Meet The Team
You're probably here because you want to know a little more about us. Well, here you go! We're here to serve your pipe, pipe tobacco and cigar needs, so here's who's providing that service. We're proud to have a sophisticated, professional and knowledgeable staff and we're here to help you in any way that we can (well, with things tobacco related, at least; our quantum physics skills are frequently found wanting and our plumbing skills are nonexistent).
Here you'll find a list of everyone who works for Smokingpipes.com and what we all do here. Poke around and get to know us a little bit. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call us at (888) 366 0345 or email us.
Sykes founded Smokingpipes.com in 2000, while completing his undergraduate degree in history at Vanderbilt University. Some might today assume, like Athena was said to have sprung whole from the head of Zeus, that Sykes sprang wholly prepared upon the world of pipes. The truth, however, is that he didn't have any idea what he was getting into. Mostly. He had not then ever written a line of code, and he had no inkling as to how to run a business, even one that was just two guys and a small rented warehouse space in Tennessee. What he did have from his part-time job at a local tobacco shop was an inkling of the sort that in hindsight others would call insight: technology, particularly the World Wide Web, could revolutionize pipe and tobacco retail just as it was transforming so many other industries. Of equal importance was Sykes's growing interest in pipes as works of functional art that deserved critical discussion. This interest was good enough to get things started; the knowledge needed to run a successful business would develop over time as it does for most of us in our 20s: by doing with enthusiasm. So it was with enthusiasm and two convictions--that the pipe business needed technology and that pipes were serious and beautiful things--that Sykes laid the foundation for what Smokingpipes.com would eventually become. This trinity still largely defines his role in the company today where his primary responsibilities include overseeing finances, operations, and software development, as well as vendor relationships and sales, all things that he has learned a little about in the ensuing years. But even as time has carried on and the company has grown, Sykes is still never more passionate than when working directly with, or teaching others about, pipes.
If one were to idly wander through the Smokingpipes offices, your first impression of Lisa might simply be that of a quiet, diminutive, friendly lady sitting behind a contrastingly large desk. The reality is that she sits behind that large desk because she is the rock of Smokingpipes - while Sykes is brainstorming with John or Ted, or trotting off overseas to meet with pipemakers and work out some crazy deal, Lisa's the one making sure we have things like electricity, shelter, fresh coffee beans by the sack-full, and paychecks.
Originally from Reading, PA, Lisa relocated to South Carolina on account of her love of the beach, and ascended to her current senior position (rather literally) from being manager of our first-floor brick & mortar pipe and cigar shop, Low Country Pipe and Cigar.
Aside from her official duties as the Smokingpipes matriarch, Lisa also serves as our resident expert on all matter Disney-related, as evidenced by the hefty dream-vacation itinerary she provided Adam with when he took his wife to Disneyworld. (And which turned out, by all accounts indeed, to be a rousing success.)
Born in Arley, Alabama (roll tide), Joshua came to South Carolina in 2005 to start graduate school. He taught for seven years while he earned his PhD in early American history. While writing lectures and a dissertation which focused on the religious and cultural history of colonial America, Joshua found pipes to be his constant companions. What free time he had he spent reading about pipes and tobacco. He came to us having taught on a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Carolina, and with a background in wine sales. His interests include food and wine, cooking, reading and writing history, and a secret love of Victorian ghost stories, which are to be read by the light of an oil lamp and accompanied by a pipe, naturally.
Shane and his wife, Lisette, plus their Beagle, Bubba (who is a good boy), relocated from San Diego, California, to South Carolina to join us at Smokingpipes.com. It was when we asked about his hobbies and he responded, "whiskey, tobacco, writing, moving across the country, and listing my hobbies," that we knew we would all get along just fine. Shane makes particular use of his immense knowledge of pipes and pipe culture as Vice President of Retail, overseeing all of our retail operations in the United States, Ireland, China, and Japan. Liaising with pipe makers around the world while spending roughly half the year on the road, Shane plays several instruments adequately, but maybe none masterfully, and loves the music of David Bowie, Ornette Coleman, and Rachmaninoff. His favorite foods include albacore, espresso, Laphroaig of any variety, McConnell's Scottish Flake, watermelon, rye (both marbled, and distilled), and soft-boiled quail eggs. But especially clam chowder. He proudly supports Chelsea Football Club, and Boba Fett is, hands down, his favorite bounty hunter.
Tracy and her husband Dave set out together to Myrtle Beach when they were both just nineteen and have made a pretty good run of it down here. Dave has owned and operated an income tax and accounting practice since 1994, which Tracy helps out with part-time. (She even ran her own mortgage broker firm from 2003 to 2009.) Her considerable experience in purchasing, accounting, and inventory control has quickly proven valuable here at Smokingpipes, where she thoroughly enjoys being able to utilize her skills—she also thoroughly enjoys our dressed-down environment. Tracy's passion for her work is evident; she's always eager to volunteer with new projects, and encourages Laudisi-spirit through every meeting and event. When they aren't busy with, well, business, Tracy and her husband enjoy getting out and back to nature, camping and hiking with their three children.
A native of Maryland, Cathy moved to the beach in 1986 for a nice change of scenery, and she's been here ever since. After being involved in banking for a number of years, she now works at Laudisi as our Senior Accountant, where she puts her initiative and organizational skills to work daily, supporting all the day-to-day goings-on at the company. From balancing books and answering phones to assisting with large orders and running company errands, Cathy has a part in all our operations. Needless to say, she's the wind beneath our wings. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys working on projects around the house, gardening, shopping, and spending time with family and friends.
Originally from the small town of Boonsboro, Maryland, Chris joined Laudisi in the fall of 2021 as one of our Accountants, assisting Tracy and Cathy with journal entries, accounts payable, and tax information, and making sure our "i"s are dotted and our "t"s crossed — numerically speaking, of course. Such responsibilities suit Chris well: He's organized and numbers-oriented, all while maintaining a relaxed and laid-back demeanor. As a Maryland native, he's an avid supporter of the Baltimore Ravens, and aside from watching football, Chris enjoys golfing, playing video games, and watching South Park, Star Wars films, and Marvel movie adaptations. He's also especially fond of his dog, Shelby — a Coonhound, Lab, and Boxer mix — and one day, he hopes to eventually visit every U.S. state and each World Wonder.
