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Our Leadership

The leadership at Stardock oversees the company's operations with extensive and diverse management experience, subject matter expertise, and critical knowledge for Stardock's success. Our leadership roles are guided by a range of valuable perspectives, ensuring that Stardock benefits from a well-rounded and effective team.

  1. Brad Wardell

    Brad Wardell


    Brad Wardell is a veteran game designer and developer with over 25 years of experience. As the founder of Stardock, he built his company from a one-man endeavor to a global software developer and publisher. While at Stardock he has designed the games Galactic Civilizations and The Political Machine, software including Start8, Object Desktop, ModernMix, and Impulse, plus countless other products, Wardell has an in-depth knowledge in how to build successful products from start to finish. He has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Nightly Business Report, CNN, MSNBC, Time and US News for his entrepreneur and technical expertise. Check out Brad's website at

  2. Chris Kowal

    Chris Kowal

    VP, Corporate and Business Development

    Chris is a strategy and business development senior executive with responsibility for development of a strategic partner ecosystem that maximizes the global market appeal and profit potential of products and services. With a 25-year demonstrated history and a focus on innovation and efficiency leveraging technology, his broad experience and operational leadership spans strategic planning, go-to-market execution and growth acceleration across multiple industry verticals.

  3. Derek Paxton

    Brad Sams

    VP and General Manager, Stardock Software

    Brad Sams oversees the daily operations of Stardock Software that makes Windows more productive and personal. With more than 15 years of experience working within the Microsoft ecosystem, Brad is helping Stardock build world-class software used by enthusiasts and the enterprise. Prior to joining Stardock, Brad was an executive in a Microsoft-centered media company and founded a finance-focused startup.

  4. Brian Clair

    Brian Clair

    Director of Publishing

    A 19-year veteran of the video game industry, Brian spent the first part of his career as the publisher for Adrenaline Vault and was a co-founder of He moved to the development side of the industry when he joined Stardock in 2005 and enjoys being able to contribute to so many different projects. He’s worked with Ironclad Games, Gas Powered Games, Take 2 Interactive, Jack of All Games, Synnex and many other studios, both as a producer and as Director of Publishing.

  5. Patrick Shaw

    Patrick Shaw

    Director of Production

    Over the last 20 years, Patrick has successfully launched dozens of game products serving both in design and product manager roles. His broad experience includes work on games for entertainment, as well as more serious games and simulations, including Star Wars and The Sims. Currently, Patrick is currently the senior producer on Galactic Civilizations, Ashes of the Singularity, and Star Control.

  6. Jeff Sanders

    Jeff Sanders

    Director of Product Lifecycle

    With over 15 years experience in Quality Assurance in software and game development, Jeff continues to head up the Stardock QA teams. With a hands-on approach, he has assisted in shipping hundreds of products and updates. Jeff enjoys seeing our software take shape while keeping focus on the products with the end user in mind.

  7. Katie Spangler

    Katie Spangler

    Director of Marketing

    Katie has been managing the Stardock Marketing Team for over 10 years. During her time here, she has led over 100 game and software releases. Katie's primary focus is overseeing our copywriters, web developers, graphic designers, press relations, and community evangelists.

  8. Nathan Hanish

    Nathan Hanish

    Lead Developer

    A 20-year industry veteran in video games for entertainment and DoD training, Nathan has acted as engineer, architect, and technical lead across many platforms and genres. This includes isometric CRPG, MMO, FPS, third person action, open world, Co-op Action RPG, Turn Based Strategy, Real Time Strategy, robotics simulation, action adventure and game-based training. He holds masters degrees in Computer Engineering and Business Administration from UAHuntsville.

  9. Laika Laursen

    Laika Laursen

    Art Director

    Laika has a Bachelor of Art from The Animation Workshop in Denmark and has worked as an artist on a variety of projects - most recently "Ubisoft Escape Games" and "Avatar - Frontiers of Pandora". Laika loves all parts of the creative process, and collaborating with team members across borders to make great games.

  10. Akil Dawkins

    Akil Dawkins

    Lead Artist

    Akil has over 15 years of art and industry experience. He was the art lead for Galactic Civilizations® III, and lead artist for Star Control®: Origins™. Akil's expertise includes 3D modeling, painting, environments, concept art, hard surface and organic modeling, lighting, and more.