Meet The Team
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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.
Having studied art and poetry at CalArts in Valencia, California, Ted admits freely that his initial impulse to pick up a pipe had more to do with cultivating his pretentiousness as a blossoming young artist than it had to with his desire to smoke fine tobacco. Fastforward ten years and Ted's thoughts on pipes and tobacco are as sober as his critique of conceptual art. After years in a local rock band in Stockton, California, and six years with Starbucks Coffee, Ted came into the company as Sales Manager. Presently, as Chief Operating Officer, Ted supervises the various divisions that compose Laudisi Enterprises. This means he has a hand in Smokingpipes.com, Laudisi Distribution, Cornell & Diehl, our Marketing department, our Shipping department, and our IT department. He’s a pretty busy guy anymore.
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.)
Matthew was born and raised in Connecticut, where he received his degree in English from Eastern Connecticut State University. Matthew worked for Big Y Supermarkets and Fed-Ex in a multitude of roles before moving to South Carolina in 2012. He has held several positions at Laudisi, including time in our shipping department and distribution group, as well as organizing the move to our new building in 2014. Matthew's role as Operations Manager has him coordinating the day-to-day efforts of our shipping department, housekeeping, and Cornell and Diehl, as well using his unique experience and decision making skills to improve efficiency all over the company. When not wrangling a myriad of projects for Laudisi, Matthew enjoys baseball, gardening, alternative rock, cult television shows and reading anything he can get his hands on. Weekends will find him working in the yard or watching a movie with his girlfriend and their herd of cats.
After more than seven years of direct involvement in Laudisi Enterprises, and as VP of Sales for four years and GM of Smokingpipes.com for two years, Tony left at the end of 2009 to continue to pursue his education in Atlanta, GA. Tony managed day-to-day operations at Smokingpipes.com for two years, so we're constantly finding ourselves calling to ask questions, mostly beginning 'where the ____ is...'. He's also involved in strategic planning for the company, and joins us for major company events, such as the Chicago Pipe Show.
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 college Kyler began his adult work life at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. While there for six years he worked in the quarantine building taking care of incoming animals and getting them through quarantine in a timely manner. Eventually Kyler worked to help build exhibits, secure animals, manage animal food inventory/ordering, and run the new jellyfish exhibit as well as other exhibits.
Kyler then made his way to Laudisi in January of 2018. He began his career with us as the Assistant Shipping Manager. He managed the shipping department through a variety of circumstances including Hurricane Florence. Kyler spreads positivity and knowledge throughout the company on a daily basis in his role as Operations Coordinator, supporting the operations team generally across divisions and departments. His attention to detail is top notch, which is needed while taking care of his aquarium. We think Kyler would live underwater if possible. He’s working on it.
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 the Director of Smokingpipes.com, overseeing Customer Service, Merchandizing, Estate Restoration and Low Country Pipe and Cigar, as well as having more fun than the rest of us combined by hand-selecting the pipes featured on our website (he refers to this activity as "finding pipes the right homes.") 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.
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 four years. Bill's pride and joy are his wife, his two children, and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
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 working in banking for a number of years, she came to join us as our Operations Assistant, 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 New Jersey, Julie's passion is the sciences, and she came to South Carolina to study biology at Coastal Carolina University. Here in the office, she's our Administrative Assistant, making sure that all of our paperwork is filed, our boxes are ticked, and the whole operation keeps running in tip-top order. This means no surprises for us, or for our customers.
Originally a North Carolinian, Ashley made her way to South Carolina a few years ago, and has since joined the Smokingpipes family. A mother of three girls and two frisky dogs, she's an upbeat person who spends her days with us ensuring that the office stays clean and tidy, while maintaining all of the small things that can go wrong in any workplace. When she's not working, you might find her at the beach, listening to the waves, or out on the field playing softball or basketball.
Greg has lived in the Myrtle Beach area since 1988—certainly long enough to be considered a native. With over 15 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 Network 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.
Calvin Miller, spending most of his time as a country boy of the Carolinas, came to us with 15 years of design and website knowledge. His passion for his work and the work of his team allows him to continually lead and inspire an extremely talented group of visual creatives to stay ahead of marketing trends and produce content that both impresses and informs those that are as much in love with pipes and pipe tobacco as we all are. When he isn’t sitting behind two huge Mac monitors or going to and from meetings, he plays copious amounts of MineCraft and watches terribly low rated B-movie horror on Netflix while eating house special fried rice.