Originally from San Diego, Lisette relocated to Conway, SC, when Shane Ireland, her husband, came to Smokingpipes. In summer 2019, Lisette also joined the team, putting her finance experience to use as our Bookkeeper. Calm, cool, and collected, Lisette (not "Liz," not "Lizzy," not "Sette," just Lisette) has a fondness for food, books, movies, and music, with particular love for Hip Hop and Motown. With an eclectic taste in literature, she enjoys reading everything from Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, to The Diary of Anne Frank and To Kill a Mockingbird, to countless graphic novels, and her movie preferences reveal a similar diversity: The Godfather, The Breakfast Club, documentaries, and anything Disney. Lisette hopes one day to plan a trip that incorporates visiting Japan, hugging a panda, meeting an elephant, swimming with marine life, and finishing a jigsaw puzzle, but until then, she's content with feeding Shane and cuddling their beagle, Bubba.
Originally from New Jersey, Julie moved to South Carolina to study at Coastal Carolina University before joining our team in 2018. In the office, she's our Human Resources Manager & Project Manager. In this position, she is involved in hiring and on-boarding new employees, regular check-ins, project planning, change initiatives, and much more. In short, Julie is essential in keeping the Laudisi ship afloat, ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently by creating an ideal work environment for all departments.
After leaving the rainy backdrop of Washington state, Tayla moved to South Carolina in 2013 before joining Laudisi at the end of 2019, her ambitious nature and easy-going personality being a perfect fit for our team. Now serving as Administrative Assistant, Tayla is responsible for event planning, filing, and making sure our departments are adequately supplied and equipped to succeed, and when she's not busy managing and organizing office matters, Tayla enjoys gardening, horseback riding, and trying new cuisine in her free time. Like many of us here, she has an eclectic musical taste, ranging from classical to hip-hop, and is a talented violinist herself. She's also a little more daring than some of us here, with skydiving being one of the top activities on her bucket list.
Honest and hardworking, April's an integral part of the Laudisi family. As our Housekeeper, she ensures all our office spaces stay well stocked and tidy, while juggling a variety of administration tasks to keep the whole operation running smoothly. Originally from New York, April's lived in Conway, South Carolina for the past 24 years, where she homeschools her children and whips up a delicious spread of desserts (seriously, she's crafty). A fan of all things horror and suspense, in her free time, April devours Dean Koontz books and enjoys taking her girls to haunted and abandoned sites to photograph what they see.
Allen S. Gregory, or as we call him, Scott, joined the Laudisi team as General Maintenance Specialist in 2021, taking on a whole host of tasks as our go-to man whenever vehicles, buildings, or anything else goes awry. Originally from New Jersey, Scott now lives in Conway, SC, with his wife of 20 years and dog named Baily. Responsible and reliable, Scott thinks in and out of the box, which makes him well-rounded indeed. When not working his magic to keep Laudisi facilities operational, he likes to work on old cars and check off experiences on his adventurous bucket list, which currently includes skydiving and white water rafting.
Greg has lived in the Myrtle Beach area since 1988—certainly long enough to be considered a native. With over 20 years of web development and programming experience, Greg's responsible for maintaining all six of our websites (woah!), as well as troubleshooting and developing the kind of real-time software solutions that makes our work possible. From mending code to adding new bits to existing software, Greg works closely with all of our divisions and departments, acting as both the client and the user to provide fixes that best fit everybody's needs. When Greg's not pulling all-nighters in front of his computer he helps his wife Cheryl with her beach wedding business.
Originally from Mississippi, John found his way to South Carolina by way of his education—first receiving a bachelors in Fine Art/Photography from Delta State and then his masters at Clemson. John started out in our Marketing department, where he managed many responsibilities in photography and creative direction, but his love for programming (and occasionally breaking the site) just kept tugging at him. Currently, John is our Developer and spends his time doing everything from spicing things up with jQuery to building database tools for other departments, to pretty much anything in between. John is a movie buff, a cat person, and a mediocre juggler. He also loves the taste of burnt cheese.
Originally from Langhorne, PA, Mike moved to Myrtle Beach to be closer to his parents. He was an Operations Specialist in the Navy, working with Tactical Data Systems and as a Tactical Air Controller. Having been deployed a number of times to the Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, South America, and Baltic Sea, the wealth of knowledge gained from his experience and education in systems and network administration made him a natural fit for our Systems Administrator position. Mike currently handles everything from fixing printers and PCs to maintaining "network administration stuff" (only Mike knows what that is). When he isn't on the job, Mike spends his time at the beach, playing video games, or with his family and parents.
Mark Turchon hails from Northeast Ohio and came to us in 2021 after moving to Myrtle Beach with his wife, two boys, and rescue dogs Duke and Laney. He enjoys spending time with his family, photography, and watching sports, remaining a loyal fan to the Cleveland Browns even after relocation. As an IT Support Specialist, he keeps the technology wheels turning at Laudisi, while in his off time will likely be found enjoying 90's alternative rock or attending the latest Marvel movie with his family. He has already tried skydiving and mountain climbing, even reaching the summit of Pike's Peak, but still has more adventures in mind such as trips to Ireland and Japan.
Originally from North Myrtle Beach, Cole is a true local of the Grand Strand, and he joined the Laudisi team in the spring of 2022 as our IT Helpdesk Technician, working with our Systems Administrator and IT Support Specialist to ensure that all technologies are accounted for and running smoothly. Witty and sarcastic, Cole doesn't take himself too seriously and always lightens the office with welcome humor and lighthearted ease. When not in the office, he can be found playing video games, pursuing music — having played electric and upright bass for over a decade, and is particularly drawn to punk and hardcore music — or following the New York Knicks, "for better or worse" as he puts it.
Originally from the foothills of North Carolina, Andy grew up on a tobacco farm where he watched his great grandfather prime and cure Virginias as a boy. Naturally, he soon developed a love for pipes and pipe tobacco. After taking up the hobby full-time during his undergrad at UNC Chapel Hill, Andy searched for a way to consolidate his love for pipes and his interests in Marketing. Luckily his search led him across state lines to join us here at Laudisi.
