s the manager of calendars and chaos, but in reality she’s a deliverer of calm. Lisa spent her career at a variety of the industry’s top agencies. Working hand-in-hand with every department to ensure both the quality and timeliness of work. And know what? She’ll ensure all Oyster’s ships make it to port on time. Promise.

 

Work with us

We’re always looking for creative and talented people to join our team. 

Shellfish allergies are even welcome.