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 comprised 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 supervising the writing at Smokingpipes.com, 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.
Originally from the foothills of North Carolina, Andy grew up on a tobacco farm where he watched his great grandfather cure and prime 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 ambitions as a writer and marketing specialist. Luckily his search led him across state lines to join us here at Smokingpipes.com. As our Email Marketing Specialist, Andy's known for wearing many hats, and also for juggling a variety of responsibilities. In addition to writing newsletters and blogs, Andy's also responsible for coding up our emails and blogs, as well as researching, testing, and implementing cutting-edge marketing trends across a variety of platforms. Andy loves Spanish food, and since his return from Seville, 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.
Originally from Mississippi, Kaz moved from his hometown of Hattiesburg with his wife Mary to join the Laudisi Family in 2016; originally starting in Cornell & Diehl before finding his way to Smokingpipes. Before coming to the Lowcountry, Kaz was a gemologist and jewelry appraiser, but since settling here he now applies his keen eye to a different gem — Pipes. From one-of-a-kind artisan pipes to perfect classics from well respected marques, Kaz is
involved in almost every step of getting pipes prepared for the website, from occasionally assisting in purchasing to writing descriptions (in case you couldn’t guess, he loves what he does.)
Along with Gawith Hoggarth & Co's tobaccos, he also finds pleasure in cooking, traveling, reading, and expanding his pipe collection whenever possible. He has a fondness for spicy Thai curries, black pudding, Claret, and Irish whiskey, however we have also discovered that he can't say no to a well-brewed cup of Lapsang Souchong (A fact that we may have occasionally used to our advantage).
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 Update Supervisor, Cyndy 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, and supervising our Merchandising Department.
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.
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.
Another not-so-recent New Jersey transplant, Kaysie moved down to Myrtle Beach 18 years ago. Though her initial role at SPC as a Shipping & Receiving Associate offered her a unique view of the inner-workings of the company, it was her love of books, coffee, and the arts that made her a natural choice for our Merchandizing Department. As a Graphics Specialist, Kaysie draws from the experience she's accrued while pursuing her degree in digital arts, utilizing her skills for graphic design and composition, and making sure each of our photos looks as accurate and realistic as possible. In her spare time, you can likely find this Scorpio in the garden or making hand-crafted jewelry.
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 works as our 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, while still being beautiful in its own right. This role requires an exceptional eye for detail, a skill Brandee has proven time and time again in her own private work as a freelance makeup artist. 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 two dogs — Sancho, a stubby little Pughuahua, and Lilah, a big furball of a Maltese/Shih tzu mix.
Adding to our family of northern transplants, Katrina is originally from Long Island, and came to South Carolina in search of warmer weather. As part of our merchandizing team, she spends her days making sure our photos are as accurate as possible, ensuring that the pipe you see is the pipe you get. When she's not doing that, you'll find her flexing her confectionary skills — "Because everything should be dipped in chocolate" — or enjoying the beach with her goddaughter Chloe, her favorite person in the world.
A native of the potent and unforgettable small town of Georgetown in rural South Carolina, Daniel earned his BA in Theatre from the University of South Carolina, where he cultivated passions for directing plays and producing music. In the naive pursuit of artistic independence, he chased one of those dreams to Washington, DC, where he worked as an Assistant Director for several productions at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, as well as a freelance director and sound designer. He draws from his experience in the realms of literature and history to describe a third of the over a thousand pipes that make it through our doors on a weekly basis, as well as writing and editing blog posts, newsletters, and all other forms of content that end up on our website. He continues to produce music for himself and others well into the wee hours of most mornings, usually accompanied by espresso over ice, a few smokes, and a pipe. Daniel has a fondness for Hip Hop and Future Bass, but will excitedly discuss most music and art related topics, preferably over coffee.
Rachel was born in Germany, and raised in upstate New York, where she played hockey and worked on cars. She studied Philosophy and Creative Writing at SUNY Oswego before migrating south to join us at Smokingpipes. Starting in our shipping department, she fell in love with pipes and pipe tobacco, and made the shift to our Merchandizing Department, where she is putting her writing skills to work as a copywriter.