As our Marketing Director, Andy's known for wearing many hats, and also for juggling a variety of responsibilities. In addition to writing newsletters and blogs, he's also responsible for coding up our emails and blogs, as well as researching, testing, and implementing cutting-edge marketing strategies across a variety of platforms. Andy loves Spanish food, and since his return from Spain in 2012, has been tirelessly searching for jamón ibérico. When he’s not writing or coding, he enjoys gardening, tea sipping, coffee gulping, traveling, learning new languages, and watching his beard grow.
Chuck spent years controlling all weather for the Northern hemisphere before realizing that his efforts were imperfect and were generating complaints, so he moved on to a writing career. Words are almost as difficult to control as the weather, so it seemed an appropriate lateral move. He spent the next 20 years as Editor of Pipes and tobaccos magazine, honing his skills and becoming moderately knowledgeable about pipes, refining his expertise until becoming entirely unemployable and incapable of conversing about any other topic. He left P&T for convoluted reasons only he understands (he showed up here saying, "I want job. Gimme job."). Despite his apparent inability to communicate in person with other humans, his concise summary of his needs charmed us into giving him a chance.
Chuck collects pipes, pipe tampers, and locks of hair from ventriloquist dummies, which he displays in his office (his walls are entirely composed of doll hair. No one else goes in there). His only other hobby is singing show tunes while gargling Diet Pepsi, a skill that he demonstrates at far too many meetings.
Responsible for most of the editing and a big portion of the writing at Smokingpipes, Chuck is the person to contact when you see mistakes or anything that just isn't good. He seems to thrive on failure, so do call him with complaints anytime, day or night. Be sure to mention that his writing skills are equal to his weather control. He loves that.
Kyler was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and bleeds Tarheel blue. He grew up in Raleigh, NC following college basketball, playing soccer, and racing cars. After six years at Ripley's Aquarium, Kyler made his way to Laudisi in January of 2018. Since that time, he's worn multiple hats at the company, from Assistant Shipping Manager to Marketing Coordinator, and currently Kyler applies his cross-departmental experience to helping guide our Marketing efforts as Project Manager. In this role, Kyler spearheads myriad tasks, ranging from researching new packaging to keeping the Marketing team informed and organized.
After years working in our merchandizing and graphics department, Katie now leads our photography efforts across all of our marketing channels. In addition to helping with product photography, she also helps design and implement our social media and content marketing strategy by shooting and creating custom graphics for our blog, catalogs, and social media assets. When she's not creating engaging content for our customers, Katie enjoys attending concerts and spending time with foster animals.
Originally from Poland, Anna immigrated to the States (NYC) with her parents when she was 13. After graduating high school, she attended Fordham University in Manhattan, where she studied Visual Arts and spent most of her free time immersed in NYC's art museums and culture. While she enjoyed her time in the city, Anna soon longed to escape the hustle of the concrete jungle and decided to move to Pennsylvania, buying a house near her parents in the Poconos, whose dense forest and blue lakes reminded her of Poland. There she worked for various printers and ad agencies, and eventually started her own design firm alongside her husband.
In 2020, however, stuck at home through the cold, rainy days of early spring, Anna and her family decided they needed to move somewhere they actually wanted to be, which, for Anna, meant the sun and the beach. That place turned out to be South Carolina, where she found her way to us here at Laudisi.
As our Graphic Designer, Anna applies her training and experience to creating myriad assets for both print and web, as well as helping educate the team on best practices. Her appreciation for user experience and strong art background continue to elevate our design standards, and her honesty and initiative make her a genuine pleasure to work with. We think she's brilliant, though she's far too modest to admit it (well... most of the time).
When she's not designing web ads and labels, or working with our copy team on a new catalog, Anna enjoys exploring her creativity outside of work through painting and drawing, particularly with charcoal or ink. She's also a self-described "CrossFit Junkie," having participated in multiple team competitions. Of course, mental fortitude is just as important, and as an avid reader, Anna begins each day with a chapter, which she says helps ground her thoughts for the day ahead. Anna looks forward to settling into her new home, together with her husband and their four lovely children.
David joins our team by way of Baltimore, MD where he grew up and lived through his college years. A graduate of The University of Maryland, David spent his formative years playing lacrosse (like any good Marylander), skateboarding, and developing a deep appreciation for punk rock and independent music.
David holds a new role for Laudisi as Community Manager, and his focus is on developing and engaging with our growing online community across all of our brands. In his professional life, David spent many years developing his skills in areas that mean a lot to us: Marketing and Pipes and Cigars. After spending 17 years working for Creative Agencies and in Corporate Marketing, David took a pleasant detour by jumping headlong into the tobacco industry. Prior to joining Laudisi, he managed a busy brick-and-mortar tobacco lounge in Annapolis, MD where he shared his passion with other enthusiasts in a face-to-face setting.
These days, David lives with his girlfriend in Wilmington, NC. A father of 2 amazing kids, David bleeds Liverpool Red (You'll Never Walk Alone!) and enjoys playing tennis. He's a lover of documentaries, a reader of historical fiction, and a proud dog dad to his pitbull, George.
After graduating from Coastal Carolina University with a Bachelors in Business Administration, Brandee searched for a way to combine her love of the visual arts and her fascination with marketing. She found exactly that here in Laudisi’s Merchandizing Department, where she worked as our Photo Graphics Specialist creating myriad visual assets and making sure each and every photograph that appears on our site is as true as possible to the product. In early 2022, then, Brandee transitioned into her current role as Digital Media Creator for our Marketing team, utilizing the graphic design skills she's honed over the years to elevate our various newsletters, social media pictures, and blog posts.
When she's not at work, you'll likely find Brandee experimenting with new makeup looks, planning Halloween festivities, enjoying true crime and conspiracy novels as well as documentaries, or simply hanging out with her dog Sancho, a stubby little Pughuahua.
Cassie was born in Michigan, and relocated to Myrtle Beach in 2004. Her work days are spent as the Assistant Director of Smokingpipes, juggling employee time cards, helping oversee the SPC Division, coordinating interdepartmental initiatives, working with vendors and pipe makers, and teaching us all a thing or two about problem-solving. In her free time, she's a dedicated wife and mother, who is obsessed with cooking (particularly: crockpot meals) and clearance shopping. Along with her husband, Russ, and two children, she travels frequently, with an emphasis on taking cruises — their favorite so far being a voyage to Alaska.
