Learn About the Ascend Training Staff!


Founder and President: Jori Curry

Jori: President and Founder of Ascend Training

Jori is an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop. She has been teaching Photoshop since 1995, and using it since version 2.0. In additon to teaching, she has been a Technical Advisor for publishing companies, and a presenter at such conferences as the Creative Suite Conference, the Pixel Vector Conferece, and the Photoshop LIVE Conference.

Jori designs all the graphics for Ascend, and is an active user of Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver also.

Developer/ Technology Manager: Jeremy Chambers

Jacqueline: Training Center Manager


Jackie comes to us from the Event Planning industry. She has successfully facilitated over 80 different types of corporate team building/training events, including philanthropic elements and adult learning principles.

Web Technology/ Captivate Instructor: Ron Bailey

Ron: Captivate, Dreamweaver and Web Development

Ron has been teaching and developing for the web for 15 years. His constant quest for knowledge makes him an ideal instructor to answer questions on a multitude of applications.

Ron is an is an Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor and Developer in Captivate and the Dreamweaver as well as being an Adobe Community Leader. Proficient and enthusiastic about HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, Ron has an abundance of knowledge to impart to those eager to learn. He has a passion for new knowledge and improving workflows. Ron has been teaching for Ascend since 1999. He is a co-manager of the Chicago chapter of the Adobe User Group. Ron was also instrumental in the development of this website.

Web and JavaScript Instuctor: Rich Humphreys

Rich: Dreamweaver, Flash, Actionscript, Fireworks

Rich is an Adobe Certified Expert, Adobe Certified Instructor and Developer in Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks. He has been teaching Flash since its inception, and Dreamweaver since 1999. His attentive, hands-on approach taken with his students is second to none. He also is an avid freelancer both in web design and sculpture. Rich has been teaching for Ascend since 2000. He is a co-manager of the Chicago chapter of the Adobe User Group.

Video Instructor: Rob Shultz

Rob: Premiere Pro

Rob is our resident video expert who scored a perfect 100% on the Premiere Pro exam!

He has taught Adobe Premiere and television production at the college level for over 10 years. He has 25 years experience in television studio management. Rob is also an independent shooter/editor who travels the country shooting programs for television.

He has video taped everything from motor sports, to a Billy Idol Concert and Supreme court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Graphic Design Instructor: Laurie Ruhlin

Laurie: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop

Teaching InDesign and Illustrator is truly her passion. Helping students to understand how these complex programs work, and to find better, faster, more efficient ways to complete their projects is her ultimate goal in every class. She loves to see the "lightbulb" turn on in someone's head during a class, when a student finally "gets it!"

Laurie is an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor in both InDesign and Illustrator. She has been a speaker at the Vector Conference, the HOW Conference, InDesign Conferences, as well as a guest speaker at the Adobe Users Group. She is consistently involved in many projects that allow her to bring a wealth of real-world knowledge and experience to the classroom. Laurie has been teaching for Ascend since 1998.

InDesign and Acrobat Instructor: Jim Maivald

Jim: InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Acrobat

Jim is an Adobe Certified Expert and Adobe Certified Instructor in InDesign and Illustrator. He is the author of A Designer's Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML and Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 Classroom in a Book.

Jim also runs the Chicago chapter of the Adobe InDesign User Group. He has been teaching for Ascend since 2005

Photoshop Instructor: Patty Carroll

Patty: Photoshop

Patty has been teaching Photography for over 10 years, and Adobe Photoshop for over 6 years. She has spent time as an Artist in Residence, Akiyoshidai Arts Village in Yamaguchi, Japan. She has her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Illinois, and completed her graduate degree at the Institute of Design at IIT.

UX Design: Carolyn

Carolyn: UX Design

Carolyn is an industry expert in UX and customer engagement. For the past 16 years, she has exceled at helping people connect with their company brand and define a product vision. She is an international speaker and the author of A Project Guide to UX Design and Adventures in Experience Design. Her strategic expertise in user experience design help grow design skills of individuals and teams.


Barbara: Brave Branding, LinkedIn 101

Barbara is the founder of Chicago’s Social Media Club and the creator of the WIRED PR and 3D marketing systems. She is top in her field of social media marketing, and helps people establish and manage their digital presence. Her methods of “Designing a “ arketing Makeover” that builds your brand and business” elevate skills of all her students and their companies.

Fabiola: Intern

Fabiola: Intern

Ascend is proud to have Fabiola as our intern for 2015. She is a skilled video editor in both Premiere Pro and After Effects.

iOS Development Instructor: Gene Backlin

Gene: iPhone/iPad Development

Gene is the author of Professional iPhone and iPad Application Development. He has a vast history in the technology field, starting out programming for digital watches in the 1970's, writing for NeXT Computer, and has been developing for the iPhone since it's inception.

Final Cut Pro Instructor: Ashley Kennedy

Ashley: Final Cut Pro, Avid

Ashley is a video editor with a wealth of experience in Final Cut Pro, Avid and After Effects.With a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois and an M.F.A. in Film from Boston University, she brings a wealth of knowledge to Ascend.


    Ascend has served the Chicago creative community offering the highest quality training programs since 1998. In addition to hands-on classroom training, we feature online and onsite training. Our philosophy is that students learn by doing, and our classes are jam packed with interactive learning experiences. Our class sizes have a maximum of 10 students to ensure individualized attention.


    "Loved the approach. There was a ton of one-on-one which made it easier to grasp the subjects."

    "Laurie is AWESOME! Not only did she cover all the ins and outs without overwhelming, but she was also incredibly receptive to questions. She worked in examples from our outside projects, and tailored the course to help us get what we wanted from it."

    "This place is great!"

    "Great examples. In particular I appreciated the examples of doing and correcting "mistakes". Really great job of balancing different interests and experience levels in the same class."

    "I was extremely impressed by Ascend's location and ambient learning environment. I would recommend Ascend to anyone."

    "Rich is SO knowledgeable and always in a good mood!"

    "Patty was awesome. Her knowledge really shone through in her teaching. I would recommend her as an instructor to everyone."

    "Great attitude, kept it interesting and always relevant to the applications that the class members had indicated at the onset of the class."