Born in Dallas, TX but raised in England, Arkansas, and (most extensively) the corn fields of Indiana, Truett studied Linguistics at Gordon College, just north of Boston before moving to the Basque Country of Northern Spain. After spending a year playing soccer, studying the Basque language (as well as honing his Spanish), enjoying Basque cider and cuisine, basking on the beach, and meandering in the mountains, 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 team at Laudisi as a Junior Copywriter, merging both his professional and pastime interests. Along with collecting pipes, Truett enjoys playing and watching soccer, solving crossword puzzles, playing guitar and chess, reading fantasy and sci-fi, spending time outdoors, and watching movies. It has also been said that BBQ is his love language.
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 Merchandizing department. As our Data Entry Specialist, Rich is responsible for weighing, measuring, and inputting all the data for the myriad pipes hitting our site each week. In addition to handling all that data entry and performing quality control assessments, he also works closely with Cyndy to help organize and plan our updates. 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.
While Jeffery might not have been born in Myrtle Beach, he's spent most of his life here; he even picked up a BA in Communication and an MA in teaching from our own Coastal Carolina University. He's a go-getter, and just the kind of person we love to have in our merchandising department — making sure our pipes are weighed, measured, and properly organized for each and every update. And like a lot of us around here, the rest of the time you'll find him hitting concerts, the recording studio, or hunting down vinyl at the thrift store.
Rebecca was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, surrounded by cornfields as far as the eye can see. Seeking a reprieve from the cold winters, she moved down to Pensacola, Florida in 2014 and eventually made her way up to us in South Carolina a little later. As one of our Data Entry Specialists, Rebecca is responsible for weighing, measuring, and organizing our library of pipes — making sure you have the information to pick just the right one. When she's not at work, you'll likely find her out on the beach, soaking up the sun. Like many of us here at Laudisi, Rebecca hates shoes and would go barefoot all year 'round if she could. In addition to dabbling in arts and crafts and collecting shot glasses from around the country, Rebecca's hobbies also include cooking a range of comfort foods — her specialties being hamburger gravy or shredded chicken over mashed taters.
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 Liberty 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.
Another Californian transplant, Chip Kushner drove here from San Diego with his two Wheaten Terriers, Zelda and Zero. Chip's journey into pipes began with the aid of dear friends Jeff Gracik of J. Alan Pipes and Neil Hunt of Captain Hunt Tobacco on San Diego Bay. His first pipe tobacco experience was with Dunhill 965, and, appropriately enough, his first pipe was a 1960 Dunhill 120 Shell Briar. As his collection grew, so did his passion for all things pipe related, eventually founding the San Diego Pipe Club, where he met future coworker Shane Ireland.
Chip enjoys collecting everything from pipes to animation art, from single malt scotches to vinyl records and automatic Swiss watches. He also enjoys music (Jazz, Blues, the American songbook, and classic rock are his favorites), attending pipe shows, and driving his 1988 BMW 325i convertible, weather permitting. Given his extremely social nature, knowledge of pipes and tobaccos, and 'can-do' attitude, Chip is a natural manager for our Customer Service department. He works closely with his associates assisting customers in search of the perfect pipe and tobacco and making your experience as easy and enjoyable as possible—dressed in his finest smoking attire, of course: a smoking jacket and a fez.
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.
Originally from central New York, Nick has lived in several places over the years, including North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He now calls South Carolina home, but make no mistake: he still bleeds orange. A travel enthusiast, Nick has been to 25 of the 50 States, yet his greatest adventure (so far) was when he lived in Budapest, Hungary for six months while finishing his Bachelors in Marketing from SUNY Oswego. As part of our Customer Service team, think of Nick as your man on the ground. From answering inquiries over the phone or through email, to processing orders and following up with shipping questions, he's here to help make your experience the best it can be.
When he's not at work, you'll likely find Nick at a concert. He's been to over 1,000, after all — 92 of which have featured his favorite band moe. And yes, he has met the members several times. Nick's also an avid outdoorsman and conservationist. He's even hiked the 112 miles of the Northville-Placid trail in the Adirondacks. Aside from all that, he also enjoys cooking (whipping up a 7-course meal from scratch), playing chess, reading, and enjoying a fine cigar with a nice glass of bourbon.
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.
Tavoice is a native of North Myrtle Beach who studied at University of South Carolina at Columbia, and spent time in Atlanta, GA before returning home to join us at Smokingpipes. With a 15-year history in Customer Service spanning several industries, including hotel management and banking, it's no wonder he's fit right into our group - answering your questions and helping solve those tricky situations that come up from time to time. When he's not in the office, you'll find him traveling, spending time with his family, and enjoying some well-deserved shopping sprees.