Bill has been living in the Low Country for over a quarter century, which makes him the closest thing to a "local" that we have. Originally from Ohio, Bill has a Bachelor's degree in Business and over 16 years retail experience. He's a natural math whiz, and as our Purchasing Manager, Bill puts those skills to good use — handling all the purchasing for all of our tobacco, cigars, and accessories, as well as keeping an eye on our Merchandizing Department and managing current inventory. A frequent cigar smoker, Bill also owned a beachfront bar for a few years. Bill's pride and joy are his wife, his two children, and he is a big sports fan. He is loyal to his native Buckeyes but all spring you can find him at the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers baseball games.
In 2006, Steve fled the snows of Northeast Ohio and found himself in South Carolina. Though he claims that he has a hard time thinking up fun things about himself, he finds no difficulty in proclaiming his love for craft beer, mindless comedies, music (particularly 70's rock and 90's rap), his two dogs, and the beach. Joining us in 2018, Steve now deftly leads the Laudisi Customer Service Team as our Customer Service Manager and has no shortage of experience in the field, having held previous positions in customer service, as well as in sales, operations, and accounting. He's most excited, though, about what he can bring to the table thanks to his past expertise as a lumberjack and ladies' shoes salesman.
Kaye comes to us from an extensive background in the customer service industry. Throughout her three decades of customer service experience, she served 13 years in the Air Force, worked within the restaurant and hospitality industry, and spent her last eight years as a customer service representative and sales coordinator for a newspaper company. This immense experience, coupled with her exuberant personality no doubt made her an excellent fit for the Customer Service team at SPC, where she spends her time helping out all of you: providing helpful assistance over the phone and online, processing orders, and just about anything you would need to fulfill your pipe and tobacco needs. Born in Virginia, Kaye moved to South Carolina in 1977. Basically, she'll do anything to be outside; yes, even yard work. And in what may be the greatest example of yin and yang, she owns both a poodle and a Harley.
Chris left the far northern reaches of New Hampshire shortly after high school for the sunny beaches of Florida (which he refers to as "Vacationland") before traveling back northward to the more temperate climate of South Carolina to be here with us at Laudisi. He's a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, having worked in construction, electronics manufacturing, hospitality, warehousing, and, most recently, sales and customer service. He considers this his dream job and has informed us that, when it comes time for him to retire, we may have to escort him off the premises.
Chris describes himself as a mediocre bass guitarist, an aspiring graffiti artist, and an avid yo-yoer. Though he claims that in his free time he enjoys listening to music, reading anything he can get his hands on, and doing anything at all outdoors, we're pretty sure that he's usually either playing guitar or yo-yoing. He also warned us that conjugating the word yo-yo would be uncomfortable. It is.
A Memphian at heart, Samuel started his pipe smoking journey halfway through his undergraduate studies at the University of Memphis. He dabbled in computer science before switching to the Japanese language program in which he learned the many cultural and linguistic conventions of Japanese language and society, while also meeting a wonderful group of teachers, exchange students, and classmates in the process. Shortly after graduation, he attended a bilingual job fair in Boston and applied for a multitude of jobs related to his interests and hobbies both there and online. We were the first ones to call him back, and in Spring 2020, Samuel joined our Customer Service team.
Samuel enjoys a multitude of odd hobbies that's left us convinced he's some sort of time traveler. Pipes are chief among them, but he also has an affinity for straight razors, old-fashioned hair care products, vintage fashion from the turn of the century, and traditional interior design. When he's not stuck in the past, Samuel loves to play the latest games, watch films, and read literature.
Originally from New York, Eryn moved to the Carolinas back in 2012. Highly inquisitive, she enjoys learning all she can about the people and places around her, and prides herself on her patience and understanding — characteristics which have served her well in her career in customer service. Here at Laudisi, E applies those skills to assisting you, our dedicated customers, performing a range of tasks from providing recommendations on new products, to answering inquiries over the phone, to following up with shipping questions. When she's not at work, Eryn enjoys singing and playing her guitar, or cracking open a philosophy book in a quiet corner.
For reasons unknown, Alan's close friends nicknamed him "Gorilla" as a teenager. Perhaps it was due to a hairy complexion, or vine-swinging antics, or chest-beating exultations, but we've yet to witness any such attributes since he joined our Customer Service team in January 2022. Originally from Dillon, South Carolina, Alan moved to Horry County in 2013, fulfilling a childhood dream of living near the coast, and worked as an electrician for years before a love for cigars led him to Laudisi. An avid cigar smoker and pipe aficionado, Alan's passion for tobacco has made him a natural fit as one of our Customer Service Representatives, fulfilling orders, answering questions, and sharing informed recommendations.
Besides cigars and pipe tobacco, Alan has a strong affection for music, horror, and sports. His eclectic musical tastes range from hardcore metal to modern hip-hop and '70s soul; he's obsessed with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and HP Lovecraft; and his diehard support of all Atlanta sports teams as well as the South Carolina Gamecocks is rivaled only by his cigar smoking — thankfully there's no inherent competition between the two. Outside of work, Alan's most likely to be found spending time with his fiancée, daughter, and pet chihuahua (the true love of his life), and he's looking forward to finally celebrating Mardi Gras and experiencing Creole culture in New Orleans on his honeymoon.
Born in Spartanburg but raised in Myrtle Beach. Marked by an easy-going personality, calming confidence, and sarcastic sense of humor, Tyler's the type of person you can't help but want to light up a cigar with, making him all the more perfect for his work as one of our Customer Service Representatives. Combine that with years of experience in the cigar industry, and Tyler comes well prepared, fitting seamlessly into his role here at Laudisi.
While he loves cigars, Tyler's a sort of "Tyler-of-all-trades," with his interests spanning into the realms of art, music, world cultures, and Boston sports. When he's not helping customers, you're most likely to find Tyler with his son, Kai, and dog, Odin, both competing for the title of "Goofiest Creature on the Planet," and if he ever is able to find some time to himself, Tyler enjoys winding down with video games or obsessing over 90's wrestling.