It was 12 years ago that 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. Steve joins the Customer Service team here at Laudisi 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.
Cassie was born in Michigan, and relocated to Myrtle Beach in 2004. Her work days are spent as one of our Customer Services representatives, answering phone calls, emails, and chats from you, our customers. With her expertise and training, she's able to answer questions, fix problems, and make suggestions for almost any issue that you might have. In her free time, she's a dedicated wife and mother, who is obsessed with cooking (particularly: crock pot 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.
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.
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.
Romeo has called some amazing cities home. Originally from Bucharest, Romania, he has also lived in Sélestat on the German border of France, St. Augustine, Ft. Knox, Anchorage, and Spartanburg, before settling here on the border of Coastal North and South Carolina. Romeo's hobby is not only pipe smoking, but also cleaning and restoring. As our one of our Pipe Restorers, Romeo breathes life back into so many of the estate pipes that come through our door. When he isn't at what he refers to as his dream job, or smoking a pipe, he enjoys taking his daughter, Georgiana, to Ocean Isle Beach for walks and star gazing. Good food is in their genes, he says: the two often cook traditional Romanian food together since nothing tastes better to him than the food he grew up with.
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.
Born in South Carolina, Greg traveled the world — from Colorado Springs to Kaiserslautern, Germany during his time in the Air Force, then to Ithaca, NY to study Outdoor Adventure Leadership, then to Salida, Colorado to work as a park ranger, before coming back to South Carolina. These days he helps restore estate pipes back to near-original condition as an integral part of our restoration team, though he still manages to find time for enjoying the wild outdoors.
Though a South Carolina native, Chris Formo spent six years in Los Angeles pursuing a career in music. Seeking a change of pace, he moved back to Myrtle Beach eight years ago, where he eventually found his way to us here at Cornell & Diehl. As our Assistant Manager, Chris is a man of many hats on the floor every day to fill a variety of roles so that the entire department runs as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Chris comes to us from an extensive background in the motorcycle industry, and in his spare time he enjoys football, motorcycles, playing his guitar, and a variety of music.
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 Smokingpipes.com where he serves as our Shipping & Receiving Specialist. Constantly busy, he's responsible for receiving all of our inventory, managing our incoming and outgoing freight shipments, keeping track of 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 Supervisor — a role which has him scurrying all over the building, 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.
Albert moved to South Carolina from Pennsylvania two years ago, leaving his snow shovel behind in hopes he'd never need a new one. As a Shipping Associate, he's an integral part of our team, spending days packing bulk, double-checking pipes, and carefully packing your orders to ensure that everything arrives safely on your doorstep. When he's not doing all those things (or enjoying the weather), you'll find Albert traveling, discovering all of the hidden gems South Carolina has to offer, and hitting the stadium for baseball games.
Originally from Ohio, Steven is, naturally, a big fan of Ohio State. He moved to South Carolina in 1999 though, so he's more than adapted to the Myrtle Beach climate. Steven's an indiscriminate animal lover too; he's a friend to many and known for going out of his way to help critters in distress. As one of our Shipping and Receiving Associates, he's responsible for taking your online order all the way from your checkout page to the package that arrives at your door. In his time off he loves movies of most genres, gaming, and enjoying Rocky Patel Cigars.
Born in Georgia, Dan maintained his southern roots despite being raised up north, and we're glad to see him closer to home these days. By day, he works as an important part of our shipping team, ensuring that each package that leaves our warehouse is properly pulled, checked, and packed for transport. A father and grandfather, he loves bringing his family to the beach and feeding them his home-cooked Low Country cuisine, including a secret pizza dough recipe.
Mother of two children and one cat, Anna is an outgoing, funny, and caring person who we're happy to have in the Smokingpipes family. By day, she works as an important part of our shipping team, ensuring that each package that leaves our warehouse is properly pulled, checked, and packed for transport. The rest of the time, you can find her engaging in her eclectic range of hobbies - from rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs (despite being from Columbia, SC), to keeping up with the latest movies, and visiting every brewery she can find, she's a person with plenty of personality and no shortage of things to keep her busy. Her goals include visiting the wildlife of Alaska, as well as Harry Potter World.
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.