A native of Charlotte, NC (where his three beautiful daughters still reside), Barry moved to the Myrtle Beach area seven years ago, thanks in part to the greater opportunity the Grand Strand offered for two of his favorite pleasures: beach music and a good round of golf. He comes to us with decades of experience in outside sales, covering everything from residential renovations, to log homes, to funeral expenses. As our Retail Associate at Low Country Pipe and Cigar, Barry puts that experience to work assisting customers in choosing the right products and accessories for their own discerning tastes, building relationships with locals and tourists alike, as well as assisting in the planning and organization of all of our many events. When he isn't otherwise busy taking care of our customers or working on his game, he also enjoys running, hitting the gym, home cooked meals, or simply relaxing with a cold beer and a quality maduro cigar.
Andrew is a cheerful and honest person with strong communication skills. And with years of pipe smoking experience under his belt, as well as four years of fine arts study, and a few years of experience in the antiques business, he has a natural eye for pipe aesthetics and a firm knowledge of the market. He brings his knowledge and personality to our Smokingpipes.com Chinese Representative Office as Manager, overseeing the processing of orders, providing over-the-phone and online assistance, and always striving to better serve our Chinese customers. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the acoustic guitar and cooking.
Eric Tan was born and raised in China. He has two years of professional experience in the mobile internet industry with Blue Focus, which, together with his excellent manners and cool patience, makes him an undeniable asset to our Chinese Representative Office as a Customer Service Associate. He puts his manners (and maybe some of his patience) to good use at SPC, assisting customers online and over the phone, processing orders, translating and assembling our Chinese newsletter, and learning more about pipes and pipe tobacco by the day. Eric keeps an open mind to everything; experiencing new things is a great part of his life. In his time off, he loves watching movies and playing extreme sports with friends.
Ryota is our man in Tokyo. He handles customer service for our Japanese customers, providing the same service in Japanese that we offer in English from our main offices in South Carolina. An avid pipe man, Ryota fell in love with pipes while attending Keio University in Tokyo. Since then, he's become involved in pipe clubs and shows in Japan. We first met him at the Chicago Pipe Show in 2011 and he joined the team at the beginning of 2012. A California native, Ryota relocated to Japan to attend college, and now resides there helping to bridge the gap between Smokingpipes.com and its Japanese customers and suppliers.
Raised in the corn fields of Indiana, Truett studied Linguistics at Gordon College, just north of Boston, before moving to northern Spain. After a year of playing soccer and enjoying the cuisine, language, beaches, and mountains of the Basque region, he decided it was finally time to get on with his life, leading him to Laudisi. An avid pipe smoker and patron of Smokingpipes, Truett joined the Merchandizing department at Laudisi in Spring 2018 and now serves as the department's manager, facilitating the data entry, photography, and copywriting teams, while also writing newsletters and contributing to Smokingpipes' Daily Reader. Along with collecting pipes, Truett enjoys playing soccer and following the English Premier League (Glory Glory Man United), solving crossword puzzles, practicing guitar and chess, reading fantasy and sci-fi novels, spending time outdoors, and going to the cinema by himself.
A native of Geneseo of western New York, Cyndy moved down to Georgia following college, working in the restaurant industry for several years before becoming a full-time mom to three (wonderful) children. Later on down the road she would make use of her acquired child-wrangling skills as a school bus driver, then, following that, as a customer service representative. Eventually she decided a change of scenery was in store, and, like so many with a similar urge, she chose South Carolina as her destination. As the SPC Merchandizing Supervisor, Cyndy assists the Merchandizing Manager and makes good use of her maternal instincts, but doing a different kind of wrangling: namely, wrangling pipes for our biweekly updates, maintaining the organization of both our Pipe and Site libraries.
Born and raised in Longwood, NC, Vallin has got mad merchandising skills having started out in Shipping where he was able to touch hundreds and hundred of pipes as they were prepped to ship all over the world. As our Junior Pipe Buyer, Vallin works closely with our Pipe Manager to acquire from around the world pipes of all shape and make, in addition to supervising quality control of the majority of our inbound pipe shipments, inputting measurements & weights on each specific piece, and working with the rest of the Merchandizing team to maintain the organization of our ever-growing inventory. Vallin is certainly a kid at heart; he loves watching cartoons, playing video games, and working on cars—especially Hondas. Vallin's first day of work with Smokingpipes also happened to correspond with our monthly birthday and anniversary party. After meeting the entire crew at once, and getting to know us over sandwiches and cake, Vallin determined that he never wants to leave. And we're not ready for him to, either.
Another New Jersey transplant, Rich moved down to South Carolina back in 2003. After starting out as one of our Shipping & Receiving Associates, he now applies his keen eye for detail and great work ethic to our Merchandising department. As our Data Entry Specialist, Rich is responsible for weighing, measuring, and inputting all the data for the myriad of pipes hitting our site each week. When he's not at work, Rich enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. Oh, and also appreciating all things Rock 'n Roll.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Lora's lived in the greater Myrtle Beach area for over a year now, and has taken to the warmer climate with gusto. When she's not at work, in fact, you'll likely find her outside enjoying the sunshine, whether relaxing on the beach or exploring one of the region's beautiful state parks. As one of our Data Entry Specialists, Lora's responsible for inputting all the weights and measurements for a vast array of products on our site, taking special care to ensure each measurement is exact and our system remains organized. Fun, outgoing, and dependable, she's simply a joy to be around and we're happy to have her on our team.
Coming to us from northern Ohio by way of Raleigh, North Carolina, Karen brings her love for art and analytics to bear in our Merchandizing Department as a Data Entry Specialist. She describes herself as left-brained, and right-brained, which sounds suspiciously close to whole-brained, a Holy Grail by any standard. No way we could turn down those kinds of chops, so we eagerly invited her aboard in early 2021. An avid reader and appreciator of smooth jazz, Karen also possesses talent and passion for art. She expresses adoration for exploration, both of places and unique activities, leading her down less-traveled paths including membership in a Curling Club. She loves to travel and in her off-time plots with both sides of her brain to visit the Galapagos Islands at her earliest opportunity.
Following in the Smokingpipes tradition of unorthodox career paths, Pete capped off a twenty-six year long run as a touring musician by earning a business degree focusing on marketing, merchandising, and graphic design—lending him a diverse range of skill-sets that make him an invaluable member of our merchandizing team. Pete serves as Lead Videographer, where he shoots and edits all the 'white-glove' videos of higher-grade offerings, as well as our blog videos and other promotional media. That's not to say he's stopped playing music though; along with boating and fishing, it still makes up a healthy chunk of his free time. As a native of Buffalo, NY, Pete's furthermore added to our other great tradition: that of welcoming into our bosom those who have migrated (fled?) to the Myrtle Beach area from the Northeast.
A native of Conway, South Carolina, Josh graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a BA in Graphic Design and a minor in Photography. Seeking to put those skills to use, he came to join us at Laudisi as Photographer in the Merchandizing Department, where he photographs and processes most of the pipes that come through our doors. When he's not behind the lens, Josh is working on finishing his MFA at Academy of Art University. He's also a huge Humphrey Bogart fan, and if he's not enjoying an old film or watching his favorite team, the New Orleans Saints, you can find him fishing or just cruising down the Waccamaw River.
After a recent road trip around the US, during which he got to see some of what our country has to offer firsthand, Adam made his way to South Carolina to join us at Laudisi Enterprises. As part of our talented in-house photography team, Adam's responsible for shooting and editing photos of all the various products on our sites, as well as creating visual assets for social media, email campaigns, and other mediums. When he's not helping our shorter staff take top-down shots or get props off of high shelves, Adam spends his time making music in his home studio, hunting down elusive vinyl records for his collection, and bringing audio vibrations to a visual medium through his acrylic paintings.
Patient, observant, and insatiably curious, Bethany makes up an integral part of our Merchandizing team, joining Laudisi in early 2020 as a Graphics Specialist, helping to photograph and edit pictures of the hundreds of pipes that come through our doors each week, readying them for placement on the website. She originally hails from Maryland, the "410" (represent), having moved to South Carolina in 2019, and has a lovable Great Pyrenees pup named William Wallace. With interests in philosophy, music, film, and literature, Bethany appreciates all rock genres, documentaries and sci-fi movies, as well as mystery novels, poetry, and American classics. She's also a talented piano player, and while Bethany's perfectly comfortable diving further into her interests at home, she enjoys exploring new places — especially if there are mountains — and hopes to one day spend time in Italy and Ireland.
Originally from Long Island, New York, John moved to Myrtle Beach in 2020 and joined Laudisi as a Photo Graphics Specialist in 2021. His creativity and penchant for artistic pursuits were a natural fit, and his desire to create art translated well to ensuring you see the very best pictures with which to admire fresh pipes. In his off time he likes to make paintings and photographs, and discover new communities of interest to observe with his camera. He may also be found investigating an occasional art gallery, and looks forward to visiting places like Athens, Ga, Denver, Co, and Ireland, to document the sheepherders.
Born in Michigan but raised in Southern California, Chuck moved across the country in early 2022 to settle in South Carolina, joining Laudisi that summer as one of our Photo Specialists. He brings with him over 40 years of printing and retouching experience, utilizing his skills and talents to photograph and process our on-site product photos for Smokingpipes. A calm, good-natured presence, Chuck has enjoyed a lifelong love of photography — particularly sports, landscape, and nature photography — and is glad to combine his passion with his career. When not in the office, he spends his time on his own photography projects, including weekend shoots at track and field and cross country meets, while also avidly following Formula 1 and MotoGP races.
Born and raised in Myrtle Beach, John has spent less than two years total living outside the confines of the coastal retreat, despite having moved away several times. He does not enjoy the beach the way that most locals do, however, as he prefers the lofty heights and misty summits of the mountains (and cannot stand the feeling of sand in places it doesn’t belong). He has been an avid enthusiast of cigars and tobacco for much of his life, and has been working in the industry since turning 18, finding himself a job in a local cigar store the summer he graduated high school. During his tenure there, John also attended Coastal Carolina University, graduating in May of 2020 with a B.A. in English. After his graduation, John was fully determined to find a career that he could both excel in and that would make full use of his degree. After a year of searching, he finally found the opportunity he had been waiting for and joined us here at Laudisi in 2021 as a Copywriter.
A writer the majority of his life, John has been inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe since childhood, owing this to his father, who read him "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" when he was six years old. Presently, he is enamored with the "Weird Fiction" movement and has been captivated by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. When not writing, you can find John smoking cigars, listening to extreme metal music, attempting to practice the ancient Mongol tradition of throat singing, reading, or tending to his extensive collections of horror cinema and death metal CDs.
Born near a dog track somewhere in Florida, Davin quickly relocated to Myrtle Beach: the home he still haunts to this very day. As a constant overachiever, immediately after graduating college in 2018, Davin set about looking for a job to utilize his English degree and follow his writing passion. He did not immediately succeed. Finally, in 2021, after years of searching, he stumbled across a hiring inquiry for a copywriting position at Smokingpipes, and we welcomed him to Laudisi with open arms.
When not constantly overwhelmed by an ever-growing to-read pile, materializing precariously on nearly every empty surface in his home, he enjoys watching films, exploring hole-in-the-wall dives, and simply passing time. He has a cat to help him with that last part. As for any hidden talents, when pushed, he merely puts up his hands and whispers, "Those are hidden for a reason." It's safe to say he probably doesn't have any. As for any bucket list goals that may be on the horizon for him, Davin seems completely stumped at the idea: "Maybe take up the drums. I didn't make it this far by planning ahead."
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in central Arkansas, Gabriel feels at home in mountains and swamps, wherever they may be. He studied in the Mississippi delta at the University of Arkansas at Monticello before moving on to West Virginia University to earn his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in Poetry. A longtime customer of Smokingpipes, Gabriel was well pleased to come to the Grand Strand in the summer of 2022 and work in one of his favorite hobbies. In his free time, Gabriel can often be found playing old-time tunes on his banjo, working on his manuscript, or queuing up George Jones on the Waffle House jukebox.