Though originally from Greensboro, N.C., Josh has lived in the Myrtle Beach area for over eight years now. As one of our Shipping and Receiving Associates, he's constantly on the move — filling and processing orders, pulling pipes and tobacco, and packing it all up safely to arrive at your doorstep exactly the way you want it. He's currently pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice, working towards realizing his ambitions of being a detective. When he's not at work or at school, you'll likely find Josh catching up on the latest basketball game, specifically UNC Chapel Hill's Tarheels.
After a recent road trip around the US, where 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 a part of our shipping department, he spends his days making sure your orders reach you promptly and accurately — with all your pipes, tins, and bulk exactly as you ordered them, double-checked and packed securely. When he's not helping our shorter staff get things 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.
Though born in Whiteville, NC, Terrence traveled the world during his 15-year Tour of Service with the U.S Army — from Fort Drum, NY to Yongsan, South Korea, all the way to the Kunar Province in Afghanistan. Back home in the States, he has helped a number of companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Lowes with their day to day shipping operations.
Here at Laudisi, Terrence puts all that experience and diligent work ethic to good use, serving as one of our Shipping & Receiving Associates. Whether it's hunting down pipes and accessories for your order, measuring out quantities of bulk tobacco, or priming your packages for a safe and speedy delivery, he is part and parcel to what we do here. When he's not at work, Terrence enjoys spending time with his wife (and high school sweetheart) Shawnisa and his three children: Terrence Jr., Aziya, and Ta'Yaun.
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.
Father of five children, Chris is a family man born and raised in the Carolinas. A longtime member of the shipping industry, he found his way to us at Smokingpipes, where he's an essential member of our Shipping Department team. Whether he's collecting items, packaging bulk, or carefully packing boxes to ship out, he's one of the ones that makes sure your orders arrive on time and with exactly what you asked for. Good luck finding him outside of work, though — between coaching football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, taking vacations, and enjoying quality time with his family, Chris is always busy.
Originally from Chicago, Lisa has led a varied life, from spending almost a decade as an Elvis impersonator, to traveling widely to attend concerts. A great friend who loves her unusual pet snake, Ozzy, she's a get-things-done sort of person that we love to have on our team. In our fast-paced shipping department, you'll find her weighing bulk, double-checking boxes, and carefully wrapping items for shipment, all to ensure you have the best possible experience. And outside of work, you might find her showing off her killer cooking skills, touching up her latest tattoo, or hunting for that elusive vinyl for her collection.
Tonianne was raised in New York, but eventually found home in South Carolina. Here at Smokingpipes, we know her as someone who's always up to get people laughing — a great skill to have in a fast-paced environment like our shipping department, where you might find her doing anything from packing boxes to weighing bulk or double-checking pipes. When she's not working, you'll find her playing video games, diving into a good book, or planning her future travels.
Though originally from Whiteville, NC, Cedric loves to travel all across the states, which he did regularly as a retail truck driver. In addition to that role, Cedric also has experience in everything from contracting to janitorial work, hands-on skills which he applies everyday to his work here at Smokingpipes.com. As one of our Shipping Associates, Cedric has become one of our go-to guys — from picking orders, to packing orders, and everything in between. When he's not at work, Cedric enjoys listening to music and spending time with his brothers and other family.
Hailing from West Virginia, Maci moved to South Carolina at age 7 to be closer to family. As one of our Shipping and Receiving Associates, Maci draws from more than seven years of retail experience, 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.
Tim's extensive experience in the tobacco world dates back to 1999 when he started managing his family's cigar store in Omaha, Nebraska. A driven and energetic personality balanced by a deep, caring mindset and courteous approach to people, Tim brings a breath of fresh air and vibrant spirit (not to mention a vast knowledge gained by years in the cigar industry) to Laudisi Enterprises as our Retail Store Manager at Low Country Pipe & Cigar and overall Cigar Specialist.
He and his wife moved to South Carolina in 2013 and have since welcomed their first child to the family. As such, Tim loves spending time with his wife and son as well as entertaining his passion for yard work. With a bucket list full of exotic locales, such as Indonesia, Fiji, Greece, and Rome, Tim's next vacation will probably see him and his family abroad somewhere across the world. In the meantime, though, you'll most likely catch him listening to old-school hip hop or watching Game of Thrones, that is, when he's not faithfully serving our clients at Low Country Pipe & Cigar or woodworking with his wife.
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 Tim 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.