Forgive the cliche', but Adam's passion for pipes definitely goes to 11. And you realize that when you ask him a question about pipe bits and his twenty minute answer doesn't include a comma or a breath. Adam's duties here include, but are not limited to, inspecting new and estate pipes for drilling, fit and finish, construction, and cosmetic issues, writing condition statements, and evaluating most of the estate pipes that end up at SPC. He also manages the entire restoration process, which means he spends a lot of time thinking about and then implementing exciting new ways to improve the cleaning of old pipes. Adam is also a celebrated pipe maker, creating and crafting some of our more sought after pipes. He is an industrial design graduate of Purdue University, and has designed pieces such as office products, furniture and cars. Adam's future in pipes was cemented when, as a young child, he refused to watch Frosty the Snowman because he couldn't fathom why a snowman with a magic hat would choose a corncob pipe over a patent sandblast.
Born and raised on the Grand Strand, Russ spends his workdays breathing new life into estate pipes that come through our door, carefully restoring them to the best of his ability. The rest of the time? You'll find him enjoying family life with his wife and their two beautiful children. They love to travel, especially if it involves a cruise, and during basketball season you won't find Russ supporting anyone but the Orlando Magic.
Matthew is originally from Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and joined our Estate Pipe Restoration team in early 2022, just about eight months after moving to the Grand Strand. A quiet soul, Matthew is a welcome addition to the Restoration department, dedicated to solid work and to refurbishing the thousands of estate pipes we receive throughout the year. When not reaming chambers, polishing stems, and cleaning airways, Matthew enjoys reading, fishing, playing board games, and cheering on the NHL's Washington Capitals.
A transplant from Atlanta, Georgia, Dana Mahanay describes himself as "a pipe-smoking nerd with too many collections," in other words, a perfect fit here at Laudisi. A big fan of horror fiction and Star Wars who loves to explore new and exciting things, he became a welcome addition to the Customer Service department in early 2021 before transitioning to our Estates department, helping to appraise and restore pipes for new homes. Dana's daughters Leia and Piper, aged three and one, keep him on his toes in his off time, but he still manages to keep up with his favorite team, Atlanta United. In between juggling small children and shouting "GOAAAAL!" Dana plots his next trip to Disney World and ponders deep thoughts, such as why he's the only person on the planet with his name.
After growing up in the dry, desert scrubland of San Diego, CA, Andrew desired a change of environment and a more relaxed lifestyle than the typical Californian rush. Lucky for us that change led Andrew here to Laudisi where he serves as our Warehouse Manager. Constantly busy, he oversees all responsibilities of our in-office warehouse, from receiving inventory and managing our incoming and outgoing freight shipments, to keeping track of that inventory and making sure we all have the supplies we need. When he's not at work you'll likely find him at the beach enjoying the warmer water of the Atlantic or indulging his interests in cheesy comedy films, spy thriller novels, world cultures, and WWII military aircraft.
Matt Feldman was born and raised in Maryland, but moved down to SC, like so many of us, looking for a fresh start. After trying his hand at the timeshare biz, he found his place here at Laudisi as one of our Shipping & Receiving Associates, and now our Shipping Manager — a role which sees him leading and overseeing our Shipping team in picking and processing orders, packaging them up safe and sound, and getting them out the door as quickly as possible for you all to enjoy. When he's not at work, you'll likely find Matt out on the water — fishing, swimming, or just taking the boat for a spin. He's also an avid sports fan, his favorite teams being the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Redskins.
Hailing from West Virginia, Maci moved to South Carolina at age 7 to be closer to family. As our Assistant Shipping Manager, Maci draws from more than seven years of retail experience to help streamline the shipping process, quickly processing orders, carefully weighing out bulk tobacco, and doing everything she can to make sure it all gets to you safe and sound. Maci enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, and in her spare time she can be found taking pictures, working on new DIY projects, cooking, or her most recent hobby: cake decorating.
Born in Loris, SC, near Smokingpipes' home, it should be no surprise that Nikki ended up coming to join us, even if she took the long way around to get here. She spent her life traveling with her Marine corps family, graduating from Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan, and getting married in Hawaii. Later, she spent twenty years working in both office administration and customer service operations, making her a perfect fit for our family. As part of our Shipping team, she spends her days double-checking every aspect of your order for accuracy, and safely packing them up for delivery. When she's not at work, good luck finding her — with her active lifestyle, she could be racing her motorcycles, riding a jet ski, learning how to garden, or practicing her bowling skills.
Originally from New Jersey, Dylan moved to the Myrtle Beach area in 2019 and joined our Shipping department in 2021. Before migrating south, he studied Criminal Justice at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and has become something of a "craft-beer explorer." When not busy helping our team of Shipping Associates pack pipes, tobacco, and cigars for delivery, Dylan enjoys spending time with his dog Maverick and shredding — both on his guitar as well as shredding monsters in weekly Dungeons & Dragons sessions. He's also an avid Star Wars and WWE fan, and his eyes are set on a trip to Germany for Oktoberfest hopefully in the near future.
A Conway, South Carolina native, Carissa (aka Ven) joined the Laudisi family in June, 2019, and now works as our Distribution Specialist, focused specifically on managing Laudisi Distribution Group shipments. Bringing a flexible, curious, and imaginative personality to the team, Carissa enjoys creating digital art, honing her photography skills, and building new worlds, peoples, and languages (à la Tolkien, Pratchett, Lovecraft, and Herbert). She's also passionate about Environmentalism and looks for opportunities to combine her loves of nature and photography. At home, Carissa spends time listening to her favorite band, Gojira, and hanging out with her parents, sister, and two pets: a Chihuahua named Chi Chi and cat, Tiger.
Darrell was born and raised in Socastee, SC, right around the corner from our headquarters, and joined our team as a Logistics Associate in 2021. He's hard-working, energetic, and caring, with his three dogs Bella, Charlie, and Shelby receiving much of his attention. When not busy packaging your orders and making sure your pipes and tobacco arrive in record time, he likes to play video games, build computers, and is considering taking up skydiving.
Though originally from Upstate New York, Ashley's lived in nearby Whiteville for nine years, where she enjoys spending time with family, pets, and her horse. Before joining Laudisi, Ashley actually collected handmade pipes as souvenirs from her travels, including a beautiful pipe from the Bahamas crafted from wood and horse hair. As one of our Receiving Associates, Ashley manages all of our in-bound shipments and inventory, ensuring our warehouse is always efficiently stocked and organized. When she's not at work, you'll likely find her on a horse, listening to her favorite music, or baking up some excellent sweets.
Hailing from Vermont originally, Guy DeVarney moved to South Carolina in 2020 and joined us a year later as our Inventory Librarian. Witty and creative, Guy brings an infectious spirit to Laudisi, whether he's making up hilarious rhyming songs to entertain co-workers or telling stories of his cats — who are all named for Peanuts characters. At home, he's a fan of baking, cooking, and gardening and also enjoys playing the ukulele and bird watching — the latter past time no doubt one shared by his cats. Science Fiction books dominate his library, and he's something of a writer himself, hoping one day to visit Europe and appreciate its history and literary legacy.
After serving as a Sales Associate at our brick & mortar store, our Shipping Supervisor in the warehouse, Operations Assistant for all of Laudisi Enterprises, and Sales Assistant for Laudisi Distribution Group, Janice recently retired at the end of 2019 and now works part-time in our Shipping Department as a Shipping Associate. She and her husband came to the beach from the northern Chicago suburbs, preferring to experience snow through the magic of television.
Originally from Massachusetts, Mark moved to Myrtle Beach just before joining us here at Smokingpipes. A family man with two sons, four dogs and a horse, he's also a jack of all trades, who spends his days working to pull, pack, and ship all of our orders as quickly and accurately as possible, while practicing his skills as a luthier in his free time.
Originally from Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Terri moved down to the balmy Carolina coast in 2015 and has loved it ever since. As one of our dedicated Shipping Associates, she applies her excellent work ethic to a variety of tasks — from pulling and double-checking orders to securely packaging it all up for speedy delivery. When she's not keeping us laughing and smiling with her quick sense of humor and easy-going personality, Terri enjoys relaxing at the beach and spending time with her family and two (massive) Labradoodles.
Originally from Myerstown, PA, Rob's a natural born Eagles and Phillies fan, but he's come to enjoy the laid-back South Carolina lifestyle. As one of our Shipping Associates, Rob's responsible for picking and pulling orders, and packaging everything up safely for speedy delivery right to your doorstep. When he's not at work, you'll likely find him kicking back to the sound of classic rock and spending time with his family.
Though born in Louisiana, Lillian grew up right here in Horry county, making her a true local by our standards. As one of our hard-working shipping associates, Lil brightens our day with her extroverted personality and intrepid spirit, assisting our team with pulling and packaging orders and performing meticulous checks to ensure safe and speedy delivery of your favorite pipes and pipe tobaccos. When she's not at work, Lillian enjoys playing guitar, taking care of her farm, and spending time in her wood shop where she builds beautiful stools, clocks, and wall decor.
Born and raised just down the road in Tabor City, Trevor is a true Grand Strand local, though he would still prefer somewhere more tropical. Here at Laudisi, he brings his friendly demeanor (and fantastic impersonations) to work each day as one of our hard-working Shipping Associates. Together with the rest of our Shipping team, Trevor helps pull orders and safely pack up all your favorite pipes and tobaccos for safe and speedy delivery to your door. When he's not at work, Trevor enjoys playing guitar, gardening, and spending time with his wife and adorable cat, Rigby.
Debbi hails from Scranton, PA, and moved to Calabash, NC, in 2020, bidding a happy farewell to snow and an even more joyful hello to sandy beaches. She describes herself as creative, dedicated, and patient, with a penchant for organizing things. These attributes are always welcome in our ranks, and she joined the Shipping Department as a Shipping Associate in 2021. Married to her best friend and with two sons and three dogs, Daisy, Miley, and Gunner, she stays busy in her off time with crafting, swimming, and long walks on the beach with her family.
Bailee Lewis is a South Carolina native, having grown up in nearby Conway, and joined Laudisi as a Shipping Associate in 2021. She loves horror movies, heavy metal music, and her two dogs, Malarie and Chi Chi. When not carefully packing your pipes or readying tobacco for shipment, she likes to watch movies, play video games, and spend time with her dogs. Calm, but not faint of heart, she hopes to one day go bungee jumping.
Having lived in Longs, South Carolina, for most of her life, Taliyah is a tried and true local, and working at Laudisi just makes sense: It ensures a quick commute and enables her to stay close to family and friends, and her hardworking nature and caring personality have fit perfectly in with our Shipping & Receiving Department since Taliyah joined in Fall 2021. She has a great sense of humor and an eye for fashion, and while she might be shy at first, she'll impress you with her talents in singing and illustration. Laid-back, easy-going, and always full of positive vibes, Taliyah enjoys life's simple pleasures as much as its wild adventures — as content watching scary movies and basketball games as she is planning trips around the world.
Born and raised in Horry County, South Carolina, Gabby's been a neighbor of Laudisi her entire life, and in late 2021, she joined our team of Shipping Associates, bringing with her a conscientious mindset, loving demeanor, and passionate determination that make her a joy to work with. A deep thinker who appreciates the storytelling elements of music and film, Gabby also enjoys writing her own stories, and when she's not helping our Shipping Department sort and package orders, she's likely cooking or spending time with close friends and family — or honing her impressive makeup skills.
Cynthia is originally from Virginia, but she's lived here in Longs for over 25 years and joined our Shipping department in early 2022. Fun, helpful, and caring, she always looks for the best in people, making her a natural fit for our team of Shipping Associates. When not at work, Cynthia enjoys spending time with her children and grandkids, devoting her creativity to making jewelry and cooking, reading spiritual and motivational books, and watching action-packed movies. She also serves the local youth as a volunteer, and in the fall, you'll likely find her at high school football games, cheering on her guys.
A lover of warmth and sunshine, Kathleen relocated to South Carolina in 2021 from New York, and she joined Laudisi as one of our Shipping Associates in March 2022, bringing with her a kind, caring, and creative spirit. Quite hands-on and artistically gifted, when she's not working to pick, pack, and post your orders, Kathleen enjoys crafting, DIY projects, and gardening, and she's an especially talented floral designer — expertly creating everything from everyday bouquets to elaborate event arrangements. Her musical tastes lean toward Country and '70s hits, and she hopes one day to visit Ireland where some of her family still calls home.